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#36596 - 15/08/2001 07:16 Dimmer for Mk1
pca
old hand

Registered: 20/07/1999
Posts: 1102
Loc: UK
Hello all.

I am (really) still working on my upgrade board for the empeg, when I get time. I've been horrendously busy developing some cute hardware for a company that pays me quite well, for the last 9 months, so that's the main reason it hasn't appeared yet. It will happen, though, I promise. (you may even see the hardware I've been working on, which I guarantee would interest everyone on this board)

However, while we're waiting , I had an idea. I was looking over the display board schematics the other day, and thought to myself, "I could design an automatic dimmer circuit for this, you know. I wonder if anyone would be interested?"

So. There's the question. Would any of you Mk1 owners be interested in some form of dimmer addon for the display? The simplest form would be a small PCB that could be added to the back of the display board, with three pots on it. One would set the light-activated dim threshold, one would set the brightness for nighttime, and one would set the brightness for daytime.

It would be possible to make this semi-intelligent, with a PIC controlling it, but the complexity goes up, and there is the problem of how to interface it to the outside world (or empeg CPU), so I think the first method is better. After all, once it's set, how often would you want to change it?

At a quick estimate, I'd need to charge about $35 or so for the kit, and would have to have at least 25 people buy one to make it worthwhile getting the PCBs made. The board would have to be surface mount construction, to get it to fit, but I'd go easy on you poor non-smt builders and use those big chunky 3.2mm size 1206 components, not the 0.5mm 0403 size ones I've been spending the last week hand-soldering in appalling quantities

I could probably offer a built unit as well, for a bit more, but either case would require a little soldering to the back of the display board, and two resistors removed.

Any takers?

pca

( I have a few other ideas for add-on boards. If this one shows that anyone at all is interested, I will think about making some of the others.)


Opinions expressed in this email may contain up to 42% water by weight, and are mine. All mine.
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Experience is what you get just after it would have helped...

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#36597 - 15/08/2001 16:11 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
TommyE
enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 356
Loc: NORWAY
I'll take one.

TommyE



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#36598 - 15/08/2001 19:31 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
Liufeng
member

Registered: 14/09/1999
Posts: 149
Loc: Alaska
Put one down with my name on it. Looks like a great solution to the brightness on the Mk 1.



Reg #2845: Mark 1 #00173, Mark 2 #119
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Reg #2845: Mark 1 #00173, Mark 2 #119, Mark 2a

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#36599 - 16/08/2001 14:02 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2993
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Yup, I'll have one.

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#36600 - 17/08/2001 04:29 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5914
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I'll take one, but only after you have finished my "widget"

__
Unit serial number 47 (was 330 in the queue)...
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Remind me to change my signature to something more interesting someday

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#36601 - 17/08/2001 11:40 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
Dearing
addict

Registered: 22/07/1999
Posts: 453
Loc: Florida
Yeah, I'd love one, too.


_~= Dearing =~_
"WAY too happy about having #99."
_________________________
_~= Dearing =~_
Gettin' back into it thanks to slimrio!

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#36602 - 31/08/2001 08:49 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
ccrobin
stranger

Registered: 26/05/2000
Posts: 49
Loc: Minnesota, USA
I just purchased an MK1 myself, and I think I need one too. :)


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#36603 - 31/08/2001 09:27 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: pca]
veixl
journeyman

Registered: 26/08/2000
Posts: 98
Loc: Tartu, Estonia, Europe
I can't think of any way to make it work for me. We in Estonia have to drive headlights on around the clock and I don't want another manual swich to dim the empeg.

Veiko
veiko@lc.ee

MK1 #317 - 20GB green
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Veiko veiko@lc.ee MK1 #317 - 20GB green

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#36604 - 31/08/2001 09:35 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: veixl]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31583
Loc: Seattle, WA
We in Estonia have to drive headlights on around the clock

So how do the cars there handle the dash illumination in that situation? Don't they already have a separate control for the dash illumination? Perhaps a brightness knob?

In theory, the empeg would respond to the brightness knob. Although not continuously variable, it would switch between dim and bright at some point on the brightness curve.

___________
Tony Fabris
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Tony Fabris

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#36605 - 31/08/2001 11:31 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: veixl]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2993
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
There may well actually be a problem with new cars in the EU in the future, too - from March 2003 onwards, all new cars will have their headlamps permanently on.

Good reason not to buy a new car, I'd say.

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#36606 - 31/08/2001 16:52 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: schofiel]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
There may well actually be a problem with new cars in the EU in the future, too - from March 2003 onwards, all new cars will have their headlamps permanently on.

If it works like it does on my 2000 Saturn, there will be seperate "day time running lights" that only turn on when the normal lights are not on, and the car is in reverse or drive. With mine, it's a seperate set of lights towards the middle of the car next to the normal headlights. Only when I turn on the normal lights does my dash light up, and my empeg dims.

Some cars just use the normal headlights, but at a lower brightness. Same thing as above though how they work.


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#36607 - 31/08/2001 17:08 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: schofiel]
alear
enthusiast

Registered: 05/07/2000
Posts: 301
Loc: Montana, USA, Bozeman
My suggestion is to just plug the headlight sense wire into an adjustable daylight sense circuit. I'm sure patrick could whip up the circuit and sell it with the dimmer mod. Or if he doesn't feel like it, I'll do it for you.

Alex Lear
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Alex Lear

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#36608 - 07/09/2001 04:17 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: drakino]
morrisdl
enthusiast

Registered: 21/08/2000
Posts: 346
Loc: Rochester, NY USA
In reply to:

Some cars just use the normal headlights, but at a lower brightness.



Thatís true with many cars here in the states already (and a requirement in Canada). All of the daytime running lights I have seen do not light up the taillights. That would probably be counterproductive to safety. So my only point is that I think you will always have a manual headlight switch of some sort.


-Doug
Mk2-12G Blue (Now A/R Green)
_________________________
Cheers, -Doug Morrison Mk2-32G Back light buttons, Neon red screen

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#36609 - 07/09/2001 04:28 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: morrisdl]
Derek
addict

Registered: 16/08/1999
Posts: 453
Loc: NRW, Germany
Huh? Why would running the tail lights be counterproductive to safety? Surely it would mean that the vehicle could also be seen better from behind and *improve* safety!!

(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [for sale]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 6GB blue)
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(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [sold]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 20GB blue)

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#36610 - 07/09/2001 10:42 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: Derek]
morrisdl
enthusiast

Registered: 21/08/2000
Posts: 346
Loc: Rochester, NY USA
If the tail lights are already on, it would be less obvious when brake lights are applied. This could potentially cause more accidents. I am sure there was an outrageously expensive study done somewhere on this....

-Doug
Mk2-12G Blue (Now A/R Green)
_________________________
Cheers, -Doug Morrison Mk2-32G Back light buttons, Neon red screen

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#36611 - 07/09/2001 11:31 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: morrisdl]
Derek
addict

Registered: 16/08/1999
Posts: 453
Loc: NRW, Germany
Well in Europe anyway there is by far a big enough difference in brightness between the tail lights and brake lights that you definitely notice when the brake lights are on. There is a very good set of standards that eveything is built too. Also, most new cars are fitted with a third brake light in the centre to remove any confusion.

(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [for sale]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 6GB blue)
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(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [sold]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 20GB blue)

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#36612 - 07/09/2001 14:43 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: Derek]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2993
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
there is by far a big enough difference in brightness between the tail lights and brake lights that you definitely notice when the brake lights are on

5W Tail lights, 21W Brake lights.

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#36613 - 07/09/2001 14:45 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: schofiel]
Derek
addict

Registered: 16/08/1999
Posts: 453
Loc: NRW, Germany
Yep, that's right Rob. Thanks

(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [for sale]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 6GB blue)
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(list 6284, Mk1 S/N 00299 4GB blue [sold]. Mk2 S/N 080000094 20GB blue)

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#36614 - 08/09/2001 00:51 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: Derek]
mtempsch
pooh-bah

Registered: 02/06/2000
Posts: 1996
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Unless you get overly enthusiastic with 'Black tailllight paint' as I did once;
couldn't find a set of new or used lenses so I hacked in 21W / 55W bulbs
for rear / brake|turn indicators instead. Young and foolish...

Also, now most cars have a third brake light mounted centrally at the
lower or upper edge of the rear window. In queues/heavy traffic this can
often be seen through a couple of cars ahead, giving better forewarning and
preventing pile-ups...

/Michael

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/Michael

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#36615 - 10/09/2001 23:39 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: Derek]
borislav
addict

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 420
Loc: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Well in Europe anyway there is by far a big enough difference in brightness between the tail lights and brake lights that you definitely notice when the brake lights are on. There is a very good set of standards that eveything is built too.

Any idea what the standard says about signal lights? Many cars in the US don't have separate signal lights but just flash the brake light instead. This leads to the following unfortunate scenario (which I have had happen to me a couple of times) - the driver ahead signals and then taps the brake with the same frequency as the signal but out of sync. In this case you know the car will be making a turn but you don't know which way!

Borislav


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#36616 - 10/09/2001 23:49 Re: Dimmer for Mk1 [Re: borislav]
mtempsch
pooh-bah

Registered: 02/06/2000
Posts: 1996
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
At least here in Sweden it's separate signals (ie not combined with brake lights), 21W, orange.
With some US imports that requires retrofitting external orange lights (ugly!) and rewiring the rear signals to them...

/Michael

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/Michael

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