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Controlling Your Car's Lights When Observing at a Dark Location

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#76 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 09:03 AM

Technical support at the Detroit factory.  That was several years ago.  It's a 2010/11.



#77 izar187

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 11:16 PM

Red painters or masking tape from Walmart works well on all interior lighting that lights up every time a door opens.

Use as many layers as you like, to dim the lighting to your chosen level.

 

I have read here on CN before, of cloth with magnet covers for headlights. Very cool.

Painters tape would work too, to secure some kind of temporary covers.

Just keep a roll as part of the remote observing kit.


Edited by izar187, 22 February 2020 - 11:17 PM.


#78 csrlice12

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 12:00 AM

We just all break every couple of hours so those that want to leave can...those staying usually hang out in the warming hut so as not to destroy night vision.  Makes it much easier than tape, fuses, etc...


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#79 Starman1

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 12:12 PM

My VW GTI has some tricks and some unsolvable lighting:

1) the light that comes on in the back when the hatchback is opened is turned off by simply clicking the lock latch closed on the hatchback door.

I do have to remember to unlock the door before slamming it shut again or it will break the latch, but I leave the hatchback open all night, so it's not an issue to have

the light come back on when I leave after sunrise.

2) the interior cabin lights can be switched off on the ceiling switch.

3) There is a red linear light in the door sill and inside of the door that comes on when the door is open.  There is no cure for this other than black gaffer's tape

which leaves no residue when removed (unlike duct tape) and doesn't inhibit the ability of the door to close.

4) There are violet footwell lights that come on when the door is opened, and there is no switch.  Again, tamed by gaffer's tape.

5) There is a small, white, MFS display in the dash that comes on when the door is opened.  It turns off after 15 seconds and I learned many years ago to turn all interior dashboard lights down to 

minimum with a dashboard rheostat so that when driving at night the dashboard lights would be less distracting.  So it is not that bright or bothersome to neighbors parked nearby. 

 

What you don't want to ever do in modern cars is to pull fuses for certain lights.  Many, if not most, modern cars are fairly computerized.  Pulling a fuse might entail having to reprogram

the car to star with the start switch, or, at the least, disable the radio and dashboard displays, requiring a code be input to tun them back on.  A friend accidentally blew a fuse in his 2018 car not long ago,

and the car had to be towed to the shop to have the fuse replaced and all the electrical systems restarted.

 

One last thing: most modern cars have daytime running lights, i.e. the headlights turn on when the car is started.

In many, if not most, cars, this can be temporarily disabled by pulling up the emergency brake one click.

You don't want to drive any distance with the brake so activated, but it usually allows you to drive out of a parking lot without headlights, assuming you can see to do so.


Edited by Starman1, 23 February 2020 - 12:15 PM.


#80 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 07:54 PM

Stupid stuff with all the new cars having to be towed for extremely trivial issues.  I don't think I will ever buy another vehicle.  If I do, it will be an old one.


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#81 harbinjer

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 12:17 AM

Everyone, not just us here, should have a roll of gaffer's tape. I would recommend it in place of Duct/Duck tape (which is not meant for metal ducts, BTW).

 

It might not be available at your local hardware/big box store but Amazon and others have it at good prices.

Very similar to gaffer tape is 3M 8979 Performance Plus duct tape(get on amazon). The unit price seems high, but the rolls are really big so it's not bad. It comes on and off clean: no residue. If I need duct tape in the car or camper I use that, because I know I won't be using solvents to clean gunk off later.

 

Also, has anyone installed switches on their circuit breakers on offending light circuits?



#82 izar187

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 04:07 AM

Stupid stuff with all the new cars having to be towed for extremely trivial issues.  I don't think I will ever buy another vehicle.  If I do, it will be an old one.

They wouldn't do it that way if it wasn't better.

We just need to understand.



#83 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 09:13 AM

They wouldn't do it that way if it wasn't better.

We just need to understand.

It's not really better.  It's partly a marketing thing to make people dependent on dealerships. 


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#84 aeajr

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 09:54 AM

Stupid stuff with all the new cars having to be towed for extremely trivial issues.  I don't think I will ever buy another vehicle.  If I do, it will be an old one.

I was a backyard mechanic in high school and college back in the good old days. Yes, you could fix those cars with chewing gum and bailing wire, but they were constantly in need of tune ups and spark plug changes and such.

 

Todays cars are extremely reliable.  I haven't taken a car in for a tune up in, maybe 20 years.  My Ford Escape was 8 years old and never got a tune up.  I pulled a plug once and it was clean.  Didn't even need to be gapped.

 

When today's cars go bad, it is usually in the computer system but still, they are extremely reliable.

 

But you still have to read the manual to know how to control the lights. (getting back to the topic)



#85 Starman1

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 09:55 AM

Not really intended to make the owner rely on the dealers more--it's more about reliability, as Ed suggests.

 

It's more efficient to have a computer on the car to control all the things we want a car to do, from automatically backing into a parking place to synching with a cell phone, to electronic

control of ignition, combustion, tire pressure warning, etc. etc.  

Cars get better mileage, and have more functionality as a result.

 

Too bad, though, that one of the programmers isn't an amateur astronomer.  It would be fairly simple to add a "Dark Mode" to the computer controls to allow all lights to not function

until the Dark Mode was canceled.  I bet no one has ever even asked for that from a car company.


Edited by Starman1, 24 February 2020 - 09:56 AM.


#86 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 10:01 AM

I did, for my F150, and it got done.



#87 Starman1

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 10:08 AM

OK, my next visit to the dealer, I'm going to ask for just that.  We'll see what they can do.



#88 Richie2shoes

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 10:24 AM

In my Nissan Frontier, I can control all the lights except one - the third brake light/bed light over the truck bed.  It comes on everytime I open the door.  There's a switch that will turn it off once it's on, but not a switch that will prevent it from coming on.  When I'm at a star party, I cover it with gaffers tape.  When I'm at a public outreach, I open all the doors, put the windows down and let them close without latching.  I can then reach in and open them without the light coming on.




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