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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently acquired my second Gen 1 insight, and many of my dash lights don't work. I know there are a few threads on dash illumination, but I couldn't find any that had my problem.
Biggest issue is that I can't read the climate control LCD display at night, because it doesn't illuminate when the headlights are on. The LCD DOES illuminate when the headlights are off, and climate control is active (i.e. fan running, or in "Auto" mode). I don't think any of the other switch illumination comes on either (FCD, window switches, etc). The indicator lights (defrost on, etc) and the gauge cluster itself all illuminates just fine in day or night mode.

I removed the bezel and checked all the bulbs. Found two dead ones and replaced them (generic T1-1/4 wire-lead bulbs in the existing plastic "neo-wedge" holders) but that didn't help.

Fuse 15 is good, and has power when it's supposed to.

If we look at the wiring diagram
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I suppose everything other than Gauge Assembly is out. The power side (RED/BLK) ought to be fine, I'm suspicious that they are not getting any ground (RED) and what I'm trying to figure out is where this ground is supposed to derive from. Does the gauge assembly generate it via the "dash light brightness controller circuit"?
 

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I have a spare gauge I just remove from a cluster I can ship out if interested, pm me and pay for shipping and quote . Mite be the ac unit control panel.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I still have my other Gen 1 (a 2001) which is probably destined to be a parts car, and it has a working cluster. New car is a 2005. If those are compatible I could swap them I suppose. Not sure what pitfalls lie there. Odometer is stored there?
 

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Only damaging the cluster i guess.Am talking the ac unit button display but i have both if you do the swap and its the problom .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I figured it out. According to my meter, RED and RED/BLK seemed to be essentially shorted together. Figured I would have to methodically unplug every dash connector and recheck to chase it down. On a hunch, I went to the stereo first, because obviously it's an aftermarket modification, and ta-da:

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Bad framing there, but on the harness adapter (at least they used one!) RED and RED/BLK correspond to Orange/White ("Dimmer") and Orange ("Illumination/Dash Light"), and they are not wired into the stereo, but just crimped together. Cut them apart, and everything is good. Doesn't appear to be any permangent damage🤞
 
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