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Big White - Time to install the supercharger. Question about Boost Gauge placement

Quick question - working on my new gauge which matches with the message center LCD. The gauge has the ability to dim which I need to program in. Anyone have an idea of what percentage of full brightness does the message center, automatic HVAC and overhead console go to when the dimmer switch is lowered. Also, what percentage is it at during the day? Is there a corresponding voltage from the dimmer that controls this?

Thanks
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That's all in the dimmer switch thumb wheel, I believe its range is from near zero to 100%. I've had the dimmer all the way down and thought it was off(to the bottom detent), the lights are virtually not there at the low end range. If the new gauge is needing a degree of dimming, I'd shoot for something in the 25% area for low, and 90% for high. If it's adjustable then you will soon know if you like the settings at night and during the day. Then you'll quickly tweak it to make it right for you.
 






That's all in the dimmer switch thumb wheel, I believe its range is from near zero to 100%. I've had the dimmer all the way down and thought it was off(to the bottom detent), the lights are virtually not there at the low end range. If the new gauge is needing a degree of dimming, I'd shoot for something in the 25% area for low, and 90% for high. If it's adjustable then you will soon know if you like the settings at night and during the day. Then you'll quickly tweak it to make it right for you.
Thanks Don. Do you know if there is a corresponding voltage range from the dimmer switch (I assume that's how it is controlled) and what that range is. Do not have access to any service manuals that might specify that.

Thanks
 






I'm sorry but I haven't gone into details of the manuals since I rebuilt my 99 in 2006.

J C and a few others here have a lot of quick references to schematics and wiring in general, from the manuals I'm sure. Find some of his or their posts and see if there are any links in their signatures. Wiring help should be somewhat easy, voltage details are likely very tough to locate for much of anything. I would hunt for "dimmer switch" and maybe key words like voltage or specs etc.

It would probably be much easier to test a dimmer switch directly. Pull the trim piece off with the switch, and using a voltmeter, test the terminals at the switch. I think you could get the voltage range in a minute or so, once you have access to the switch.
 






I'm sorry but I haven't gone into details of the manuals since I rebuilt my 99 in 2006.

J C and a few others here have a lot of quick references to schematics and wiring in general, from the manuals I'm sure. Find some of his or their posts and see if there are any links in their signatures. Wiring help should be somewhat easy, voltage details are likely very tough to locate for much of anything. I would hunt for "dimmer switch" and maybe key words like voltage or specs etc.

It would probably be much easier to test a dimmer switch directly. Pull the trim piece off with the switch, and using a voltmeter, test the terminals at the switch. I think you could get the voltage range in a minute or so, once you have access to the switch.
I'll need to get access to a voltmeter and check. I see when the lights are off, the LCD's are not at full brightness. When you turn the lights on, they go to what appears to be full brightness (but not sure if that is 100% of duty cycle or 12V) and when the dimmer switch is lowered they drop lower but not sure what percentage. Thanks Don!
 






I've had to replace a multi-meter twice in the last year or so. Low cost meters are good but kind of disposable. My old one was dead when I was going to loan it to a neighbor, so I let him use my new in the box model. He never returned it, or my battery charger. I gave about $50 for my first one, then about $25 for the next, both Sears, and my new one is by Southwire.

I like this new one a lot but have only used it for checking batteries and alternators. It's a clamp meter and for AC as well, a good brand and I shouldn't need anything more special. I was $45ish when I got it last year, but now on Amazon they don't show a source. I see it and of course tons of others everywhere. Here's the one I have(Southwire 21550T)
, but on eBay for $45 and $12 shipping;
 






I'll need to get access to a voltmeter and check. I see when the lights are off, the LCD's are not at full brightness. When you turn the lights on, they go to what appears to be full brightness (but not sure if that is 100% of duty cycle or 12V) and when the dimmer switch is lowered they drop lower but not sure what percentage. Thanks Don!
Duty cycle is how long something can run before having X amount of downtime. Has nothing to do with voltage.

Sounds like you have a failed dimmer switch if it goes full bright near the bottom. common failure. Just hook the gauge to the same illumination wire as everything else. What does the voltage itself matter?
 






Duty cycle is how long something can run before having X amount of downtime. Has nothing to do with voltage.

Sounds like you have a failed dimmer switch if it goes full bright near the bottom. common failure. Just hook the gauge to the same illumination wire as everything else. What does the voltage itself matter?
Hi - sorry I might have misspoke. So this is what I know

  • When the headlights/parking lights of the car are not on
    • LCD panels (Radio, Auto HVAC Display, Message Center, Overhead Console) appear to be at full brightness
      • Not sure if this is 100% of full brightness or ? I assume it might be the full 12V but I need to get a voltmeter to check
  • When the headlights/parking lights of the car are on and the dimmer switch is rolled all the way up (before the on click)
    • LCD panels (Radio, Auto HVAC Display, Message Center, Overhead Console) appear to be at a lower brightness level
      • I am guessing this to be about 75% and I am sure it corresponds to some voltage level. Need to check this with a volt meter
  • When the headlights/parking lights of the car are on and the dimmer switch is rolled all the way down (before the off click)
    • The panels appear at a dimmer level
      • I am guessing this to be maybe 25% or as low as 5% which again I am sure probably corresponds to a percentage of 12V. I'll need to check this with a voltmeter
I've been told that the radio harness on the 2000 Explorer has a dimmer wire so I'll read the voltage off of that since that is what I intend to tap into for controlling the dimness.

The new gauge I am installing has programmable dimming. X Voltage for 100%, X Voltage for 90% brightness, etc etc. Need to understand what voltage for the different brightness levels so it matches with other displays in the truck
  • Dimmer Voltage when normal - headlights not on
  • Dimmer voltage when headlights on - dimmer switch all the way up before ON click
  • Dimmer voltage when headlights on - dimmer switch all the way down before OFF click
If anyone happens to know these voltages, would save me from having to get a voltmeter, tearing apart the dash at the moment. Didn't want to have to do it again until I actually went in to install the display.
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I agree something is fishy with your dimmer switch or circuit. All four of mine have the highest brightness at the top level of the dimmer, and the lowest at the bottom, nice and smooth end to end.

When you say it's brighter with no lights on, is both the auto light switch(on mirror), and the main headlight switch off? The dash lights shouldn't come on at all unless one of those switches is on.
 






I agree something is fishy with your dimmer switch or circuit. All four of mine have the highest brightness at the top level of the dimmer, and the lowest at the bottom, nice and smooth end to end.

When you say it's brighter with no lights on, is both the auto light switch(on mirror), and the main headlight switch off? The dash lights shouldn't come on at all unless one of those switches is on.
Seems normal to me.

All the LCD displays (message center, HVAC and upper console temp) are at their brightest setting when the headlights/parking lights of the truck are off. You want full brightness of all displays when headlights are off I assume because it is day and you need to be able to see them.

When you turn the headlights on and dimmer switch is to full position but not in full click ON position, the LCD displays are something like (I'm guessing) maybe 75 to 90 % of full brightness. I assume this is correct because you do not want to burn out your retinas at night by full 100% brightly lit LCD panels while you are driving. As your rotate the dimmer switch down, the LCDs get dimmer to what I guess to be anywhere from 25% to 5% of full brightness. Rotate the dimmer switch back up (depending on the position) and it does back up from the low setting to the 75 to 90 %

My truck is a 2000. Take a look at yours and tell me what you see under those conditions...???

BTW, I am only taking about the LCD displays (Message center, auto HVAC and console temp/compass) , - not the other dash lights
 






I'm sorry, I didn't mean the lights don't come on at all without headlights. I was trying to figure out why your lights don't come on at full brightness with the lights on, at the top dimmer level.

I haven't noticed a big difference of the message center etc, when the lights come on. I usually leave my auto light function on, and after years I don't notice anything new anymore.

I'll look at mine again, I'd bet the light switches do make the message center dim a little as yours does.

So you may be after three dimming levels, I wonder if that new gauge device does that?
 






I'm sorry, I didn't mean the lights don't come on at all without headlights. I was trying to figure out why your lights don't come on at full brightness with the lights on, at the top dimmer level.

I haven't noticed a big difference of the message center etc, when the lights come on. I usually leave my auto light function on, and after years I don't notice anything new anymore.

I'll look at mine again, I'd bet the light switches do make the message center dim a little as yours does.

So you may be after three dimming levels, I wonder if that new gauge device does that?
Yes, anytime the headlight switch is on (or the auto lights determine it is dark outside), the LCD Panel Lights (Auto HVAC, Radio, Message Center and upper console temp/compass) are at (guessing) about 75 to 90% of full brightness when the dimmer switch is rotated to full up BEFORE the on click.

If you rotate up past to the on click, the LCD Panels to not exceed the 75 to 90%.

If you rotate down the dimmer switch they go to a low of I estimate 5 to 25% of full brightness.

If you rotate the switch to the full off position, the LCD panel lights do not lower any more or go off.

Once you turn the headlights to the off position (or auto lights determines it is day outside) then the LCD Panel lights return to full 100% brightness and the dimmer switch position has no effect on brightness of the LCD panels.

Anyone have the voltages that are put out on the dimmer wire in these scenarios??

Thanks
 






Yes that sounds proper for how they should work.
 






Yes that sound proper for how they should work.
So question I need to answer is

how much voltage does truck harness put out on dimmer wire (at stereo head unit) when headlights are in off position

how much voltage does truck harness put out on dimmer wire (at stereo head unit) when headlights are in on position and dimmer roller is turned all the way up before On click

how much voltage does truck harness put out on dimmer wire (at stereo head unit) when headlights are in on position and dimmer roller is turned all the way down before Off click
 






The voltage itself is going to be irrelevant. The new display won’t be the same brightness as the rest of the displays simply because the voltage is the same. You’ll just have to play with the settings to get them to match.

If your lights don’t go to 100% at the top, and almost entirely off at the very bottom, your dimmer switch isn’t working correctly.
 






The voltage itself is going to be irrelevant. The new display won’t be the same brightness as the rest of the displays simply because the voltage is the same. You’ll just have to play with the settings to get them to match.

If your lights don’t go to 100% at the top, and almost entirely off at the very bottom, your dimmer switch isn’t working correctly.
On my truck (and had someone else with a 2000 confirm they see the same behavior) as I previously mentioned:

Anytime the headlight switch is on (or the auto lights determine it is dark outside), the LCD Panel Lights (Auto HVAC, Radio, Message Center and upper console temp/compass) are at (guessing) about 75 to 90% of full brightness when the dimmer switch is rotated to full up BEFORE the on click.

If you rotate up past to the on click, the LCD Panels to not exceed the 75 to 90%.

If you rotate down the dimmer switch they go to a low of I estimate 5 to 25% of full brightness.

If you rotate the switch to the full off position, the LCD panel lights do not lower any more or go off.

Once you turn the headlights to the off position (or auto lights determines it is day outside) then the LCD Panel lights return to full 100% brightness and the dimmer switch position has no effect on brightness of the LCD panels.

Having the voltages will help me with this new gauge application as I should be able to match the dimming pretty close as the dimming on the new gauge controller uses voltage to control the percentage of dimming of the LCD display. Higher voltage = brighter - lower voltage = dimmer. The question will help me know that when the headlights are off, is there voltage (and what voltage) is on the dimmer wire at the stereo harness and what voltage is at the dimmer wire when the headlight switch is on and the dimmer roller is turned all the way up before the on click. Same thing with the down. I'm assuming that there might be some voltage at that wire when the dimmer roller is all the way down before the off click - just need to determine that number and program it to a certain dim percentage in the controller (25% perhaps or ???) for the new display.

If no one has this info - I'll get a voltmeter and post my findings here so it can help anyone else looking for this information in the future.

Thanks again
 






I understand fully how electricity works. 12 volts on your new display is unlikely to match your current dimmer settings at the same voltage.

No one is likely to have this info. It’s not really something that has much use.
 






I understand fully how electricity works. 12 volts on your new display is unlikely to match your current dimmer settings at the same voltage.

No one is likely to have this info. It’s not really something that has much use.
I understand - that is why it looks I'll have to measure it myself and adjust from there. Once I have a baseline, I can have it programmed to be at whatever brightness level I can estimate it needs to be at whatever voltage level the wire is putting out in the scenarios I previously mentioned. Once I have that info - I'll post it up back here so it can help anyone else that might want to install a similar display in their truck in the future.
 






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OK picked up a voltmeter. Now to go find the dimming wire on the radio harness and check the voltage. I’ll let everyone know what I find out.
 



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