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Digital Dash Swap?

I am having some minor troubles with the wiring; the two 92 Cougar connectors have some matching color wires and some don't match the colors they should be according to the pinout. Should I ignore the listed colors and just go by pin locations? Part of the confusion is the buttons, those pins in particular are weird because they are the wrong colors by the pinout diagram and have a different listed purpose than running buttons.

I read up on cutting glass and LCDs; cutting a glow-y part of an LCD isn't happening but cutting glass is possible. I just don't know for sure what the composition of these panels is, hopefully it's just glass around the actual LCD glow parts. If that's the case I could cut the panels under water with a scissors. What do you think the composition is like Geoph1986?

I've been studying the wiring, but won't be really, really be studying it until I'm at that point. From what I understand, the display panel is a lighted circuit sandwiched between 2 layers of glass. I've never heard of using scissors to cut glass before. I would think that the compression of the scissors would crack the glass. If I were to try cutting down the display, I would use a dremel type tool, with an appropriate cutting disc. Having said that, I just want to say again that I am taking the failsafe approach to the displays and leaving them intact.

NICE59FORD100, thanks for the diagrams.
 



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geoph1986, no problem, any diagram you need i have. I have full alldata, and all ford service manuals on DVD from mnodel year 92 through 2009 (with exception of 1995)
 






Glass can be cut with a scissors if completely submerged, from what I've read on several sites and seen on a youtube video. I am 80% sure that the panel composition is as you say, also the risk I think here is not of the liquid crystal spilling out like an actual LCD but these lighted parts on this panel are probably electroluminescent. So, it could probably be cut down without problems, I am just a little leery of doing it when I can't afford to buy another set.

As wiring goes, looks like I will be giving up my high-beam indicator, parking brake indicator, and seatbelt reminder lamps. Not a big deal. Thanks NICE59FORDF100, wiring by the pinout positions seems to have worked nicely in most cases with many colors matching up.

I should be able to completely ignore the Merc's larger plug, and just use the two Explorer plugs. However there are a few questions. First, what do I do with the Merc's DCL+ and DCL- wires on the 20pin. Second, the MIL/CEL pin from the X's C221 connector, where should it go? Third, no operating values are listed for the Merc's pin 18 (on 20pin connector) "English/Metric output", where's that go, ground vs. positive or something? Finally, do the X's C221 pins 13/14 correspond to the Merc's 13 and 14 on the 18pin connector? Not familiar with that alternator/charge system/IAR stuff.

I realize these aren't easy questions - so any input is much appreciated :)
 






I attached progress pictures. The first one shows where I'm at with the wiring; the Merc's larger connector is currently ignored as I don't think I need it at all or the Merc's flexible circuit. Hopefully that's true, I'd like to not deal with it.

The four wires sticking up and circled in red are what I haven't found homes for (one is for VSS), and the questions asked in my last post relate to them. The buttons panel is shown and I have no idea where its wires need to go right now.

I don't plan to make the low fuel indicator or alternator warning indicators work, instead just giving them constant 12v during start/RUN to keep them turned off. On a related note, my only worry about this whole conversion is that there may be a slow drain on the system with ignition off if I have things powered that shouldn't be.

The Explorer's cluster housing has been cut up a bit and the Merc gauge assembly sits fairly low inside. Lower would be nice of course but then I'd have to relocate the flexible circuit; as is, the Explorer's flexible circuit is still in place and fully functional with the spot for the stock plugs retained. It runs the lower stock indicators only right now. I think that if I can trim the digital dash's panels, I can re-use the Explorer's black bezel to keep a clean look, and put a piece of lexan painted black in front of the gauges to protect them and cover up the empty space. I can probably retain the shift position indicator as well, as that assembly is pretty simple, but might have to lengthen the cable a little since everything will be sitting an inch or two closer to me than the stock gauge depth.
 

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It's not really that bad. The 4 sticking up are the only ones I couldn't yet match up, which means I only had to compare pinout charts to route 16 wires from the Cougar's connector. Most went to C221, a few went to C222. The idea was that I can use the C221 and C222 connectors as a model for installation, and when I actually install this stuff in the Explorer, all my connections are marked for connection then and there. That's why all wires are just twisted now, they'll be soldered to the connectors in the car. I can just make connections one by one and toss the C221 and C222 used to build it.

Geoph1986, what is your progress? I'm calling it a day.
 






"I should be able to completely ignore the Merc's larger plug, and just use the two Explorer plugs. However there are a few questions. First, what do I do with the Merc's DCL+ and DCL- wires on the 20pin. Second, the MIL/CEL pin from the X's C221 connector, where should it go? Third, no operating values are listed for the Merc's pin 18 (on 20pin connector) "English/Metric output", where's that go, ground vs. positive or something? Finally, do the X's C221 pins 13/14 correspond to the Merc's 13 and 14 on the 18pin connector? Not familiar with that alternator/charge system/IAR stuff."

Ok, try my best here...

1)the two DCL wires at this point in the discussion are, I think, not needed at all...something to do with data or something. All we need is the trusty check engine light, which you are retaining from the explorer....

2)just follow the pinout for your explorer harness for the cel...Maybe I am misunderstanding the question...Cause the check engine light for the explorer is in the lower left casing, not part of the cougar gauges...

3) the english metric wire will go to one of the 4 wires on the switch piece. see the buttom that says e/m? that changes the digits on the cluster from english to metric when pressed...

oh and the pin 18 thing, thats just the dummy light for the anti-theft system....unless you have one OR want to wire in your aftermarket alarm to it, i wouldnt worry about it..

hope this helps?
 






Ok, i just reread your question, the english/metric output simply is a wire that would connect to something else on the dash that was digital. SO that way only one switch was required to change everything (for example, if the cougar had a digital hvac that converted to C instead of F). for the explorer, I wouldn't worry about that output.


As far as your switch goes, heres what I got. Hope this helps!

92EC1of5.jpg
 






That helps a lot, thank you.

For the MIL/CEL, I asked because I was confused about how the flexible circuit ran - I mixed up the way the Explorer does it and the Cougar does it. D'oh! It will work fine.

I am studying the diagram you provided - again thanks - and wishing I remembered how to read those. But as I gather so far this is what I read from it:

Black - to +12V when headlights on for night illumination of buttons
Gray/Red - to Ground?
LtBlue/Red - Outputs a resisted value (voltage) to a cluster connector pin - which?
Orange - What is this?

Looking at it again I'm thoroughly confused. Maybe it will make sense in the morning.
 






Geoph1986, what is your progress? I'm calling it a day.

Yours is looking good, what are you doing about the little circuit board you removed from the left side of the X's cluster? On my button pad the orange wire goes to pin #3 of the cluster and LtBlue/Red goes to pin #13 on the cluster.

I'm still working on getting everything to fit properly and securely. In post #55, I showed everything just loosely fit into the X's cluster housing. I have finally figured out how to mount the circuit board for the displays and the displays themselves. I'm still working on how to mount the "brain" board, because the ribbon cable for it is so short. I'm also trying to figure out a way to put the turn signal and the high beam indicators above the center display and put the brake and seat belt indicators where the X's turn signal indicators are now.

Plus, I really want to use the backlight from an old laptop instead of the conventional backlight bulbs, but I can't seem to figure out how to make it work without being attached to the laptop. Anyone reading this, how do you wire a backlight inverter to run without being attached to the computer itself. What do I ground and what do I apply power to? The computer is a prehistoric TOSHIBA T1200XE. Any help would be appreciated.

I have a wife and a one year old boy, so it's difficult to get any longer than 45 minutes at every other day for any project. I just keep plugging away until I'm done, plus I'm pretty picky and am trying to make this mod look like a stock option.
 






That helps a lot, thank you.

For the MIL/CEL, I asked because I was confused about how the flexible circuit ran - I mixed up the way the Explorer does it and the Cougar does it. D'oh! It will work fine.

I am studying the diagram you provided - again thanks - and wishing I remembered how to read those. But as I gather so far this is what I read from it:

Black - to +12V when headlights on for night illumination of buttons
Gray/Red - to Ground?
LtBlue/Red - Outputs a resisted value (voltage) to a cluster connector pin - which?
Orange - What is this?

Looking at it again I'm thoroughly confused. Maybe it will make sense in the morning.

geoph1986 said:
On my button pad the orange wire goes to pin #3 of the cluster and LtBlue/Red goes to pin #13 on the cluster.

I agree. The orange wire is how the switch connects to the cluster itself. So the orange wire on the switch goes to pin #3 on the cluster. The LB/R wire is used for illumination of the switch when you turn on your interior lights or headlights. It will dim along with your other lights. So you can either find a source on the explorer harness, or connect it to the pin #13 on the cluster. Both the black wire and GR/R ground out to the body. So both wires can be soldered together and grounded out. So (and geoph, correct me if i am wrong) this is how the switch should wire in:

Black - to Ground for night illumination of buttons

Gray/Red - to Ground so cluster can read ohms of the 4 switches

LtBlue/Red - Connects to either explorer harness for old gauge illumination (handy - the wire on the explorer harness is also LB/R) OR Pin #13 of new cluster (probably easier)

Orange - connects to pin #3 of new cluster

Hope this helps!


PS Arco, do you want me to post the pin outs and wiring diagram for the explorer gauge cluster?
 






That explains it perfectly - thanks. Another 12 hours and I can start working on this again, I can hardly wait! Thanks for the offer of the pinouts but I think the one I posted here will work okay for me - but if it's convenient and your version clarifies things more then it couldn't hurt. Might find something I missed.

Holy cow batman that's an old laptop! Pretty neat though. For providing 5V for the inverter, you may be able to get away with a resistor wired to the most stable power source you can get, i.e. 14v on Start/Run, but a voltage regulator would be better to keep a stable voltage provided. Without seeing your inverter I don't know what the connections it has are like, but tracing where its connections to the laptop go may help; power up the laptop and probe around a bit with a multimeter. If the inverter's held down by a screw, sometimes that screw touches a pad on the circuit board and contacts the laptop chassis, which is used as a ground. If your ground connection is a pad on the PCB, just use a machine screw with a nut on the other side of the board, then you can attach a wire to that without too much trouble.

I think this Radio Shack regulator may be like what you'd need - http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062599&tab=techSpecs

I had forgotten about the small sub-board pulled from the X's cluster until I went to bed last night. Tracing it now, it appears to only have functions on the stock coolant and oil pressure gauges. I will try to confirm that later today. Might not need to worry about it.
 






And to answer your question about the DCL wires, I found them on the explorer:

DCL + = Pin #28 on ECU Harness = T/O Wire

DCL - = Pin #9 on ECU HArness = PK/LB Wire
 






Should I hook them up? I suppose if I'm running a wire from the VSS pin I might as well.
 






I say hook them up and see what happens. I mean, the explorer check engine light is on a diffent wire altogether, so worst case is you have two check engines lights come on lol. Who knows, maybe it will pop up with a three digit code in the little message center on the cluster when you pull them, lol
 






DCL+ & DCL- I believe are for the little display below the message center. It pops up codes like:CO" = circuit open & "FFS" = fuel flow system. I don't know what other codes it will display, but I'm sure there's a few. I haven't decided if I'm going to connect those yet. If I can get this backlight to work, I will be ready to start fabbing the mounting stuff for all the boards and displays. If I can't get the backlight to work, I have to figure something else out for the lighting. I would prefer not to use traditional bulbs for the backlight, as they will be a ***** to change if they ever go out. I have a quick question, do you guys know how to take an ATX computer power supply (20 pin), and rig it so I can use the 12V and 5V outputs on the harnesses? I know that if I put a jumper from pin 14 to ground, I can get it to turn on. I want to use it to get this backlight working. My wife has said to me forever, " why do you keep that old laptop?, my calculator has more computing power." I knew it would be good for something one day.
 






I don't really understand the ATX P/S thing you're getting at - ultimately it just uses regulators like the one I listed. Maybe I am wrong but using a voltage regulator should be an easy solution - it'd step any voltage i.e. car's 12v down to 5v and support up to an amp of draw, which I doubt you'll be pulling. It's tiny and cheap too.

If you did want to use a P/S, an ATX size P/S is huge, why not use the laptop's power supply? Most of those run off 12-14V adaptors anyways.

I'm sticking with bulbs as they tend to last a good long time; the bulb strip in the Cougar cluster is pretty neat even if it is used separate from the housing.
 






Arco, I want to use the atx power supply for bench testing, and I don't want to hack up the one for the laptop, it's for the wife's dell, and she'd be pissed. In fact our conversation would go something like this:

Wife - WTF?! How will I charge my laptop? A**HOLE!
Geoph - Rar, Rar, Rar...I can't understand you "she bear".
Wife - I TOLD YOU, I AIN'T NO BEAR!!! JACKASS!
:)
 






Ah, bench testing, good point. I use a 13.5v power supply from an MRC battery charger designed for hobby batteries.

If you do a lot of car electronics projects, consider a 6v/12v lead calcium brick battery, i.e. from an electronics store. They can be had for about $15-30, are lightweight and portable, and you can charge them with a car battery charger. I've used the Hobbico TorqMaster LC, available from many hobby shops for about $20 for the 12v 7000mAh model. Pair it up with couple regulators on leads and it'd work good for many a bench project.

You confused me partly because ATX refers to a desktop computer case form factor - and I have no idea where it could fit in an Explorer dash. :)
 



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You confused me partly because ATX refers to a desktop computer case form factor - and I have no idea where it could fit in an Explorer dash. :)

Well I don't know about the dash, but I have a complete Pentium 4 system stuffed into the center console.
 






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