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How To Repair a Broken LED Pad

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by PreRunnerSeth, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Apr 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    PreRunnerSeth [OP] Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Apex, NC
    15 Black DC OR Prerunner
    Soooooooo.... You tried to do your own Gauge mod and broke one of the pads off. Here is how to repair it. Keep in mind this is more delicate work than just replacing the LEDs, so maybe tear something apart and practice your soldering first.

    The pictures I took are not of a Tacoma gauge cluster, but are from one of my other boards i work with, so things on your gauge cluster will look a little different. The procedure will be the same. If you ripped both pads off on the same LED, you can still do this but, it will be even more difficult.

    Tools you will need:

    1. Soldering Iron (Preferably with a nice sharp tip)
    2. Solder (get a nice small diameter solder)
    3. Solder wick
    4. Small solid wire (I use 30 gauge)
    5. X-Acto Knife
    6. Rubbing Alcohol
    7. Cotton Swabs

    Here is a Picture with the LED removed and the pads cleaned up. This is before I removed one of the pads. You can see my example has a nice FAT trace leading from it on the right and is one solid plane on the other side. you will have smaller traces leading from both sides.

    Here, I removed a Pad. Yours wont look this clean and pretty :D. The first step is to clean it up nice and good with alcohol and cotton swabs so you can see what you are doing.


    Next solder your LED to the One good pad you have. Make sure to get it in the right direction. Then use the xacto knife to scrape some of the green stuff off the top of the trace leading from where the old pad was. Be very careful. Scrape lightly so you do not damage the trace. Scrap towards the LED so that you do not catch the edge of the trace and pull it it up.


    Now cut and strip a piece of your small gauge solid wire. Solder the piece of wire to the exposed copper on the trace and make sure one end of the wire touches the contact on the led. I usually leave the wire nice and long and then cut off the excess after it is soldered down. this gives you something to hold onto and manipulate the wire. Now solder the other end of the wire to the contact on the LED. Continue to hold the wire as best as you can because it will heat up the solder on the trace side and want to move around. Once it is soldered to the trace and the LED you are done. Plug it in and test it. you DO NOT have to have the LCD screen and Needles attached to plug it into your truck and test it.

    Here is a picture of the final product. my wire is a little tough to see. Like I said, your trace wont be much bigger than the wire whereas mine is a much larger trace.

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