While driving home at night I stopped at a stop sign across the street from my house. Smoke started coming out of the defroster vent on the drivers side. At the same time my instrument cluster began to flicker. The smoke stopped and the instrument cluster had a dim white glow but no display. I took the dash apart and inspected the instrument cluster and found a burnt spot at the top center of the circuit board. It appears that either a capacitor or diode had failed and caught fire. A picture is included. The item is barrel shaped round with a wire coming out of each end that is soldered to the back of the circuit board. I tried to attach a picture to this question but could not find a way to do it. Any idea of what this item might be that failed. It is about 1/4 inch long with a single wire coming out of each end that is soldered to the back of the circuit board. In the past I could go to Radio Shack. But it has since gone bankrupt and our store has closed. Thank youenter image description here

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  • That is slightly blurry, it's hard to figure out TBH. If you could post more pictures from different angles it would help.
    – GdD
    Nov 29, 2019 at 8:15
  • It looks like there could be damage to the board, which could complicate things. There are many instrument cluster repair services out there which tend to be very reasonable, you may want to consider one of those before trying to fix this yourself.
    – GdD
    Nov 29, 2019 at 8:26
  • I just posted a clearer picture. The instrument cluster appear to work like a computer screen. I have removed it, but the car still starts and all of the other electrical stuff works just fine. I just can not view what's going on with speed, fuel level, turn signals, etc.
    – user53873
    Nov 30, 2019 at 16:14
  • You can never put the smoke back in. Aug 22, 2021 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


Go to "Edit" and you add image by clicking the icon shown here: enter image description here

When I first read your post before you had the image uploaded I wast thinking it may be a tvs diode but based off the photo it looks kind of funny to be tvs diode, still 'd say its either tvs, schottky or maybe some other diode for protection. You may have a short in the cluster, short coming into cluster or it just crapped out itself. I would remove it. Maybe could get a better idea of what it is. Then use use a DMM to first check for shorts between supply's and ground on the board. The unit may even work with out it. Keep in mind if it was a tvs diode then you had some series issue's hit the unit and if left off and reinstalled your cluster would likely get fried even worse.

  • 1
    Thanks for showing me how to add a picture.
    – user53873
    Nov 29, 2019 at 2:15
  • At first glance I was thinking this is a resistor but it has a chamfer at one end, and there’s a ‘+’ sign on the circuit board, so I’d be inclined to think it’s a diode, perhaps a zener. The board is scorched but doesn’t appear to have damaged the copper tracks significantly. This will be tricky to fix since a wiring diagram for the vehicle is unlikely to extend to a schematic of this board. While it’s possible that this is a single component failure, it could be that something else has failed and caused this. As @GdD suggests, finding a repair shop would be a good bet.
    – Frog
    Aug 22, 2021 at 20:21

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