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Old 09-08-2015, 16:00   #1
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Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

I'm replacing all four gauges (tach, oil pressure, water temp, volts) and would like to know if that is any difference in night visibility (with instrument panel lights on) between gauges with white face/black lettering or black face/white lettering.

Custom instrument panel will be in cockpit coaming, to stbd of helm.
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Old 09-08-2015, 16:33   #2
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

White face works best in low light. It is not the color of the lettering but the color of the needle that you will notice.

In practice it is not so much that you can tell the needle for whatever is exactly 1/3 of the way between 3 and 4 in normal situations, it catches your eye because it is in between 6 and 7 instead of between 3 and 4.

However, you can just do a google image search for "analog dash gauges" and you can compare all the pictures against each other and decide for yourself. What works best for me might not work best for you.
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Old 09-08-2015, 16:52   #3
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

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White face works best in low light...
Black faces work best in low light conditions.
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Old 09-08-2015, 17:02   #4
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

White lettering is easier to see in darker conditions, nevertheless have panel (red) lights.

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Old 09-08-2015, 19:19   #5
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

Black dials with white letters are less apt to interfere with your night vision, as less night time illumination is required.
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Old 10-08-2015, 07:11   #6
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

My preference is black face, white letters and a red indicator...
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:00   #7
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

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Black dials with white letters are less apt to interfere with your night vision, as less night time illumination is required.
Our instruments have black faces and white lettering. We also got some paint from a watch repairer for the needles and now they glow faintly at night. When we got the boat I thought that someone had got it wrong but now I realise that this modification really does work better than then the other way around.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:57   #8
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Re: Replacing Gauges: white or black ?

Personally I prefer white background with black lettering but then I am colourblind. The other way round I find can sometimes make the characters blurry or even float around. I even bought custom dials for my old car to avoid this problem!!

Key is to make sure you have the ability to reduce the backlight level of the gauges and to have a backlit needle (red is best) as you can judge the value by the needle position without actually having to see the numbers.

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