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2018 OB 3.6R Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yeah, I know, this is small.... But it's annoying. My new 2018 OB Ltd 3.6R is great; love the ride, power, electronics.

But....The mirror displays the compass point in RED. I see it out of the corner of my eye, and it feels like an alert. It's a bright, fire engine red, and not easy to ignore (as an alert should be). In my prior 2008 LLB OB it was green, and easy to take. Anyone know if there's a way to change the color?
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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The color is likely in the LED part itself, not in selective color filtering. Changing it would involve finding a new part in the same package style and correct color, and then soldering at board level. I wouldn't recommend this unless you have proper SMT equipment and the skill to do it.
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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14,499 Posts
I think johnre covered it, though I'll point out that these mirrors are modular and not at all specific to Subaru. Gentex makes most of them, and they make many different varieties. You can swap out the one you have for another. They're all available with the correct mount and they all use the same 3-wire connection to the car: +12v, ground & reverse select signal.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Crystal White Pearl with Ivory Cloth, with Eyesight and self dimming outside mirrors.
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358 Posts
Yeah, I know, this is small.... But it's annoying. My new 2018 OB Ltd 3.6R is great; love the ride, power, electronics.

But....The mirror displays the compass point in RED. I see it out of the corner of my eye, and it feels like an alert. It's a bright, fire engine red, and not easy to ignore (as an alert should be). In my prior 2008 LLB OB it was green, and easy to take. Anyone know if there's a way to change the color?
I feel the same way and was about to allow my very technically capable sons to cut the power to the display when searching through the manual on another matter I found that the compass display can be turned off. Press the on-off button that controls the self darkening mirror, hold for three seconds or until the display is no longer illuminated. The self darkening mirror still functions and can be turned off or back on with a quick press of the button. This should help out until you can get info on changing out the mirror, for one with a more agreeable color display. Let use know what you find out. This has become one of the the steps in my pre-flight checklist.
 

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2018 OB 3.6R Limited
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I think I'll either live with it or turn off the display. I spoke w/Subaru Tech who suggested that. There's no way to change the color. And swapping out the mirror on my brand new baby? It would hurt too much.... I drilled holes to install the side cargo nets in the rear, and I was trembling a little when I pulled the trigger! Went fine, but mirror? Electrics? I'll wait a couple of years until the newness wears off a bit. Thanks for the responses, though.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Crystal White Pearl with Ivory Cloth, with Eyesight and self dimming outside mirrors.
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358 Posts
Well, I think I'll either live with it or turn off the display. I spoke w/Subaru Tech who suggested that. There's no way to change the color. And swapping out the mirror on my brand new baby? It would hurt too much.... I drilled holes to install the side cargo nets in the rear, and I was trembling a little when I pulled the trigger! Went fine, but mirror? Electrics? I'll wait a couple of years until the newness wears off a bit. Thanks for the responses, though.
As I said I turn mine off every time I start the engine, as shutting down and restarting does reboot the display.
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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I think they chose red because red doesn't interfere with your night vision.

From Wikipedia.

Use of red lights
The insensitivity of rods to long-wavelength light has led to the use of red lights under certain special circumstances for example, in the control rooms of submarines, in research laboratories, aircraft, or during naked-eye astronomy.

Under conditions where it is desirable to have both the photopic and scotopic systems active, red lights provide a solution. Submarines are well lit to facilitate the vision of the crew members working there, but the control room must be lit differently to allow crew members to read instrument panels yet remain dark adjusted. By using red lights, or wearing red goggles, the cones can receive enough light to provide photopic vision (namely the high-acuity vision required for reading). The rods are not saturated by the bright red light because they are not sensitive to long-wavelength light, so the crew members remain dark adapted. Similarly, airplane cockpits use red lights so pilots can read their instruments and maps while maintaining night vision to see outside the aircraft.

Red lights are also often used in research settings. Many research animals (such as rats and mice) have limited photopic vision, as they have far fewer cone photoreceptors. By using red lights, the animal subjects are kept "in the dark" (the active period for nocturnal animals), but the human researchers, who have one kind of cone (the "L cone") that is sensitive to long wavelengths, are able to read instruments or perform procedures that would be impractical even with fully dark adapted (but low acuity) scotopic vision. For the same reason, zoo displays of nocturnal animals often are illuminated with red light.
 
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2017 2.5i Premium Crystal White Pearl with Ivory Cloth, with Eyesight and self dimming outside mirrors.
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I think they chose red because red doesn't interfere with your night vision.

From Wikipedia.

Use of red lights
The insensitivity of rods to long-wavelength light has led to the use of red lights under certain special circumstances for example, in the control rooms of submarines, in research laboratories, aircraft, or during naked-eye astronomy.

Under conditions where it is desirable to have both the photopic and scotopic systems active, red lights provide a solution. Submarines are well lit to facilitate the vision of the crew members working there, but the control room must be lit differently to allow crew members to read instrument panels yet remain dark adjusted. By using red lights, or wearing red goggles, the cones can receive enough light to provide photopic vision (namely the high-acuity vision required for reading). The rods are not saturated by the bright red light because they are not sensitive to long-wavelength light, so the crew members remain dark adapted. Similarly, airplane cockpits use red lights so pilots can read their instruments and maps while maintaining night vision to see outside the aircraft.

Red lights are also often used in research settings. Many research animals (such as rats and mice) have limited photopic vision, as they have far fewer cone photoreceptors. By using red lights, the animal subjects are kept "in the dark" (the active period for nocturnal animals), but the human researchers, who have one kind of cone (the "L cone") that is sensitive to long wavelengths, are able to read instruments or perform procedures that would be impractical even with fully dark adapted (but low acuity) scotopic vision. For the same reason, zoo displays of nocturnal animals often are illuminated with red light.
Deutans are people with deuteranomaly, a type of red-green color blindness in which the green cones do not detect enough green and are too sensitive to yellows, oranges, and reds.

Must be why things red seem to jump out at me. Like the red display in the mirror. Maybe why when I was much younger
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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Deutans are people with deuteranomaly, a type of red-green color blindness in which the green cones do not detect enough green and are too sensitive to yellows, oranges, and reds.

Must be why things red seem to jump out at me. Like the red display in the mirror. Maybe why when I was much younger
Looks like there was more to your story that didn't make it into your post.

Interesting stuff though. Despite struggling with this since I was a kid I have still really never learned much about color blindness. I have two strong memories about my color deficiency. One is getting asked why I used a brown crayon to color a picture with a forest. I didn't understand what was wrong with it and why they wondered if the trees were dead. Another time I remember being in the car with my family and asking why they call it a "green light" when it is white?

It makes life more interesting than it needs to be sometimes.
 

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A friend of mine in college 40+ years ago had red/green colorblindness. Some of the traffic signals in small towns nearby had red above green in one direction, as is customary, but green above red for the crossing street, which is not, so a single bulb would illuminate both "stop" and "go" lights, making the signals *much* cheaper. Those were a problem - she literally could not tell if she had a red or green light. I think those have since been banished for that very reason; I certainly hope so!
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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Looks like there was more to your story that didn't make it into your post.

Interesting stuff though. Despite struggling with this since I was a kid I have still really never learned much about color blindness. I have two strong memories about my color deficiency. One is getting asked why I used a brown crayon to color a picture with a forest. I didn't understand what was wrong with it and why they wondered if the trees were dead. Another time I remember being in the car with my family and asking why they call it a "green light" when it is white?

It makes life more interesting than it needs to be sometimes.
Kind of explains why you have a purple Outback that Subaru insists on calling Blue. lol >:)
 
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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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If it bothered me that much (regardless if it were a medical condition or otherwise) I would permanently disable it. That can be as simple as a piece of pvc tape over the corner of the mirror. Tape comes in different colors. So long as it is opaque, it should block the display.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Crystal White Pearl with Ivory Cloth, with Eyesight and self dimming outside mirrors.
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Looks like there was more to your story that didn't make it into your post.
I had paused trying to tactfully phrase a comment about redheads. As my mind had wondered I clicked submit not realizing I hadn't finished.

I had that same problem as you, with colors.
 

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Many many years ago, I purchased a Gentex mirror with compass and Homelink to install in my 2003 Toyota 4Runner (2 cars ago) to replace a Gentex mirror with just compass. I bought the mirror off of a vendor on eBay, who gave me an option to change the color of the compass display. The default Gentex mirror came with a green display and I opted to change it to a orange color to match the rest of the instrumentation in the 4Runner. I have no idea how he did it, I just know that it can be done and amazingly enough, he didn't charge me extra for it.

Not really a helpful post other than to provide an existence proof that what you seek to do can be done.
 

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If it bothered me that much (regardless if it were a medical condition or otherwise) I would permanently disable it. That can be as simple as a piece of pvc tape over the corner of the mirror. Tape comes in different colors. So long as it is opaque, it should block the display.
As long as it as it was opaque it would stop that section of the mirror from being a mirror! It only takes 3 seconds to turn it of and the whole mirror continues to function as a mirror.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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The default Gentex mirror came with a green display and I opted to change it to a orange color to match the rest of the instrumentation in the 4Runner. I have no idea how he did it, I just know that it can be done and amazingly enough, he didn't charge me extra for it.
Many SMT LED components are now multi-color capable, and there may have been a SW setup option for this. To work, it needs the LED component, all the connections to the multi-color diodes, the HW drivers, to the diodes the SW control, and most importantly, the know how to do it all correctly Sounds like this vendor had it all together!
 

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I was more or less disappointed the first time I drove my new OB at night and found the red lighted controls, especially with the white main dials and climate and the blue HK HU. Maybe this is a forever Subaru thing, but I've gotten over it. Also, switched the HK to red background to look more uniform. JMO.
 
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