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Default some Dash Lights only go on at Night, can't be seen in the day time.

I renamed the thread and moved it from its original location to the
bottom of the list so I wouldn't have to hunt for it so much.

On Tue, 11 May 2021 22:35:56 -0400, Clare Snyder

On Tue, 11 May 2021 16:42:39 -0400, micky

In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 09 May 2021 00:32:57 -0400, Clare Snyder
No they didn't. They had full 24 volt systems including the
alternator on all diesel Cruisers. At least all the ones sold in
Canada before 2000. To operate 12 volt accessories required a buck
converter. I used to produce and provide a system to adapt them to tow
12 volt trailers. I was also a Toyota service manager back then.

Maybe you can help me then. I have a 2005 Toyota Solara and it has 3
"meters" above the radio that, unless sunlight is shining right on them
through the back window, I can't read in the daytime.

After dark, a backlight goes on for them and they're easy to read.

These are the clock, the trip info gizmo (MPG, DTE, MPH, and ET), and
the outside temperature.

Is is this the way it was designed, or is something broken?

I've been trying to rewire things so the lights are on all the time
whenever the car is running.

I know this is a 2005 car and the only date you mention is 2000, but
does any of this ring a bell?

I have the factory wiring manual for 2005 Solaras (plus the online
version for 2006). It seems to refer to all three meters as the Clock

It uses a photocell on the dashboard to turn the speedo cluster and
other lights (glovebox; radio, AC, and seat heater buttons, shift
indicator) on when it gets dark, from the Taillight relay through the
Panel fuse (which is separate from the Taillight fuse). The wiring
diagram seemed to confirm that the car was designed this way, because it
shows a lightbulb labeled Clock in the saem circuit in parallel with

So I found 12v that were on whenever the engine was running, at the Seat
Heater switch, and removed the Panel fuse and shorted the 12volts at the
switch to the Panel light wire at that switch. And now all the lights
go on all the time, EXCEPT the three I care about.

When this didn't work, I used a heavy dark rag to cover the photocell
and I can trick the headlights into going on during the day, but
amazingly the Clock light isn't tricked.

Any ideas what I should do next?

Posted and mailed

I was out of the dealership by then, but a simple piece of duct tape
over the sensor will turn the head lights on constantly when the
engine is running. That SHOULD turn on the instrument lights.

Okay, I tried that and it did turn on the headlights and taillights.
BUT the ones in question** didn't go on.

Yet up until the last time I drove in the dark, two nights ago, they do
go on at night. I will try tonight and see if they still go on at
night, but how that could be different from covering the photocell I
don't know.

FWIW there are actually two photocells but I covered both of them. When
I first got the car I asked on ToyotaNation or the other one what the
second one was for, and if I got an answer, I forget what it was. Each
as a domed plastic cover but one is 1/4" high or more and the other much
shorter. I wonder why.

**(Most of the other lights are too dim to see during the daytime, but
they work fine already.)

e-mail me the schematic / wiring diagram and I'll look at it

It will take a bit of time to extract the relevant pages from my 390
page wiring diagram. I'll work on it.

Does it get dimmer when the headlights are on? It should.

One thing only does dim and that's the little dot/light on the dash that
shows what gear I'm in, and I think that's fair because the other lights
are powered directly from 12v. I haven't tested when the headlights go
on, but instead, I removed the Panel fuse and ran a jumper from the
12v-when-engine-on to one of the locations the Panel fuse powers**, and
when I touch the jumper to that, the dot on the dash goes dimmer and
when I remove it it goes back to full daytime brightness. That is

Sometimes!!! when I do touch the jumper that way, the "clock" lights go
on, but unreliably and rarely. It will work, then 3 minutes later, it
doesn't. And this testing was done at night (they weren't on to begin
with I used to think because the panel fuse was out, but later I think
they went on without the panel fuse or the hot-wire. I have to do more
testing tonight. Prior testing was very confusing, so I hoped you'd
just know the answer already, although I suppose it's very unlikely
people would complain about something like this and that your service
department would try to rewire a car that was working according to the
Toyota spec.

In the daytime I've never gotten them to go on.

Do you think there's any chance, once I have the current operation
totally clear and written down, if I wrote to Toyota, they'd tell me why
it works that way, or even how to change it? I figure they'd ignore me
or tell me to go to a dealer.

Most of the lights*** are powered directly from the battery when the
Taillight relay is closed, via the Panel fuse, and they don't dim, but
normally they only go on at night. I guess going on is the opposite of

**From the 12v that powers the seat heater switch to the light for the
seat heater switch, so the wires are only a half inch away from each
other. I thought it would be such an elegant fix, except it doens't
work for the "clock" lights. It does light up all the other lights

***The speedo cluster, glovebox, the buttons for the radio, heater/ac,
seat heater switches, and the gearshift indicator on the center console.

And there is a light in the speedometer needle that changes in some way.
I think it lights up at night. It's really all very nice except for my
one complaint. I would have thought lots of people would complain and
by 2006 they would have changed it. I have the digital version of 2006.
It's harder to read than on paper, but I checked to the extent I could
and haven't found any differences related to this. Maybe that they
didn't change it would mean mine is broken, not misdesigned. But I
still should be able to fix it.

I'll do more testing when it gets dark, which seems to be different from
having the photocells covered.

It should
DIM when the headlights are on and be brigher during the day I think.

Yes, those gear indicator dots works that way.

Is this an orange/red light? or green?

In the speedo cluster, there's a little light for each gear. Park is
green. I think the others are different.

2005 Toyota Solara (similar to a Camry)
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