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Discussion Starter #1
'69 CHEVY NOVA

So on my instrument panel, something weird is going on. I've done a lot of work over the years to the instrument panel. Fixed the gas gauge, installed a tach, rewired the circuit board. My instrument panel indicator lights (GEN, TEMP, BRAKE, OIL) lights are not working. I checked and replaced the bottom right fuse (labeled gauges) and nothing. Blinker lights work, instrument dome lights work with headlight/dimmer switch. Hi beam lamp works. But no instrument lamps.

Could it be a bad ground? what color wire is the ground? black I assume... The wiring diagram doesn't help all that much. I don't have that grounding strap anymore, I just put everything to a wire.

What you guys think? simple fix? The bulbs are ok.

thanks!

-Danny
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ahh i thought that's what u were getting at. I don't have a voltmeter anymore (lost it in a move). So if I check one side, and it's getting 12 volts, then I have a bad ground?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
of voltmeter red on positive, black on negative? or red on positive black onto a bare metal ground
 

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I was refering to if the contact has no 12 volt and the ground was good , you would need a meter. digital with continuity helps tons with finding break in wire and faulty connections, all to be done with no power to the circuit.
 

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anyone have any ideas on how to do this without a voltmeter? I am looking at the wiring diagrams, and I'm still wondering how this works...each light has their own positive and negative? but they're all connected to the same fuse? but the fuse is ok, but NONE of the lights work, making it seem like the fuse is blown, but when i use a jumper wire to touch both fuse contacts, nothing happens.

I don't want to run to autozone at the moment...they suck anyway
 

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anyone have any ideas on how to do this without a voltmeter? I am looking at the wiring diagrams, and I'm still wondering how this works...each light has their own positive and negative? but they're all connected to the same fuse? but the fuse is ok, but NONE of the lights work, making it seem like the fuse is blown, but when i use a jumper wire to touch both fuse contacts, nothing happens.

I don't want to run to autozone at the moment...they suck anyway
Years ago when I was out in the middle of no where I rigged up my own underhood light using parts off of the car (no it was not one of my Nova's but a VW), anyway I took out a marker light housing with a bulb in it and grabbed some speaker wire and tape and on the two wires off of the light housing I extended the wires to where I had my own test light. With this rigged assembly I was able to connect one wire to the battery positive post and the other to a ground to make it light up.

You could use something like this on your car but you just have to be careful.

From what I remember the indash brake light, temp light, and oil light work off of having an ignition 12 volts to one side of the bulb and then the other side goes to a ground to make it light up. When the wire going to the emergency brake switch becomes grounded, the indash brake light would come on. When the engine temprature sender in the motor becomes to hot it supplies a ground to make the indash temp light come on. The same happens with the oil light when the oil sender has no pressure against it and it connects to ground.

SO, pull out the bulbs in the dash and rig up a test light and by grounding one side you take the other wire of this test light and one side of the indash bulb connections should light your test light up. If not and the fuses are good in the fuse block the flexible circuit board may have a break in it.

To check for ground you would power the test light up off of a fused 12 volts in the fuse block and the side of the indash light socket that goes to the emergency brake switch, the oil pressure sender, and the temp sender should light up the test light if they are indeed grounding out through the sender or switches.

If you are trying to do this with the instrument panel in place it's going to be a very tight fit and you could short things out or make things worse. The flexible circuit board is very unforgiving and can easily be damaged.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ok sorry for the waste of time fellas. It turns out it has something to do with my ignition rod connection to the switch. I replaced the ignition key and tumbler about a year ago or so, and must not have lined it up perfectly. I say this because when I turn the key to start the ignition, the temp light comes on, but goes off when i'm in the on position. so I guess I gotta do some adjusting...

Sorry for the waste, but lesson learned: double check your ignition too!
 

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when I turn the key to start the ignition, the temp light comes on, but goes off when i'm in the on position. so I guess I gotta do some adjusting...
You may not have to do any adjusting. Hard to say at this point but some ignition switches work this way in that when the key is rotated to the crank position one or more of the warning lights come on just to alert you that the bulbs are working and/or you are getting power to these bulbs. The problem is it just tells you a little.

When you turned the key to the crank position the temp light bulb became grounded and thus lit up (and would have also had power to it because it needs both, a ground and power to it). When the key is in the run position this ground goes away and then the only way to get the temp light to come on is by the sendig unit completing a ground when it get's too hot. A way to check this is turn the ignition to run and then with a jumper wire ground out the wire attached to the temp sending unit. The indash light should then light up.

Jim
 
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