I recently picked up a Fostex-R8 eight track reel-to-reel recorder, and then snagged one of these Fostex 450 mixers to go with it. The mixer worked great except for the LED VU meters. most of the LED's appeared dead like in the above 'before' GIF. Lurking around the internet, in forums, and message boards, I came to realize this is a common problem with these machines. Luckily my R8's LED's are all working fine. I believe the VU meter boards are all very similar between the various Fostex mixers and reel-to-reels. So, this little tutorial might help out anyone with one or more of these machines. With patience and a steady hand, you too can have all new fully functional VU meters!
Here's one finished board. The plastic diffuser piece fits right back over the new LED's, and the PCB snaps right back into place. I'm not going to lie, it's a tedious job, but once your done you'll have fully functional beautiful bright new VU meters. They should last a good long while too. I hope this helps some people out! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
If anyone has dead LED's and isn't comfortable doing this procedure themselves I might offer a repair service in the future. Ideally you'd be able to remove the VU boards yourself, and mail them to me instead of the whole machine. I haven't worked out prices, but it would be reasonable (cost of materials and time).