Upgrading the dashboard display (Part 2 - colour change)

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My Name: C3CAR

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Part 2 of the 'Project Upgrade' builds on the previous part that upgrade the one line alpha numeric display on the dashboard to a multi line dot matrix display which can be found here: Part 1 (upgrading the display size) to multiline display

and Upgrading the dashboard display for MPG (Part 3) - is here


This part (2) shows how to change the colour of the back light in the display. In this case from green to orange. Green was the original colour of the display that was recovered from a Citroen C5, but the C3 model this is fitted to has a nice orange glow to the speedo and climate control panel.

The original green display
green citroen C5 display to be modified to orange backlight
green citroen C5 display to be modified to orange backlight

needs to be modified to match the climate control panel orange glow from the back light
orange backlit climate control panel
orange backlit climate control panel
The finished display looks like this:
modified colour back light display on a citroen c3
modified colour back light display on a citroen c3
Quite a good match for colour and much more aesthetically pleasing.


To change the colour, remove the binnacle covering the display as seen in this video:


CItroen C3 Clock or Trip Computer L...
CItroen C3 Clock or Trip Computer Lamps Change Access




Remove the 2 T20 torx screws and the electrical connector to allow removal of the display from the car.

With the display removed from the car, take it indoors and put it on a worktop or table and follow these instructions to dismantle the display.

Unclip the black plastic bezel top and bottom, remove and put to one side
display bezel unclipped
display bezel unclipped
The white body is a clam shell held together by four clips. The white clips are easily broken, so be cautious. Lever up each clip just enough to slip it over the barb, do this for all four clips working carefully. With all four clips released the unit can be opened up like a clam shell to reveal a circuit board and the ribbon connector for the screen.
display opened showing circuit board and ribbon connector
display opened showing circuit board and ribbon connector
Next step is to slide the glass screen out of its housing and fold it back on itself so the glass screen rests on the circuit board to reveal the filter. Be careful not to damage the flat multiway ribbon cable or detach it from the circuit board or the screen.

This is the green filter that I want to change to orange
green filter showing
green filter showing
This is an original orange filter fitted to a smaller display. Its not used in this project, but shown if you have an alpha numeric display you want to change the colour of. Its the same procedure for which ever colour you have or want to change to, for the larger or smaller screens.
orange filter found in single line displays
orange filter found in single line displays
To remove the filter just slip a stanley blade between the filter and the glass
remove the filter with a stanley blade, carefully
remove the filter with a stanley blade, carefully
carefully work the blade along the screen don't twist the blade upward, just gently slide it to the other end of the screen to break the stick seal of the filter to the screen
work the stanley blade along the filter
work the stanley blade along the filter
Keep the plastic filter you have removed and use this as a template for cutting your new filter material.
I found orange filters on eBay. There are other colour filters, congo blue, primary red, primary green and a wider selection here, to choose from.

But whichever colour you want (or combination of colours by layering them) you will also need a full frost filter] to help diffuse the light to match the original frosted look.

Use the original filter as a template and cut out with a stanley blade one colour and one full frost filter piece, or two colours and one full frost filter if you are mixing and matching.
the original filter as a template to cut the new filter and a full frost filter
the original filter as a template to cut the new filter and a full frost filter
The original filter was attached to the screen with a 3mm bead of double sided sticky tape so duplicate this on each filter you are attaching (one full frost and one colour filter)
add double sided sticky tape to attach the filter to the screen
add double sided sticky tape to attach the filter to the screen
Its not very pretty but its not going to be seen, the tape applied to the edges of the full frost filter, do the same for the colour filters you are using.
full frost filter with double sided sticky tape applied to the edges
full frost filter with double sided sticky tape applied to the edges
You are now ready to attach the filter and full frost in layers to the screen, held in place with the double sided sticky tape.
new filters applied in layers to the screen attached with double sided sticky tape
new filters applied in layers to the screen attached with double sided sticky tape
Refit the screen back into its clips being careful not to damage the flat ribbon cable or to pull the cable from the screen or the board.
The close the clam shell case and allow the clips to pop back into position keeping the shell closed. Refit the black bezel to the front of the display, it just pushes back on.

While you have the display off the car now would be a good time to fit new lamps to save doing it later and make the best of your new filters.
replace lamps in the display
replace lamps in the display
Refit the display to the dashboard after reconnecting the cable, refit the 2 screws and clip the binnacle back over the display. Ignition on and view your handywork.
change the colour of the display/clock on a citroen C3
change the colour of the display/clock on a citroen C3
There is a slight variation in colour in the display with this method and I suggest a modification of 2 layers of full frost and one of orange, but not very noticeable and I may just leave it as it is.

These filters are designed to take the heat generated by the lamps without fading but you can upgrade to LED lamps if you want to.

The filters will need to be cut to size with a stanley blade or craft knife, even a pair of scissors.
The dimensions were 110mm x 25mm for the small one line display or 115mm x 35mm for the larger display - use the original filter as a template and there will be no need to measure.
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My Name: jc3

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Hi! (new to the forum and first post!)

C3CAR, good job on the display change threads and the guides are very clear. I changed my display filter colour to blue using the filters you posted that are on ebay. However, when I turn on the display in the car, no colour is coming through as if the display is not backlit! (the three bulbs at the back are working)

The most obvious thing is that I don't have a full frost filter fitted with my blue light filter so as C3CAR says in his guide, you need a FULL FROST filter (check guide for link on ebay) when changing the display colour!

Any other ideas as to why the colour/light isn't showing through are welcome while I wait for the frost filter in the post

Cheers!
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My Name: C3CAR

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Hi jc3, thanks for the feedback. Its good to hear that the guides are being useful.
The most obvious thing is that I don't have a full frost filter fitted with my blue light filter
The purpose of the full frost filter is to scatter the light over the whole area of the coloured filter. Without the full frost filter you get 3 distinct circles of illumination (one for each lamp), rather than a uniform level of illumination.

Its worth fitting new lamps while you have the unit out, don't fit LEDs, use the proper 286 filament lamps (here - ebay) to get a good level of brightness.

If you get no illumination, I would double check the bulbs and check that the unit has gone back together correctly. I would be tempted to remove the blue filter and reassemble to check that the 3 lights actually work :)
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My Name: C3CAR

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Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
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If you find the lamps work, but the display is too dim, you could try some 2.3 watt upgrade (brighter) lamps (here) on ebay. The original lamps are 1.2w each, but the ebay link is for 2.3w, which are brighter, but fit the same plastic cap which holds the lamps.
My Name: jc3

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
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Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
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C3CAR, thanks for the quick reply.

I took the unit out again and removed the blue filter and 3 distinct circles of light appeared behind the display so I'm sure the lights are working. Your suggestion to get brighter display lights might resolve the problem. And yeah, LEDs would not work and I won't buy them for the display lighting.

I did notice that I have the 'PAR 64' blue light filter as opposed to 'PAR 56' :roll: could this be the cause of the lack of brightness? And if so, do you recommend I buy the brighter bulbs or the PAR 56 filter (or both)?

As it stands, I'd just go for the brighter bulbs but I'll wait for your thoughts on that.

Thanks again!
My Name: jc3

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Finally got round to posting this! I got the colour changed to blue and it looks really neat but you have to be prepared to solder if you do it the same way I did.

First off, I had no illumination with a blue filter as explained in my previous posts. My understanding is that blue is the colour negative of yellow, and yellow is the colour of the light emitted by the low wattage bulbs behind the display (as well as the colour most perceived by the human eye!). This calls for more powerful bulbs which are not available (2.3W P286X were not enough). So I went for LEDs expecting bright spots. The stronger and whiter light of the LEDs gave a good blue illumination of the display. These LEDs are more diffuse than those with lenses or 'caps':

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400554122138?

I replaced the three bulbs with these LEDs. Then I took the spare LEDs out of their holders by folding the pins so they were straight and pulling the top out. This leaves you with a two pin LED. I then soldered the LEDs using the circular contacts for the bulb holders in the display (test the LEDs in the car beforehand to see which way round they work since they are polar!). The goal here is to have LEDs evenly spaced between each other and at the same distance from the LCD so that there are no bright spots because the light is even in intensity behind the LCD. I liked the brightness of my display but if you want less brightness, add more sheets of full frost diffuser (refer to original guide for link) to dim the brightness rather than using the settings on the speedo in the C3.

Quite some effort just to have a small display in blue but I've made a lot of effort to the rest of car so it's worth it! And the speedometer colour change is happening next week hopefully.

Thanks to C3CAR for the initial guide!
Display - blue (640x365).jpg
My Name: alsie2

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Tell us what else you have done to car, sounds interesting.
My Name: jc3

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I've done so much to my C3 I've made a list because I can't remember it all!

PM me with an area of interest and I'll see if I can help. Also, let's not spam this topic since this is about colour change of the dashboard display ;)
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