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Replacement for photocell


Guest RattyOne

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Guest RattyOne

This is a continuation of my previous post. Two items up for discussion: 1. It took a LOT of pressure - using a small flat blade screwdriver to get the defroster panel out. Thought I was going to break it - but it finally got released.

Then I removed the dash - it had been removed before by a caveman as all the tabs are broken.

2. Now - I took out the photocell and am wondering - where do I get a replacement? I read about a home depot cell but there was little detail as to identification.

How about a little help from those more experienced.

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Regarding your dash panel with all the tabs broken. Go to a u-pick yard look for either a Riv or Reatta and pull it. Then take your original panel to an automotive parts house that does color matches and buy the paint in an areosal or a Dr. Vinyl franchisee and have them paint to match for you.

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Depending on how badly the tabs are broken (and the condition of the rest of the panel, I have had good luck with epoxy, 5/16" flat washers, and a grinder where needed.

BTW Rivieras are considerably more common, 86-89 should use the same panel as a 88-89 Reatta and 90-93 is the same as 90-91) Just hope someone did not just rip it out to get to a CD.

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another thread about radio shack a long time ago had something that could be used as a replacement. I got a few at the pick and pay boneyards. Most Gm's of that era used the same sensor. The problem is they are also 20 years old. The last one made a year. Now is also is non-functing. I am in the same place as you are. I would think any light sensor from any modern car should work.....Ken

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Guest RattyOne

Thanks for the washer idea Padgett, I might give that a shot if plan 1 fails. PLAN 1- I was also considering using cork to build up the broken tab area and gluing velcro to the dash panel and also the metal tabs along the body. They velcro the headlinder in place so why not the dash?

Anyway, I cannot dim the CRT because the computer is looking for night before activating the control.

My GM shop manual is moot on this system so I am guessing about the photocell.

Question: Does the photcell control BOTH the CRT and dash light controls?

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Try the links below. They may offer some help.

Twilight Sensor (photocell) Alternative

Instrument Panel Lights Troubleshooting

You can replace the sensor (photocell) with a resistor to simulate a dark condition if you want to use the slider. Search my earliest post. That is what I did to keep from taking apart the dash. I added the resistor to the sensor circuit under the dash, near the BCM.

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Problem is that a dimmed dash is hard to read particularly on a bright day with the moonroof open.

I seem to have the opposite problem on the white '90 -"Headlamps Suggested" seems to be on all of the time. Of course cannot see (or any of the dash) with the top down. Is this the same issue ?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest RattyOne

It works, It works, It works! Put in a photocell I got from Jim Finn and now I can control my dash and CRT brightness. It saved me from paying a fortune for a switch!

Thanks all!

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Guest dpannell

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: padgett</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Problem is that a dimmed dash is hard to read particularly on a bright day with the moonroof open.

I seem to have the opposite problem on the white '90 -"Headlamps Suggested" seems to be on all of the time. Of course cannot see (or any of the dash) with the top down. Is this the same issue ?</div></div>

My 90 coupe had that problem....the photocell was covered in dirt and dust...I ran a vacuum across it a few times and it has worked well since. Dave

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