Category Archives: car technology

Avantime Tips: Rev Counter Bulbs!

One of the Taylor Made Computers Avantimes.
One of the Taylor Made Computers Avantimes.

A quick update, just to put this out on the internet! A lot of UK Avantime owners have asked in various forums and mailing lists how to replace the bulbs on the small rev counter display just above the steering wheel. Yes, if you’ve got an old Avantime, that thing that looks like a small oddment tray (as it is on the passenger side) is another backlit orange LCD panel. If the light catches it at the right angle you’ll be able to see the display.

The official guide essentially talks through stripping down the entire dash, and these are 13+ year old Renault/Matra plastics, so such a process is intimidating. Chances of a 100% perfect repair, with no broken clips or screw guides, are slim. Fortunately that guide is really talking about replacing the entire panel.

It is possible, if you have sufficiently long forearms and skinny-to-average wrists and hands, to reach up from the footwell roughly aligned with the space between throttle and brake pedal. You need to lie on your back in the footwell to get your shoulder directly under the steering column to have enough reach, and be aware of the modules and wiring in the space, don’t push or lean on bits, just find the natural path straight up to the back of the display. You’ll feel a rectangular shape with three circular holes and in the holes, the bases of the wedge-style bulbs. These are Osram 38754/2351MFX6, 12V 1.2W with a socket on the base and black holder; Ring R509TMBK looks to be the right replacement and easily found in the UK for around 89p each.

To remove the bulbs, clearance is tight – I wrapped a 6mm socket in bluetack to provide enough grip. They only need a little counter-clockwise turn to release. Refitting is the reverse; I put a very small bit of bluetack in the socket to hold the bulb in place whilst feeding it up to the display.


Once you have the knack it takes just a few minutes to restore brightness. Regrettably the centre LCD of the main display does need all the dismantling of the top panel, but at least it is just the top.

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Kenwood DNX-7200 & KCA-BT200 review

Kenwood DNX-7200Whilst it is not the intention of Geextreme to focus on in-car entertainment, it IS an appealing area of the market to look at, both for the sort of products you get to play with and the lack of competition! Ever since I got my first Japanese import car with a Double-DIN aperture, I’ve wanted a decent multimedia setup in my car. With the new Kenwood DNX-8120 pointing to an EU-market 8200 in a few months (sales of the DNX-8220BT are now beginning, with prices around £1,050), the existing “fully featured” DNX-7200 is a compelling purchase with heavy discounting from the original RRP.

Continue reading Kenwood DNX-7200 & KCA-BT200 review

Pioneer AVH-P5900DVD review

Pioneer AVH-P5900DVD (Manufacturer’s Image)Following the replacement of the original radio in the Delica, I upgraded to the Pioneer AVH-P5900DVD with iPod connectivity. This is marketed by Halfords as a “made for iPod” unit, though their website erroneously stated that the necessary CD-I200 cable is not included. Installation was sufficiently simple that it was done in the Halfords car park in a matter of minutes, and as such with a wallet £519 lighter (web price at the time of purchase, now available between £470 and £600 online), I was able to enjoy AV in the Delica again. However; comparisons with the Ripspeed DV920i are inevitable, and they aren’t all in the Pioneer’s favour…
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Ripspeed DV920i

Halfords’ own brand range of in-car headunits and accessories, ranging from inexpensive MP3 players to full multimedia systems with “dubious” discount pricing, seems to have escaped the attentions of most online reviewers. As a car enthusiast and technology obsessive with an iPod, the connectivity offered by these inexpensive devices seemed quite compelling. After a quick check on the store displays to see how it all worked, my 1996 Mitsubishi Delica was fitted with the latest offering at the time, the DV920i. The lack of online reviews of this device partially prompted this site’s creation!

Continue reading Ripspeed DV920i