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  SmartCraft Gauge Brightness and Readability

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Author Topic:   SmartCraft Gauge Brightness and Readability
Jefecinco posted 06-11-2010 09:41 AM ET (US)   Profile for Jefecinco   Send Email to Jefecinco  
I'm finding it impossible to read the information and menu portion of my 2009 SmartCraft gauges on a 190 Montauk. If I get extremely close to the gauges I can sometimes read some information. I was able to do the "Quick Cal" setting and adjust "Brightness" and "Contrast" Which did not seem to be of much, if any, help. Attempts to do the "Cal 2" settings were fruitless as I could not read the menus.

The current "Brightness" setting is maximum and the "Contrast" setting is at the center mark.

Reading the analog needle indications is not an issue.

The ambient light was mid-day bright sunlight.

I've tried reading the menus with no glasses, with clear lens glasses and with sunglasses. Nothing seems to help but sunglasses produce the worst result.

It is frustrating to have a lot of useful data available and not to be able to read it. Help, please!

Butch

Jefecinco posted 06-13-2010 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I tried reading the gauges in lower ambient light and found them to be easy to read.

Glen, of veradoclub, suggested a voltage check which I have done getting a reading of 12.5 volts at the battery. I intend to attempt opening the gauge power supply wiring at the first connection downstream from one gauge and reading the voltage at that point. If voltage at that point is equal to voltage at the battery I'll conclude that a high resistance connection is not causing the issue.

If this issue is not caused by lower than optimal voltage or if I'm unable to check the voltage at the gauge it will be time to contact a dealer to check my options.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

Butch

Dauntless 180 posted 06-16-2010 07:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless 180  Send Email to Dauntless 180     
Butch
Do you know anyone else running SC gauges you can compare to yours? Is the dealer close enough to stop by and take a look? You might want to ask about updating to the new gauges. You can select from different colors in the background.

http://www.mercurymarine.com/_media/pdfs/smartcraft/components/ MercMonitor-sell-sheet.pdf

jimh posted 06-16-2010 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am assuming the display of the Mercury SmartCraft gauge uses liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. All liquid crystal displays depend on a backlight to function. If the backlight of the display is low in light output, the display will have a low contrast ratio and be hard to read. I suspect that the backlight light output is probably proportional to the applied voltage that operates the gauge, and this is why you were given a suggestion to check the voltage available to the gauge.

In a liquid crystal display, the display creates contrast by electrically controlling the light transmission through the individual pixels of the display. Each pixel acts like a variable light shutter, either allowing the light from the backlight to pass through or blocking the light. The amount of light transmission through each pixel is also affected by the temperature of the liquid crystal medium. If the display surface becomes very warm, the liquid crystal medium tends to block light, and it no longer responds to the normal electrical control signal. This result is the display tends to darken. If operating in extreme cold, the opposite occurs; the liquid crystal pixels tend to pass light, and the display contrast is significantly reduced.

In Butch's case I suspect that heat is a more likely environmental problem than cold. If the LCD is exposed to direct sunlight for 15 minutes or more, it may become so warm that it loses its contrast and goes very dark.

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