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Juanfern

Instrument panel gauge lights

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Hi:

i just recently purchased a 2004 260ssi and am new to this board. Aside from some minor issues the boat has that I’m in the process of fixing one of the issues I can’t figure out is why my instrument gauge lights are so dim. They are all getting 12volts and all turn on with the ignition key but they’re just very dim and pretty useless at night. I’ve read thru a lot of information on here and someone suggested to another user to check their dimmer switch. I’ve looked high and low for a dimmer switch on my boat and so far haven’t been able to locate it. Does anyone else here have the same boat and know if it’s equipped with a dimmer switch and if so where it’s located?

If the boat doesn’t come equipped with a dimmer switch any ideas on what could be wrong or what I can check to try to increase the intensity of those gauge backlights?

Thanks!

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Hi cyclops2 my lights are white and during the day you can’t see them turned on and at night they’re on but barely light up the gauges. Does your boat have a dimmer switch or dimmer control somewhere that you know of?

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Yeah that’s what I thought, thanks for the confirmation. Maybe I just need to replace the lights in the gauges. Hopefully that’s not too complicated

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Just a thought.....you want them dim at night so as to not mess with your night vision.

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That’s true WaterDR but right now they’re so dim I can really read any of the gauges without leaning in right up against them. I’m not sure if that’s the way it’s designed to be as this is my first boat so I have no experience with this. I’m just going by the gauge lights on my truck as reference that I can easily read at night.

The gauges are all getting 12v so I’m pretty sure it’s not a power issue to the bulbs. I’m assuming the bulbs are 14 years old and have never been replaced. Could they dim as a result of old age?

I’m going to try to take one of the gauges out and see if I can remove the bulb and inspect it. It could also be some film or dirt/grease on them I suppose that’s making them so dim.

I’ll try replacing one bulb and see what happens. If it’s too bright I think I can install a dimmer switch on them. Hopefully the power line for the gauges is connected in series so 1 dimmer switch will control them all.

Thanks for your input much appreciated!

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Try testing the ground side of the bulb sockets for a solid ground path. You can touch the DVOM to both connections in the bulb socket, or touch the positive lead to power and touch the negative lead to the ground side of the bulb socket. You should see battery voltage on the meter. Either way, this test will confirm a solid ground path at the bulb socket, which will allow the bulbs to glow as bright as possible.

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Not all of us have the same sensitivity to red light.  The filament light bulbs CAN / Sometimes get coated with a metal coating inside the bulb over time I change all the bulbs in my 2002 Chaps.  Check the bulb  for a coating on the inside surface.  Get lucky.   :)

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If you boat has a dimmer it will be a small rotary switch with a black knob about 1/2" in diameter maybe 5/8" long . Sometimes they are on lower edge of the dashboard mounted in a vertical position pointed toward the floor. Maybe the black knob is missing only the shaft of the switch is there making it easy to overlook

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, SterndriveEd said:

Try testing the ground side of the bulb sockets for a solid ground path. You can touch the DVOM to both connections in the bulb socket, or touch the positive lead to power and touch the negative lead to the ground side of the bulb socket. You should see battery voltage on the meter. Either way, this test will confirm a solid ground path at the bulb socket, which will allow the bulbs to glow as bright as possible.

That’s a great idea! Didn’t even consider a bad ground and that could very well be the problem. I had that problem on the trim tilt motor that was working intermittently and replaced some of the connectors and now it’s working fine. I’ll check that out hopefully this weekend if I can escape from my wife and her endless list of things I have to do around the house this weekend.

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2 hours ago, cyclops2 said:

Not all of us have the same sensitivity to red light.  The filament light bulbs CAN / Sometimes get coated with a metal coating inside the bulb over time I change all the bulbs in my 2002 Chaps.  Check the bulb  for a coating on the inside surface.  Get lucky.   :)

Going to check ground connection as SterndriveEd suggested first to see if that’s the issue. If that doesn’t solve the problem then most likely I will replace all the bulbs after I get one of them out. Even if the problem is they’re coated/dirty I might as well replace them all instead at that stage as I’m sure they’re cheap enough to buy

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3 hours ago, Ron R said:

If you boat has a dimmer it will be a small rotary switch with a black knob about 1/2" in diameter maybe 5/8" long . Sometimes they are on lower edge of the dashboard mounted in a vertical position pointed toward the floor. Maybe the black knob is missing only the shaft of the switch is there making it easy to overlook

 

 

 

I had looked for it but didn’t find one and based on what cyclops2 said that he has the same boat it seems like they’re not equipped with one but thanks for the advice I’ll certainly look more closely in the area you mentioned for one but my guess is I won’t find one.

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