Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dash Panels and Switches, Part 2

OK, let's convert a switch to LED indication. First, the switch actuator, the part that actually rocks back and forth, has to be removed from the switch body. It just snaps in place, so, to remove it, you have to gently pry up one side, and then the other side, until it releases from the body. Be gentle, it does come off. Set it aside once it is free.

The switch body itself looks like this:

Now, if you look at the body carefully, you will notice that it also comes apart. There is a retention tab on either end of the switch. Gently pry these away from the body, and carefully separate the two halves of the switch:

There is a small rocker assembly in the portion of the switch on the left - this remains unchanged. Just be sure to keep the rocker properly placed on the fulcrum. If you invert the switch, it will fall right out, so be careful. On the right, you can see what we are after. Remove the white plastic roller assembly from the upper body, and put it aside. Inside the body, you will then see the incandescent bulb:

There are two wires that are set into wire guides - pry them out with a small screwdriver or suitable tool, then remove the bulb by carefully releasing it from the retention tabs. You will then have this:

Discard the bulb. Now, you will take the LED and resistor you purchased, and carefully solder them together, as seen in this picture:

This is the replacement assembly for the switch. The LED will fit back into the body just like the incandescent bulb. Be careful to keep the O-ring in place - it seals the bulb to the body, and keeps contaminants out of the switch. Then, route the two wires in exactly the same way the incandescent bulb wires were routed. The resistor just tucks into the body out of the way, and doesn't interfere with the switch at all. You'll wind up with something like this:

A word of caution - LEDs only allow current flow in one direction, so if you install the wires in the wrong direction, the LED will not illuminate, and you'll have to reverse the wires. I recommend that you simulate the install before tucking the wires in place, so you don't waste any time. Once the install is done, simply snap the two halves of the body back together, and then snap the actuator back onto the body. Now, you have a cool running, long lasting switch with indicator! Finished, it will look like this:

Now all you have to do is repeat this 20 or 30 more times, and your boat switches will be done.


  1. Another great post D! I've been trying to sort out how I wanted to address this issue with my 340 with the available options. I knew something like this would work but lacked the capacity:) Thanks for the education!

    PS - Glad to hear you're keeping the boat!!!

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  3. Hi there,
    I've been reading all of your restoration posts over the past few days, and I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your precision, and attention to detail in everything you have done. Your boat looks amazing. I recently inherited a 2001 Sea Ray 340 my father owned since new. It only has 200 hours, most of which were from the first few years of ownership. The ailing health prohibited much use the past few years. The boat has been in freshwater since new, but has been lacking maintenance the past few years for the same reason as the limited use. I'm bringing it down to Florida now and putting it in dry dock before I put it in the water. I was wondering if you could help with recommending some things to do before I launched it. It has the 7.4L MPI inboard engines, non horizon so the coolant system is raw water. The boat will be used in the salt water intracoastals on the west coast which worries me having the raw coolant system. Any insight and recommendations are greatly appreciated.


    1. Rob,

      Send me an email directly at:, and we can discuss this further. I do have some recommendations for you.


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