Saturn Clock/Radio Light Repair 1995 SL2

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by Don, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Don

    Don Guest

    An occasionally reported problem is failure of the back light on the
    LCD clock/radio display. An internally soldered-in-place tiny light
    bulb burns out. When this happens, you cannot read the time or station
    at night. One answer has been to replace the radio. That is what
    dealers suggest. After all, it is a $60 radio (nominal value, not
    what you paid for it.) But the repair parts cost about $6 plus an hour
    or so of time.

    I was able to fix mine. While the bulb is not a standard value or
    size, if you are handy with hand tools and electronics soldering, it
    can be replaced with a white LED and give satisfactory results. I
    used a bright white LED (Radio Shack part #276-320) in series with a
    1000 ohm 1/2 watt resistor. I connected the short (cathod or -) lead
    of the LED to the lower solder point of the old bulb. I connected the
    longer (anode or +) lead to the resistor and the resistor to the top
    solder point where the lamp was removed. (If the LED does not light,
    you may have it in backwards, so test before you fully button it up in
    the car.)

    Of course you have to remove the radio, instructions can be found on
    the web. Remove the knobs and front faceplate (2 torx screws) and
    then bend the 6 metal ears holding the controls circuit board so you
    can tip it forward (be careful not the damage the ribbon cables on the
    bottom edge) to get to the back. Clip out the old bulb, then solder in
    the new bulb and resistor (it just fits), then put it all back
    together. When you put the circuit board back in place you may need
    some insulating tape behind the LED and resistor to prevent a short to
    the case.

    Because LEDs tend to be directional, look for one with as wide a
    viewing angle as you can (the Radio Shack part I mentioned is fairly
    wide). To increase the viewing angle I used some 220 grit sand paper
    to gough up the clear lens of the LED to make it more of a diffuser
    and spread the beam for more uniform back light. The 1000 ohm
    resistor limits the current through the LED to about 1/2 of its
    nominal rating, and it is plenty bright.
    Don, Feb 20, 2004
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