Thursday, March 28, 2013

240Z Custom Light Control Computer

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When I got my Z, the headlights gave off a soft yellow glow.  Nothing comforting when driving on the highway.  I did the relay upgrade, and that worked fine, but I still had the problem of forgetting to shut the headlights off and coming back to a dead battery.  Also, I wanted the side markers to blink with the blinkers and hazard lights.  While I was at it, the Z is small - or, stated another way everything else on the road is bone-crushingly huge.  When I stop, I want everyone to know.  I've seen brake lights that flash quickly when the brakes are applied - I wanted that too.  While I was at it, a 10 second delay before the dome light shuts off would be nice.  I also threw in a 2 second delay before the accessory relay turns on.

Bottom (Click for larger view)
I created a custom lighting computer based on the Microchip 8-bit PIC microcontroller and the International Rectifier IPS6031 High Side Intelligent Power Switch.  Although this is the prototype, it is working well, so I'll leave it in place until I finish the final version.

I have a main-board (the larger one) with all the opto isolators and power switches.  A daughter board contains the CPU (small black diamond in the image to the right) and a few other parts.

Top (click for larger view)
The top of the main board is where the blade fuses go (which, it turns out are not necessary with the High Side Switches I used - hence the name "Intelligent").  I also put in small LEDs next to each fuse - fuse blows - LED goes on.

Side (Click for larger view)
I am not thrilled with the wiring.  It works, but it is not very easy to work on.  Revision 2 will make use of a different connector approach.  The right and left sides are symmetrical.

Enclosure (Click for larger view)
The whole thing mounts in an engraved aluminum enclosure, 3 x 6 inches by 1.5 inches thick.  The fuses are accessible through the 4 large rectangular holes.

Engine Harness

Naturally, this also required extensive modifications to all three wiring harnesses - front (shown on the harness board at the right), rear and dashboard harnesses.  The result was effective but not as pretty as I would have liked.

So, at the end of it all, here is a short video showing some of the features in action. 

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