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Topic: Automobile blinker lights (Solved) (Read 2908 times) previous topic - next topic

wikitjuggla

Jun 07, 2013, 04:57 am Last Edit: Jul 25, 2013, 07:12 pm by wikitjuggla Reason: 1
I have a buick century and for what ever reason all of those cars have the front blinker lights stay constantly on during daytime driving. well this major design flaw causes the bulbs to get too hot and melt or break very rapidly. I am trying to write an arduino sketch to make them only come on when i use the blinker. one way of doing it would be hooking the blinker wire to my arduino and setting an output (with a relay of course) to turn the output wire ON every time the input wire is OFF. problem is, when the headlights turn on, the duel element bulbs turn the blinker element off and the parking light element on so if i used that sketch the blinker element would be on all the time at night. I need to devise a way to have the parking light lead wire be interpreted by the arduino in a way to avoid this but i am not sure how. I have a sample sketch that will not work but gives an idea what i am trying to do

Code: [Select]


int blinker = 2;
int parking = 3;
int blinkerout = 5;
int parkingout = 6;

void setup()
{
 pinMode(blinker,INPUT);
 pinMode(parking,INPUT);
 pinMode(blinkerout,OUTPUT);
 pinMode(parkingout,OUTPUT);
}
 
 
void loop() {
  if (digitalRead(blinker) == HIGH) {
   digitalWrite(blinkerout, HIGH); // my relay board uses LOW to
 } else {                          //activate the relays
   digitalWrite(blinkerout, LOW);
 }}



Help is greatly appreciated. Thank you

Why can you not just wire the front blinkers to the back blinkers?

Nick_Pyner


I have a buick century and for what ever reason all of those cars have the front blinker lights stay constantly on during daytime driving. well this major design flaw causes the bulbs to get too hot and melt or break very rapidly. I am trying to write an arduino sketch to make them only come on when i use the blinker.


Who know what sort of Buick Century you've got but this sounds like a gross misuse of resources - something you might discover when you start installing the Arduino. Are you sure you can't solve the problem simply by removing a fuse?

If the car is modern, you may find that your real problem is going be how to deceive the on-board computer into thinking that there is nothing amiss with the electrical system. In short, you could end up simply moving the problem from the blinkers to the dashboard.

wikitjuggla

the blinker wiring is simple enough that the computer would not know the difference. i've mapped out the entire project and the physical portion of putting it together would be easy as can be. The code is where i am stuck. Problem with wiring the front blinkers to the rear is that the rear blinker lights also serve as the brake lights so every time i would brake the front blinkers would light up. one solution would be taking the dash and steering column apart and running all new wires and a new flasher unit to the blinker switch but that would be an extremely painful amount of work and even more resources of which i am not in possession of. i already have everything i need for hooking in an arduino

Nick_Pyner

LoL, while working on the column could be a fate worse than  death, it shouldn't be necessary, and Stoopkid's advice is probably good. All you need to get at is the harness connector at the base, which, if you did use an Arduino, is surely the obvious place to put it  anyway. You may well find that that connector has all you need, fully provisioned to make the conversion.  As far as I am aware,  North America is the only place where cars still flash their brake lights to blink and, indeed, I seem to recall some amber flashers in the US. Everybody else uses separate amber and exported American cars have to comply. They certainly do here. You can be pretty sure this is accomplished by a simple bit of juggling at the harness connector, which is a one-size-fits-all item.

wikitjuggla

Is the harness connector at the base of the steering column? Most cars in the U.S. do have separate amber lights on the rear now but most of GM cars do not except for a few that are less than several years old. Mine is a 2000 and every single buick century and buick regal between 96'-05' has that stupid blinker problem. The bulbs last about a month before the contacts and the plastic melt to the point where they can't make contact with the bulb holder plug

DVDdoug

#6
Jun 11, 2013, 09:42 pm Last Edit: Jun 11, 2013, 10:06 pm by DVDdoug Reason: 1
If I understand correctly, the idea is to reverse the on/off state during the day, and not reverse the state at night when the parking lights are on...

In that case you simply need a couple more if-statements to so something different if it's nighttime. (Nested if-else statements.)

Code: [Select]

if(digitalRead(parking) == LOW)  // If it's DAY, reverse the logic
{
  if (digitalRead(blinker) == HIGH)
    digitalWrite(blinkerout, HIGH);    //Off -  my relay board uses LOW to activate the relays

  else
    digitalWrite(blinkerout, LOW);     // Blink On
}

else  // If it's NIGHT, do not reverse the logic
{
  if (digitalRead(blinker) == HIGH)
    digitalWrite(blinkerout, LOW);    //Blink On -  my relay board uses LOW to activate the relays

  else 
    digitalWrite(blinkerout, HIGH);     // Blink Off
}


P.S.
If you are not doing this already, use voltage dividers (a pair of resistors) on the inputs so you are not putting 12V into the Arduino.   

And, test & debug with LEDs before re-wiring the car. ;)

Since this doesn't requre any memory or timing, it could be done more cheaply with logic gates (AND gates, OR gates & inverters).   I haven't designed the circuit, but (on each side) there are 2-inputs (4 input states) and one output (2-states), so it shouldn't be that difficult...  It all depends on if you are more comfortable with hardware or software.



 

Nick_Pyner

#7
Jun 12, 2013, 03:05 am Last Edit: Jun 12, 2013, 03:33 am by Nick_Pyner Reason: 1

Is the harness connector at the base of the steering column? Most cars in the U.S.


It's bound to be down there somewhere, probably on the column assembly. All cars are built the same. The steering assembly is swung in through the window opening, the spline is engaged, a few bolts tightened, one big plug is snapped in, and on to the next one.

Quote
Mine is a 2000 and every single buick century and buick regal between 96'-05' has that stupid blinker problem.


You can be sure there is a Buick owners' forum, just like this one and, if it is that common, this problem is surely a regular topic. I'm sure it is easily solved.

It's not for me to begrudge you the intellectual exercise, but I submit that using an Arduino to solve a problem that was solved in 1953 with, at most, a pair of double throw relays is just plain silly. Worse, your Buick-driving mates might agree with me. Arduino has four vital facilities - programmable logic, timer, memory, and communication. You are planning to use the first and waste the other three. Arduino is better used for more interesting things, and whatever you do use to fix the problem can come out of the box ready to run on 12 volts. If you have to add some contraption to fix this, you might try stripping the flasher relay out of an MG TD or a 1955 Rolls Royce. I'm sure it can be pressed into service and it would impress your friends no end. Instant hero.......

I guess a 2000 is old enough to escape being plagued by CANbus, so my comment about computers does not apply.

My 2c.......  


Henry_Best


the blinker wiring is simple enough that the computer would not know the difference. i've mapped out the entire project and the physical portion of putting it together would be easy as can be. The code is where i am stuck. Problem with wiring the front blinkers to the rear is that the rear blinker lights also serve as the brake lights so every time i would brake the front blinkers would light up.
Surely that could be solved with a couple of diodes wired to prevent the brake light voltage getting as far as the front indicators.

wikitjuggla

how would a diode help? cause the brake and blinker share the same wire and if i placed a diode on that wire it would keep any current from getting to the front blinker

Henry_Best


how would a diode help? cause the brake and blinker share the same wire and if i placed a diode on that wire it would keep any current from getting to the front blinker

Somewhere the brake light switch (usually situated near the brake pedal) must connect into the blinker wire. A diode in the blinker wire, placed before that connection, will prevent the current from the brake pedal getting to the front blinker.

From blinker relay and to front blinker -----------I>|----------- to rear blinker and brake switch.

Nick_Pyner

It occurred to me that you might get some relief by putting in LED bulbs, which will give a big reduction in heat. I would try to borrow before you buy. I bought a few for my Fairlane and quickly removed them as they were optically unsuitable. You might be lucky, and LEDs are changing all the time.

I don't think you will fix anything by throwing diodes at it.

I'm not sure this link is relevant  http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=364698
You might have a problem with the interlink with the automatic headlights.

wikitjuggla

i see what you are saying about the diodes now, finding that link up might be a problem though and in these newer cars might occur in some sort of electrical box but its worth investigating.

Quote
I'm not sure this link is relevant  http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=364698
You might have a problem with the interlink with the automatic headlights.


my buick doesn't have daytime running headlights just daytime parking lights which use the bright blinker element. I have already put in an interrupt switch for the automatic night time lights since in these buicks you have no manual control to shut off your lights at night. i intercepted the power wire that activates the two relays for the automatic lights so that i can turn off my lights at will. I guess one solution to the daytime blinker light problem would be to put a dark piece of paper over the LDR that activates the automatic headlights so they turn on which deactivates the blinker lights and then turn off the relay wire switch i put in but that would unfortunately make my lights non-automatic anymore which is a feature i do enjoy. the entire lighting system of these cars is of a fairy poor design on GMs part

wikitjuggla

well DVDdoug your code worked and i duplicated it for LEFT and RIGHT blinker inputs and outputs and put everything together then went to go install it and realized that the blinker blinks 3 times as fast when the front bulb isn't connected so its back to the drawing board i guess. Thank you everyone for your help

Nick_Pyner

I guess I don't need to say again that I think you are going about this the wrong way but, If you insist, and have gotten this far (!), you might be able to finish it off by changing the flasher.

Your car may be using the standard old GM flasher in a can. You are probably aware that they just used a bimetallic strip heated by 40-odd watts and, if a bulb blew, they came off faster thereby flashing more frequently. 

Modern flashers are electronic and run at the same speed irrespective of the load.  One of those might fix it. It would also allow you to use LED bulbs, which might have solved the problem in the first place, and still flash in the kosher manner.

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