More electronic stuff I'm afraid.
This is more to do with the gauge cluster. When I first bought the car there was a warning light on the dash. This is to tell you one of the rear lights was broken. This was a little infuriating as this wasn't the case. At first I thought it was how the rear fog light was wired up (jdm cars don't have one and we need one to pass the yearly safety check). So I started there:
LED bulb fog light replaced one of the reverse lights (with a take off from the stock loom):
de-pinned the terminal, removed the take off and used heat shrink for the join:
all back together with a standard reverse light bulb:
But nooooooo. That would be too easy, the light was still on. That's the sucker I'm talking about, circled in green!
So back to the drawing board. Turns out it works of a switched earth system when one of the bulbs fail. So consulting the manual and grounding out the appropriate pin should make the lamp switch off, even if all your bulbs have blown.
Annnnnnd it was still shining, like a beacon of my own incompetence.....mocking me......
So after a brief mental break down, I concluded that the gauge cluster was at fault. With any other car, you would just nip down to the local scrap yard. Pay a few dollars for a new one, adjust your mileage and bobs your mothers brother. Not so in this case, as most people ask north of $800 for a second hand unit with no promise that it wont end up happening again.
After looking around and doing various tests I figured it was the capacitors that were leaking over the circuit and chip that controls the "brake light malfunction" light. Now, not usually one to be scared easily (this isn't true, everything scares me) but I came across a few people that have experienced major failures of the gauge cluster due to leaking capacitors. By which I mean they set on fire...
You have to keep in mind that over 18000 nsx cars were made and I can only find a handful of times this has actually occurred but it still makes you a bit wary.
So out came the capacitor collection again:
and out came the gauge cluster:
started disassembling it :
And decided whilst everything is out, to clean and re-grease the mileage indicators:
same treatment to the trip meter:
gave the back plastic a good wash:
one by one, replaced all the capacitors:
only one was actually leaking, which was closest to the circuit that controls my warning light:
Cleaned up the tracks and any residual acid (you can see the exposed copper).
I was hoping that was the end of it. You can see the chip that controls the circuit in the above photo (the rectangle black piece). This isn't a proprietary piece of kit, so you cant pick one up from any online electrical suppliers. I was just hoping it wasn't damaged and that the clean up and capacitor replacement would suffice.
put it all back together and whilst everything functioned as it should, the warning light was still on.
That god damned chip was damaged by the acid out of the capacitor. Now there is only one place in the entire globe I know off that has any. A company called T3TEC in japan who is an NSX specialist. They offer this kind of refurbishment. Problem is that nobody there speaks English. I don't speak Japanese, and even if I did, Japanese companies are reluctant to deal with people outside the country (in case of faults etc).
So whilst I was crying into my laptop and wondering what the hell I was going to do about this light I suddenly came across a Yahoo auctions in Japan (as one does). Guess what they were selling?
that's right, the very chip I needed. The only one on the entire auction site. Weirdly good luck :S
It was around $60 (these things usually are pennies from a supplier) but beggars cant be choosy. I bought it, shipped it, got stung for import fees and finally it arrived.
After all the above, it ended up costing around $110, for a god damned electronic chip the size of a postage stamp.
So I got to work taking it all apart again,
removed the old one:
new one in place:
Just in case this wasn't an expensive enough venture in itself, I decided to buy myself a mines 300km/h speedo. These things are insane money! like $1500 brand new. So when one came up for sale second hand I couldn't resist. Even though it meant re-mortgaging the house for it :S
So I put it all back together, held my breath, crossed my fingers and boom! No more light. (the ones you can see are the engine hatch and drivers door, as I was also doing some engine work at the same time)
I honestly did a dance around my house whilst simultaneously composing a song about brake warning lights and how they can suck it. What's even weirder is the Mrs didn't even bat an eyelid. Literally, didn't even look up from her phone, evidentally used to not understanding most of what I do, she decided to not even ask :s not sure this is a good or bad thing...
So after an insane amount of money, dis-assembling and assembling my gauge cluster more times than I can count, so many hours of soldering, slight lead poisoning and a disillusioned girlfriend, a little light on my dash is no longer on.
When you say it like that it almost seems silly...