13.99 Instrument Panel Lighting

This entry is part 58 of 66 in the series 13 - Electrical / Instruments

I’ve got the glareshield trimmed and fitted. This was a major PITA. Lots of putting it in, figuring out where it was hitting, remove it, trim it, put it back in, mark it, remove it, trim it, put it back in…  I must have installed that glareshied 30 times. Then I made some tabs that will be used to attach the glareshield to the top of the instrument panel.

Now it’s time for the lights. I’m using a strip of blue LEDs. The LEDs are about .5″ apart so they will provide about the same type of light as the electro-luminescent lights.

The strip is about .2″ high and to keep the light out of the line of site, I could either create a raised area behind the strip or simply recess it. I chose to recess the strip of LEDs.

First I marked where the LED strip will be then I made the first cut through the bottom layer of glass.

Then I made the second cut. I made this cut farther forward than necessary so I could slope the the opening.  After the cut was made, I removed the lower layer of fiberglass and cut out the foam. The result is a slot with the rear straight up and down but the front has a gradual slope towards the panel.

To accommodate the wires, I drilled a hole between the top and bottom layers of fiberglass that would be the wiring conduit. I used a long drill bit and started from the front edge and drilled back to the end of the slot on the pilots side. Then I drilled a hole from the bottom into the conduit.

The slot is then covered with a layer of BID. Because of the small area, I used a fiberglass veil (very fine fibers).

Once that cured, I trimmed off the excess and painted on a coat of resin to make a smooth surface. The LEDs have a self-adhesive backing and I wanted a smooth surface for that to stick to. I’m not sure what I’m going to do as far as covering on the glareshield, but for now, I painted the underside flat black.

The LED strip is designed for a 12v system. Since I’m running a 24v electrical system, I had to modify the strip and turn it into a 24v strip. Once that was done, I installed the LEDs (little out of focus).

Then I connected the power.

I wanted to see how it would look installed, so once again, I put the glareshield back in.

I’m not nuts about the unlighted portion of the instrument panel at the very top. Mounting the LED strip on the bottom of the glareshield or increasing the slope would have prevented that. But I think I’ll let it go since there’s nothing in that area that needs to be illuminated anyway.

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