Zapping a low voltage instrument lamp

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PrIsMaTiC
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Zapping a low voltage instrument lamp

Post by PrIsMaTiC » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:28 am

Maybe this is more science fiction than science, but here's some of my
twisted logic.

I keep an old gas guzzling station wagon. I don't own (and never will)
an SUV or truck. If I have to haul some lumber or anything that won't
fit in my other car, a late model sedan, I use the wagon. A lot of my
neighbors do the same. I keep the wagon in pretty good shape, so it
always passes inspection.

All the old car owners in the neighborhood would give me a gold medal
if I could terminate that "check engine" light. Even though I do a lot
of my own auto repairs, I'm not going to take the dash apart to pull
that lamp. Why? Most of dashboards on these old cars have acres of
brittle plastic. By the time you reached the instrument cluster you would
need a large bottle of cyanoacrylate adhesive to put all the broken
pieces back together.

Could some kind of gizmo be constructed that when pointed directly
at a lamp in the instrument cluster would zap the filament without
damaging any of surrounding circuitry?

Many years ago I had a friend who experimented with lasers. He would
go to high school science classes to show the kids all sorts of cool tricks
you could do with a laser. I remember one where he would inflate
three balloons. Each balloon would be inflated inside the other, like a
set of Chinese dolls. The laser would be focused so that the inner most
balloon would heat up and burst. Maybe you could blow a lamp filament
with a low level EMP. Not really sure.

I know the idea sounds goofy. Any thoughts on the subject would be
appreciated.

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GoingFastTurningLeft
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Post by GoingFastTurningLeft » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:47 am

I don't know about laser zapping...

But maybe take the panel off below the dash and you'd get lucky and there'd be a wire you could cut and tape up so it wouldn't short anywhere.

I take it its telling you to check the engine but there's not really a problem or one worth fixing? maybe you could just fool the car by replacing a sensor with a suitable resistor... i read some page where some guy replaced his van's oxygen sensor with a pot temporarily... he'd just have to adjust it to stop it from running too rich/lean

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Externet
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Post by Externet » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:42 am

You do not want to fix the engine problem, but you would have the energy to go after a $15000 laser to zap the bulb?

Zap it with duct tape on top of its lens, covering all of its annoying shine... :evil:

Miguel

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:40 am

Lasers don’t focus the beam like other light sources, rather the inner balloons color is closer tuned to the frequency of the light and thus absorbs the laser light and heats up and blows.

Fix engine lights can be milage tripped or actual problems. In a lot of older cars the maintenance is done out side of the dealership but the light isn’t fixed. Its up to you to ensure it is just a false alarm then proceed.

To zap a bulb remember the bulb is run from one set of leads and a controller. On/off. I heavily doubt its multiplexed.

The controller is most likely the CPU of the smog unit so Trace the wires with a 9 volt battery [and terminal] and find which two are the offenders, then simply over load the filament til it blows.

24 to 36 volts should do.

IF you trace the wires, they shouldn’t go anywhere else so you wont fry any thing else.

A simple ohm meter should tell you if this is true.

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Edd
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Post by Edd » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:30 am

.


Assuming almost less than nothing, using the minimal data provided so far, as to it being a timed out feature or an actual fault anomaly.
Also, the type of MICU and its memory storage mode.
How’s about an initial attempt with a going out to the vehicle and pulling the battery negative cable free from the battery proper, and go about for a good 30 minutes and then come back and reinstall the cable.
Then fire up the engine and run it a bit and then stop it a short while and then restart and see if ye olden lamp is still lit.

If the lamp is still lit, check out and see if any parts houses offer a free fault analysis of your system...here in Tejas, the Auto Zones offer this.
Then with that failure code(s) provided you would at least know the WHAT aspect of the analysis, and then you can go forward.

I used my collegiate AUTO TECHNOLOGY departments analytical equipmet to zero in on my last experienced failure mode, which was a failure of the fume integrity of the fuel system....e.g. a bad gas caps sealing action.
Hey ! ......What could have been simpler or cheaper ?

73's de Edd
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PrIsMaTiC
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Post by PrIsMaTiC » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:36 pm

My wagon would be considered "new" compared to some models that
were built in the 70's and 80's. Those monsters could handle 4 x 8
sheet goods easily, and they had lots of space under the hood. The
electronics was simple compared to my 1990 Sable wagon with that really
awful OBDI. OBDI should have never existed. The car manufacturers
introduced this complex technology too soon. The first OBD should have
been II.

You can hook these old clunkers up to a dozen diagnostic computers and
get different results each time. When I can't repair something myself,
I take the wagon to a local mechanic who is also a good friend. 90% of
the vehicles he works on are at least 15 years old. If you've got a single
bad wire in a massive harness that check engine lamp can flash on and
off like a Christmas tree bulb. The only solution is to pull the lamp or
kill it.

Thanks guys. As usual, you've all demonstrated that you're smarter
than me. Sometimes I feel like I've gotten dumber as I've gotten
older. See, I just used the word "gotten" twice in a sentence. I guess
that proves my point!

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jwax
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Post by jwax » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:13 pm

Black electrical tape has many uses.

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:52 pm

Unfortunately removing the battery doesn’t work. The EPA laws mandated that it stuck ON until repairs were done with NO way of easily repairing the problem from a amateur point of view.

Once it latched, it needed work to be unlatched.

On some of the foreign cars they had an actual odometer counter built right into the spedo cluster that approximated the milage and physically tripped it causing its removal and reset.

Most US cars that I worked on had the electronic version in the smog brains and required a special trip method to reset the beast.

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dacflyer
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Post by dacflyer » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:33 pm

i have a old ancient wagon too... 1977 Plymouth Fury "land yacht"
560k, origional engine with 1 rebuild.
see the holiday fotos of the beater....

its one of them " looks bad runs good" types
(BTW theres only 4 types of vehicles inthe world in my book)

1 - looks good , runs good
2 - looks good , runs bad
3 - looks bad , runs good
4 - looks bad , runs bad

whats causing the light to be on ? can you read the flash codes? if you need info i have a book here that tells you how to read the flash codes.

then you can tell me the codes, and i can tell you what the deal is.


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jollyrgr
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Re: Zapping a low voltage instrument lamp

Post by jollyrgr » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:39 am

PrIsMaTiC wrote: I keep an old gas guzzling station wagon. I don't own (and never will)
an SUV or truck. If I have to haul some lumber or anything that won't
fit in my other car, a late model sedan, I use the wagon. A lot of my
neighbors do the same. I keep the wagon in pretty good shape, so it
always passes inspection.
You'd rather keep a station wagon rather than an SUV or truck. Okay, not a BIG deal. And you keep it in shape and it passes inspection; fine.
All the old car owners in the neighborhood would give me a gold medal
if I could terminate that "check engine" light. Even though I do a lot
of my own auto repairs, I'm not going to take the dash apart to pull
that lamp. Why? Most of dashboards on these old cars have acres of
brittle plastic. By the time you reached the instrument cluster you would
need a large bottle of cyanoacrylate adhesive to put all the broken
pieces back together.
I know what you mean about taking the old dash board apart. But eliminating the light bulb is like fastening a bucket under the gas tank because you don't like the gas leak.

I know the idea sounds goofy. Any thoughts on the subject would be
appreciated.

You asked for our thoughts, so here are mine.

Wouldn't it make more sense to figure out WHY the light is on rather than try to figure out a way to destroy the light bulb without ruining the dash or other circuitry? If the car is mid 80's or newer the check engine light is tied to a computer. Even the old ones gave great data for a starting point. On GM cars you shorted a pin to ground (the pin you shorted to ground was next to a pin that WAS at ground). Then a dash light, Check Engine in most cases, would wink at you a code. A series of three "12" followed by several other codes, then three "12". You look up the codes and it gives you what set the error.

If this "CHECK ENGINE" light is one of those that simply tells if the engine is running or not, this is likely controlled off the oil pressure sending unit.
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

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jollyrgr
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Post by jollyrgr » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:02 am

dacflyer,

Are those Air horns on the passenger side front fender? Are they from a boat?
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:51 am

Some times the light doesn’t reflect a problem other than a milage tripping.

The Flag or Light was set to go off for EPA reasons, and milage not fault was the number one key.

BUT, yes you should find out what is causing it and as far as a good running car engine with a “tripped lightâ€

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:01 pm

Your best bet is to borrow the service manual from the library (ask the librarian to request a copy for you thru the interlibrary loan program) and locate the wires for that lamp in a convenient enough location to cut. That manual may also give you a T/S procedure for finding the fault.

In CA and many other states, you would never pass a smog or emmissions inspection with a light stuck on or off. They explicitly check for the function of the lamp and it will fail makinf the car illegal to drive on public roads. You should look into it a little more before making Fudge. It could be as simple as a failed connector on the O2 sensor or a punctured vacuume hose all the way to an overstressed sensor input on the engine controller IC (I actually diagnosed this once). Even older cars had flash codes, consult the owners manual to find out how to get them to display. If it is stuck on even in that mode, it may be the controller.

Since one side of that lamp is almost certainly grounded to the chassis, any energy you could possibly inject from the outside would be easily shunted harmlessly to ground. Besides cutting the wire, I might also suggest black paint, or a small drill bit (minimal damage from a hole in the dash at the bulb location you can fill with whatever you want)

Did you ever say the make, model and year?

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dacflyer
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Post by dacflyer » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:09 pm

jolly rodger >> yes thay are real air horns not electric.. from what i do not know..its been so long since i go them, i forgot where i got them,,lol
but they are quite loud too... i love to pass a cyclist and BLAST them once in a while when they won't move over...lol

bigkim100
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Just a thought ...probibly wont work

Post by bigkim100 » Wed May 02, 2007 4:39 am

Just a thought ...probibly wont work...hows about finding a fairly fine drill bit, that is fairly long.
Follow immediatly behind it with a strong workshop vacuum. Drill through the plastic covering the instrument panel, vacuming behind the bit as you go, in an attempt to keep the shavings between the clear plastic cover, and the instrument panel to a minimum. Then drill throuh the actual engine warning plastic, and hopefilly either dislodge the lamp, or crack it.
Kim..The man with the cute little girls name...and Frankensteins face and body.

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