To make the gauges brighter, twist the stalk to the right. To dim the gauges, twist it to the left.
If only it were that simple! Now with Automatic light activation,
Day/Night map views, auto-dimming dashboard disable, etc…..
The brightness control for the Infotainment 7″ screen (as well as the 3″ high radio if you have that instead) is tied in with the Instrument Cluster control knob stalk (shown above) that primarily controls the illumination brightness of the all gauges, switches and controls (including within the steering wheel, doors and center console), yet behaves somewhat differently regarding the screen backlighting, and I think the manual does a poor job of explaining this*.
- The knob (just above the left-most gauge) blends into the cluster arrangement nicely, and until you actually look for it, you may not realize it even exists, let alone have a clue* as to it’s effect on the Infotainment screen. For that reason alone, don’t let the car wash brutes inside your car, or you’ll find out sometime after you’ve tipped them, that the stalk has been broken!
- There are no detents at the maximum dim (counter-clockwise) and maximum bright (clockwise) positions that intentionally disable the auto-dimming feature tied with ambient light level and/or exterior lights activation. Instead, there is a quiet (sometimes undetectable, just like the turn-signal sound) beep to let you know you have dialed-in the maximum level of brightness (or dimness) and that rotating the knob past these positions will have no effect. In other words, the knob doesn’t control the brightness of the screen in the same manner as the gauges, but it does enable/disable auto-dimming, so the light sensor actually controls the dimming when auto-dimming is enabled.
- The maximum brightness position cancels the illumination dimmer and all gauges will remain at full bright, even if only the position lights are turned on, but more importantly, this feature allows you to have your headlights and/or position lights on in the daytime yet still be able to view your Infotainment screen content during the bright daylight hours (even if you are wearing Polaroid® sunglasses which significantly reduces the viewability of the display even more).
- For those that have AUTO lights, you have to be careful to not put stickers, i-Pass devices, dashcams, etc. near the windshield cluster (behind the rear view mirror) so as to block the ambient light sensor (which is also your rain sensor for the auto wipers) that can diminish the expected behavior.
- Because of the knob being multi-function, you may not be aware of all it can do. Besides controlling illumination, the display mode can be changed from odometer to “Trip computer A” to “Trip computer B” and then back to odometer by pushing the knob in towards the dash while one of the modes are displayed. It can also be used to reset the trip computer(s).
* Notice how the effect on the Infotainment screen (referred to as center display) is so hard to find in the MX-5 manual as well…