Author Topic: Sequential tail lights  (Read 8367 times)

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Offline rjp

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2018, 03:17:31 am »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2018, 03:24:59 am »
He's not in Australia.  He's in the USA - and their regulations about lights are different.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2018, 03:35:52 am »
Yeah, our regulations are allot different. This is going on an off road vehicle only anyway, not a big fan of giving any cop a reason to give me a ticket at all

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Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2018, 03:43:20 am »
The LM3914, LM3915 and LM3916 ICs each do the sort of job you want - but their sensitivity scale differs (see the video in reply #9).  All three have a "mode" option - where you can have a single dot lit (not what you want) or the bar style (which IS what you want).  A simple switch can change from one to the other

You could use any of these three for playing around but, as mentioned above, the LM3914 is probably going to be the best choice since it will be easier to get a steady progression.

There is also another alternative which a lot of people would try - and that is a microcontroller board - such as an Arduino Uno.  This will require a bit of programming - but don't be at all scared by that ... it is really simple to do something like this light project and there is a lot of expertise available here.


Whether using an LM3814 or an Adruino, the output from these devices will only be enough to light up small LEDs on your breadboard.  You will need higher current drivers to run the serious LEDs you will need for bright lights.  We can deal with that a little further down the track.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2018, 03:46:54 am »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.

Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops? I thought Australia had a small government. First your guns, now telling you what you can put on your cars? I am surprised that Crocodile Dundee would let that happen.  :palm:  :)
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2018, 03:57:29 am »
So what should I order from either amazon or an electronic shop that will give me what I need. I know I need at least 2 bread boards( I'll buy a pack of 10) and. A 4017, a555 and I don't know what else? Sorry to be a pain but I really don't know what I'm doing. Should I try and buy one of those cheap diy kits to get ahold of what I'm trying to do and do some more research? Do you know where I could go to learn more about those chips or others? Thank you all.
I'll get back to you in the morning, it's 9. Pm here.
Rob

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2018, 04:20:47 am »
A 4017 only lights one LED at a time though,
No. The LM3915, 3916, and 3917 are all easily configurable for either "dot-mode" or "bar-mode" by simply connecting one of the pins.

And it is easy enough to use a single transistor on each output of the circuit (whichever circuit) to drive ("buffer") a very bright LED (or cluster of LEDs)

Quote
The 4017 itself will tolerate 12V though and the LED brightness can be changed by changing the value of resistors used to limit the current. An automotive electrical system is notoriously dirty from an electrical standpoint though so I wouldn't expect that to last long without some modifications to bulletproof it.
Indeed. Most LED flasher circuits are not "ruggedized" for use in vehicle power systems.  It is easy enough to protect them, but the raw circuits you see online may have limited life expectancy in a vehicle.  And failure of a tail-light could get you killed.

IMHO those LM3915-16-17 chips aren't very appropriate for this design.  They depend on the rise-time of an analog signal and the method of generating that analog signal could be very vulnerable to things like supply voltage, temperature, etc. Perfectly fine for fooling around on the bench, but not nearly reliable enough for vehicular use. 

It would be far more reliable/bulletproof to use a series of the ubiquitous 555 (or the dual version, the 556) timer chips. There are many 3-step sequential tail light circuits using 555/556, but EXACTLY THE SAME scheme can be extended to 10 or ANY arbitrary number of steps.  And FAR MORE RELIABLE than an LM3915-16-17
 

Offline BradC

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2018, 04:32:29 am »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2018, 05:01:18 am »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

There are cars that come from the factory with Xenon and LED headlights, as well as flashy blinky sequential tail light turn signals. If you decided that you wanted them on your car, this wouldn't be allowed?
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Offline rjp

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2018, 08:52:52 am »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

There are cars that come from the factory with Xenon and LED headlights, as well as flashy blinky sequential tail light turn signals. If you decided that you wanted them on your car, this wouldn't be allowed?

if they have the ADR acreditation you can, otherwise its the tedious game of getting them tested and approved.

i was perhaps a bit flippant in my previous post but the nutshell was wacking some led's and a flashing circuit on your taillights would get  police attention here and then its your job to prove your way out of it  - after your car has been taken off the road.

hence, going to a car shop and getting licensed gear and avoiding the tedium.

« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 09:26:41 am by rjp »
 

Offline LukeB

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2018, 09:25:00 am »
Dunno if you are into arduino at all but an arduino would make this project very very electronically simple. You can just wire one led to each pin of a small cheap arduino and learn the super basics of code to program the lights the way you want. I am also a beginner but can do a bit of arduino coding and find it much simpler.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2018, 11:10:56 am »
So what should I order from either amazon or an electronic shop that will give me what I need. I know I need at least 2 bread boards( I'll buy a pack of 10)

I was meaning one of the solderless breadboards that you can experiment with.  You'll need one of those.  If you intend to get into electronics, invest in one like this with three or four lengths, rather than just a single strip (I have about 10 of this size... LOL):



Yes, you will also need a couple, what I call "proto boards", but they are often called "solderable breadboards" the same basic layout as a breadboard but meant for soldering up a permanent copy of something:



...which is what I think you meant buying a 10 pack of.

Quote
and. A 4017, a555 and I don't know what else?

No, that won't do what you want.  I think the LM3914 is the way to go.

Try to hold off the itch to order any ICs and components yet, If I have time later today I will try to whack up an example circuit that does what you want, maybe even make a little video.

Quote
Sorry to be a pain but I really don't know what I'm doing. Should I try and buy one of those cheap diy kits to get ahold of what I'm trying to do and do some more research? Do you know where I could go to learn more about those chips or others?

Just don't get ahead of yourself.  :)  You don't need a kit for this, you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself from scratch, plus you'll probably learn more, faster, this way than just soldering up a kit that you don't know how it works.  That will make it easier to do things like fit circuitry for brighter LEDs, etc.
 
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2018, 11:14:49 am »
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_ABmQBbVQ0D6V7
Like this? Would that work?
Rob

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Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2018, 11:15:36 am »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.

The OP is a mechanic by trade, i think he understands parts replacement and his local laws regarding automobile servicing.  He also stated that this is for an off-road vehicle anyway.

Even if he intended road use, most jurisdictions in the USA will not hassle you if you have proper, functioning lights of the correct color and brightness, even the areas that have vehicle inspections.  (As long as you're not strobing them or something...)
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2018, 11:18:11 am »
Like this? Would that work?

Using arduinos for this is total overkill.

You can use one simple, robust analog chip to get the job done.  No programming, no crashing microcontrollers or potentially flakey digital stuff mounted in your taillight.  :)
 

Online Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2018, 11:21:54 am »
So the 4017 only blinks once and does not continue to stay lit. And has a total of 10 spots for an led. What chip would let you keep them lit until they reset?

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Then what you need is to switch the LEDs with transistors, connected to diode OR gates.

See attached. O1 to O9 represent the outputs from the CD4017. O0 is not connected, because all the LEDs are off, when it's high. D1 to D16 are not critical: the 1N4148 will do. Q1 to Q9 can be any low power transistor, such as the BC548, BC338, 2N2222, etc.

 
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2018, 11:26:38 am »
Like this? Would that work?
Yes, that would be able to get everything working - on the bench.  You would still need some extra components in order to drive the bright LEDs you would need for a vehicle.


Using arduinos for this is total overkill.
If you are looking at cost or "overengineering" then maybe - but for someone just getting their feet wet, it's actually simpler to do and understand.

The LM3914 is the most direct single chip solution to drive the LEDs - but remember you still have to feed it a rising voltage.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 11:30:33 am by Brumby »
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2018, 11:35:18 am »
Using arduinos for this is total overkill.
If you are looking at cost or "overengineering" then maybe - but for someone just getting their feet wet, it's actually simpler to do and understand.

If he were coming from a computer background, I would agree.

Personally, I think it is much easier to just use the LM3914 with 10 transistors.  No computer required, no programming, etc.  I'm not saying that's not pretty simple stuff also, but implementing an LM3914 isn't exactly rocket science in the analog domain.  :)

The OP can probably even splurge and buy both an arduino starter kit AND a few LM3914s and try both methods.  Analog world and digital world.  It is not expensive and neither are difficult.  The unused parts can be used for other future projects.  (This electronics thing is highly addictive, by the way, Rob...  :) )

Will also need some LEDs (including some nice super-bright varieties for testing to see if they're what he wants for the finished units,) etc.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2018, 01:08:36 pm »
So I am looking for the cheapest smallest option that I myself can replicate. Looking to spend about 20-30 total on parts to build the module. I don't mind learning how to build it myself I just want to make sure that what I build won't die in 6 months. I just don't know how to go about it. So many ideas and you guys are the experts. I'm a mechanic by trade and can rebuild most any motor there is but that is completely different than electronics. That is why I have come to a forum that specializes in that aspect. Just want to build a sequential module the has 10 outputs for LED's or group of LED's that are bright enough for tail lights. They need to have 1 input that would allow them to all stay lit, then one input that tells them to run in sequence. The first one lights up, stays lit while the others follow until they are all lit. They all shut off and then start all over with the first one again. I can encase the module in a waterproof sealant after testing and completion. Then inside a box to ensure it won't be bumped around. If anyone can help me with the best way to do this that would be great. Thank you all for all of your input I have so many choices and don't know which way to go.
Rob

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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2018, 01:39:38 pm »
I guess you could use a shift register to create the "motion. You'd simply clock in lit LEDs and reset the register using the last pin to restart the motion. You could even have a few empty pins to build in a delay. To have enough pins for all the LEDs you desire, you can always link shift registers together create a longer shift register. Luckily that's easy to do. Of course you'd also need a clock circuit, which could maybe be a 555 timer circuit. That's a nice simple way of creating a more or less stable square wave to control the shift register with.

Maybe some transistors are needed to properly power your LEDs as a shift register can only drive so much current and you'd need some regulation to power your circuits with without blowing them up with a voltage that's too high. Most common integrated circuits work with 5V and more modern circuits can require 3,3V or even less. As someone has said some filtering may be needed to prevent the noisy environment from messing up your electronics, but getting the basic

Looking at it it seems you can connect a few popular and basic beginner circuits together to create what you want. It's actually a reasonably beginner friendly project!
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2018, 02:52:32 pm »
I think I have found my answer.

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Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2018, 03:12:04 pm »
Like this? Would that work?

Using arduinos for this is total overkill.

You can use one simple, robust analog chip to get the job done.  No programming, no crashing microcontrollers or potentially flakey digital stuff mounted in your taillight.  :)

Agreed, the 3914 is fine, an adjustable RC circuit and done. The LEDs are a matter of choice. The vehicle already supplies the timed pulse.
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2018, 06:58:26 pm »
This is what I would use.  They are dirt-cheap (BrEnglish: "cheap as chips"), automobile power-safe, and with a relay output, you can use practically ANY arrangement of LED, incandescent, laser, plasma, nuclear explosion, or whatever kind of light you wish.  And you can string any number of them in series, whatever you wish.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-12V-Relay-Module-Adjustable-Delay-Time-Switch-0-10-Second-NE555-Timer-Board/172460306953



I would be sure to connect the FIRST light DIRECTLY to the brake-switch circuit (with no delay) so that if all the fancy, frivolous animated lighting lash-up fails, you at least have minimal safety brake lights.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2018, 12:49:01 am »
Don't get ahead of yourself, let's get a design nailed down before you start ordering parts. It's simple enough to be designed on paper with reasonable confidence that you can build it and it will work.

Do you have the lights themselves figured out? Are you using off the shelf parts or planning to fabricate them yourself?
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2018, 01:14:08 am »
I actually decided I will use these, they will do all I need and allow me to use cob led bulbs that should be really bright. Please let me know if I would need anything else.
Thank you
Rob

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