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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

I've had my E11 for a few weeks now and recently got quite aggravated driving in the dark and not being able to see what my AC is set to as the bulbs behind the climate control are burnt out. Having to turn on the dome lights just to adjust climate control is a pain.

Well, after banging my head against the wall for a few days I can finally say all is well:

I posted a video on YouTube with more photos here:

But to keep it short, here is all you need:
Phillips screwdriver
Flathead screwdriver
3 pcs T10 W5W 12V LEDs (can be had on eBay for pennies)
Soldering iron

Our very own flash22 did a thread about the very same thing years ago, however the photos are long gone so it was next to useless now: Guide: climate control illumnation

We're going to unplug the whole climate control panel, access the PCB, unsolder the old bulbs and replace them with new and bright (and hopefully indefinitely lasting!) 12V LEDs, running the power to them from the cigarette lighter socket below. They will turn on as you turn the key to ACC and turn off when you remove the key.

You can remove the climate control panel with a flathead screwdriver from below, it is actually very easy. Kudos to Renault for that I guess. Just pop the bottom off from the middle and it will lift off. Remove the five cables and the tube for the thermistor.
(Another positive for disconnecting everything is that the AC is going to run a self-check when you re-connect everything and if you are like me, you will find that the AC instantly works much better in AUTO than before. I suppose this is due to the thermistor going out of spec and causing the AUTO mode to try to reach some temperature you did not set, and the unplug fixes it for a while.)

I digress.

After the whole panel is disconnected, take it to your workbench. We will be removing the rear from the PCB, there are six Phillips head screws holding it in place. Remove those and lift off the rear. You will have access to the PCB. Flip the PCB around and you can see small bulbs next to the three buttons on the PCB. I suppose it is not necessary to remove them but do it if you want to (if you check my video, you might notice that I actually soldered the LEDs directly to the PCB at first. I did...but then realized that no matter what kind of LEDs I use, the original bulb connectors do not supply enough power. Even though I measured the output and it fluctuated between 5-14 volts, which should be plenty. If anyone knows why, please tell me. But yeah this is why in this tutorial we will run the cables to the cigarette lighter socket and steal power from there.) On the other side (the front panel of the AC) you might need to increase the size of the holes left for the bulbs. You should be able to do this with a chisel, or a dremel / drilling machine if you are careful. You will find there is actually quite a lot of space inside each dial, so the LEDs will fit nicely. Then we will just route the LED cables out from between the front and back panels. Solder the cables together so that you have one 12V positive and one ground cable with enough length (30 cm+ recommended) coming from inbetween the front and back panels.

Take the whole thing back to the car and take note of the cigarette lighter socket below this panel. Behind it, we can disconnect the cables from the socket and steal power from them. The black one is obviusly ground, and the green one is 12V positive. Take your favorite method of stealing power (I took the cables out of the socket and wrapped my makeshift LED cables around them and plugged them back in) and assemble everything, making sure to plug in all the cables, especially the thermistor cable (I forgot this one and it seems I got a CANBUS error during first start of the car, as I noticed the fan was running at all times.)

There you go. I have more photos in the YouTube video but it's a shame I did not think to take photos of each step. After struggling with this for a few days I thought I cannot be the only one with this problem so I came here.

Let me know if you have any questions, I am glad to help. Photos will also help immensely.
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