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Old 08-06-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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Entire Instrument Cluster Flashing - Gauges Spastic ***UPDATE***

Took the Boxster out for some exercise this morning, and out of the blue, the entire instrument cluster started flashing. All lights were flashing, and the gauge needles were twitching. Headed straight home and don't know where to start. I did connect the battery to my trickle charger, but there was no issue starting the car this morning. Could low voltage cause this?

https://youtu.be/4DezdcUzGAg

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Old 08-06-2018, 10:25 AM   #2
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Start by pulling and reconnecting the three connectors on the back.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:43 AM   #3
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Start by pulling and reconnecting the three connectors on the back.
Should I spray them with an electronics cleaner during the process?

Thanks!!
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:47 AM   #4
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No, just unplug and plug back in.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:11 AM   #5
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No, just unplug and plug back in.
OK, thanks, I'll see if I can pull the cluster tonight.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:46 AM   #6
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I assume that this appeared after taking the car off the charger? Was there any potential issue (arc, ground,etc) that might have happened when removing charger? Any other strangeness (windows, locks, climate control, spoiler)? Any fuses blown? Does the car start without being on the charger?

As an FYI, I had some electrical gremlins with an old battery that I kept trying to charge; a new battery solved the issues. For now, if your old battery is showing good voltage, you could try disconnecting the battery, waiting a bit and reconnecting. I don't want to dispute particlewave (as he's the expert on most things electrical), but I don't know if the cluster connections are the first thing I would look at if you believe the issue stems from the battery...although disconnecting the cluster and reconnecting might reset.

As always, I look forward to being wrong...but I do wish you success.
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:58 PM   #7
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I just replaced the battery recently. It was not on a charger before this incident occurred. The car started fine this morning. I put the battery on a trickle charger when I got home, thinking it could possibly be a low-voltage situation. Everything else works fine, A/C, windows, locks, etc. Definitely strange.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:14 PM   #8
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I'm not saying 100% that the connectors are the issue, but since you didn't mention anything else electrical, that's where I'd start.

The connectors are notorious for causing cluster issues, usually after having removed the cluster for some reason, though it is still the first thing I'd check.
Remove two screws and it pops right out, so it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. You could also just have a cluster or ignition switch problem.


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Old 08-06-2018, 01:20 PM   #9
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After the cluster plugs, I would like to suggest that you check voltage while off and running with a multi-meter and report those numbers.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:37 PM   #10
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After the cluster plugs, I would like to suggest that you check voltage while off and running with a multi-meter and report those numbers.

Where's the best spot to check voltage?

The car has run/operated perfectly normal since the battery replacement, so this just came up out of the blue, which would lead me away from the battery. I would assume (I know, always dangerous) that if there was sufficient voltage to start the car, it should be enough to power the cluster.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:41 PM   #11
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You could also just have a cluster or ignition switch problem.
The ignition switch was my first thought.
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:33 PM   #12
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Well, I just started the car, and the instrument cluster is still blinking. Before I pull it and re-set the connections, I noticed that the seat belt chime is also interrupted, and sounds with the same pattern as the blinking lights on the cluster.

Does that help narrow the issue, or am I in the same situation regardless?
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:58 PM   #13
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The chime is in the cluster, so same issue. Sounds like it may be the main power to the cluster (possibly a bad connection) since most everything in it is affected.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:13 PM   #14
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Ok...Out it comes!

Thanks a bunch! By the way, it seems 50/50 whether folks disconnect the battery. Can I get away without doing so?
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:26 PM   #15
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Yes, disconnect it to be safe.
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:32 PM   #16
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Ok...Out it comes!

Thanks a bunch! By the way, it seems 50/50 whether folks disconnect the battery. Can I get away without doing so?
And put a towel on the dash to rest the cluster. It is easy to scratch the leather dash.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:55 AM   #17
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I pulled the instrument cluster this morning, removed and reinstalled the connectors, and I'm still experiencing the same issue.

I also pulled and reinstalled the fuses related to the instrument cluster, which if I remember correctly, was B1 and B10.

Any ideas where to look next?
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:01 AM   #18
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On another note, I found my light switch was fairly stiff going through the various settings. Could this possibly be related in some way? What about a failing relay?

Also, looking at my service records, the prior owner replaced the ignition switch in 2011. I realize that doesn't mean it's good, but just want you to have all information for troubleshooting purposes.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:43 PM   #19
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OK, so I did a bit more investigative work, and I'm still at square one. What I've done so far:

1. Disconnected the battery, reconnected it, and followed the re-connection procedure.
2. Pulled fuses B1, B10 and E1. All good.
3. Pulled the instrument cluster and removed/reinstalled the plugs.
4. Checked the electrical operation of other components. Everything works fine.
5. Confirmed that the ignition switch was replaced in 2011.
6. The ignition switch operates smoothly, but that doesn't mean the electrical portion does.

Is is possible that the electrical portion of the ignition switch has failed? Would that cause the entire instrument cluster to act in this way?
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:47 PM   #20
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It's possible that the ignition switch is failing, but you would usually see other systems affected. Wouldn't hurt to try. If it doesn't fix it, at least you'll have a good spare switch.

I think the cluster has an onboard regulated power supply (I honestly don't remember for sure). Since the entire cluster is affected, that would be suspect.

I'd also check all solder joints, especially the connector pins, and the ribbon cables/connections between the front and rear halves of the cluster.


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Last edited by particlewave; 08-08-2018 at 12:50 PM.
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