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cduluk

Rx400H Gauge Cluster Lcd Mod Project *pics*

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Hey guys, :)

Just finished a new project for the Rx400h and just thought I’d share!

One of my recent projects involved modification to the gauge cluster, changing the “ring” color from white to blue to add to the Lexus blue “HYBRID” color scheme.

Here’s what it looked like before: :blink:

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And here’s what it looked like after:

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Although a great improvement, I knew I could make it better.

In the various Toyota/Lexus models, the gauge and info LCD screens have varying colors and shades. Some have black lettering on a white background, like this:

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Some have white lettering on a black background, like the Rx400h or Toyota Avalon:

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And some have white lettering on a blue background, like on the Rx300 info screen:

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Personally, I’ve always found this “white on blue” look very appealing, and I knew it would look PERFECT in the Rx400h gauges if it could be done. BUT, I always thought the LCD’s were made one way from the factory and couldn’t be changed—until now. :whistles:

I never really understood how LCD’s worked, so curiosity got me searching the Internet for information. I came across a site that explained how LCD’s were created, and I learned what components are required to make them work. When looking at a standard LCD, I always thought the black numbers and what not were made of a pigment, or ink—somehow shifted around into shapes of letters or whatever. But in fact, there’s NO colored pigment at all! Wikipedia has good info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_crystal_display

An LCD consists of two pieces of glass, which have “liquid crystal” particles sandwiched between them (think of tiny-tiny pieces of glass). When electricity is added to certain parts, the crystals shift their position, reflecting light sort of like a prism. Then on each side of the glass, a sheet of “polarized” film is applied, which controls what light enters and leaves. I also learned that what determined the shade of an LCD (either black on white, or white on black) was in fact the alignment of the polarized film, NOT something within the LCD itself. All one needs to do is rotate one of the polarized films, and the LCD will invert.

Here is another site that explains how this is done:

http://mygshock.com/wiki/How_to_convert_a_plain_DW-5600_LCD_to_a_negative_display

With some further research, I also discovered how Lexus created the “white on BLUE” LCD! I used to think that there was blue pigment in the LCD, but in fact the LCD itself is NO different from any other LCD screen. If you just rotate one of the polarized films at an angle between “white on black” and “black on white”, you will get the “white on blue”!!

With this new knowledge I decided to use it on the Rx400h. I purchased a sheet of linear polarized film online, from http://www.polarization.com/polarshop/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=32&osCsid=9df712636e71b781c9ec1c246cd3efa4

I got a 6”x10” sheet of “PFSC _ AG/HC - Polarizer with antiglare, hardcoat and adhesive” for $24 as it has the anti-glare coating (which is needed). I couldn’t wait to get it (as this was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving) so I had them send it to me Fedex Overnight. Yes, the shipping cost more than the film, but it was worth it! :wacko:

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When it arrived, I took the gauge cluster apart and gained access to the center info LCD.

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I then started removing the factory polarized film(s) on TOP of the LCD.

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After the films were removed, I placed the new film over the LCD to find the position it needed to be attached. You’ll notice that at various angles the shade will change color!

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When I found the right angle, I cut out a piece of the film and attached it to the LCD screen. The film has a sticky backing, you just need to remove the protective layer. I then removed the top protective later, which protects the anti-glare side.

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After this was complete, I installed the LCD back into the cluster and fired it up!!

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2vwemwi.jpg

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It especially looks good when the car is first started or shut off, when it displays the “LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE” logo.

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The whole project took less than an hour to complete, most of the time wasted on removal and installation of the cluster. The end result came out PERFECT and I’m more than happy with it. It’s VERY easy to read in sun and at night, and the anti-glare finish matches the original 100%. I really like the white/blue look better than the “grainy” white/black. I’m half debating on doing this to the radio LCD too! But I’ll need a bigger sheet of the film, as it’s a wide LCD…

So tell me what you guys think! :)

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Great job CD. You should open a shop that mods high end cars. The blue sure does stand out...

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I am very impressed. Not just with the super results, but your talent and intellect as well. You obviously have a talent and as LEXIRX said, could do it for money.

Keep it up!

Paul

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Thanks guys :blushing: Believe me, i'd LOVE to put myself out there somehow and do this for others, but the issue of liability scares me do death. I know it's easy to make mistakes working with technical stuff like this, and well, on Lexus', they're always expensive ones. I know if i screw up my own car it's OK, but if i did it to someone else's it wouldn't go too well. :unsure:

A few summers ago i did set up several eBay auctions for the early Lexus ES/SC cluster repairs, and it worked out REALLY well (modifying the burned out/flickering needles and changing the backlighting to LED's etc) but it was cut short when i got a threatening lawyers letter from lextech. Apparently they had a patent for any "repair" of those Lexus clusters. Had it checked out, and they really do! So, i had to shut it down!

I really love doing this type of stuff and i'm getting better and better as time goes along. There's no greater feeling than being good at "something" even if it's a bit "odd"... :geek:

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Thanks guys :blushing: Believe me, i'd LOVE to put myself out there somehow and do this for others, but the issue of liability scares me do death. I know it's easy to make mistakes working with technical stuff like this, and well, on Lexus', they're always expensive ones. I know if i screw up my own car it's OK, but if i did it to someone else's it wouldn't go too well. :unsure:

And this Sir is what insurance is for. If you are serious about wanting to do something like this sit down write a business plan, get bonded, buy a general liability and a business owners policy to cover your self. To be honest with you I don't think that your insurance or bond would cost you all that much. You may have to call around because not every company will accept that risk.

To add to this "if you are serious" and you would like some help with developing a business plan...etc I would be glad to help. You may also want to think of a business name and set everything up get a small business loan...even if you dont need it rates are great. At the least get a line of credit...in business you never know when you may need to get your hands on some money. Something else you may want to order a few replacement parts (maybe from DCFISH he has everything) that way if something gets screwed up you can fix it...fast. That would keep people happy if you messed up something. I would absolutley have an attorney draft a disclaimer for you the way you want it and everything else. You would do well...

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Kid, you are definitely engineer material! I frequently have to learn about various aspects of technology that could come in handy to solve a particular problem. It's what makes engineering "entertaining" and it helps to keep me up to date.

Keep up the good work! :cheers:

Dave

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Jeez, that sounds like SOO too much work, i don't think i'm "that" serious at least not at this point... :wacko: I don't think i could get enough business to overcome the extra costs, and i also don't think i'd have enough time. Even at it is, i have to set aside time for my own car (which hasn't been washed since temperatures were in the 70's around here; a long long time ago) with school and everything.

I guess it'll remain a dream for a little longer. <_<

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Nice work!

LEXI beat me to it, thats what insurance is for. You'd be shocked how affordable that insurance is too...

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