Neon tubes

Neon lamp tubes were introduced into widespread production for the CHMSL on the 1995 Ford Explorer, and notable later uses included the 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII, with a neon tube spanning the width of the trunk decklid, and the BMW Z8, which made extensive use of neon. Numerous concept cars have included neon lamp features, from such manufacturers as Volvo. Hella offered an aftermarket neon CHMSL in the late 1990s. Continue reading “Neon tubes”

Rear position lamps (tail lamps)

Night time vehicle conspicuity to the rear is provided by rear position lamps (also called taillamps or tail lamps, taillights or tail lights). These are required to produce only red light, and to be wired such that they are lit whenever the front position lamps are illuminated—including when the headlamps are on. Rear position lamps may be combined with the vehicle’s brake lamps, or separate from them. Continue reading “Rear position lamps (tail lamps)”

Sequential turn signals

Sequential turn signals are a feature on some past-model cars whereby multiple lights that produce the rear turn signal do not all flash on and off in phase. Rather, the horizontally-arrayed lamps are illuminated sequentially: the innermost lamp lights and remains illuminated, the next outermost lamp lights and remains illuminated, followed by the next outermost lamp and so on until the outermost lamp lights briefly, at which point all lamps extinguish together and, after a short pause, the cycle begins again. Continue reading “Sequential turn signals”

Auto lamp colour durability

The amber bulbs commonly used in turn signals with colourless lenses are no longer made with cadmium glass, for cadmium is banned due to its toxicity by various regulations worldwide, including the European RoHS directive. Amber glass made without cadmium is relatively costly, so most amber bulbs are now made with clear glass dipped in an amber coating. Continue reading “Auto lamp colour durability”

Turn signal colour

Until the early 1960s, most front turn signals worldwide emitted white light and most rear turn signals emitted red. Amber front turn signals were voluntarily adopted by the auto industry in the USA for most vehicles beginning in the 1963 model year, though front turn signals were still permitted to emit white light until FMVSS 108 took effect for the 1968 model year, whereupon amber became the only permissible colour for front turn signals. Continue reading “Turn signal colour”

Electrical connection and switching

Turn signals are required to blink on and off, or “flash”, at a steady rate of between 60 and 120 blinks per minute. International regulations require that all turn signals activated at the same time (i.e., all right signals or all left signals) flash in simultaneous phase with one another; North American regulations also require simultaneous operation, but permit sidemarkers wired for side turn signal functionality to flash in opposite-phase. Continue reading “Electrical connection and switching”

Turn signals

Turn signals — formally called directional indicators or directional signals, and informally known as “directionals”, “blinkers”, “indicators” or “flashers” — are signal lights mounted near the left and right front and rear corners of a vehicle, and sometimes on the sides, used to indicate to other drivers that the operator intends a lateral change of position (turn or lane change). Electric turn signal lights were devised as early as 1907. Continue reading “Turn signals”

Dim-Dip Lamps

U.K. regulations briefly required vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1987 to be equipped with a dim-dip device or special running lamps, except such vehicles as comply fully with ECE Regulation 48 regarding installation of lighting equipment. A dim-dip device operates the low beam headlamps (called “dipped beam” in the UK) at between 10% and 20% of normal low-beam intensity. Continue reading “Dim-Dip Lamps”

Daytime running lamps

Some countries permit or require vehicles to be equipped with daytime running lamps (DRL). These may be functionally-dedicated lamps, or the function may be provided by e.g. the low beam or high beam headlamps, the front turn signals, or the front fog lamps, depending on local regulations. In ECE Regulations, a functionally-dedicated DRL must emit white light with an intensity of at least 400 candelas on axis and no more than 1200 candelas in any direction.  Continue reading “Daytime running lamps”

Front position lamps (parking lamps)

Nighttime standing-vehicle conspicuity to the front is provided by front position lamps, known as parking lamps or parking lights in North America, and front sidelights in UK English, Despite the UK term, these are not the same as the sidemarker lights described below. The front position lamps may emit white or amber light in North America; elsewhere in the world they must emit only white light. Continue reading “Front position lamps (parking lamps)”