Author Topic: Sequential tail lights  (Read 5930 times)

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Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2018, 12:11:23 pm »
The CorsoMotion module is a pre-built unit that will do what you want.  Makes sense to go with that, especially at the price.

A car mod forum would have likely got you there more quickly - but, hey, we live and learn.



Wiring will be fun - but that was going to be the case anyhow.  Have fun - and if there is anything down the road that you might want to ask of us ... you are welcome to bring it here.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 12:14:22 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #51 on: September 25, 2018, 12:13:59 pm »
Now I have to find a good choice in led bulbs ughhhhhhhh nice bright ones that come in clear, amber and red.

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Offline Teledog

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2018, 02:33:49 pm »
Had a '67 390 Mercury Cougar with sequential tail lights.
They were mechanical..a motor physically driving a cam/contact switches.
They were slower in the winter (-30), and eventually got slower as the motor ( not to mention the bad contacts) died.
They do sell replacements but not cheap!
Thanks for reminding me of my old beast! ;-)
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2018, 03:34:39 pm »
Had a '67 390 Mercury Cougar with sequential tail lights.
They were mechanical..a motor physically driving a cam/contact switches.
They were slower in the winter (-30), and eventually got slower as the motor ( not to mention the bad contacts) died.
They do sell replacements but not cheap!
Thanks for reminding me of my old beast! ;-)

Had a girlfriend who had a '67 Cougar. Loved those sequential tail lights and that body style.
PEACE===>T
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #54 on: September 26, 2018, 01:15:07 am »
Compared to the mechanical / environmental challenges of building a tail light assy that is suitably water,dust and vibration resistant, and has suitable brightness (esp in bright sunlight, but not be dazzling at night) and viewing angle the actual business of sorting out the flashing order, pattern and timing is trivial!!!

(you'd be mad (imo) to do not go digital with a suitable small micro, a suitable driver IC etc)


(and as it's on a car, you need to account for things like load dump etc too)
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #55 on: September 26, 2018, 01:29:47 am »
I'd probably dust of some old microcontrollers I have lying around: the 16F505. I'd power it off a shunt regulator, as it will be resistant to high voltage spikes. If the LEDs need to be really bright I'd use strings of four in series, for each light and BJT constant current sources to drive them.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #56 on: September 26, 2018, 09:38:23 am »
I would actually advocate toward the discrete logic approach for a beginner. There's less to go wrong, less chance of a software bug and a hardware problem compounding things. The coding is not difficult, but for a beginner with no programming experience it can be pretty daunting.

Either way, the mechanical/optical portion is going to be much more difficult to get right than the electronics.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #57 on: September 26, 2018, 11:51:43 am »
robjodicarter - You may have noticed the engineer brains have been suitably stimulated.  There are several ways of achieving your desired result - and I have a feeling there will be more than one idea finding its way onto a breadboard.

Don't worry.  This is normal.  Even though you have found a way to achieve your goal with a pre-built module, engineering brains like to solve problems ... and when there are flashy lights involved, it's like moths to a flame..........


Now I'm thinking about where my spare Arduino boards are hiding...  Ah, found a UNO board! ... Now where are those LEDs?....................................
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #58 on: September 26, 2018, 11:54:58 am »
I'm just looking for an inexpensive way to do it with the coolest results. I have time and patience just the knowledge is what I need. Any ideas on where to look and gain some?

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Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #59 on: September 26, 2018, 12:51:09 pm »
I find the best way to learn something is to tackle a project - just like the one you brought here.  While you have found a practical and inexpensive solution for your real-world need, you could try building some of the other solutions suggested.

These won't necessarily need to provide the high current you would need for a vehicle (but you could go that extra step if you wanted to) or have the reliability and compactness requirements, but you could do so on a breadboard with a fistful of components.

3 alternatives I can list at the moment:
 1. Discrete transistor design.  This is the one that your module uses - but we can build it from parts.
 2. LM3914.  We can add a rising voltage source to give the look you were after - or we can give it a signal from a different source and use it as an indicator.  Indicator of what, you ask?  There are a lot of answers to that.
 3. Arduino based.  Here you can make the LEDs do practically whatever you want them to do - and you can have them respond to different inputs if you want.  This is a good starting point if you want to get into microcontrollers - and it's still a useful exercise even if you don't.  It's relatively pain free.  It does involve learning a bit of programming - but there are REALLY easy ways to slip into this and you will probably have your first LED blinking within an hour.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #60 on: September 26, 2018, 02:06:04 pm »
Brumby the Arduino sounds good, what would I need to buy to start out? A starter kit of some sort. And a computer I imagine. Anything special? Programs or? Sounds like allot of fun!!!!

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Online Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #61 on: September 26, 2018, 02:35:17 pm »
There are literally thousands of videos on YouTube about Arduino and likely several just on getting started.
What computer are you using to post here on EEVblog?  Don't you already have some kind of computer?
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2018, 02:50:31 pm »
Posting here is being done on a smartphone - as indicated by the tag line:
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As per the Arduino site, the IDE (integrated development environment) can run as follows:
Windows XP and up
Windows app (Requires Win 8.1 or 10)
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or newer
Linux 32 bits
Linux 64 bits
Linux ARM

An ordinary Windows desktop (or laptop) is a typical platform.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2018, 03:09:19 pm »
As for Arduino starter kits - there are literally hundreds of variations on eBay alone.  This is one I just picked at random: https://www.ebay.com/itm/231677302331

It's a basic one with enough to get you hooked, including a couple of displays and a 555 timer - plus they offer some instructions - for under $25.  It has enough components to do the LED project (using more than one colour of LED) - plus a whole lot more.

I haven't researched the seller, so I can't vouch for them - but this type of kit is available from hundreds of sources.

There are other kits that have a range of sensors and other modules that you can spend more on and if you have the cash, then you can go for something like that if you have a mind.  Personally, I'd save that sort of expenditure for later - once you know you want to go that far down the rabbit hole.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 03:13:34 pm by Brumby »
 

Online Towger

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2018, 05:01:17 pm »


In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component

They are available from the dealer here (high end Audi or BMW?), as an optional extra.

From memory they cost an extra 500~600 euro!  A perfect extra for the poser.


 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #65 on: September 27, 2018, 09:20:59 am »
People here have mentioned filtering the car's power to prevent mishaps. What would be suitable ways of doing that? Voltage clamping using diodes to prevent spikes from blowing up your circuit? Inline inductors to smooth high frequency noise? An RC circuit to smooth out lower frequency pollution?
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #66 on: September 27, 2018, 10:03:53 am »
A reasonable starting point would be to look at some other automotive electronics to see how it's done. Often it's nothing more than a regulator intended for automotive use and some suitably high voltage capacitors. You can go fancier if you want, but I've found that even in my oldest car (1984) the electrical system is not too horrendously nasty. Something from the mid 70s or older with an electromechanical regulator back when the only electronics in a typical car was an AM radio would probably be a lot worse.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #67 on: September 27, 2018, 10:37:56 am »
A reasonable starting point would be to look at some other automotive electronics to see how it's done. Often it's nothing more than a regulator intended for automotive use and some suitably high voltage capacitors. You can go fancier if you want, but I've found that even in my oldest car (1984) the electrical system is not too horrendously nasty. Something from the mid 70s or older with an electromechanical regulator back when the only electronics in a typical car was an AM radio would probably be a lot worse.
Fair point. It's cheaper to properly regulate the circuit than to protect every one of the hundreds circuits that are now inside a car individually.

Now I want to drive around with an oscilloscope hooked up to the power system.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #68 on: September 27, 2018, 11:02:54 am »
I actually meant a regulator inside the device, I've worked on ECUs that had relatively ordinary 3 terminal regulators to supply the 5V. Usually 35V rated capacitors and some ceramic bypass caps, nothing too fancy. Something like a 7805 can tolerate around 35V on the input for short periods, limited by the heat produced dropping that much voltage.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #69 on: September 27, 2018, 11:04:32 pm »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #70 on: September 28, 2018, 09:40:52 am »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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Hi Rob, this is completely doable, although for a beginner, it is a learning curve. Those who were talking about using an Arduino for your solution have suddenly gone silent. This is a far cry from your original idea of 10 LEDs in a sequential row, but this can be done. If you look to the right of the lights in this video, you will partially see a breadboard with the electronics doing this for the narrator. This will all need to put on a protoboard after testing, and finally after the protoboard is tested live on your vehicle where you will simply rig it up somehow to test it, you will then need to get all of the components onto a proper PCB for the final product. This system will need to convert 12 volts to 5 volts, which is not a daunting task, but as you can see from the breadboard, there are a lot of components needed in order to create the system in the video.

I don't think this is too far for a beginner to do, along with the help from the forum, however it is a far cry from your original idea of a single row of LEDs being sequenced out. Those who were encouraging you to go the Arduino or digital route seem to have stopped posting on this thread. However, if you feel you want to tackle this much more complex project, I suggest that you get the parts list from this YT video and then get your lab/work area setup with the essential tools you will need in order to be able to do this. There are multiple threads on this forum that lists all of the basic tools needed in order to setup an electronics lab.

However, of you were to revert your idea back to a simple row of sequenced LEDs, the LM3914 is a much simpler solution that does not require that you have a 5 volt regulator and only requires a few simple parts. It will be interesting to see if this thread is revived with the multitude of different approaches again or one of the digital arbitters will come forward with a workable design and offer the assistance and tutillage that you will need in order to accomplish this.
PEACE===>T
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #71 on: September 28, 2018, 09:50:14 am »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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That should honestly be completely illegal. The various signals can easily be confused with each other. With some more care it could be better, though.

It's perfectly doable, although a different kettle of fish than the initial idea. You'll need to start programming and multiplexing and probably protect your IC properly. Luckily AVRs are electrically fairly robust.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #72 on: September 28, 2018, 12:06:23 pm »
My thoughts.....

1. You can certainly do a multi-animation project - but forget about the LM3914.  It's going to be a microcontroller or an insane amount of discrete electronics (that nobody here would even contemplate).

2. I would never suggest implementing such a diverse range of animations for a real vehicle used on public roads.  These lights are for communication to other drivers and several of those animations serve no real purpose - unless, perhaps, it's advertising how geeky you are.  If you want to do this for concourse displays or on the back of a monster truck inside an arena, then fine - but on the roads, it is very likely to cause confusion and will, without any doubt, cause distraction.  Distractions cause accidents.

3. In implementing the 20x100 LED sheet we will need to know the connections it has in order to design the circuitry around it and define a programming approach.

4. We are all interested in seeing the OP achieve success, but this latest project is far more involved than the original single strip.  With the single strip, building the circuit with 10 discrete LEDs and writing a short program would be easy, but the LED sheet is going to require more resources in designing, building and programming.  I, personally, have not done much in the way of matrix display programming, so I'm sure that anything I put together would be clumsy ... and my time demands mean any assistance would stretch out.  As a result, I'm not immediately putting my hand up - but that doesn't mean I don't want to help.  It just means I don't want to make things worse.

My thought was that the original 10 LED sequencer would be an excellent entry level project, introducing the OP to, say, Arduino - and then assisting him along the way as he explores more and more of the capabilities of today's exceptionally affordable electronics.

I still think this is a good idea.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 12:16:00 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #73 on: September 28, 2018, 12:21:22 pm »
I feel that there are going to be many members here who aren't going to be comfortable jumping in on a whole project - but once the OP has started on something and comes up against specific challenges, then someone with experience in that area will likely chime in.  It's going to be a community effort.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #74 on: September 30, 2018, 12:44:59 am »
So I figured what I'm using, now I just need to figure out the easiest way to project what I want on to the LED's sheets. I'm using 2 8x32 pixel sheets(like the neo pixel sheets) now I just need to find the easiest and best way to control them. I was looking for different types of controllers for the automotive use but I think my best bet is to go with an Arduino uno board. I just don't know the first thing about writing code for this at all. I really thank all of you for help and input. Now I'm at a stand still. I know for all of you it's probably a daunting task but for me it's so exciting. From what I have searched it has not been done on a automotive vehicle. It may be an off road vehicle but it will be so awesome!!!! So if anyone could help me on how to control these with what I would need to drive the boards and how to write the code. I know it may take a bit being the biggest noob but it will pay off in the end. I will attach pics of what I want to use along with links incase that needs to be looked at. Again thank you all so much!!!!!
Rob


WS2812b Pixel Matrix´╝îCHINLY 8x32 256 Pixels WS2812B Digital Flexible LED Panel Programmed Individually addressable Full Dream color lighting DC5V https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07418XNJ2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_L84RBbQ5EJ255

Elegoo EL-KIT-004 UNO Project Basic Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 for Arduino https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DGD2GAO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_U-4RBb5G2D3Y7

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