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Old 06-07-2018, 07:26 PM   #1
pcguru2000
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Underglow/footwell light controlled by door without using dome light or door switch

I've heard of the horror stories of burning out the electronics behind the glove box by tapping into the overhead light switch. I also didn't want to be soldering wires onto my door switch. Although these two options would have made things easier. I like the option of being able to remove things without a trace.

I attached an electrical schematic that show how we could setup a lighting system (internal and external) that would turn on when either the front or left door is opened and turn off when both doors are closed.

To detect the door open and close, I will use a magnetic switch. A magnetic switch is a switch that can close or open a circuit based on a magnet coming in proximity to it. The magnetic switch will be installed on the removable left and right panels touching the doors on the dash. The magnet will be small 1mm thick magnetic squares that stick to the door. I could have gone for a rare earth magnet, but my cellphone is by the vent and I don't want to mess up navigation. I also didn't want to mess up any electronics in those areas.

I also included a relay. A relay is like an electronic switch that when current flows through one side of it (part A for example), an electromagnet cause a separate switch to close (part b) energizing up to a 30 amp load separate from part A. Part B is what will power the lights.

Some of you will probably say that the magnetic switch could handle the load of any combination of LED's since they can handle 10 watts at 100 volts and I don't need the relay. The higher the current, the more wear and tear on the magnetic switch and cause it to fail earlier. The 2nd reason is that I'm actually using 2 leftover 10 year old neon tubes. These tubes require a little bit of a current kick to turn on and draw a lot more power. This will be no issue for the relay but again, if I didn't have one, more wear and tear on that magnetic switch.

I'm mounting the magnetic switch so that the three screws face the dash. the sticky magnetic square will be mounted on the car door. As the car door swings open, the magnetic field fades away with distance from the switch and Voila! the switch is closed, which energizes the relay, which closes the swith internal to the relay and powers the lights.

Some additional mods
I've had some thoughts about adding an override so that I could shut down the power delivery to the lights no matter what the position of the door. Yes I could probably power it from the cigarette lighter, but then I can't reach it from the driver's seat.

I have a Power Magic Pro BlackVue which allows my dash cam to stay on when the car is parked, and will shut off the power when the battery goes below 12 volts. The switch is located under the dash, so if I shut it off, it would shut off the lights and my camera.

What do you guys think? Any suggestion?

Any issues with having a small magnetic field next to either part of the dash?
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:50 AM   #2
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2 things:

First, you're going to have some abrupt lighting transitions with this setup. While it looks okay on paper, this isn't going to look as nice in reality as you're expecting. Imagine someone flicking a light switch on and off quickly and repeatedly. That's what you're going to get. Integrating with the factory signals will not only relieve that, but will give you the ability for the footwells and underglows to illuminate as you approach the car, and fade to zero as you walk away and lock it. At night, that kind of integration will look 1000x better.

Secondly, there's no reason you can't use the signals from the factory wiring in conjunction with relays and/or diodes and still have ability to remove everything with little to no trace of the install. Burning up any of the factory circuitry is a sign of an install without proper circuit isolation and draw, nothing more. Not only would this prevent that rough transition and allow the lights to fade in the same manner as the factory dome light, but would significantly reduce the work, wiring, and risk of failure throughout the system. Utilizing existing resources wherever possible is almost always worth doing, and having done quite a few of these myself I can vouch for it. Less wire running, tucking, hiding, connecting, and less spots with a risk of wear and breakage. Not only that, but you aren't adding more equipment and sensors and have the ability to make it seem 100% factory when you're done. Drilling into the car at any point to add additional door sensors contradicts your desire to remove things without a trace. No added hardware anywhere visible. Clean install is the best install.

You've had a bit of a run with over-thinking things and going a bit overboard, this is another situation to take a step back and seriously consider if you're doing it again. I've included a video of my personal lighting setup which taps into the factory lighting signals to power the footwells. Sequence is Everything off > Running lights on > Door open > Door closed (fade to illum) with the final brightness setting controlled by a PWM.

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Old 06-11-2018, 03:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpsicle View Post
2 things:

First, you're going to have some abrupt lighting transitions with this setup. While it looks okay on paper, this isn't going to look as nice in reality as you're expecting. Imagine someone flicking a light switch on and off quickly and repeatedly. That's what you're going to get. Integrating with the factory signals will not only relieve that, but will give you the ability for the footwells and underglows to illuminate as you approach the car, and fade to zero as you walk away and lock it. At night, that kind of integration will look 1000x better.
http://www.streetglow.com/SG201GR?sc=2&category=2832
Here are the specs I found...these are probably newer as mine are almost 10 years old.
Technical Specs
Input Voltage: 11-14V
Current Draw: 3.5A

The underglows I have has a sharp voltage cut off. Below a certain voltage, off, above a certain voltage on. So the nice dimming won't work and might damage the dome light circuitry with 40 watts of power drawn. The built in neon transformer may also get damaged with power applied below a certain voltage. The other nice thing is that if I'm pulled over by John Q public, when I turn on my dome light, the underbody and footwell stay dark.
If I used a relay, it would be the same thing, the solenoid requires a minimum voltage. It's on or off.


Good thought and thanks for thinking of this!
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Originally Posted by sharpsicle View Post
Secondly, there's no reason you can't use the signals from the factory wiring in conjunction with relays and/or diodes and still have ability to remove everything with little to no trace of the install. Burning up any of the factory circuitry is a sign of an install without proper circuit isolation and draw, nothing more. Not only would this prevent that rough transition and allow the lights to fade in the same manner as the factory dome light, but would significantly reduce the work, wiring, and risk of failure throughout the system. Utilizing existing resources wherever possible is almost always worth doing, and having done quite a few of these myself I can vouch for it. Less wire running, tucking, hiding, connecting, and less spots with a risk of wear and breakage. Not only that, but you aren't adding more equipment and sensors and have the ability to make it seem 100% factory when you're done. Drilling into the car at any point to add additional door sensors contradicts your desire to remove things without a trace. No added hardware anywhere visible. Clean install is the best install.

You've had a bit of a run with over-thinking things and going a bit overboard, this is another situation to take a step back and seriously consider if you're doing it again. I've included a video of my personal lighting setup which taps into the factory lighting signals to power the footwells. Sequence is Everything off > Running lights on > Door open > Door closed (fade to illum) with the final brightness setting controlled by a PWM.

BRZ Footwell Lighting - YouTube
My concern is more of a natural failure of the dome light dimming circuitry and the dealership blaming hooking in to it to power something as the cause instead of a warrantable issue.

This is one of the videos I looked at and definitely looks cool. At the end I see a little bit of flickering, was that the camera artifact or is that your led's undervolting and flickering?

The sensor I add in will be behind a cover. The only presence would be a small magnet, about the size of your fingernail in an inconspicuous location on the door.

All the videos I looked at showed someone pulling plastic insulation off of a wire and soldering to the wire. Others I saw using taps that damage the wire. Either way, didn't look appealing.

My method are very clean and the evidence of the reed switches and magnets adhesive can be completely erased.

Last edited by pcguru2000; 06-11-2018 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:20 PM   #4
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I will repeat the thought that you are over-thinking this whole thing. Firstly, you don't draw the run current from the dome circuit, you only draw the signal from the ECU-side ground wire that controls the dim relative to the door trigger inputs. Relays and diodes are there to isolate the circuits, not drive them directly. If you aren't grasping that, speak with an experienced MECP professional.

As for the underglows, you're using older tech and integrating it with new, so you're going to feel wanting when it's done. Your choice obviously, but you will notice the dated look. LEDs are now the preferred option for many reasons, including robust tolerance and cheap manufacture costs.

Do more research into how the door trigger and dome light circuits work in these cars. You have it completely backwards in believing that power is supplied. Power is constant to the dome light at all times, it's the ground that is your trigger.

Secondly, it doesn't matter what route you take the dealership is going to blame it on whatever modification you do. If your fear is having warranty issues with these mods, then don't do them. Again you run a larger risk by creating an entirely new system and then integrating that into the vehicle, don't think they won't notice. Especially considering the extensive work it would take to remove said system in case of dealer repairs. I repeat, cleaner install is the better install.

Many people get remote starts installed on their brand new or leased vehicles, and remove them after their term is up. We don't run a whole new system, we install to the factory system and use all the triggers it provides. This is the exact same concept.

This may offend you, but it's obvious you know just enough about electronics to be dangerous. That is the core of why you're over-analyzing the crap out of this situation. Do what you feel is best for you, but you asked for reasons not to and I gave them along with thorough explanations from practical experience. It's your choice which route you prefer to go.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpsicle View Post
I will repeat the thought that you are over-thinking this whole thing. Firstly, you don't draw the run current from the dome circuit, you only draw the signal from the ECU-side ground wire that controls the dim relative to the door trigger inputs. Relays and diodes are there to isolate the circuits, not drive them directly. If you aren't grasping that, speak with an experienced MECP professional.
Diodes don't isolate circuits they prevent reverse polarity. Are you testing me? My relay is driven off of one circuit and controls continuity on the 2nd. I know the flowchart software sucks so there may be what looks like excessive connections which is is really a distribution block to the different LED's and Neons.

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As for the underglows, you're using older tech and integrating it with new, so you're going to feel wanting when it's done. Your choice obviously, but you will notice the dated look. LEDs are now the preferred option for many reasons, including robust tolerance and cheap manufacture costs.
I like the retro looks and neons actually looks better than LED because there's no spot affect at any distance. The only downside is power draw (cant' have these on all night but they won't be unless my door is open), heat (negligible effect since they are going to be in the engine bad and inside the rear bumper. Can get as cheap as free. These are 10 years old and I wanted to put them to good use. I enjoy the nostalgic look and will probably also get the louvers windows.

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Do more research into how the door trigger and dome light circuits work in these cars. You have it completely backwards in believing that power is supplied. Power is constant to the dome light at all times, it's the ground that is your trigger.
I completely understand how they work, I just don't want to molest the connections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpsicle View Post
Secondly, it doesn't matter what route you take the dealership is going to blame it on whatever modification you do. If your fear is having warranty issues with these mods, then don't do them. Again you run a larger risk by creating an entirely new system and then integrating that into the vehicle, don't think they won't notice. Especially considering the extensive work it would take to remove said system in case of dealer repairs. I repeat, cleaner install is the better install.
It's not black and white like you make it out to be. There are variations in risks of voiding the warranty and being able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a modification did not void the warranty. If you attach a wire or use a circuit in the car as a switch, there's a greater burden of proof on you that this did not void the warranty. Thus a large risk to a warranty voiding scenario but a small level of complexity. "The easy way"

I created my own mechanism completely separate from the manufacturers' mechanism that detects the door being open. There is no plausible causality for any damage to other circuits. Thus a small risk to warranty voiding scenario since you are not touching their equipment, but a higher level of complexity. "The hard way" but may not be the right way and definitely not the easy way.

The only thing I was concerned about is the small magnetic field emanating from the magnet that will be attached to the door. (this controls the open/closed door switch).


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Many people get remote starts installed on their brand new or leased vehicles, and remove them after their term is up. We don't run a whole new system, we install to the factory system and use all the triggers it provides. This is the exact same concept.
Sure, and if there are starter issues, ignition issues, engine computer issues during the time this is hooked up, the owner has to deal with proving to the dealer that this is completely unrelated. If I needed to get a remote start installed, I'd bring you the car and hope to get a guarantee from you that any damage your installation causes, you will repair at your expense. Of course, more likely, your invoice indemnifies you of every wrong doing and you probably can only be sued in the state of delaware, right? So you're not worried that you might get sued.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpsicle View Post
This may offend you, but it's obvious you know just enough about electronics to be dangerous. That is the core of why you're over-analyzing the crap out of this situation. Do what you feel is best for you, but you asked for reasons not to and I gave them along with thorough explanations from practical experience. It's your choice which route you prefer to go.
No longer dangerous...but I was when I was 10 years old and I built from scratch a vhf tv signal jammer to annoy my mom watching TV, and later I found out it was jamming every tv in the neighborhood. (This is before cable tv so yes, i'm dating myself). Sounds to me like you got a little intimidated at someone finding an alternate way to do something that threatens your installation business. Sorry about that, but hopefully this gives you an alternative if a customer says "I don't want to cut into any wires." Try to keep an open mind that the way your boss at best buy told you to hook up a door activated device may not be the only possibility. Open your mind young skywalker.

I've done low voltage and high voltage installation and still kicking, never had an issue.

I was hoping to get additional ideas of what else you could use a door trigger for..i.e. a completely hidden car alarm that doesn't use any ecu, built in door switch, windows level, trunk etc trigger.

Or maybe you have an integrated reed switch into a relay that I haven't heard about.

Or maybe a strobe light kit that strobes when the doors are opened.

Or sound affects that activate when the door is open.

Last edited by pcguru2000; 08-31-2018 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 06-17-2018, 11:09 AM   #6
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Again, you are free to do what you want. We try to help and educate, you are more intent on arguing, making false assumptions and accusations rather than realizing your own potential risks and flaws. I will be un-subbing from this thread.
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