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Old 11-08-2019, 09:23 AM
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Dash Light Question

I posted this on the tech side and didn't get a single response except to tell me how to adjust the brightness which I already knew. I'm hoping someone here has a clue how to do what I want to do or perhaps already has done it.

The instrument cluster lights on my 2016 JKU only turn on when the park or headlights are turned on. I understand this is standard however durring the day the gauges are almost unreadable in low light. Extremely annoying and not the best to say the least. I've been thinking about changing the gauge faces to the US-SPEEDO white faces but not sure I want to risk screwing up their function. Might still do it and send the entire cluster out to them and have it done at the factory for 50 bucks plus the cost of the gauge faces.

Having said that has anyone wired the dash light so they immediately illuminate upon start up? Doesn't seem all that difficult to do providing you know where to tap into the instrument lights? I would think any key source 12v would do the trick? On the other hand I'm not sure if that would cause problems with the way they are wired with the current dimmer on the stalk.

Anyone done this and if so what's the best method? Where exactly do you tap into the instrument gauge wiring harness?

Any suggestions that would help to this mod is most appreciated.

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Old 11-08-2019, 09:42 AM   #2
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Iíve always figured that if the ambient light inside my vehicle was insufficient to see the gauges then it was probably dark enough outside my vehicle that I should turn on my headlights.

Good luck with trying to figure it out.


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Old 11-08-2019, 09:51 AM
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Iíve always figured that if the ambient light inside my vehicle was insufficient to see the gauges then it was probably dark enough outside my vehicle that I should turn on my headlights.

Good luck with trying to figure it out.


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I wish that were the case but my gauges are extremely dark on a nice sunlight day! Put on a pair of sunglasses and they are barely readable. Yes I have good eyesight (20-20) so it's not the problem. I let a several people drive mine and everyone said why are the gauges so DARK! I hate turning on the parking lights just so the dash has suitable illumination. Perhaps I'm the only owner that has this problem but in all my other vehicles there is gauge illumination without the park or headlights being on.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:59 AM   #4
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Easy. Turn your lights on.

Or, in my case, on top of the dash in the center tray there is a sensor that determines when to turn the lights on when the light switch is set to auto. I painted the sensor matte black with model paint so I have full time daytime running lights.

Daytime running lights have proven NHTSA and USDOT research to improve visibility and as such, makes you safer. In your case, it gives you light on your instrument cluster.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:02 AM   #5
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And before anyone says anything... I confirmed with FCA that for what ever reason my Sahara does not have the Daytime Running Lights option. It is not programmable with the dealer dongle or with my Jscan. For whatever reason, the software is different in some JK/JKU's and this is one feature that IS found in less optioned Sport models, but not in some higher optioned Sahara models. Don't ask me why. FCA didn't know either.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:08 AM
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And before anyone says anything... I confirmed with FCA that for what ever reason my Sahara does not have the Daytime Running Lights option. It is not programmable with the dealer dongle or with my Jscan. For whatever reason, the software is different in some JK/JKU's and this is one feature that IS found in less optioned Sport models, but not in some higher optioned Sahara models. Don't ask me why. FCA didn't know either.
Yea I wish I had that option in mine but unfortunately mine does not. It seems like it shouldn't be that difficult to have power going to the dash lights immediately on start up. The dash lights aren't all the bright to begin with so it wouldn't be a problem at night imo. Granted it's not a huge issue just an annoyance everytime I drive it having to turn on the park lights to get the dash to illuminate.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cthusker View Post
Yea I wish I had that option in mine but unfortunately mine does not. It seems like it shouldn't be that difficult to have power going to the dash lights immediately on start up. The dash lights aren't all the bright to begin with so it wouldn't be a problem at night imo. Granted it's not a huge issue just an annoyance everytime I drive it having to turn on the park lights to get the dash to illuminate.
Have you ever had the dealer look at it? Have you driven other Wranglers of the same year and verified there is a difference? Maybe there is something inherently wrong with how your instrument cluster/dash was assembled.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:46 AM
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Have you ever had the dealer look at it? Have you driven other Wranglers of the same year and verified there is a difference? Maybe there is something inherently wrong with how your instrument cluster/dash was assembled.
Actually I did have the dealer look at it and they said it's normal? In other words there's no illumination in the gauge cluster when the lights are off. I checked out a couple other used JK's on their lot and they looked the same to me. Here's a picture I just took and there is plenty of sunlight. One is without lights on the other with lights on. I'd say the illumination without the lights on is unacceptable especially if you put on a pair of dark sunglasses. Just want to know if there is some way to wire those cluster lights to come on everytime I start the Jeep? Only other option is to change the gauge faces which I really didn't want to do.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:19 AM   #9
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I guess the anther thing to consider is... is this truly a hindrance to your daily driving or is it a preference? You could drop $400 on a full LED digital Tron inspired dash. That'd teach 'em!

https://www.extremeterrain.com/led-d...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:19 AM   #10
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On the turn signal knob there is an adjustment for the brightness of the backlight (in the middle). Turn it all the way towards the gauges until it clicks and the daytime backlight will turn on. Turn it another click and your dome light should turn on.

-This may be obvious, but hasn't been mentioned, so want to make sure you've tried this
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:22 AM   #11
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*Can't edit my posts yet, but want to add I know you are aware of the brightness adjustment. Just want to check you are turning it further so it's actually clicking into the backlight option
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:00 PM
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*Can't edit my posts yet, but want to add I know you are aware of the brightness adjustment. Just want to check you are turning it further so it's actually clicking into the backlight option
No go at least on mine. Turn it to the second to last click and nothing as the instrument panel stays dark. One more click and yes the dome light turns on.

I don't there is any gauge illumination on my 2016 until the lights are actually switched on!

Bottom line no one apparently knows how to do what I'd like to do which is have the dash lights turn on when the vehicle is started. Guess I'll get a wiring diagram and my truster volt tester and see what I can figure out. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by USStrongman View Post
I guess the anther thing to consider is... is this truly a hindrance to your daily driving or is it a preference? You could drop $400 on a full LED digital Tron inspired dash. That'd teach 'em!

https://www.extremeterrain.com/led-d...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
It's a preference much like the many mods made by Jeep owners. That list is almost endless and most are done because owners want their Jeeps a certain way. My desire is very modest compared to the monumental and expensive (mostly unnecessary) mods I've seen done to these Jeeps on this forum.

Bottom line I'll just have to figure out if I want to do is possible with some trial and error.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:31 PM   #14
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Following up on this since I just tested, and my previous post was wrong. I guess the backlight doesn’t turn on without first turning on the headlight/parking light/daytime light.

Just wanted to make sure you (and anyone reading this in the future) knows there’s nothing broken/wrong with the Jeep.

Looks like you will have to buy something or figure out a way to rewire
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:26 AM   #15
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Following up on this since I just tested, and my previous post was wrong. I guess the backlight doesnít turn on without first turning on the headlight/parking light/daytime light.

Just wanted to make sure you (and anyone reading this in the future) knows thereís nothing broken/wrong with the Jeep.

Looks like you will have to buy something or figure out a way to rewire


That position on the brightness control increases the brightness of all dash lighting to the same level as when the headlights are turned off (ie radio) so that if you do turn your headlights on during daylight driving, you can still see the radio display.


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Old 11-10-2019, 10:17 AM   #16
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Have you pulled the cluster? Curious if ALL JK's (2007-2018) treat the CCN (Cabin Control Node) as a LIN Bus Master Controller?
1) Check "connectors.dcctools.com" for pinouts of "Cluster C1,C2,C3 for your year/Model.
Briefly: There's not a hard-wire connection for what you're trying to do. (IMHO)

My 2007 JK Cluster is pinned differently...but here's a general observation:
2) LIN Bus Master is microprocessor controlled
3) Gauges are "slaves" responding to LIN Bus Master
4) LIN Bus is single-wire, serial data protocol to "slaves"
5) CCN is "Interior CAN Bus" two-wire, twisted pair
6) LIN Master taps into Interior CAN Bus to communicate with TIPM
7) TIPM Serves as "GateWay" for Bus communications
8) The Multi-Function Switch Left side of steering column (Light Dimmer function) taps into LIN Bus
9) TIPM broadcasts "User Requests" (Button/Switch) in form of CAN Messages
10) Controller nodes on CAN Bus respond to pertinent messages (eg. Light Brightness)

Not exactly a walk-in-the-park....
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:21 PM   #17
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Briefly: There's not a hard-wire connection for what you're trying to do. (IMHO)
Thanks for the detailed technical info... you practically need to be an amateur automotive engineer to make modifications to a vehicle these days... yeesh. Do there exist off-the-shelf CANbus devices that can inject commands onto the bus? If not, a CANBus interface chip and a microcontroller should do it, but that's going to require some electrical engineering wizardry.



That said, no matter how subtle the wizard, a knife in the back will still cramp his style. And by that I mean, hard-wiring the cluster lights should still be possible by soldering an ingnition-on wire onto the right trace on the cluster's circuit board. (Also need to add a relay to disable this hot feed when the parking lights are turned on, so the dash is still dimmable. And probably a protection diode.) Definitely not for the faint-of-heart...


Time to warm up that soldering iron...
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:33 PM   #18
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Wouldn't it just be simpler to just turn the lights on? Just asking...
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:34 PM
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Wouldn't it just be simpler to just turn the lights on? Just asking...
That's what I've been doing which is just annoying but not a huge deal. I think it's a crappy design to have no backlight on very dark faced gauges. Sounds like without serious electrical engineering not fixed. I'll just get the faces changed to the white faces which will significantly help to see the better in dim light.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:25 PM   #20
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I like to use my GPS device to check my speed plus it tells me the speed limits. Another option is to use an obd2 reader with Bluetooth connected to a tablet and you can make your own instrument cluster. I feel safer driving with at least my park lights on. https://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Products...a-405660976208
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:55 AM   #21
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I know I can just leave my lights on and walk away. About 5 minutes later the Jeep turns them off automatically. When I start it again the lights are on already. It could be a lazy way around turning a knob I guess.

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