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Removing LEDs from a Sony CDX-GT43IPW

Having some time this evening I opened up the ultra-bright LED-bearing faceplate from Danielle’s new car stereo. I was originally hoping to replace the LEDs with red or green ones, but after seeing that some are part of the tactile switches I decided against that. Looking into things by plugging the bare PCB into the head unit (photo) I found that the most offensive LEDs were those under the horizontal translucent buttons, with two of them lighting each button, and the ring around the chromed selector dial.

The decision was made to remove one LED from under each of the translucent buttons and one from around the ring. The LED removal went well, save for discovering that the ring LEDs are wired in series, so removing one turned off the entire ring. Still, the final result is much nicer. The stereo now lights up blue, but it’s no longer a glaring blue which makes seeing the road at night difficult. If you compare this photo from last night to this one from tonight you can see how much more reserved (and appropriate) the illumination now is. The loss of the knob ring illumination isn’t really a concern, as it’s the only knob on the device so it’s easy to find and other light glinting off the chrome finish makes it easy to see anyway. The tradeoff for less irritating light is worth it.

Interestingly there were two discreet sets of solder pads for each LED, and some silkscreen on the back that indicated selections for amber and green LEDs. I suspect that other similar models of this stereo offered the other illumination colors and this particular model was just for Target, or perhaps low end markets, or something like that. Or maybe this board is just fitted differently when used in other higher-end models…


  1. Matt Reed
    Matt Reed January 23, 2010

    This was a most helpful post. I too bought the same head unit at Target on clearance for $24.95 and thought the display was a bit much. I ended up removing both LEDs from each horizontal button, and left all three LEDs remaining around the ring. I think it ended up with the perfect amount of light. Thanks for the post and the pics.


  2. c0nsumer
    c0nsumer January 23, 2010

    Matt Reed: Wow, that’s a great price. I think I paid something like $59.98 or whatnot, which I still thought was pretty decent. I’m glad to hear it worked out for you as well. It’s too bad these start out as terrible as they do, because it’s actually a rather nice low-price head unit. The iPod stuff works really well too, as you can hold down the MODE button to change the iPod input to a pure aux in / charging cable.

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