Car radio mod

 

Here’s an oldie I haven’t shared before, but which could be helpful to other owners of a particular brand and type of car radio.

Two years ago I bought a Sony MEX-BT3800U car radio set, deciding it was the ideal set for me with excellent sound, Bluetooth and USB playback. Combined with a tiny 4GB Delock USB stick (only a couple of millimetres high) if offers a detachable head unit with remains portable even with the USB stick attached.

But…once installed one thing was immediately noticeable: the display lighting (a blue-ish white) is way too bright, even dangerously so at night. Something had to be done…

So I started searching the web and finally found a reference to a modification someone did to a previous Sony model. I figured it was worth to try. With success! Afterwards I send the original poster an e-mail thanking him for his post and explaining what I did:

Just a quick word to say “thanks” for your excellent manual how to modify the bright display. I purchased a Sony MEX-BT3800U last week, it’s very similar to your unit, including the ludicrously bright display. Therefore I decided to modify my unit in a similar fashion.

On a 3800 there are four screws to remove instead of five, also the dial knob removes easily (no need to run to the kitchen to fetch a teaspoon) and the tiny spring does not seem to jump out of sight when carefully removing the back plate. I used black modelling paint to black out the LED’s because I felt that applied more easily and permanent. It’s absolutely amazing (and horrifying at first) to see how much is needed to get a comfortable light level. Additionally I applied thin transparent red foil (from some old “3D” glasses I still had lying around somewhere) over the LED’s illuminating the white ring (which is a partial ring on the 3800), because I drive a VW with blue and red interior lighting so it matches nicely.

I must say I’m extremely pleased with the result, it turned my unit from great to superb! It now looks much better and is no longer (dangerously) annoying at night. I hope the pic does enough credit to the result. If they’re up to it I recommend it to all owners.

And here’s that pic, not the best I’ve ever made but it shows the result:

 

Cheers,
Marco