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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe I'm just used to my last car, which lit the gauges all the time, but I find the gauges in my new Santa Fe to be a little dark in some situations. I'd love it if they were lit all the time the car was running. Does anyone know how easy/difficult this would be to do? On a related note, I'm curious if they're lit via bulb or LED.

Any thoughts are much appreciated!
 

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Illumination is solid state. No bulbs to replace.

Doesn't running your rheostat all the way up light it up nicely in the daytime? My '08 allows me to control to that position. '10 doesn't? Some kind of auto-dimmer instead?
 

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QUOTE (canderson @ Oct 4 2010, 09:23 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=361105
Doesn't running your rheostat all the way up light it up nicely in the daytime? My '08 allows me to control to that position. '10 doesn't? Some kind of auto-dimmer instead?
No no, the gauges are not lit *at all* unless the headlights are on. Now I wonder if they should be. That would explain a lot. lol

Can anyone with a '10 chime in? Do your gauges light without the headlights on?
 

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Nope. The gauges on my '10 only light up with the parking/headlights on. The trip computer, clock, radio and automatic climate control displays are lit up all the time but their brightness isn't affected by the rheostat; at least when the lights are off.
 

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Surely if the gauges need lighting up, would that not indicate it is getting dark, and the vehicle lights should be switched on, which would then light the gauges?
 

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QUOTE (maltz @ Oct 4 2010, 09:01 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=361125
No no, the gauges are not lit *at all* unless the headlights are on. Now I wonder if they should be. That would explain a lot. lol

Can anyone with a '10 chime in? Do your gauges light without the headlights on?
FWIW, the previous 3 years don't come on with an "all off" headlight condition, either. If you run your "parking lights" as DRL, though, you'll find that the dash lights right up for you at whatever level you set.

QUOTE (apk)
Surely if the gauges need lighting up, would that not indicate it is getting dark, and the vehicle lights should be switched on, which would then light the gauges?
Not necessarily so. Try driving into a low sun with your pupils shut down. Adjusting to the outside light makes the gauge area pretty dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
QUOTE (lovemysantafe @ Oct 5 2010, 03:27 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=361154
Nope. The gauges on my '10 only light up with the parking/headlights on. The trip computer, clock, radio and automatic climate control displays are lit up all the time but their brightness isn't affected by the rheostat; at least when the lights are off.
Well, they're pretty recessed, and in bright sunlight in the middle of the day, once my eyes adjust to the outside light, the gauges are fairly dark by comparison. I can see them, but I'd like them to be a little higher contrast.

In low sun conditions, I do go ahead and turn my lights on so my car (and my gauges) are more visible.

Interestingly, I drove a 2011 Tuscon the other day, and its gauges lit up full-time.
 

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QUOTE (canderson @ Oct 5 2010, 10:17 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=361211
FWIW, the previous 3 years don't come on with an "all off" headlight condition, either. If you run your "parking lights" as DRL, though, you'll find that the dash lights right up for you at whatever level you set.

Not necessarily so. Try driving into a low sun with your pupils shut down. Adjusting to the outside light makes the gauge area pretty dark.
+1 on that last comment.

On the whole the instrument lights are way too bright at night. Unfortunately, when at the lowest setting the guage needles become hard to see. They should have used a red or illuminated needle. I do love the illuminated switches on the doors and center console though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
After spending some quality time under my dash with a multimeter, I believe I have found a way to do this. There's a wire going to the rheostat that you can splice and tap into an unused, ignition switched fuse socket in the far lower right corner of the under-dash fusebox. (Use a fuse tap with a 10A fuse for this, and make sure pulling the fuse disables the circuit. Don't just tap an unfused socket or the hot side of the fuse!) I recommend tapping an IGN switched socket, not an ACC socket so you don't have the power drain if you're just trying to use the radio.

It looks like these lights use almost 4.8A when turned all the way up. (Which makes me think some of these lamps are NOT LED's. That seems kinda high. But then, it does include most of the dash, the door controls, etc.) Anyway, a 10A fuse should do the trick I think.

Note that after doing this, the dash lights will remain off if you turn your lights on while the car is off. I might try to get fancy and set up a relay so that either turning on my lights OR starting the car will turn on the accessory lights. We'll see.

If anyone sees any potential pitfalls in my plan, let me know. I'll be happy to post details of what I do if anyone is interested. It'll probably be a week or two before I can delve into it though.
 

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I guess a little quality time under the dash is ok if you get the result you wish. Would you post more info when you get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I found out why it was drawing 4.8 amps. Turns out the wire I was connecting to +12v also lights the parking lamps. Oops. I couldn't see that the parking lights were coming on because I was in the floor of the car. lol

So, now on a mission, I took more stuff apart and found the RIGHT way to do this. :) The wire to splice is actually behind the instrument cluster.

1) Remove the two screws that attach the trim around the gauges and pull straight out as best you can. Don't pull it down and out or you'll break some clips on the bottom back. (er, oops) Mind the cable connected to the Trip/Reset buttons, you'll probably have to disconnect it when the piece is only partway out.

2) Remove four screws securing the instrument cluster and it should come out very easily. There are four connectors wired to it. Let's number them one through four, from left to right as you're facing your dash.

3) The connector you're interested in is #3. The two wires are near the middle of the bottom row of the connector, as you're holding it like it plugged into the instrument cluster. The YELLOW wire is what turns on the LEDs, and the Black/Red wire next to it determines the brightness. (The dial on the dash changes the resistance between the Black/Red wire and GROUND.)

4) So to turn on the gauge LEDs, you need to connect the yellow wire to +12V, Ignition switched, of course, or they'll be on when the car is off. **NOTE** You have to cut the Yellow wire, and only splice the +12V into the gauges. That yellow wire also lights all the cabin lights and the parking lights, so if you just tap the yellow wire, you'll end up lighting much more than you probably intend to.

I don't know the best source to tap for ignition-switched +12V, but I did find that there's an unused fuse socket in the lower-right corner of the dashboard fusebox that is ignition-switched. You could tap that (make sure to fuse anything you connect that way!), or there's very likely an ignition-switched source going into the instrument cluster that would be more convenient. I just haven't looked for one yet. Whatever you tap, you're only lighting the LEDs in the gauges themselves, so the current draw is WELL under 1A. The added load shouldn't be a big deal.

If you want to get REALLY fancy, you could use the yellow wire to drive a relay and switch the LEDs to full brightness (tie Black/Red from the instrument cluster to GND) unless the lights are on, then switch Black/Red to the original Black/Red to use the brightness dial's resistance to GND.

I haven't actually done this yet, but I've tested it pretty thoroughly. I hope it comes in handy for anyone interested in doing this mod, but I make no claims that the information is 100% accurate. This is just the way I BELIEVE it works on MY Santa Fe. And of course, if you attempt this, take appropriate precautions so you don't electrocute yourself, catch your car on fire, etc. :) Pull the fuse(s) for the dash lights and parking lights at a minimum, so there's less chance you'll accidentally short anything that's live.
 
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