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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
It's running from outside to center. This is also a marker light and not the turn signal. If I did it only one direction it would look odd on the side of the car.

The software is easy to change so not a big deal. gotta see how the final product will look installed into the car then I can go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Here is a video with the marker fully assembled. This video shows the parking lights turning on and off it also shows the turn signal with and without parking lights.

 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
OK so I have been working on the software to update the firmware and I have most of it hashed out. I have to code in a safety net so if the update fails or I made some bonehead code change that causes an error to get thrown it will revert back to the previous firmware automatically.

I have also been working on the GUI interface. I am starting off with a basic set of controls so the moving of the lamps is not going to be running initially. There is a HUGE amount of bench testing the servo controls and how to control the movement. I am probably going to go the route of speed and acceleration kind of how a mouse works. This is so if I crank the steering wheel from all the way left to all the way right it won't take forever to get there and also won't cause the lamp to appear like it's jumping. I will use a factor of the difference between the current position and the new position to determine what the acceleration should be. The larger the difference the faster the acceleration and the smaller the distance the slower the acceleration. The active headlamps on both my MKS and MKZ fail in this department. When the steering wheel is moved small amounts you can see the lamps jump. There is also a pretty large latency between steering position and headlamp position if I crank the steering wheel fast. So I am guessing the headlamps are hard coded with a speed only and that speed is high enough to keep up under normal steering actions but not enough when turning the wheel fast and the speed is just a tad to high to stop the jumping of the lamps but if it was set slower to eliminate that there would be a HUGE lag between headlamp position and steering position.


so here is a sample of the config page. I am also going to add in a retailed logging box that will show a really verbose amount of information as to what is happening while the system is running.

114460


There are BCM specific related tests for the turn signals that will throw codes and also quick flash the signal. I can mimic the tests with the LED's and replicate the same condition on the turn signal wires from the BCM. This way if there is something not working properly the user has an indicator that something is not working correctly. Unfortunately there is nothing for the headlights high or low beam and nothing for the marker lights.

I did do a crafty thing with knowing when to turn the DRLs on. Because the Solstice has DRLs and they are one in the same as the headlight I look at the low beam and marker light to see who has voltage. If neither do then the DRL's are turned off. If the low beam has voltage and the marker lights don't then I know the DRL's are on. If both have voltage I know the headlights are on.
 
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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Alright. I have the bumper covers supports all braced up and the HID ballasts attached to them as well. The wiring harness is all set except for connecting it to the fuse box.

Been ironing out the code to squeeze it for more speed. The LED strip in the headlamp has a lot of LEDs on it so it takes on the order of 60 milliseconds to render and write a single frame of animation. This is to slow it takes to long to draw the entire animation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
I am hoping to be firing up the first headlamp assembly either this evening or tomorrow. I have a couple of wiring changes I need to make nothing major and I have to cut an access hole to be able to plug in a USB and to also be able to press the reset button.

I need to check my availability of GPIO pins. I am hoping that I have one left that I can use as a way to set the settings back to default. in the event something goes weird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
welp here it goes folks, about to power up the first headlamp shortly. Either it will work or I will get a puff of magic smoke. My programming code appears to be good just have to see what happens when I power the thing up and dial in the power supplies.

Wish me luck!!!
 

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welp here it goes folks, about to power up the first headlamp shortly. Either it will work or I will get a puff of magic smoke. My programming code appears to be good just have to see what happens when I power the thing up and dial in the power supplies.

Wish me luck!!!
Good luck! May the smoke gods spare you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
NO SMOKE!!!!

I do however have a single short between the low beam input and the parking light input. So I have to pull the voltage divider board up and take a look under it and see if there is a bridge between 2 of the solder points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
f'in Chinese JUNK.

I am pissed right now. all 4 ballasts are no good. the bulbs lit up maybe 4-5 times and now the ballasts just buzz when I turn them on. They all failed exactly the same way. what complete horse apples!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
on another note, I did find a spot that was touching between the low beam and parking light inputs. fixed that ad put it all back together... still the same problem.. ARGHHHHH
 
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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I made the last problem worse. Now the high beam and the low beam inputs don't work at all and the ignition parking and turn inputs are tied together. WTH!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
OK so I finally got that board all ironed out and the inputs are working properly. I ended up taking the mechanicals apart again because I didn't like the anti jitter/anti backlash mechanism I made. So I built a stronger better one. It applies a lot more force and it will make for a nice smooth movement of the servos when it comes time to get those up and running.

I tested and confirmed that my wiring is good for the HID ballasts. and it is. The ballasts don't even buzz anymore. It is a dead short. this was a good test to perform for my connections and wiring. I don't have a fuse on it and it is connected to my industrial 13.8v 35 amp automotive test power supply. This power supply has no short circuit protection or overload protection. So all 35 amps went through the wiring and when the voltage dropped low enough the relay board shut down and disconnected the ballasts. Nothing melted and nothing caught fire and no smoke. So I have some good wiring in place and also the connections are good..


Now I have to do some research and see if I can locate some standard sized ballasts. I have alwats had crap luck with these slim ones arcing internally which is exactly what it was doing.

so the hunt begins...
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Things are progressing and I have been updating/modifying the code to provide more features. Here is a video clip of the LEDs running. I found found a way to get the code to run faster for the LEDs which was a good thing but it required a large rewrite of the LED portion of the code.

I am at 4634 lines of code currently and that number is going to be close to doubling once I add in the the pieces to make the servos move.

 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
I am such an idiot. I wasn't thinking when I installed the HID ballasts and wiring. I completely spaced out on the voltage that HID's startup at. My HID ballasts are in fact good of course I had ordered 4 replacements already which are not going to work for my application I'll explain why.

When an HID starts up a super high voltage (23,000+) at a very low current is needed to excite whatever it is inside the bulb. Once that excitement takes place the bulb is going to want more current. The ballast sees the want for more current and drops the output voltage to around 90 volts and increases the available amperage to something around 300ma or so.


The first set of ballasts I ordered are what is called a slim ballast. The igniter is not inside the ballast, it is a separate box attached inline between the ballast and the bulb. The igniter is what handles the voltage change when the bulb initially turns on. The ballast always outputs the same thing. Te other style is where the igniter is inside of the ballast housing. You really shouldn't extend the wiring between the igniter and the bulb. This is because special care is needed due to the 23,000 volts on startup. a special kind of wire called GTO25 is what needs to be used to handle the voltage. The voltage also drops quickly the longer the wire is because the Igniter is designed to only all a very small amount of current through. In the case of the slim ballasts the Igniter is not inside of the ballast, these can be easily extended by adding additional wire between the ballast and the igniter. most primary wire in a vehicle is rated for 600volts which is way above the 90 volts being sent out by the ballast. No need for any special wiring and no concerns about voltage drop because there is more amperage. The amount of current the ballast outputs means you can place the ballast no further then 5 feet from the bulb.

I am an idiot because I forgot about the high voltage and I extended the wiring between the igniter and the bulb using 600v primary wire. So what was happening is the 23,000 volts was causing an arc between the bulb wires and shorting it out. So all I had to do was to cut the igniter off the ballast and move it to next to the headlamp and connect the wires. Now there is no more high voltage going up the extension and through the weatherpack clip. The reason why my new ballasts will not work is because the igniter is inside of the ballast and it cannot be separated from the ballast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
I kept on saynig to myself there is no way that 4 ballasts could fail in the exact same manner and one right after the other. It took a few days for the reason why to pop into my head.
 
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Actually some OEM HID systems have separate ballasts and igniters. Ballasts are bolted to the car's structure somewhere near the headlights, and the igniters snap directly to the bulbs thus making the high tension power's travel path as short as possible.
 
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