Links to stuff on this blog

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Update On What I have Been Up To

It must be obvious by now that I have not been updating my Blog for a couple of weeks (maybe more?!). In the past I have been pretty regular with my posts publishing about one a week. Recently that steady stream has stopped because I have not had any spare time to mess around since Christmas. I have been busy with other things and have not had the time to do any projects or experiment in the garage :-(
I do have some projects that I was working on and I have received some emails asking me to add more detail and explain some of the things that I have done. I'm going to answer those emails with new Blog posts and finish the projects that are in the works - stay tuned!! I'll have some new info soon!
Check back and you will be surprised... :-)

Thanks for reading my Blog and continuing to read it!

 - Otto Belden

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Toyota Highlander Door Panel Lights

I was driving the other night down a dark road and I tried to adjust the mirrors of my Toyota Highlander. I couldn't see the mirror adjust switch, I know more or less where it was but it was so dark I couldn't find the switch. A similar experience happened to me after I got in my car in a parking lot and wanted to lock the doors, I couldn't see the door lock rocker switch and although I knew where it was and I pressed it I wasn't sure if I had locked or unlocked the doors. The Toyota Highlander switches aren't lighted! Today I fixed that by adding a couple of small lights to illuminate the dash area to the left of the Toyota steering column and the drivers side door panel. This little project was a pretty straight forward thing to do and it turned out pretty nice. I only wish that Toyota had added lights to these switches on the base model so I didn't have to do this.
The first thing that I did was lift up the switch panel in the drivers door using a guitar pick to pry up the panel. A guitar pick (or a the corner of a credit card) works nicely to lift up car trim because it won't mark of mess up the plastic panels. The switch panel lifts up and unsnaps from the rear.
2009 Toyota Highlander Drivers Switch Panel
Once I had the switch panel lifted up I removed it and released the harness from a plastic retainer inside the door. Releasing the harness didn't disconnect it from the switch panel, it just freed up some slack in the wired so I could pull the panel out. The switch panel has a bunch of wires of various gauges going into it and I probed around with my meter to find a couple that had power when the engine was running.