When you close your car door, the lights may go out immediately, fade or they may stay on interminably while you stand there wondering if you closed the door all the way. Bill Bowden has devised a gadget that lets you take control of your interior lights. Bowden’s Automobile Interior Lights Fader lets you determine whether the lights go out right away, fade or stay on for a few seconds. You can even program the fade times to fast-on, slow-off or vice versa. The device’s circuit is intended for cars that have a door switch that supplies a ground to the interior lights with one side of the lights connected to the positive side of the battery through an appropriate fuse. With a few modifications, the device can also be used without a door switch.
The first vehicle I had with the delayed off was a 97 GMC van. I was unaware of this feature and looked all over the place to find how to turn the lights off. Finally I read the owners manual (instructions are only for people who do not know what they are doing) and it mentioned the delay. So I closed the door and timed the light, 13 seconds. Only after doing that several times, did I feel confident to just walk away.
Of course when one of the kids left a dome light on, no one noticed until a neighbor phoned about 4 hours later, but that is a story for another day. I like that your device allows the owner to reassume control. What a novel idea.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
People who want to take advantage of solar energy in their homes no longer need to install a bolt-on solar-panel system atop their houses -- they can integrate solar-energy-harvesting shingles directing into an existing or new roof instead.
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