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Why is so hard to mimic the Knight Rider scanner Effect?


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Hello All!

I've build this "Nite Rider Lights"

Made a few changes in the project to meet my needs, R3 100R, R2 1K, C1 10uF.

By the way, i dont know why i get dragged to projects like this because at the end it will work the same, this one need 7 CI's and a simple CD4017/NE555 do the same effect. So, here is a video of the project working:

My question is, how hard is to use this circuit to make a true Night Rider scanner like this:


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Hi Wellington,
We have three or four Knight Rider scanner circuits in our projects section. Bill Bowden also has some. None use as many as 7 ICs as in this project.

A real Knight Rider fades the lights from one to the next which is automatic when using incandescent fairly high power bulbs. LEDs turn on and off so quickly that they appear to jerk from one to the next.

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Hello Audioguru, long time no see!

Yep, i know that, but sometimes you have that feeling that "it might work out". I've done long time ago the basic CD4017/NE555 with some power transistors and light bulbs (i said bulbs not bubs ;D ) used in brake light, and it work like you said, when the light shuts it fades slowly making a nice effect.

What catch the eyes is not that coming and going effect, but the impression that is a devil traped inside that scaner, you know, like an evil bull with red eyes impacient, looking at you, coming and going just waiting the right moment to get you.

Is THAT effect that i want to build and reproduce in a small proportion with led's.

This circuit is not that all bad, comparing with this simple CD4017/NE555 (2CI's) this 7CI's project has a  is very smooth movement as you can see in my video. But, an true Knight Rider scaner has 8 light and not 9 like this one, i think it should be ease to fix this project.

But Audioguru tell me something, to get this effect with led's, it could be done with 47uF or 100uF eletrolitic capacitors right? Connecting then in series to ground so the acumulated energy in the capacitor will discharge slowly and so the led will have a fade effect right?

For thouse that want to build the project i've included in this message the board and schematic.

PS:Rename the extension from .zip to .7z

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But the effect is only the fade out correct?

I recommend using two series current-limiting resistors for each LED with a capacitor to ground at their junction. Then one resistor charges the capacitor slowly which slowly brightens the LED, and the other resistor isolates the low (off) voltage from the gate so the capacitor slowly discharges into the LED which slowly fades it.
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Ok, when i get some free time i will try to mess up a bit more with this project.

Thank you Audioguru!

By the way, you can move the file to the project section for others to build their own board of the project, inside there is a schematic, board design ready to print and the Eagle Project.

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If you use the zoom tool you can see it clearly. Here is GIF version.

I added a screen capture small AVI file of the simulated led movement. It looks a bit jerky because I think my PC is running out of computing speed running the simulation and the capture software but it will give some idea of the operation.

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Hey AN920 nice circuit, thank you for your reply.
But come on, don't do this!!!
Let me wrap my hands and hold my self and use my mantra "I dont want to build this!, I dont want to build this!"
;D ;D ;D

Let me ask you something, there is a way to make your circuit work with 8 led's so it will make a true Knight Rider!

I have about 10 circuits builded, i think this will be another one, finger crossed!

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  • 1 month later...

Personally, i would use a string of 12V halogen, the level of crisp bright light is far superior than any LED; my opinion.
However, the above will require a variety of power transistors to sink each lamp.

Halogen is a decent long lasting bulb with excellent illumination:


The above is the same bulb used on the 1986 - 1989 Third brake lamp assembly.
Sadly, so many idiots pay $24.00 for this bulb from GM...


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Let me try to explain this in an easy to understand manner...   ::)

A halogen lamp uses a tungsten filament that is encased inside a much smaller quartz envelope.
The gas within the envelope is also unique and contains interesting properties.
The latter gas combines with a tungsten vapor which when hot will also combine with the tungsten atoms
as they start to evaporate and redeposite on the filament.
The above is very unique, similar to a recycling process which allows the filament to last longer.

Obviously, flashing a filament is not the perfect solution in comparison to a silicon arrangement.
However, in the event one chooses to select a brighter, more pronounced illumination the halogen will far exceed the
typical filament lamp.



I hope i have made the information above clear enough.   :)

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Yes I know very well how a halogen works, thank you! This was not the point here; the point was the limited lifespan a halogen has in the suggested application. Unlike the police light (in the link you provided) the filaments in the knight rider application will have more time to

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Tomar has a variety of "flashing halogen" police & tactical/military (Govt) lighting that uses many variations of "timed/alternating/flashing", not limited to the example i provided.

The project you outlined is basic in comparison to the designs available through Tomar.

The below is another example how a group of halogen lamps are used in a programmable application, user can select a particular pattern of flashing lamps.

http://www.eccolink.com/ProductPages/LightBarsHMPG.cfm   3055H

Federal, Military, Govt and local authorities have been using flashing halogen lamp assemblies grouped in either a cluster or bar pattern for years.
The point here is "FLASHING" the latter concept is usually programmable in the variety of BAR assemblies.

About the only serious drawback when using flashing halogen is Current demand, most programmable flashing halogen bar's require around 20A!  :o

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Obviously, you did not take the time to read the instructions concerning the 3055H.

Here it is again:


Scroll to page four, the variety of programming methods can perform a similar concept as the knight rider.
Remember, decay/timing interval is the key word.


Let us say the smear time will take 250ms to complete, the latter will leave the filament ON longer than a simple flash before proceeding to the next lamp etc...
The above calculated time can also be outlined with the majority of halogen lamp bars using the rate of time as calculated above.
Remember, the above time can EASILY be re-calculated and adjusted in the event the example time (250ms) is longer-shorter per bulb or all bulbs actively on with smear present on each bulb until the cycle repeats.

Again the key word is "TIME" the halogen does not know it is smearing a flash, the only relative aspect is ON - Decay - OFF; time!

I realize the above may be a lot to understand all at once, and it is apparent this thread is beginning to become a back and forth issue.
Additionally, your claim concerning the high current pulses that destroy the filament is also subjective, the filament of a halogen is very rugged in comparison to the typical filament; practically all filament lamps draw current, this is not uncommon.
The 15-20A as require for the ecco/tomar halogen bar lamp is required because they are for EMERGENCY use, they are more than likely illuminating in a burst that exceed the actual rating of the bulb; extremely bright!
The latter is a very good reason for having a Day/Night switch!

Furthermore, under normal conditions as would be the case with a typical project the filament life would last the duration of hours intended by the manufacturer.
I stress the "FACT" that many Federal, Military, Govt and local authorities have been using flashing halogen lamp assemblies grouped in either a cluster or bar pattern for years.

Please, show/link a source where you received your information concerning flashing halogen.
Otherwise, you should refrain from providing false accusations that prevent the individuals within this excellent forum from experimenting.
Many of the forum individuals are new to electronics and depend on an engineering staff for answers.


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We are not talking about the same things here, my practical experiences do not agree with your statements. You are also continuing to referee to certain commercial equipment with no relevance to what I have stated.                        I will not waste more time on this!

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