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Old 04-12-2020   #1
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Angry Dash Lights too dark

Just this week I picked up a new Ducato 160HP XLWB 9-speed auto. I've already got the dreaded P24D1 fault. Not happy!
My question though is about the dash lights: can the brightness be increased? Can't find anything in the manual or in this forum. I find that the red doesn't stand out and I'm having trouble reading any info including what speed I'm doing.
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Old 04-12-2020   #2
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Hi Tarby9

Complaints of dim instument lighting have appeared more than once on Motorhomer's forums. It seems to be a "feature" of the post 2014 panel design that the instruments aren't illuminated unless the sidelights/headlights are on. I believe a Fiat dealer can reprogram the panel so that the illumination is permanently on with the ignition. This reportedly helps a bit but doesn't seem to be a complete cure. Some folks have devised DIY methods of adding small shielded LEDs in front of the dials to improve matters.
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Old 04-12-2020   #3
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Quote Originally Posted by Anthony489 View Post
Hi Tarby9

Complaints of dim instument lighting have appeared more than once on Motorhomer's forums. It seems to be a "feature" of the post 2014 panel design that the instruments aren't illuminated unless the sidelights/headlights are on. I believe a Fiat dealer can reprogram the panel so that the illumination is permanently on with the ignition. This reportedly helps a bit but doesn't seem to be a complete cure. Some folks have devised DIY methods of adding small shielded LEDs in front of the dials to improve matters.
My 2017 Ducato was supplied as new with the panel lights coming on with the ignition. They dim when the road lights are switched on.
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Old 04-12-2020   #4
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Thanks for that. The vehicle is new and I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet. I'll check to see if there's any change in brightness with the headlights off and on.
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Old 05-12-2020   #5
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Permanent cluster illumination was implemented in production in late 2016. X290 vans produced prior to that could have a free software update to implement it.

The illumination when running without headlamps on is a fixed intensity I believe, but when the headlights are on it can be brightened or dimmed via a menu through the mode switch, together with the rest of the dashboard switch and radio illumination. AFAIR there are 8 brightness settings available. So the cluster doesn't have to be dimmer when the headlights are switched on, that's down to driver preference. I imaging most people wouldn't want the display too bright at night though.

Just to add, some mode switch menus are only available when the engine isn't running, presumably to discourage distraction whilst driving. I can't recall whether cluster illumination is one of them though. Also, if you have a factory touchscreen radio, some settings are no longer available via the mode switch, but appear in the settings menu through the radio.
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Last edited by RS3100; 05-12-2020 at 10:16.
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Old 05-12-2020   #6
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

There is an instrument dimmer function on most Ducatos, it just isn't well described in the manual.

Mine is a 2018 Euro 6, so may differ from yours, but I doubt it.

If you don't have the factory radio, it is achieved via the "Mode" switch, much like other adjustments, under a heading of "Dimmer".

BUT, that "Dimmer" setting only appears if you first:

1. Ignition off
2. Set the lighting stalk to Sidelights/Dipped Beam (i.e. turn the lights on)
3. Ignition on (you don't need to start the engine)

...the magic "dimmer" setting should appear in the "Mode" menu, and you can adjust up or down much as you change other settings there.

Try that first; If you have the factory radio, (I don't) then it may be that this setting is achieved via the radio settings mode instead - if it doesn't appear, try the 1/2/3 above before invoking settings.

Whether the level of adjustment is sufficient for your needs is something only you can determine. I've just been and tried the above on mine, and it is two down from maximum, and does noticeably change with adjustment.
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Last edited by HughJampton; 05-12-2020 at 10:23.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Quote Originally Posted by Anthony489 View Post
Hi Tarby9

Complaints of dim instument lighting have appeared more than once on Motorhomer's forums. It seems to be a "feature" of the post 2014 panel design that the instruments aren't illuminated unless the sidelights/headlights are on. I believe a Fiat dealer can reprogram the panel so that the illumination is permanently on with the ignition. This reportedly helps a bit but doesn't seem to be a complete cure. Some folks have devised DIY methods of adding small shielded LEDs in front of the dials to improve matters.
Thanks Anthony489. Fiat Australia called yesterday and said they are aware of similar complaints. There didn't seem to be any factory remedy but did say that others had added stick-on LED lights in front of the speedo. Seems primitive but I'll give it a go.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Quote Originally Posted by RS3100 View Post
Permanent cluster illumination was implemented in production in late 2016. X290 vans produced prior to that could have a free software update to implement it.

The illumination when running without headlamps on is a fixed intensity I believe, but when the headlights are on it can be brightened or dimmed via a menu through the mode switch, together with the rest of the dashboard switch and radio illumination. AFAIR there are 8 brightness settings available. So the cluster doesn't have to be dimmer when the headlights are switched on, that's down to driver preference. I imaging most people wouldn't want the display too bright at night though.

Just to add, some mode switch menus are only available when the engine isn't running, presumably to discourage distraction whilst driving. I can't recall whether cluster illumination is one of them though. Also, if you have a factory touchscreen radio, some settings are no longer available via the mode switch, but appear in the settings menu through the radio.
Thanks Hugh. This is great news. Will give it a try and sound better than sticking LEDs on the dash.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

I don't know if the Oz market has DRLs (despite having had a Ducato in NZ a couple of years ago). If not, the lighting stalk may have more than one setting (and I'm pretty sure it needs only sidelights on, i.e. first click, if it has).

Mine has DRLs, and it needs the light stalk to first (and only) "on" setting before ignition on, to make the appropriate menu appear in the "Mode" settings.

Persevere with a few light settings if you can't get it.

Multiecuscan confirms the setting as a number (8 in my case) but doesn't implement adjustment - the "Mode" menu being the only way I've found (and, as I say, it visibly works).

I've certainly known people add supplementary LEDs to the earlier models that didn't have any daylight illumination of the dials. Fiat issued a "fix" for this, however, and it was made a permanent change from the initial introduction of Euro6 versions (and yours is much newer, so should be lit in daytime with ignition on).

Should you not be successful, or it's still too dark, something like this (designed to improve visibility) might help:

https://lockwoodinternational.co.uk/...-part-no-8425/

(but if you do choose to pursue it, do check very carefully which is the correct version for your 'van).
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Last edited by HughJampton; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:58.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Having missed the edit deadline, I note that Lockwood don't recommend their white dials for those (older) Ducatos fixed to have permanent daytime lighting of the dials, or those new enough to have had it applied from the factory (which yours will be).

I must admit that I find the latter part of that confusing, since the link I've provided is specifically for the 2020 version with 9-speed auto box, which I think should have left the factory with the dials lit in daytime.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Thanks Hugh. I'm impressed with the Lockwood dials with the white background. Much better than the original. I wouldn't be game to change though for a while as I still have an issue with Cruise Control that I want a dealer to fix. They would most likely get cranky if they found that I'd changed the dash. I will keep the link for future.

I also had an issue with the DPF warning and had it fixed under a recall.
Thanks again for the follow-up.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

I've just improved the dash lighting on my MY2020 van (which is fitted with the factory DAB radio/media/GPS etc system) using Hugh's instructions. Sidelights on, then ignition on, then Mode, arrow up/down to Dimmer, then increase the number of lit spots on the panel up to the level you want, then Mode to lock in that setting. Pure dead brilliant. Thanks.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Thanks for that. Not having the factory radio I wasn't sure whether that was one of the settings that migrates to there, when fitted, rather than "mode".

The various manuals are sometimes less than helpful in describing the method (even when they allude to it being possible).

In a number of the manuals, the menu item is (half-)described as "Lighting", but it displays as "Dimmer" on mine (and obviously yours).
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Re: Dash Lights too dark

Many thanks Hugh. My motorhome is in storage as I don't have room at home. Anyway, finally got to inspect it and tried your fix for the dash lights. It worked! I would never have discovered this without your help. When I was getting a recall for the DPF engine light fixed, I asked the head mechanic how make the dash lights brighter and he said that it's a common complaint but didn't know of a fix. I'll enlighten him next visit. Thanks again.
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