Tuesday 7 May 2013

Mazda MX-5 Hazard Switch

Ever wondered what is inside the NC hazard switch panel? I have so I got hold of a busted one and set about dismantling it. Not because I was bored or anything, more that I had an idea to customise the switch panel and wanted to know more about how it was put together.  Here is the switch panel from a soft top model...
You can tell this as it doesn't have the retractable hard top roof switches which are normally positioned either side (more on that later).

First job is to separate the white plastic mounting piece from the front cover piece.  This is attached with several small plastic clips. To remove it you'll need some long thin screwdrivers to prise apart the plastic cover and gently pull the white piece out.
I have a method that uses small stainless washers for this kind of job. Seems to work quite well. Once removed the white piece looks like this.
And the black piece looks like this.
An interesting thing to note about the black cover piece is it has a sort of hidden lens for the passenger airbag warning light.  If you hold it up to the light you can see what I mean.  It should be fairly easy to change the colour of this illumination if it bothers you.  Perhaps you could use a small piece of window tint film on the inside?
The next step is to remove the inner black plastic piece from the white plastic piece.  Here is where my stainless washer method comes in handy.  The pieces are held together with lots of those annoying little plastic clips that you have to bend out of the way.  The method of wedging little washers between works nicely, you can see what I mean from the picture below.
Now all you have to do is gently pull the two pieces apart.  Be careful though as there is an electrical pin connection you don't want to damage.
Hopefully that went well and you didn't break anything!  The next step is a bit tricky and requires you to grab that circuit board with some pliers and pull it out.  It took me a while to figure out how it was attached to the main switch but it just pushes on to a micro switch and should pop off without any trouble.  You'll then be left with the interesting bit... the circuit board itself.  Mazda use surface mount LEDs for the dash lights in the Mk3, moved on quite a bit from the previous generation's filament bulbs.  It's all very modern and I do approve.
Studying this circuit board you will see there are markings for the additional roof control switches and the front plastic cover has the cut outs marked.  Not really useful but an interesting point if your into that sort of thing.

One thing to mention is the hazard push button itself is not coming out of the white plastic piece without a fight.  Here is the aftermath of mine, I won in the end but it was tough going!
If you've reached this stage you'd now be in a position to do something interesting with the hazard switch panel.  Perhaps fitting a custom stainless switch, or some additional switches for other things.  Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this and it will be of some use in the future.