The time has finally come to debut the marvelous HVAC cluster light conversion. From reading countless forum threads it occurred to me that this is one of those mods you just have to do if you own the 05-07 STI. As mentioned on some previous blog posts, the STIs made in these years were in this weird transitional period. From the year 2008+ the STIs have come stock with beautifully red light interiors. Hopefully these conversion episodes help my fellow Subaru brothers and sisters.
Obviously, if you don't like red, you can use any other color. I actually have a friend who changed all his interior lights to illuminate blue! It was different, but fit his car quite well. Of course, if you don't mind the green, you don't need to lift a finger.
This conversion is based on a couple of old forum discussions, so I can not take full credit. However, I will say I have made a couple of improvements to fix issues that were mentioned from the old forum posts. One of the major problems people had were the lights not being bright enough. Another major concern was the dial face buttons seemed to get stuck, or unable to push down all the way due to the wires and lights. I am proud to say, my mod worked out perfectly. You can see the red lights during the day, eventhough you wouldn't really need to, and it looks beautiful at night.
As always, these articles written after the video are always a way for me to give you guys some tips, tricks, and important afterthoughts on my modding process that I may not have been able to show on film.
To set you guys on the right track, I will tell you exactly what I used for this mod. The lights are Red 5mm straw hat LED 3.2v 5000 MCD with Wide Angle. These details are very important. The 5mm LED is a must if you want it to fit inside the dials. 5000 MCD (Millicandela) just means it illuminates very bright. The higher this number, the brighter it illuminates. I used 3 of these lights per dial, giving a total output of 15000 MCD. You won't need anything higher than 5000 MCD, unless you are running less LEDs per dial. Many people in the past have sanded down the LEDs so the light looks more diffused on the dial. I strongly advise you not to. The face of the dial already diffuses the light for you, so you don't need to sand down each light. Sanding it down will only lower your illumination output. Make sure you purchase wide angle ones as well, if it's not wide angle, you will get hot spots on your dials since it doesn't illuminate evenly enough. However, if you choose a different LED setup than mine, then you will need to calculate what sort of setup you'd like to do, and what kind of resistors you will need to purchase. For my setup, I needed three 150 OHM Resistors 1/4W 5% Carbon Film. I chose to wire my LEDs into three parallel series because it's just easier to fix when one dial malfunctions. For the wire, I just picked up some old telephone lines, and stripped them. The wires are extremely thin, so be extremely careful with them. Lastly, I would advise that you guys use heat shrink tubing instead of electrical tape, where possible. This will give you guys a much cleaner and secure connection as time passes by. I honestly just got lazy, lol. Now, mind you, whether you are a professional at soldering or not, this is not an easy mod. It will take plenty of time and patience on your part. There are many risks to this mod if you aren't careful and precise, so please DO NOT DO THIS MOD UNLESS YOU ARE CONFIDENT!
Otherwise, the results speak for themselves. As time goes by, I will continue to convert the rest of the interior to illuminate red. As of this moment, I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to bother with the Head Unit, since I still want to go with an aftermarket double din, but we'll see.