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This may seem really obvious, but did you check the fuse? I think the dome light is on the same circuit, is that working?
 

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Try a temporary ground wire from the instrument cluster to a good ground. Make them work with a battery charger it'll tell you whats wrong.
 

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Connect the plus side to the wire that feeds the lights and the ground to ground. On an El Camino with no dash lights I started with a ground wire on the firewall and I had nothing, moved it to a dash brace still nothing,finally the sheetmetal on the back of the cluster, the lights came on. That told me that the panel was not grounding. This car had a plastic bezel and it was supposed to pinch the ground strap between the plastic and the dash bezel where a mounting screw passed thru. I made a separate ground wire that went to the cluster sheetmetal and the stayed on. It might not be your problem but if the ground is good you could experiment with feeding power before the switch after the switch etc.
 

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Can somebody tell me (us) exactly where power actually feeds the instrument panel...what color the wire is and from where does it come...?
 

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Can somebody tell me (us) exactly where power actually feeds the instrument panel...what color the wire is and from where does it come...?
Under best of electrical there are wiring diagrams. This is for the 72 Models:

http://www.novareference.com/manuals/Wiring/1972/72-Nova-Wiring.pdf

For the dashes illumination circuit if you look at the instrument panel wiring on page 3 there are bulbs for illumination. Since the bulb requires power and ground the wiring diagram shows all of the illumination bulbs being grounded to one point so this would leave the other wire as being the source of power. The illumination bulbs wire goes into connector spot 8 and further down on this wire is shows it being a 20 GRY (20 gauge gray) wire.
If you trace this circuit out back to the fuse block you will see it going through the INST LPS fuse in the fuse block (page 2). On the other side of the fuse the circuit wire color becomes a 20 DK GRN (20 gauge dark green) and goes to the headlight switch (page 3) to terminal 44.

Jim
 
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