Illumination Repair and Upgrade to LEDs



If you are noticing dark areas of our instruments at night, likely you have one of the backlight bulbs burned out. To replace these bulbs, unfortunately, the instruments must be removed from the vehicle first. The standard bulb which comes stock with the unit is an incandescent or filament-based light bulb, as shown above. The life expectancy of these bulbs is estimated at about 2,500 hours, thus replacement of these bulbs during our repair procedure is highly recommended. Our replacement bulbs are higher quality than the originals, named "Long Life"; they can expect to provide about 10,000 hours of service.

A relatively new introduction to the automotive market are LED based bulbs. LEDs have several improvements over the old standard bulb design including longer life, little heat output and lower power usage. Most newer cars are equipped with LEDs and are rapidly becoming standard issue with car manufacturers. MBCluster is now able to replace the standard bulbs with new LED type bulbs to give your instruments a fresh new look.





Bulb vs. LED comparison

The LED that replaces the standard large #194 bulb in Mercedes gauge lighting, and reproduces correct dimming functionality is the 8mm super bright LED. The comparison can be seen below.

Standard Filament 194 Bulb

Type: Standard "LL" bulb
Lifespan: 10,000 hours
Power Draw: 140 mA
Colour: amber

Single-LED (custom)

Type: 8mm LED
Lifespan: 100,000 hours
Power Draw:100 mA
Colour:white, blue, ultra-violet



To replace the Mercedes mini-bulbs, smaller 3mm LEDs need to be used. These LEDs are custom fitted to the existing Mercedes socket and use proprietary wiring circuitry to set the required brightness for the specific application. Colours other than white are available such as green, purple, blue, red and orange, and can be used in a wide variety of custom applications.

Standard Filament Bulb

Type: Standard bulb
Lifespan: 2,500 hours
Power Draw: 80 mA
Colour: amber

LED Replacement Bulb

Type: LED bulb
Lifespan: 100,000 hours
Power Draw: 10 mA
Colour:white/cool blue



Temperature LCD - standard bulb

Temperature LCD - white mini-LED bulb

Temperature LCD - blue mini-LED bulb

Temperature LCD - ultra-violet mini-LED bulb

Temperature LCD - green mini-LED bulb

Temperature LCD - red mini-LED bulb


A wide variety of LED colours are available for unique customization


Turn signal light modified with blue coloured LED


Low-fuel light modified with green, white, and red coloured LEDs


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LED Upgrade for 1991-1994 W140/R129 S-Class/SL-Class

Instruments - shown illuminated with standard bulbs


The 1991-1994 W140 and R129 design require a custom modification for the LED LCD lighting. Most other later years and models have a bulb dedicated to the LCD, but for this application, Mercedes used a sub circuit with built-in lighting which cannot be easily replaced.

Temperature LCD Module used in 1991-1994 W140/R129 S-Class/SL-Class

The modification requires disassembly and custom circuitry integrated with the OEM circuitry to provide both the dual night and day light levels, with the dimming functionality. NOTE: the LCD backlight bulb replacement is not reversible! Once it has been replaced by MBCluster, it can only be undone by MBCluster!

Instruments - shown illuminated with 8mm 194 bulbs + mini-LED bulb


Instruments - shown illuminated with blue 8mm-LED + blue mini-LED bulbs (LCD, odometer, turn signals) + red mini-LED bulb (Low-fuel light)


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LED Upgrade for 1994-1996 W140/R129 S-Class/SL-Class

1996 S500 Digital instruments - shown illuminated with 8mm white LED + white mini-LED bulb


1996 S500 Digital instruments - shown illuminated with 8mm white LED + blue mini-LED bulbs (LCD, odometer, turn signals) + red mini-LED bulb (Low-fuel light)


1996 S500 Digital instruments - shown illuminated with 8mm white LED + red mini-LED bulb


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LED Upgrade for 1996-1999 W140/R129 S-Class/SL-Class

1997 AMG Digital instruments - shown illuminated with 8mm LED 194 bulbs + green mini-LED bulb


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LED Upgrade for W124, W123, W126, W201

1989 W124 instruments - shown illuminated with standard bulbs


Older Mercedes instruments like the W123, W124, W126, etc., suffer from failing rheostats. These are ceramic wire-wound variable high current resistors that dim interior and instrument lighting. If this item is damaged, as pictured below, then it needs to be replaced. A damaged or burned out rheostats provides little to no instrument lighting.



Newer Mercedes instrument gauges are translucent, and can be lit from the rear, making the numbers appear to look like light sources, which illuminate themselves. Older Mercedes instrument gauges are opaque, and cannot be lit from the rear. Instead they redirect the light from bulbs inserted in the rear, travel through plexiglas channels on top of the cluster, and diffuse the light over the gauges. This method of illuminating provides a trickle of light which many owners over the years have reported to be insufficient. The image below is a W124 application, the two bulbs are located in the rear, and the plexiglas channel with the housing cover removed, can be seen on top.



The LED modification for the W123 and all older instruments involve replacing the light redirection system with 4 to 6 mini-LEDs that point downwards, and directly light the gauges from the top. They are wired into the dimmer with the correct proprietary circuit that will give superior brightness, and yet still retain the ability to dim. This service requires sending in your entire unit for modification. Colour option for this mod is best using white, but blue and ultra-violet are also possible.

1989 W124 instruments - modified with 4 mini-LED bulbs


1987 W126 instruments - modified with 6 mini-LED bulbs


1989 W126 instruments - modified with 6 blue mini-LED bulbs, dual blue mini-LED temp. LCD, flourescent orange needle paint



1989 W124 instruments - modified with 6 white mini-LED bulbs, dual white mini-LED temp. LCD, OEM orange needle paint, blue LED turn signals, misc. warning light LEDs



As an added feature, MBCluster can include a light coat of paint to freshen up the usually faded appearance of gauge needles. Over the years, as needles become weathered, the OEM orange turns from an orange colour to a dull yellow colour. A variety of colours are available to choose from, as can be seen below :

Old weathered needles

Freshly painted needles, OEM orange

Flourescent orange


OEM Orange

Flourescent Orange

Flourescent Yellow



If the bulb inside the temperature LCD is burned out, this bulb can be replaced. The old incandescent can be renewed with a new bulb, or upgraded to use LEDs. The colours available LED upgrade are standard white, or your choice of blue, red or green.

W126 Temperature LCD upgraded to dual blue mini-LEDs


W124 Temperature LCD upgraded to dual white mini-LEDs


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Pricing - With Instrument Repair

194 Bulb Replacement - Standard "LL" bulb

$2/each

Mini-Bulb Replacement - Used

$2/each

W140/R129 (Analog Odometer) - LCD Module Backlight Replacement

$25

W140/R129 (Analog Odometer) - LCD Module Backlight Replacement, LED Upgrade

$29

W140/R129 (Analog Odometer) - LED Upgrade, Includes :
  • 4 X 8mm LEDs for backlighting
  • LCD Module Backlight LED Upgrade
  • 1 X mini-LED for odometer

$119

W140/R129 (Digital Odometer) - LED Upgrade, Includes :
  • 4 X 8mm LEDs for backlighting
  • 2 X mini-LED for odometer + temperature display

$100

Additional mini-LED bulb, ex fuel, signal, etc.

$10/each

W124, W123, W126, W201 - LCD Module Backlight Replacement

$25

W124, W123, W126, W201 - LCD Module Backlight Replacement, LED Upgrade

$29

W124, W123, W126, W201 - LED Upgrade, Includes :
  • 6 X 3mm LEDs for backlighting
  • integrated potentiometer for LED brightness adjustment

$150

W124, W123, W126, W201 - Needle paint

$15



Pricing - Without Instrument Repair

All Instruments LED Upgrade - Base Rate

$275

Additional mini-LED bulb, ex fuel, signal, etc.

$10/each

Note: After July 1, 2010: All Ontario & BC residents add 13% HST, other Canadian provinces add applicable taxes.
United States and other foreign countries do not add taxes.




Email : Info@MBCluster.com