Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

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SlowLane
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota 2

Post by SlowLane » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:27 am

Miz might be interested in GoWesty's printed circuit board instrument cluster kit. They claim that it works for all Vanagons 1980 through 1991. Not sure how they did that, since the pinout for the connector changed somewhere around when they went watercooled. Maybe it's as simple as re-pinning the connector.

The kit is a bit pricey, close to $300, but if it solves the problem once and for all...

Update: I just viewed GoWesty's installation video for the cluster kit. I'm now of the opinion that the $300 price tag is a bargain. The R&D that went into it is quite impressive. And yes, they do show how to re-pin the aircooled connector to work with their kit.
'81 Canadian Westfalia (2.0L, manual), now Californiated

"Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom."
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the miz
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota 2

Post by the miz » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:42 am

SlowLane wrote:Miz might be interested in GoWesty's printed circuit board instrument cluster kit. They claim that it works for all Vanagons 1980 through 1991. Not sure how they did that, since the pinout for the connector changed somewhere around when they went watercooled. Maybe it's as simple as re-pinning the connector.

The kit is a bit pricey, close to $300, but if it solves the problem once and for all...

Update: I just viewed GoWesty's installation video for the cluster kit. I'm now of the opinion that the $300 price tag is a bargain. The R&D that went into it is quite impressive. And yes, they do show how to re-pin the aircooled connector to work with their kit.
SlowLane, thanks for vouching for this kit...I just discovered it this morning in an effort to find a new printed circuit board/tape thingy. Apparently, replacement printed circuit board/tape thingys don't exist anyway...and as they are obviously prone to failure, this kit might be the way to go.
I'm strongly considering this, so if anyone else has any opinions on it, I'd love to hear them. The kustom idiot light works really pretty well, so I may wait until the off season to completely tear apart my dashboard electronics.
...also, I have other, more pressing mechanical issues to deal with at the moment.

miz
1982 Westy- Vana White

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SlowLane
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota 2

Post by SlowLane » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:08 am

Mr. Miz wrote:thanks for vouching for this kit.
Well, I can't vouch for it from personal experience, but it does appear to be a well-thought-out bit of kit. Even at $300 a pop, I can't imagine that anyone at GoWesty is going to retire on the profits from this item.

I can attest that it is sometimes possible to make repairs to the printed circuit foil. By "repair" I mean bypassing burnt-out traces on the foil with judiciously-soldered lengths of wire. This approach of course just makes the whole assembly more fragile and prone to breakage while handling. It's also fraught with peril, as the heat from the soldering pencil melts the plastic foil very quickly, so it's quite easy to completely demolish a foil if you're not careful.

I upgraded the cluster in my van many years ago with a tachometer and PC foil from a later model. It was at that time that I used the Bentley manual to figure out the cluster connector re-pinning trick.
'81 Canadian Westfalia (2.0L, manual), now Californiated

"Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom."
- Terry Pratchett

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the miz
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota 2

Post by the miz » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:42 am

SlowLane wrote:
Mr. Miz wrote:thanks for vouching for this kit.
Well, I can't vouch for it from personal experience, but it does appear to be a well-thought-out bit of kit. Even at $300 a pop, I can't imagine that anyone at GoWesty is going to retire on the profits from this item.

I can attest that it is sometimes possible to make repairs to the printed circuit foil. By "repair" I mean bypassing burnt-out traces on the foil with judiciously-soldered lengths of wire. This approach of course just makes the whole assembly more fragile and prone to breakage while handling. It's also fraught with peril, as the heat from the soldering pencil melts the plastic foil very quickly, so it's quite easy to completely demolish a foil if you're not careful.

I upgraded the cluster in my van many years ago with a tachometer and PC foil from a later model. It was at that time that I used the Bentley manual to figure out the cluster connector re-pinning trick.
Thanks again, I will have to weigh my parsimony (in this case) against just getting the problem fixed once and for all. I'd imagine, that for me soldering the tape will probably prove to be a waste of time, as I will just further ruin it. :cyclopsani:

miz
1982 Westy- Vana White

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the miz
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Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

Post by the miz » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:00 am

Hey All,
...after figuring out that the (now) constant illumination of my alternator/battery idiot light was not the result of a failing alternator and was instead the result of a short in the printed circuit board in my dash instrument cluster, I have been wondering how to go about repairing this issue.

Go Westy has a kit to accomplish this: http://www.gowesty.com/product-details.php?id=24189

Has anyone installed/used one of these?

I've gotten a bit of input and alternative suggestions already...but any additional thoughts and opinions would be welcome.

Thanks,
miz
1982 Westy- Vana White

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sped372
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Re: Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

Post by sped372 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:06 am

I have also seen this kit referenced elsewhere, but I don't have any direct experience with either one. Good luck!

http://www.vanagon.org/instrument-clust ... epair-kit/
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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the miz
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Re: Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

Post by the miz » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:10 am

sped372 wrote:I have also seen this kit referenced elsewhere, but I don't have any direct experience with either one. Good luck!

http://www.vanagon.org/instrument-clust ... epair-kit/
Thanks for the input and the alternative suggestion.
miz
1982 Westy- Vana White

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Mulcheese
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Re: Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

Post by Mulcheese » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:22 am

Hey miz

Have you inspected the circuit board? Do you see any burnt spots? Is there any loose solder points? I have repaired circuit boards before ( non-vanagon). This might be of use http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=658493 Look for a repair before replace.
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the miz
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Re: Vanagon Printed Circuit Board Replacement

Post by the miz » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:17 am

Mulcheese wrote:Hey miz

Have you inspected the circuit board? Do you see any burnt spots? Is there any loose solder points? I have repaired circuit boards before ( non-vanagon). This might be of use http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=658493 Look for a repair before replace.
Thanks for the tip, Mulcheese...this is most likely going to be a "winter-pull-it-all-apart-investigate-repair" project...so I'll probably have a more detailed look before I drop the $300. That said...it was kind of alarming how quickly we went from:
- "alt light tuned off with a sold rev after start...fading to faint glow at low rpms"
to
-"alt light solidly on at all times"

...well at least I know where the battery drain was coming from...also I think my "maybe not as isolated as I thought" leisure battery was helping out the whole time!

miz
1982 Westy- Vana White

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