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Footwell neons afterglow 

 

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 Post subject: Footwell neons afterglow
Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:11 pm 
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Hi guys,

After reading so many posts about putting neons in the footwells to provide illumination in my BA, I decided to get this done last week. I have two neon tubes, one in each footwell, which provide a blue glow whenever the dome light comes on (ie, they're tapped into the courtesy circuit, so opening the door or unlocking the car will activate them, and locking the car and closing the door will turn them off).

They look AWESOME, and I'm very glad I got this done. However, I noticed a small problem last night, and wonder if anyone else with neons have experienced anything similar, or if it's just bad wiring?

When you close the doors and lock the car, the dome light/footwell lights all turn off, as you'd expect. When the cars been sitting there (locked) for about 20 - 30 mins, the footwell neons will start to glow again (although only faintly, NOT at maximum brightness which you get when the dome light comes on). If you then unlock and lock the car again, they'll fully turn off, and the process repeats.

This is REALLY weird, because the neons glow just faintly, and only after the car's been locked for about 20 - 30 mins. The dome light stays off the entire time.

Any suggestions as to what might be happening here? It's almost like a residual current goes through the car after a period of time. Is this a 'neon' thing, or is there an issue with the wiring? Any suggestions as to why it would only happen 20 - 30 mins after locking the car, and why they just glow really faintly?

Thanks in advance.
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Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:26 pm 
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my uneducated guess would be the wiring, personally, i would have just tapped into the lighting so they only came on when the interior lights were on

 

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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:07 am 
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67RCE wrote:
my uneducated guess would be the wiring, personally, i would have just tapped into the lighting so they only came on when the interior lights were on


This is what I have done. The neons are tapped into the interior courtesy circuit, so they only illuminate when the dome light is on.

However, as I say, after the car has been locked for about 20 - 30 mins, they start to emit a very faint glow. Sometimes it's the passenger one, other times the driver one, and last night it was BOTH of them. It really is bizarre and annoying.

So obviously it isn't a neon issue, as no-one seems to have seen this before, hence it's probably a wiring issue. I'll be God-damned if I know why they only glow faintly after the car has been locked for half an hour.

Any suggestions??
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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:20 am 
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If you wired them in you should have used the light earth as well as power.

Theres a good chance that both sides of the light circuit are switched.

There is the door side, which youve used, and there is also the automatic cut-out which occurs after around 30 minutes (saves the battery from going flat if you leave the door open). I believe that cut-out switches the other side.

So whats happening after 30 minutes is that the automatic protection kicks in, and appears that it might be allowing an alternate circuit path (perhaps even through the interior lights) to your neons

Nigel
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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:33 am 
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I'm not sure what is happenning but remember how the dome lamp very slowly fades, that same process may be causing the neons to glow but still not sure why after 20 minutes. Where did you get the power from?

 

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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:55 am 
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Nigel wrote:
If you wired them in you should have used the light earth as well as power.

Theres a good chance that both sides of the light circuit are switched.

There is the door side, which youve used, and there is also the automatic cut-out which occurs after around 30 minutes (saves the battery from going flat if you leave the door open). I believe that cut-out switches the other side.

So whats happening after 30 minutes is that the automatic protection kicks in, and appears that it might be allowing an alternate circuit path (perhaps even through the interior lights) to your neons

Nigel


This sounds like what might be happening. I'm going to check it out ASAP. Thanks for your help guys. Please keep any other suggestions coming through.
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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:11 am 
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ok, i've been looking at the pretty confusing wiring diagrams for about 15 minutes. The dome light only has 2 wires going to it and both are from the BEM. 1 wire is labeled "courtesy lamps" and the other is labelled "Battery Saver". The dome light gets power from "battery saver" which turns off 15 minutes after turning the engine off, or closing your doors etc. The "coutesy lamp" from the BEM acts as the ground for the lamps. The wire colours you should have spliced into would have been green/yellow and black /blue. (so as said above, you need to use the lamp earth)

 

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Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:26 am 
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smiley235 wrote:
ok, i've been looking at the pretty confusing wiring diagrams for about 15 minutes. The dome light only has 2 wires going to it and both are from the BEM. 1 wire is labeled "courtesy lamps" and the other is labelled "Battery Saver". The dome light gets power from "battery saver" which turns off 15 minutes after turning the engine off, or closing your doors etc. The "coutesy lamp" from the BEM acts as the ground for the lamps. The wire colours you should have spliced into would have been green/yellow and black /blue. (so as said above, you need to use the lamp earth)


Thanks for that info smiley, I'll check it out tonight and post a follow up to let you guys know whats happened.
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:58 am 
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Well guys, here's the latest.

I took my car into Autobarn yesterday afternoon, which is the mob that did the original wiring for the neons into the courtesy curcuit. I mentioned what you guys had said about the battery saver curcuit, and the technician there agreed. His solution was to install a relay onto the circuit. What he didn't tell me was that whenever the relay kicks in, you can hear a grinding noise coming from the dashboard.

Needless to say, I wasn't a happy chappy. I went straight back into the shop to abuse the crap out of him once I saw what he'd done, but he'd already vanished into the workshop to start another job.

I'll be calling him today once they open (in about 30 odd minutes) to get this crap sorted out.

Such a simple job -- footwell illumination -- and I'm going to have to end up going in three times to get it done right. Seriously, people just don't give a rats when it's not their car.

Anyway, that's the latest. We'll see what happens from here. How the hell do these guys see themselves as fit and capable to install stereo systems and DVD players into cars, when they can't even get a footlamp circuit working to appear like it was factory installed? Sheesh...
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:44 am 
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OK, I got in contact with Autobarn, and now they want to install a capacitor to fix this problem.

What the ... ?
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:07 pm 
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why is there a grinding sound with the relay, should only be a click. I think they may have used the wrong voltage relay coil.

 

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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:10 pm 
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More like Relay drawing too much current. I dont like this solution at all.
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:11 pm 
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I think their gonna put a capacitor, so when this leakage current to the neons starts, it charges the capacitor fully which will then stop current flow. It will work but seems a bit wierd.

 

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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:15 pm 
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Yeah electrically thats still not a good option....

But I dont have a better one. Sorry
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Thanks for your input guys.

The relay option seriously sucks. It's a rather loud clicking sound everytime the neons come on/off, and once you know it's there, you can't help but notice it, and it's just annoying.

The capacitor option sounds a little better. From what you guys are telling me, it'll 'harness' the leakage current so you don't get any afterglow. Sounds ALOT better than the relay click/click solution.

Should I let them go ahead with this, or do people think there's a better way?

My Lord, I never thought getting neons in the footwells would cause such a hassle...
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