Monday, January 9, 2012

92 95 Honda Civic Instrument Cluster Short in Dashboard Brightness Controller

Was going to make a great blog about how to fixed cracked solder joints in my Dashboard Brightness Controller by reflowing the solder.  Unfortunately my re-solder efforts did not fix the problem.  The problem seemed to be a cracked solder joint because initially, I was able to push on the side of the variable resistor wheel and have lights until I let go.  I tried to reflow the connections of the variable resistor but that did not seem to help.  I tested the circuit for continuity and it seemed ok.    Until I figure out a better way, I will give you the cheap work-around fix.

Please feel free to comment if you know what goes wrong with these circuits and what needs replaced or re-flowed.

On the 92-95 Honda Civics the dashboard dimmer, moon roof control and cruise on and off buttons are housed in a plastic assembly to the left of the steering wheel.   This assembly can be pried straight out with a screwdriver or in my case a key.  Once the assembly is out, there are two plugs in the back of mine, three if you have a moon roof.  These can be removed by squeezing the tab at the back of the connector and pulling out.  In my case the green one goes to the cruise control and the grey one goes to the dashboard brightness controller circuit.  

There are three wires going into the back of the grey connector.  The middle one is black.  One is red and another is red with a black stripe.

The quick fix is to connect the black middle wire to the red wire, using a paper clip. Cut a small paperclip such that it is shaped like a "U" and about 1/2 inch tall.  Push the ends of the paper clip into the front side of the connector.  One end, push into the middle and the other goes to the red wire.  I placed electrical tape over the paper clip and connector, to hold it in place and stop it from shorting out anywhere.  I pushed the connector back into the dash, reconnected the green connector to the cruise control and then shoved the entire assembly back into the dash.  This eliminates any dimming capabilities and everything is at full brightness.  For me I don't ever want to dim the lights so that did not matter.  I would like to solve the problem, the right way, so let me know if you have any ideas.

BTW, in the process of experimenting, I blew the #19 10amp fuse that feeds the controller.  Luckily the Honda Engineers put in a fuse puller and an extra fuse in the fuse box under the dash, so this was an easy fix.