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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

It's Project Time here in Surrey and I was thinking about what to do next to Silkie.

To me the centre console is pretty gloomy at night and I wondered if it's possible to add subtle ambient lighting to the console area (perhaps shining down from the dome light housing) and also to the centre storage box and cubby hole at the bottom of the console. It's interesting that the ashtray has a light inside but no-where else....

Has anyone else thought about this - or better still, carried it out? Any thoughts regarding suitability? should I / should I not?
 

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Premium member 2001 SLK320
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800 Posts
if you could mate a mirror from a w210 or w220

they have a little yellow led which beams down onto the secondary switch gear and shifter and console. Comes on with the key, only just noticeable at night. lovely bit of engineering design, and probably a piece of cake to do as well.
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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3,054 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
they have a little yellow led which beams down onto the secondary switch gear and shifter and console. Comes on with the key, only just noticeable at night. lovely bit of engineering design, and probably a piece of cake to do as well.
Nice idea - and neater than the dome light which will need drilling and wiring. Just have to check what the light path would be from the bottom of the mirror to the console.

Looking at another MB web site it appears that the OEM version is an incandescent lamp covered in a silicone 'condom' to colour it. That means I'll have to factor in a change to LED too. The difficulty will be swapping the mounts - SLK rearview to S or E-class rearview. There is a bonus though in that the new mirror could well be auto-dimming too. :smile:
 

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DAS/STAR Premium Member 2005 SLK 55 AMG
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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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3,054 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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3,054 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
@Seanhump / @Elmer Fudd

From what you say can I assume that the mirror bodies are pretty much interchangeable between models at this age? I'm guessing they all twist apart the same way?

Thanks again.
 

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DAS/STAR Premium Member 2005 SLK 55 AMG
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It's an old imageshack thing - I'll need to re-upload the pictures

I made a hybrid mirror - the mount from the SLK coupled with the body from the S Class ....
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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Discussion Starter #10
You could try some LED lit flexable plastic optics?
You can push them into the dash joints.
There are some 'P' shaped ones that should work?
I was considering that too, Russ, but the danger is aftermarket stuff like that can look tacky. However, if that P-section stuff stays in place that could look pretty cool. Thanks.
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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Discussion Starter #11
It's an old imageshack thing - I'll need to re-upload the pictures

I made a hybrid mirror - the mount from the SLK coupled with the body from the S Class ....
Thanks @Seanhump
 

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Premium Member 2007 SLK55 AMG
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3,559 Posts
I was considering that too, Russ, but the danger is aftermarket stuff like that can look tacky. However, if that P-section stuff stays in place that could look pretty cool. Thanks.
I purchased one 2m length for around £7.50
Pressed it into the gap between the leather and plastic. This is the dark blue.
I have removed it now, it took just one minute to press it in. Obviously more time is required to install the wiring.
 

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Registered 2009 SLK200
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5,056 Posts
Hi Savcom

I fitted one on my Slk 171 with Auto Dimming and led spot light as well as his and hers lighting downwards facing

They are Expensive to buy ( Auto Dimming version )
But the basic ones with downward led light are cheap to buy used
ebay is your friend .
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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Discussion Starter #15
Same as the 171's ... easy to add as well
Hi Savcom

I fitted one on my Slk 171 with Auto Dimming and led spot light as well as his and hers lighting downwards facing

They are Expensive to buy ( Auto Dimming version )
But the basic ones with downward led light are cheap to buy used
ebay is your friend .
Thanks all. I've been doing some searching and the mirrors are not *that* expensive if you're careful. There are not that many black ones though (like one only. And that for a W221). Are they a simple mount swap with an R170 mirror base? Also - seeing where the mirror is on an R170, would I only be lighting up the top of the dashboard and the gear change - rather than the centre console

Another factor - I have my dashcam installed in front of my mirror and I'm concerned that I won't be able to fit the larger S- or E-class mirrors without messing up my access to the dashcam, so I've been looking again today (it was finally dry enough to leave the house!! :surprise:) and I could quite easily fit and connect an LED to the interior light in the black panel between the alarm emitter/sensors and wire it so that it could be unplugged when you need to access the interior lamp (see picture). I'm thinking a 3mm LED recess mounted in the black panel should do the trick.

CentreSpot.JPG

Any thoughts, though, on the interchangeability of the mirrors on an R170?
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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3,054 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well, I have been slowly continuing my research (hampered over the last week or so by a viral infection... Grrrr)

Most of you will know that the 'traditional' colour for BMW cluster illumination and ambient lighting is orange/red. Researching this colour shows that it was chosen with one thing in mind - not to distract the driver at night. In my research I came across three articles:
AMBIENT LIGHTING MAKES DRIVERS FEEL SAFER
Ever wonder why BMW’s gauge cluster lights have always been red?
The myth and science behind your gauge cluster illumination colour

From the last article:
BMW's characteristic orange-red hue is generated by light at a wavelength of 605 nanometers. The colour was chosen to allow the driver to clearly see the instrument cluster, but also to be able to adjust to the darkness outside the vehicle quickly after looking up. The eye doesn't tire as quickly trying to read gauges illuminated with red-orange light, he said. BMW discovered this in the 1970s, and it's been both an aesthetic trademark and a conscious ergonomic decision ever since.
Summarising the research:
  • The colour of the ambient lighting should be Orange (605nm)
  • Distracting and uncomfortable glare is eliminated when luminance is kept below 0.1 cd/m²
Given this and looking at the interior of the R170 it seems as if a single LED, suitably placed in the dome light would illuminate the centre console enough to give me the illumination levels I need:
slkr170_Ambient-cr.jpg

So I have now found a suitable LED on eBay - a LITE-ON LTL42NKFD - that gives enough illumination (typically 400mcd) at the right wavelength (605nm) and the right viewing angle (65°) to provide the source for the ambient light. Next step is to mount it in Silkie, powered temporarily to see that the levels are OK and then wire the unit and install it properly. As this is a basic LED (not a 12V one) I will need to add a resistor in series to drop the voltage and then a plug and socket so I can still remove the dome light.

If only I felt well enough to get out there and finish this. :crying::frown::crying::frown:

I'll start a new thread in the Modification forum to show you what I've done.
 

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Super Moderator UK 2002 SLK320 Blue
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Discussion Starter #17
A swift 'before and after' shot of my dome light now it has a 605nm LED fitted.

Before (taken out of the car)
01-Before.JPG

After (LED fitted but not lit)
02-After.JPG

After (LED fitted and lit)
03-After (lit).JPG

Next step connecting it to the car!
 
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