You raise an excellent point, William K. I'd always rather have a boring-looking reliable vehicle over a hot-looking pice of junk. There's no replacement for a car that successfully gets you to work every morning.
Good point on the LED failures at traffic lights, Ozark Sage. One would hope the auto LEDs are more reliable than those used in traffic lights. That's especially important given the difficulty of replacing lights in so many cars.
Okay, forego the slant six engine and all of the amenities of the old Dodge Dart for the sleek new bold look of an unrelated car with a wrap around signature LED light bar. Drive a billboard, not a car?
What I dislike the most about automotive LED lighting is the way brightness control has been implimented. Rather than controlling current flow in a linear fashion, pulse width modulation is employed without significant filtering as far as I can tell. Thus, any lateral motion of the vehicle or the observer's eyes creates a strobing effect. Instead of a streak of blurred light one is treated to a brilliant pattern of dashes which I find obnoxious and distracting!
I assume automobile manufacturers have looked at these lighting systems, controller, wiring and LED's with RF spectrum analyzers to insure they don't contribute to the RF noise cloud that has utterly destroyed AM radio reception in many US communities. Or do they not care in the same way their car stereos have been produced with AM sections with bandwidths no wider than telephone call audio? Noise? What noise?
LED MAC Thanks fot todays laugh! The marketeers have portrayed "152" LEDs as being something to brag about. You said it and hit the nail on the head the first time.
OUESTION, Caddy Deville & Sevilles have for MANY years had GOOD LED horizontal displays lights built into their trunks. Indeed other high end cars followed suit and proved the designs. Now we see lower end products like the Dart. Well I sure hope they have more than the marketing people standing behind the product this time around.
The last time after 5+ years in the USA snow belt owners were lucky to have a floor in their Dart. So hopeing new anti-rust under coating/primers may have solved that problem, I just hope Dart is NOT using the same LEDs we see failing today in so many traffic signals!
I like the idea that Chrysler brought the Dart model name back because of all of the nostalgia. My comparison is not to the old Dart, but more recent Chryslers. I rented a Dodge Caliber a few years ago and found it to be very poor quality; dahboard looked like it was a spray painted piece of folded up cardboard. Seat were a matching quality. Power was minimal. It was uncomfortable. I would never consider that car as something to buy. I owned a Dodge Grand Caravan in the 90s. When I bought it, I discussed transmission reliability issues I had heard about with the salesman. He assured me, Chrysler fixed all of those problems with this model. My automatic transmission needed three rebuilds in 100K miles. The antilock brakes failed when my wife was driving the car and she almost ran over a mama pushing her baby. After the dealer denied it could be possible, they did fix the problem. They failed two additional times while we owned the car. At 119K miles it needed the ABS fixes again, the tranny was going for the fourth time, and the engine was starting to burn oil. I donated it.
When I look for vehicles, I want one that does the job reliably for a long time. For me, the car should look decent inside and outside, have reasonable power, good vision, good heater ac and defroster, a decent radio, and be comfortable. I don't want to spend fortunes on maintenance. When a little thing breaks, I don't want to have to replace one fourth of the car.
I rented a Chevy Cruze a few month ago and was impressed. Nice looking, quality interior, good power, nearly 40mpg. It was a car that I would consider buying. I really hope Chrysler gives GM some competititon with the Dart, but I will wait and see.
Our family had 3 Darts when I was young (over a period of about 15 years). That's the first car that I can remember hearing that the engine would outlast the body by three times - and in those days, a car model that would run well for over 200K miles was exceptional. I never saw an engine problem in one of these.
...and no, the new "Dart" bears no resemblance to the real Darts. Is the next Mustang going on a Focus chassis?
By the way, the Dart with its grabbing clutch was a great car for teaching someone how to use a manual transmission. Once you learn how to drive a 3-speed Dart, you can drive ANY manual transmission well...:)
Please don't knock the "boring" looking cars. What I want is a car that is reliable and does not need a lot of expensive repairs. This means a lot fewer of the useless features and a lot more engineering consideration given to materials and fastenings. Also, a key lock on the right hand side so that I can open a curb side door without unlocking all of the doors. That is the cheapest thing that they have ever done.
What I don't want is a vehicle that will attract the attention of every punk thief and wanabe carjacker. I want a comfortable vehicle that people will not notice, and then want to rip-off. I also don't want a car with computers that think in an entirely different way than I do. Probably none of the features that I want need a microcontroller to implement them. ABS is a possible exception, but I know that I really would pay to not have stability control and traction control, both of which are probably handy to have for 16 year old drivers.
If LED devices can be more reliable as lights, great, but if they are going to come with an expensive controol module that fails every year then forget them. Any system that is more reliable than the standard incondescent lights is OK if it does not cost a dozen times more. Of course, this is the same industry that gives us the eye-searing HID headlights, which are very bad for the glare. I read the statements to the contrary andwonder, because my experience is that the glare from the HID headlights is worse than from ordinary lights.
Perhaps the LED headlights will be better, but the reliability of the standard headlights has been completely satisfactory for me. Of course, I do not need to have a dealer mechanic replace my headlite bulbs when they do fail.
LED MAC: You raise a good point about the potential for "missing teeth." I'm sure Chrysler engineers have discussed it and are confident, but if they're wrong, the missing teeth could give the Dart a black eye.
The marketeers have portrayed "152" LEDs as being something to brag about. However, the same or better lit appearance ( and related lit area, luminance, and intensities) could have been achieved with many less LEDs if the optical system design was approached with a little more creativity and finesse. (and perhaps with some packaging depth given up by the body group).
Don't get me wrong, I love the sharp look and the unmistakable signature of the new Dart rear lighting, and hat's off to Chrysler for being bold. However, in terms of pure reliability, more is definitely not better. The reliability of a single LED and supporting mechanical/electrical systems is the primary driver. The more chances you have for failure, the greater the likelihood of failure. ( Failure defined as one more more LEDs out when it should be on. )
Judging from such a large LED BOM count, I'm guessing that the most reliable LED was most likely not used here. (the most reliable LED system is NEVER the cheapest LED system) So, in my opinion, the good folks at Chrysler should expect to see exponential growth of defective Dart TailLamps with some "teeth missing" in the next couple years. The system is probably not serviceable, and if not, the whole unit would need to be replaced. Can you say "angry customer" ? You'll get no complaint from the dealerships though, I'm pretty sure about that.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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