Depends on the car. My Genesis has LED taillights but they have a full
red lens so they don't appear to be a string of dots.
Front DRL on a few cars look terrible, IMO. Cadillac is one of the
worst, IMO, Audi not far behind. They they go out when the turn signal
is on and it really looks bad.
Some look like the designers got a new toy and they don't know how to
play with them yet, but they must use them because the competition has
I'm waiting for the Tbird emulation frenzy to take place! :>
A lot of what goes into cars (appearance-wise) is to make the vehicle
more noticeable to other drivers (safety). E.g., brake lights had
been "low, on either side" of the car for ages -- why the sudden
need to put a third one "up high"?
Ans: because it isn't *expected* there (yet) so drivers notice it
Ditto motorcycles running with headlight(s) on -- in daylight.
Drivers -- when not deliberately distracted by their own amusements -- tend
to "zone out" and fail to see lots of what's in front of them.
New car just stops for you. First too close warning, beep , beep, then
sudden braking. I don't like it, lowered the beep volume to lowest but
the beep is still audible. Same with smart cruise control, will keep
distance to front car according to your preset or can cancel the
feature at least. And then lane mitigation.... good and bad things with
We didn't like those features (different manufacturers call them different
things). See my other post re: the "forward-looking-technology failures".
We were concerned that the collision avoidance logic might kick in
unexpectedly (note that I am not saying it is doing so ERRONEOUSLY
but, rather, UNEXPECTEDLY). So, imagine pouncing on the accelerator to
pass a large truck and, as you pull into oncoming traffic, you sense
the engine output being throttled back -- because the system "saw"
the truck and thought you were going to hit it, etc.
Volvo (?) has a package that will work in city driving and detect
*pedestrians*! I wonder how often drivers curse it for slamming on
the brakes each time some fool steps off the curb?
We opted for the blind spot warning system to hopefully catch hazards
that may "suddenly" manifest (seems like looking over shoulder gets
harder for many people as they get older?). Likewise, there's something
that beeps and indicates in the backup camera display to indicate when
vehicles are approaching from either side. Again, for folks who
can't look over their shoulders easily.
The other "stuff" that it dragged into the sale would never have been
on our list (navigation, sound system, sun roof, cruise, etc.). But,
the power liftgate will probably prove helpful for SWMBO as she lugs lots
of supplies to her various "outings" throughout the week. (I tend to
disable it and manually open/close to save wear and tear on the mechanism)
Really wish the glovebox was useful -- for something more than GLOVES!
Likewise, some extra storage under seats, trunk, etc. (sigh)
Cars have been around for well over 100 years. Something that happened
30 years ago is relatively recent!
Note that cars now show turn signal indications on their side mirrors.
This, of course, does nothing for the driver of the vehicle! Rather,
it puts ANOTHER turn signal indication in a place where oncoming
vehicles can be "surprised" by it.
Our CHMSL is intensity modulated (dim/bright) when the brakes are
initially applied. I.e., another "surprise" to wake up the dozing
driver behind us...
Hey, the Tbird/Cougar sequential turn signal system was pretty slick for its
time. Sadly it was about as reliable as a Yugo because the "mechanical
sequencer" wasn't up to the environment it found itself in. The spare would
run for months with no problem on a test bench but once mounted in the car,
it would fail.
It's a 3 cam rotating switch and along with a number of relays, would fail
in some interesting ways. I helped my father by standing by the trunk and
reporting whether the unit (in the sidewell) was even clicking at all. Now
you'd do it with a tiny chip and some relays, but back then (1967)
electronics were not as widely used in cars as they are today.
I have a newer minivan with speed-engaging door locks and all sorts of other
"quantum entanglements" that make the Cougar's interlocking system look
simple. Unfortunately it makes troubleshooting a very complex procedure.
Essentially I have two "door control units" now and one is a "hangar queen."
I wonder how much more complexity there is in a 2015 car than there is in a
2000 or an 1980 model?
Because NHTSA and the insurance companies discovered that modern driving
habits (tailgating at speed in most urban settings!!) made the brake lights
of the cars ahead hard to see. Accidents resulted.
The insurers inspired Congress to mandate the visible brakelights to help
lessen the problem of chain collisions at speed. In many cases, a rear deck
brakelight can be seen through the windows of several of the cars ahead.
That gives drivers at least a chance to slow down.
Before the advent of rear-deck brakelights I used to drive slightly to the
left to see down the row of cars in the fast lane. One day the left
breakdown lane was suddenly filled with smoke from out of nowhere and I said
to myself "How could there be a fire up ahead on the roadway?"
Then I realized that all the smoke was from a pack of vehicles about six
cars ahead where people were jamming on their brakes when a mattress broke
loose from the roof a car in the middle lane.
Today, it would be a one day design project and another for board layout.
The biggest issue would be the "politics" of approving a local controller
at the lamp/display, itself (it would be silly to run all those individual
leads to discrete emitters in the lamp).
I always marveled at the insane complexity of SxS CO's -- all those strowger's
clicking away day and night; it's a wonder they weren't in a state of
continual disrepair... that the system EVER worked, let alone working
as well as it did!
Anyone who's serviced EM pinball machines can attest to how temperamental
those sorts of systems *can* be. Yet ATT/WE managed to come up with incredibly
robust designs the reliability of which folks never even thought of
As a kid, I built a digital door lock out of some parts rescued from
a "pin setter" (bowling alley). No fancy editing capability, display,
etc. You just went through the motions and got it right -- or not.
I learned that I had to listen carefully to the sound of the sequencer
to be sure it advanced properly after each "digit" -- otherwise, a
digit could "overwrite" the previous resulting in a "bad code".
The definition of complexity that I most enjoy is: "Something too big to
fit in a SINGLE human brain" (tongue-in-cheek). I.e., if *you* can't
remember all the details about it, then it's "complex". Conversely, if
you *can*, it's "simple".
Conceptually, the (electronic) controls in a car are pretty simple. And,
the distributed nature of a CAN implementation enhances this by letting
you compartmentalize different "pieces" of the system in your mind: the
whatchamacallit handles the doohickie.
Where things get tedious is the considerations for fail-safe operation
and the potential interactions between subsystems in a KNOWN failed system
(if THIS thing isn't working, what *else* isn't working??). There, the
distributed nature works for and against your comprehension -- too many
balls to juggle.
Of course. Let The Market work. Of course, the same folks who advocate
such things would complain about the Nanny State that results -- despite
the fact that The Market is driving it. :-/
SWMBO used to "hang to the left" like this as the only practical solution
to "all the big cars" on the roadways, here (her previous car was a
"normal" coupe). A lifted pickup in front of you essentially blocks
any view of anything ahead of it; your view through their cab is
essentially "open sky" (figuratively speaking).
[This was the primary motivation for getting a "taller" vehicle.]
Gee, amazing how that "reaction time" math works, in practice, eh? :>
Modern elevators are now "energy conscious". They take pains
to try to come up with the most effective way of moving "goods"
(balancing wait time/inconvenience against energy costs; do you
fetch an unoccupied car from the 84th floor to service this
6th floor request? Or, let the folks on 6 wait for the car that's
got stops scheduled for 8 and 7 come down to meet them?
[Of course, the energy optimized solution is to let the people
on 6, wait. But, that could result in the car on 84 just sitting
there, idle, for very long periods of time -- waiting for an
A lot of "simple" problems are really very fascinating to consider
in detail. Esp when they have to operate without knowledge of
future events ("Crap! We should have left that car on 84 and
expected the folks on 6 to wait; now someone on 85 is calling
for service! Up we go, again...")
The sequential controller was interlinked to the emergency flashers and the
brake lights. You could isolate some problems by going through the drill of
turning on the signal, then the headlights, hitting the brake pedal and then
trying the emergency flashers.
Nowadays all that would be interfaced with the car's main computer which
would just add to the complexity. I rode in a late model car yesterday that
tracked when you crossed a highway line or approached too quickly. I can't
imagine the complexity that adds to a car, especially if it brakes
automatically as well.
I once had an "anti-creep" system on an old Jag sedan - kept pressure
applied to the power brakes when idling. It worked great if the engine kept
running but it was an old Jag and the engine would *always* stall for some
reason or another (Solex carbs and Lucas electrical eq. being two). A
fellow Jag owner stepped out of his on a hill and when the engine died and
vacuum pressure was lost, so was the car!
You could make an aftermarket device that just "watched" the signals
on the brake and turn-signal wires (i.e., as if *it* was the brake
light and turn signal light). Then, with this "information", deduce
how to drive the LED array.
The bigger problem would be physically hacking the array to gain
electrical access to each of the individual emitters.
Yes. I mentioned elsewhere my experience with such a system overheating
in our warm sunny days. As I understand it, there's a camera that watches
the roadway (lane markers) to detect if you are maintaining your lane
or deviating. Presumably, it takes cues from your turn signals to know
when you *intend* to change lanes (?). Forward looking "radar" (it may
actually be ultrasonic?) watches the objects ahead of you to detect when
you are approaching them (relativisticly speaking... they may, instead,
be approaching *you*! :> ) to throttle back the cruise control setting,
and/or brake. Volvo has a system for "in city" driving (vs. highway driving)
that claims to brake for pedestrian traffic, etc.
We were wary of tying that sort of technology into the actual CONTROL of
the vehicle. So, opted only for *advisory* technologies: one watches
the blind spots to the left and right rear of the vehicle and alerts when
another vehicle is in those (but only when you are in motion, no notice
when "parked at a light") and additionally alarms if you turn on the
turn signal suggesting you are planning on moving into conflict with
one of those vehicles; another watches to the sides behind the vehicle
when you are backing up (like exiting a nose-in parking space) to alert
you to cars approaching from the sides -- "cross-traffic".
But, you can readily ignore their advice (which may be in error!).
I'm not sure I would trust the vehicle to actually change how/if it
can be driven in situations that it might misinterpret!
Many cars now have a feature like that (electronically driven) to assist
in similar situations. I suspect they are well-intended -- even if it is
only the opinion of the Marketeers driving them.
OTOH, I think there are simpler tweeks that can be made to improve the
usability of much of this kit -- without getting as actively involved
in the control of the vehicle.
One peeve is the naivite of the navigation system(s)... if I've put my left
turn signal ON, doesn't that suggest that I *know* I will be turning LEFT,
soon? Why follow that with the announcement "Turn left, ahead, in 1/4 mile"?
No need for *it* to make the turn FOR me; just don't nag me needlessly if,
by observing my actions, you can ddeduce that I already know something about
which you are about to pester me! (you're already interrupting the display
on one of the monitors to SHOW me this information, now you want to make
SURE I noticed it?? By ducking the audio to which I happen to be listening??)
<frown> Freeze warning. Guess I'll have to prepare the citrus trees...
The system is designed for that. The normal (high flow rate) irrigation
"outlets"/emitters for the citrus trees feed upright plumbing (installed
in the winter months) on which misting nozzles are attached.
But, until I get the last three hose bibbs plumbed, I can't turn on the
water in that distribution line.
Also, misting is a last resort -- when it gets WELL below the 28F that
the fruit can safely tolerate. Our "defense" is layered based on the
Tonight it may touch 28 or 29 -- for a *brief* period. Deep watering helps
trap heat in the soil beneath the trees. And, helps them "rehydrate" to be
better prepared for the assault. The large trees will shrug off this sort
of minor cold spell. The younger/smaller trees need some extra protection.
If this was later in the season, we'd harvest the topmost fruit "early"
rather than risk them freezing. The lower hanging fruit will tend to fare
better as they are less exposed and can benefit from some of the latent
heat in the soil (assuming it hasn't been cold for MANY days!)
We string XMAS lights (7W incandescents) in the trees to help prevent cold
air from settling on the leaves/fruit. It's just enough of a convective
flow that it buys a little more protection. Depending on the actual
temperature, those are illuminated -- or not. (the yard looks quite
festive when they are lit!)
[I've not been able to find a suitable *fan* that can be used outdoors
and in the rain -- as it often rains at this time of year]
We also cover some of the trees (esp the young/small ones) with bed sheets
wrapped around teepees made from 10' chain-link fence rails. We can erect
a teepee and have it "skinned" in a matter of minutes. But, if we wait
too late in the day, the pipes (rails) get pretty cold and can be
uncomfortable to handle.
With the lights under the sheets, this buys even more protection.
When we expect really cold weather and for many consecutive days,
the trees need to be misted -- coated in ice to help protect the
wood of the tree. This is really hard on the tree -- it will lose
all of its foliage in the process. And, not a guaranteed remedy.
A few years back, we had a spell of ~5 days when the nights were
in the mid teens and daytime highs never left the 30's. I coated
the trees every few hours throughout the night. But, was unable
to save the lemon, lime and blood orange (though the navel and
valencia survived as a result of the effort).
We deliberately selected the four replacement trees to be smaller
varieties (with citrus, the size of the tree is determined by the
root-stock onto which the tree is grafted; the root stock acts as
a sort of throttle on nutrient uptake so the same variety of
tree grafted on one root stock will be large -- or smaller -- than
when grafted to another root stock). So, we will be better equipped
to protect them in similar cold spells.
[E.g., the blood orange required a sheet made of *4* king size
bed sheets sewn together, edge to edge, to cover the tree entirely.
And, of course, covered it can't be misted! <frown> With the
smaller variety trees, we can target them with single -- or
perhaps dual -- sheets; much easier to manhandle than the
giant TENTS for the larger trees!]
I conveniently knocked one of the navels off the tree while stringing
lights. So, I'll coerce SWMBO into tasting it to see the risk/value
of harvesting it early -- in case that proves to be a necessary option.
(Personally, I don't like oranges! Though delighted in the juice from
the blood orange!)
The past few years I've been buying high priced oranges from the Orange
Shop. They cost considerably more than the grocery store but well worth
it when you eat them. Peeling them your hand gets soaked from the
juice, like holding a saturated sponge. I get them mid to late December
and eat one a day.
The difference is basically a matter of how long they remain on the
tree. A lot of produce is harvested (too) early and expected to
ripen on the grocers shelves (or, "artificially" ripened).
We leave the fruit on the tree until it *must* be removed. E.g., if
we expect a long, hard freeze and can't reasonably expect the fruit
to remain unaffected; or, if the tree is setting out blossoms for the next
crop (picking fruit later than that cuts down on the size of the
next crop *and* risks damaging the fragile blossoms -- which ends up
costing you future fruit).
The longer the fruit stays on the tree -- and the warmer it is during
that period -- the more sugars it produces. E.g., our lemons and limes
are *sweet* instead of *tart* (though you'd still not want to EAT one!)
Last year was warm for a VERY long time. So, the fruit was extraordinarily
sweet. SWMBO picks one a day to eat off the Navel starting as late as
she can discipline herself (recalling that later == sweeter). She continues
to do this every day (pick one in the afternoon for the next morning)
until something requires the tree to be harvested (cold/blossoms).
Then, she stocks up the refrigerator (BOTH vegetable drawers plus the bottom
shelf), puts a few in an ornamental bowl to leave out for the next week
and gives a few to "select" friends. The balance (of these Navels) get
blended with the Valencia's -- which are picked in ~February and juiced
(they aren't a good "eating orange"; the Navel's aren't a good *juicing*
orange -- but are sugary sweet compared to the "orange tasting" Valencia's).
The blood oranges (before the tree got wacked) come even later in the
year -- sometimes you can stretch it into April. But, those are off limits:
"mine"! And, are strictly juiced (if you can get used to the color, the
juice is absolutely delightful!)
The "fresh" Navels will carry through until June-ish (this year they ran out
at the end of June) while the juice will carry through most of the year
(I think she ran out of "home squeezed" juice a few weeks ago).
The juice from the lemon tree will support my "tea" habit for most of
the year (fresh frozen -- in 8 oz "vitamin bottles" so I don't have to
worry about pasteurization). The lime juice is simply too much to
deal with -- the old tree would produce several hundred tennis-ball
sized limes (not the golf ball size you find in stores). We never
found a use for that many so would bring grocery bags full of limes to
the "laundry" at the local hospital (the Mexicans working there
loved to suck on limes)
ObTrivia: many mexicans will have acid-etched front teeth. This is a
consequence of taking a slice/wedge of citrus (e.g., lime) and holding
it in their mouths between their lips -- the flesh of the fruit against
their front teeth -- as they "nurse" the juices from it!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.