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Old 02-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #1
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Carrera Gauge Swap

I am continuing my effort to install a Carrera Gauge cluster in my 2000 Boxster. The Carrera cluster has a damaged clock/oil gauge lcd and you can see here:



I haven't found anyone who can repair a broken lcd, so I thought I would try installing the Carrera Gauge faces on my Boxster circuit board. You can see the results here:




When I use the Carrera gauge faces on the Carrera Board, everything works OK with the exception of the damaged lcd. (It works, but it is unsightly.)

When I use the Boxster circuit board, every works OK except the voltmeter. As you can see in the first picture, the Carrera/Carrera combination reads between 11 and 12 volts when the ignition is switched on. The second picture shows that the Carrera/Boxster combination reads 0 when the car is on.

(When the car is running, the oil gauge reads between 4 and 5 with either combination.)

Any suggestions on what I might try next? The circuit boards appear identical and have the same part number. However, there are so many components on each that it is not possible for me to be sure they are identical.




In this photo, the Carrera circuit board is on top and the Boxster is below.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:16 AM   #2
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I'll preface this by stating I'm not overly familar with the Carrera gauge swap.

That said, could it be a coding issue when using the voltmeter on the Boxster's circuit board? It made sense when I typed it anyway...
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #3
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Kevin,

I would look for a bad connection
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. I tried re-seating the connections and that didn't help. I also hooked up my Durametric. I used the test functions for the gauge cluster in hopes that a little exercise would get it started, but no luck.

Here's what I know:

1. The voltmeter works fine when it is hooked up to the Carrera circuit board that came with it. This means that:

A. The Carrera gauge itself is not broken
B. The car is sending the correct signal to the Carrera circuit board.
C. The connectors from the car to the Carrera circuit board are OK.
D. The connectors between the Carrera circuit board and the Carrera gauges are OK.

2. All the gauges and lights work correctly using the Boxster circuit board and the Carrera gauges with the exception of the voltmeter. This means that:

A. The voltage signal is not being transmitted from the Boxster circuit board to the voltmeter; or
B. The Boxster circuit board is not processing the signal from the car correctly; or
C. The pin for the Carrera circuit board to receive the signal is different than one on the Boxster circuit board
D. The signal from the car is not passing to the Boxster circuit board.

I'm continuing to try to figure this out. There is a shop in California (Palo Alto Speedometer) that specializes in this kind of thing. They couldn't fix the burned out lcd on the cluster I bought because they can't obtain the parts, but they may be able to fix this. Someone on Pelican suggested a speedometer shop in my area that works on VDO gauges. I will definitely give them a call. I'm also going to check with Hollywood Speedometer.

I'd appreciate any other suggestions.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:39 PM   #5
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I am guessing you already thought about this but since I did not see it mentioned I will throw it out there. Is it possible to swap he boxster lcd onto the carrera board?
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idheaton View Post
I am guessing you already thought about this but since I did not see it mentioned I will throw it out there. Is it possible to swap he boxster lcd onto the carrera board?
It will take someone with soldering skills/knowledge above my level. But, I'm planning to ask a speedometer shop in my area if they can do it. I don't want to have both units damaged so I'm not going to try it myself.

Thanks
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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I went by the local company - Southern Electronics - today. They don't have the equipment to work on the "new" Porsche speedometers. Since this style of speedometer first appeared in 1996, the term "new" covers a lot of territory. They referred me to a guy in Chicago - Best Pixel Repair. He does replace lcd's but only on BMW's. He said the parts for Porsches are unavailable.

Right now I think I have two options:

1. See if a shop with a PIWIS can "turn on" the voltmeter on my hybrid Boxster/Carrera cluster. I'm not sure how that might work but maybe there is something in the software. I checked with my Durametric and that didn't work.

2. Check with Palo Alto Speedometer or North Hollywood Speedometer to see if they can make the voltmeter operational on my Boxster/Carrera cluster.

I paid $150 for the cluster, so I hate to see it go to waste. Maybe someone will need some parts and I can recoup some of the money.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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Kevin, real sorry about that. I wish I hadn't given my old two clusters away for basically nothing. I don't think that Palo Alto speedo is an option. This will cost you several hundred dollar, almost cheaper to find a spare cluster.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZang View Post
Kevin, real sorry about that. I wish I hadn't given my old two clusters away for basically nothing. I don't think that Palo Alto speedo is an option. This will cost you several hundred dollar, almost cheaper to find a spare cluster.
If I recall your posts correctly, I think you had the "new style" cluster, so it wouldn't have been compatible. I don't think Palo Alto or North Hollywood can help based on their responses. I'm still planning to talk with a local independent who has a PIWIS to see if they can activate the voltmeter in my merged Boxster/Carrera cluster. I think that is a long shot, but I"m an eternal optimist.

Oh well, I went into this with a "low-risk, high reward" attitude. I think I can recoup some of the money on the cluster I have if someone needs parts, and I can keep looking for a good used cluster so my investment in the oil pressure sending unit won't be wasted.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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I have done this and can tell you it is due to the programming on the console eprom.

I am a bit of a electronics nerd and used an eprom programmer and a 8 pin clip to copy off the old programming and copy the programming from the 996 cluster onto the boxster chip. the voltmeter works perfectly now, but the fuel gauge is very slightly low. I am planning on doing some experimentation soon to find out what to change on the programming to get it working.

If you want to ship both clusters to me I am happy to copy one to the other for you. I can update mileage as well. Not sure if I can test it as I have a 97 with the old style connectors. I'm also happy to point you in the direction of what to buy (around $250 (Edit - just found a cheap chinese version on ebay for $47)) and how to do it if you want a DIY solution.

PM me for details.

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Old 02-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #11
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Gavin,

As we discussed on the phone, your method worked perfectly. The proof is in the picture.

If anyone needs the equipment to update a Boxster cluster so that it can support a set of 996 gauges, let me know. I'll give members on the 986 Forum first shot before I put it on Ebay.
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Carrera Gauge Cluster with silver gauge faces, heated seats, litronics, painted console

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Old 02-24-2013, 08:06 AM   #12
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KevinH1990,

PM sent on what you have to offer.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:59 PM   #13
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Here's some information for anyone who wants to repair a defective 996 cluster (for example my 996 cluster had a bad lcd) with the good circuit board from a 986. The benefit for me was that I was able to perform the 996 cluster swap by using a defective cluster that cost me $155. It looks like non-defective 996 clusters cost $500 or more, so the savings are significant. In addition, you can swap over the mileage from your Boxster without sending it a speedometer shop. One shop is charging $200 for this service. Gavin Yuill was the person who figured this all out, so he should receive the credit.

Please note - I did this using a cluster from a 2000 996 and a 2000 986. These are the "old style" clusters with the blue, white and black connectors. I don't know if it will work with the "new style" clusters. Also, if you try this at home, you assume all the risks.

The good news about swapping the circuit boards is that the MY 2000 986 and 996 circuit boards are identical. The bad news is that the programming in them is different. In my case, this meant when I attached my 986 circuit board to my 996 gauges the voltmeter didn't work. I also expect that the analog speedometer would be off by a bit and the mileage would be incorrect.

As Gavin says in his post, the way around this is to copy the programming from the 996 circuit board and write it to the 986 circuit board. At the same time, you can copy 3 lines of code from your 986 and use it to update the mileage and the Vehicle Identification Number from your Boxster. You can probably also turn on the cabriolet top operation light and the on board computer as well. However, I did not have to do this in my car. Perhaps Gavin can share this information too.

In order to do this, you need a device called an Eprom programmer. You also need a clip to attach the programmer to your circuit board. On my model year 2000 circuit boards, the chip is above the center lcd and slightly to the left. Here's a picture of the set up:




Here are the basic steps you will follow:

1. Connect the programmer to the Carrera circuit board.
2. Download the programming from the Carrera cluster and save it to a file. (On the EPROM programmer I bought I was required to "swap bytes" when downloading. There is a selection in the programmer software that does this automatically.)
3. Disconnect from the Carrera circuit board and connect to the Boxster circuit board.
4. Download the programming from the Boxster chip.
5. Copy the first line of the Boxster programming and use it to overwrite the first line of code in the file containing the Carrera coding. (This contains the odometer reading. It's encrypted, probably as a deterrent to odometer fraud.)
6. Copy the second half of the second line of the Boxster code and copy it to the second half of the second line of the Carrera code. Copy the first half of the third line of the Boxster code to the first half of the third line of the Carrera code. This updates the VIN.
7. Save the modified code to a new file.
8. Write the modified Carrera code file to the Boxster chip
9. Reassemble everything and you're done.

Here's a picture of the computer code that I copied from my Carrera chip. Note how the VIN starts in the middle of the second line and ends in the middle of the third line.



Note that the EPROM programmer and the clip to connect to the board cost about $140 shipped. I'm willing to sell mine at a discount to anyone who needs to do this. Just send me a PM if you are interested.
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PNP Rear Speakers, HAES 6-channel amp, Avic Z140BH,
Painted Bumperettes, 2004 (OEM) Top and Frame
Homelink transmitter integrated in dash with Targa switch
Carrera Gauge Cluster with silver gauge faces, heated seats, litronics, painted console
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:48 AM   #14
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:22 PM   #15
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I put it all together and took it for a spin. Everything seems to be working perfectly. I even filled up the gas tank and 4 gallons took it from about 3/4 full to full.

This is a picture showing a better view of the programmer is attached to the board.



Here's a shot of the computer screen showing the data and software right after a read of the chip.

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Old 04-11-2013, 07:12 AM   #16
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This is a great write up! I have a 2000 Boxster S and and 99 C2 gauge cluster with a bad LCD, so I am in a similar boat to what you were. I say similar because evidently there could be some differences in the fuel sending units between 99 and 00:

"In addition, the very early C2 cars used a different fuel level sender than the one that is used in the Boxster. As a result, installing an early C2 cluster into a Boxster may not give you the most accurate fuel gauge reading (although I did install one on my project Boxster, and it appears to be working okay)." - Wayne @ Pelican

His swap was a straight cluster for cluster, not the board from the 986 and the gauges from a 996.

My 996 C2 board is part number is 996 641 103 03 70C. (I don't know if it is the "early" style or not)

Is this something that is potentially also correctable via EEPROM, or is that a hardware difference on the board?

Any help from anyone would be appreciated.

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Old 04-11-2013, 08:12 AM   #17
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Kevin, what tools do you need to take apart the cluster, just a torx bit?
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:39 AM   #18
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What are you guys seeing as a going rate just to have the odometer reprogrammed. I just did the silver/white face swap without issues. Unfortunately, the new gauge reads about about 10,000 miles over my actual.

Why this is not recorded on the ECU versus the cluster still stuns me.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffm View Post
What are you guys seeing as a going rate just to have the odometer reprogrammed. I just did the silver/white face swap without issues. Unfortunately, the new gauge reads about about 10,000 miles over my actual.

Why this is not recorded on the ECU versus the cluster still stuns me.
I have heard that Palo Alto Speedometer will do it for $200, but I don't know how current that is. You can buy an EEPROM programmer online for $50-60 and do it yourself with the above instructions.

It makes a little sense to me that the miles would be stored on the cluster. That's where the odometer is located, and on non-computerized cars with analog odometers, that's the only place is gets stored. If it were stored on the ECU, you would have the same problem if you ever changed it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinH1990 View Post
Here's some information for anyone who wants to repair a defective 996 cluster (for example my 996 cluster had a bad lcd) with the good circuit board from a 986. The benefit for me was that I was able to perform the 996 cluster swap by using a defective cluster that cost me $155. It looks like non-defective 996 clusters cost $500 or more, so the savings are significant. In addition, you can swap over the mileage from your Boxster without sending it a speedometer shop. One shop is charging $200 for this service. Gavin Yuill was the person who figured this all out, so he should receive the credit.

Please note - I did this using a cluster from a 2000 996 and a 2000 986. These are the "old style" clusters with the blue, white and black connectors. I don't know if it will work with the "new style" clusters. Also, if you try this at home, you assume all the risks.

The good news about swapping the circuit boards is that the MY 2000 986 and 996 circuit boards are identical. The bad news is that the programming in them is different. In my case, this meant when I attached my 986 circuit board to my 996 gauges the voltmeter didn't work. I also expect that the analog speedometer would be off by a bit and the mileage would be incorrect.

As Gavin says in his post, the way around this is to copy the programming from the 996 circuit board and write it to the 986 circuit board. At the same time, you can copy 3 lines of code from your 986 and use it to update the mileage and the Vehicle Identification Number from your Boxster. You can probably also turn on the cabriolet top operation light and the on board computer as well. However, I did not have to do this in my car. Perhaps Gavin can share this information too.

In order to do this, you need a device called an Eprom programmer. You also need a clip to attach the programmer to your circuit board. On my model year 2000 circuit boards, the chip is above the center lcd and slightly to the left. Here's a picture of the set up:




Here are the basic steps you will follow:

1. Connect the programmer to the Carrera circuit board.
2. Download the programming from the Carrera cluster and save it to a file. (On the EPROM programmer I bought I was required to "swap bytes" when downloading. There is a selection in the programmer software that does this automatically.)
3. Disconnect from the Carrera circuit board and connect to the Boxster circuit board.
4. Download the programming from the Boxster chip.
5. Copy the first line of the Boxster programming and use it to overwrite the first line of code in the file containing the Carrera coding. (This contains the odometer reading. It's encrypted, probably as a deterrent to odometer fraud.)
6. Copy the second half of the second line of the Boxster code and copy it to the second half of the second line of the Carrera code. Copy the first half of the third line of the Boxster code to the first half of the third line of the Carrera code. This updates the VIN.
7. Save the modified code to a new file.
8. Write the modified Carrera code file to the Boxster chip
9. Reassemble everything and you're done.

Here's a picture of the computer code that I copied from my Carrera chip. Note how the VIN starts in the middle of the second line and ends in the middle of the third line.



Note that the EPROM programmer and the clip to connect to the board cost about $140 shipped. I'm willing to sell mine at a discount to anyone who needs to do this. Just send me a PM if you are interested.
Perfect Perfect Perfect for what I need!!!!
I too have a busted LCD screen and I've been looking for an easier fix than buying a brand new cluster.

Kevin/Gavin Thank you for posting this!!!
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