Project: Truck lighting upgrade

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Circuit diode symbol, via

In 1999, when my latest vehicle was built, the best technology for headlamps was Halogen, but a few extremists were experimenting with HID[WP]-type lamps. HID is the popular ‘new’ jargon for an arc lamp, but they are extremely old-tech, being older than incandescent bulbs – think 1705, kiddies. True, new versions are dramatically better than old ones, but they still have very short lifespans and use a ton of electricity per lumen.

At least, compared to newer-tech LED bulbs. Modern LEDs use so little electricity that the signal flasher relay switch assumes the light bulb is burnt out.

And how do I know that little tit-bit of trivia? because I had a bulb go out on the truck and, being a geek, since the new bulbs were a substantial percentage of the cost to upgrade to LED replacements, I chose the LEDs. Only to have my blinker flashing a zillion times a second – a symptom known among auto geeks as ‘hyper-flashing’.

from JustAnswers.Com

This is a thing with me: I go to fix something by upgrading it, which causes a cascade of upgrade tasks in order to get the original ‘fix’ to actually work.

So, Marcus, even though I swore, back in the 80s, I would never, ever take apart a dash again after that awful job we had to do in Dad’s shop, I had to start taking apart a dash. Which turned out to be nothing at all as bad as that job. Actually I just had to remove what is effectively a trim piece, called the knee-panel, under the steering column in order to get access to the cleverly hidden location of the flasher module. (This design flaw apparently only existed for a couple of years – I suspect there was a lot of swearing at engineers/designers to get it fixed so quickly.)

The module itself is a little plastic cube, but it is inserted into a much larger mounting envelope. The mounting envelope is a one-way sort of thing, and I have not figured out how to remove the old module from it. Yet. The new module is secured with tape, like any terrible hack really should be. The new unit is specifically designed for old-school vehicles being upgraded to LED lights.

It has been far too many years since I have been pretzeling myself into cars to remove/replace things. Shoulders in the footwell, balancing myself on my back with my feet on the ground outside the door, cellphone cover gripped between teeth to shine the light up where my hands are trying to insert a screw through a hole in plastic, another hole in sheet metal, to the (misaligned) clip behind…

Just a hint of fun to go with the skinned knuckles. Now I am plotting upgrading the rest of the lights, one pair per paycheck. I guess this is the adulting version of ‘Pimp My Ride’. And yes, the after-market stereo in this machine is ‘leveled’ with a couple chunks of folded paper/cardboard.