Talk:Automotive lighting

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Archived discussions[edit]

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Sequential turn signals[edit]

This edit was made by apparently-new editor David Ally (talk · contribs) with the summary "A careful review of the NHTSA letters cited revealed that some sequential lighting systems had failed to meet requirements for specific reasons rather than ruling out the entire concept of sequential turn signals." This edit is problematic for a couple of reasons: Firstly, David Ally's look at the NHTSA interpretations appears to be less careful than wishful or assumptive. If we carefully read the primary cited NHTSA interp, we see that it states, inter alia: "all light sources providing a turn signal must be illuminated simultaneously when the turn signal operating control is activated". That is a declarative assertion with no conditions attached. It does not say all light sources providing the turn signal function must be illuminated simultaneously when the turn signal control is activated unless (anything), except (anything), as long as (anything), etc. The next sentences in the letter describe one of the ways in which the proposed aftermarket stop/turn signal lamp might fail to comply with certain of the various regulated aspects of vehicle lighting device design, construction, and performance. If the interp linked the latter sentences with the former with because or seeing as how or anything of that sort, David Ally's conclusion about its meaning might have some arguable merit to it. But there is no such linkage, so we have no grounds for concluding or assuming that the discussion of minimum lit area is the primary or exclusive reason why the device being discussed in that interpretation is noncompliant. Especially not for assuming, actually, since we are not permitted to put our assumptions and guesses and opinions into Wikipedia articles—there is no original research allowed here. That is the problem with David Ally's text "Apparently meeting all the requirements however, [some 2010 and newer Ford Mustangs are equipped with sequential turn signals]". "Apparently" means David Ally is drawing a conclusion based on what he sees, filtered through what he believes he understands, and that is pure original research.

The apparent conundrum between what NHTSA says (all turn signal lights must illuminate simultaneously) and what we see on the roads (2010 and newer Mustangs with sequential turn signals) is real and difficult to resolve for those who don't understand how NHTSA's regulations work. They are not written or enforced on an approval basis. A vehicle manufacturer does not have to seek or get approval for a particular configuration or design of a regulated system or device prior to putting it out for sale and use. The maker's legal obligation is merely to certify (assert) that his product meets all applicable requirements. That certification is based on whatever due dilligence the maker deems sufficient. If NHTSA eventually decides to question the compliance of (let's say) Ford's turn signals, then it would be up to Ford to make and support a case to NHTSA by interpreting FMVSS 108 either that their device complies, or that the noncompliance is inconsequential to traffic safety. If NHTSA finds the case convincing, then no enforcement action is taken. If NHTSA disagrees with Ford, then the range of consequences might range from an agreement to stop doing it on future vehicles to a mandatory recall of equipped vehicles to bring them into compliance, to possible civil penalties (fines). It is something of a gamble manufacturers play: they are generally reluctant to request interpretations of FMVSS 108 prior to putting out a design that arguably might or might not comply, because if NHTSA says "No" then that interpretation counts legally as part of the regulation and any further argument is foreclosed; they have no choice but to alter their design. The makers figure, and they're usually right, that lighting matters like this are a very low priority at NHTSA and there's not likely to be any inquiry into the matter, and if there is, they figure -- again, usually correctly -- that they have at least a decent shot at getting NHTSA to go away by writing up an interpretive argument that's at least not laughably bogus.

So there are lots of car lights on US roads that don't comply with the spirit and/or letter of any kind of straightfaced and sober reading of the regulatory text, but…they're still manufacturer-certified as compliant. It's kind of a haphazard system, but it's the one we have. —Scheinwerfermann T·C01:11, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

As I am at the beginning of the Wikipedia contributor learning curve, your commentary regarding my edit is most appreciated. I find that the end of the section dealing with sequential turn signals is still in need of clarification. Not knowing where to better express my further thoughts, I offer the following:
The sentence, “FMVSS 108 has been officially interpreted as requiring all turn signal lights to illuminate simultaneously.[35][57],” when strictly interpreted, is still incorrect, although, with some thinking, could still be interpreted well enough. If all turn signals on a vehicle were to illuminate simultaneously in a flashing manner, the appearance would be indistinguishable from hazard flashers.
Noting several sentences the cited letter to Charles I. Sassoon: “We informed Dr. Baldwin that Standard No. 108 requires stop lamps to be activated upon application of the service brakes, and that this meant that all bulbs providing the center stop signal must be simultaneously activated, not sequentially. Similarly, all light sources providing a turn signal must be illuminated simultaneously when the turn signal operating control is activated. Failure of all light sources to illuminate simultaneously means that the stop and turn signal functions of the Maxxima lamp would not comply with the minimum luminous lens area requirement of applicable SAE standards at all times after the brake pedal is applied or the turn signal operating control is activated.” Also: “When the turn signal function is activated on the Maxxima lamp, the minimum area requirement is not met at the time the first cycle begins because of the sequential nature of the lamp’s operation, a further noncompliance with Standard No. 108.”
The reference to ‘all bulbs’ in the stop signal and ‘all light sources’ providing a turn signal are directed to sources of light within the single illuminated lens of a fixture that needs to meet the luminous lens requirements for area and intensity of illumination for the full duration of each illuminated time period. The letter does not address a group of lenses in which each lens in the group individually meets the luminous lens requirements for area and intensity of illumination. While the letter, as you point out, does not provide for exception, do you not think it perhaps unjustified conjecture to extend the purpose of the letter beyond pointing out the failure of the graduated illumination of a single lens area to meet standards?
I did use the word “apparently” in an honest manner, as a part of a phrase to replace the word “however,” the word “however” relying on the veracity of the previous sentence, which I did not find to be wholly supported.
Regarding the vehicles referenced in the sequential turn signal portion of the article, the sequencing of lighted lenses is likely considered to meet requirements as a whole because each individual section of the sequence meets turn signal requirements for area and intensity of illumination and flash timing whether the other sections were present or not; should all but one of the segments fail to function, a valid turn signal would still be provided; a sequence of illuminated lenses, beginning with the lens closest to the centerline of the vehicle and continuing outward to indicate the turning direction, is not considered to be distracting or confusing to other motorists. Additionally, when the brakes are applied and/or the hazard flashers are activated, all segments illuminate simultaneously; no sequencing occurs for the stop or hazard functions of the lighting. I have no cite to directly support this conclusion. It can be seen that a group of three individual lenses, where each individual lens meets applicable requirements, would provide a viable signal at the time the first cycle begins and throughout the illuminated portion of the sequence, thus overcoming one of the faults given in the letter. In such a case, the faults of the Maxxima light addressed in letter may not apply to a well-designed sequential turn signal.
Your commentary on the means by which the NHTSA and vehicle/accessory manufacturers operate was not a part of the article, and therefore did not enter my thinking. I accept your information in this regard as entirely plausible. I suppose the best solution and information should come from the NHTSA in an advisory on the subject, “The manner in which sequential turn signals may meet applicable requirements,” even if that information is a non-ambiguous, all-encompassing ‘no acceptable method’.
Again, I appreciate your efforts. David Ally (talk) 17:07, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
The crucial piece of NHTSA edict is Standard No. 108 requires (…) all light sources providing a turn signal must be illuminated simultaneously when the turn signal operating control is activated. Subsequent text in the same NHTSA interpretation mentions minimum lit area requirements that might not be met if the elements of a multiple-lamp turn signal are operated sequentially rather than simultaneously. You assert the former requirement is because of the latter possibility, and therefore you conclude that if the latter condition is satisfactorily addressed—if each element of the multiple-lamp turn signal is capable of meeting all performance requirements individually—then the requirement for all lamps to be lit simultaneously does not apply. Unfortunately, there's nothing in the interpretation clearly indicating whether this contingency does or does not exist.
You and I might just as easily be right or wrong about NHTSA's position, intent, and rationale. Your suppositions, guesses, and assumptions are in line with my own regarding how Ford might argue for the compliance of the 2010 and later Mustang rear turn signal configuration. However, suppositions, guesses, and assumptions are not acceptable material for articles on Wikipedia. In fact, they are specifically barred by core Wikipedia principles including WP:V and WP:SYNTH (and WP:NOR more generally) — the same principles that make it very problematic for editors to add their own observations to articles, with or without denoting them with words like "apparently".
The language in the apposite NHTSA interpretation is itself open to interpretation: does all light sources providing a turn signal must be illuminated simultaneously when the turn signal operating control is activated mean all elements of the turn signal array must illuminate and extinguish in simultaneous phase, beginning upon the driver's activation of the turn signal operating control? Or does it mean that all elements of the turn signal array must be simultaneously lit during some portion of each "on" phase of the turn signal cycle, while the turn signal operating control is activated? The first is a narrow reading and the second is a broad reading; both are arguably plausible readings. This is very typical of NHTSA interpretations: much more often than they'll give a firm "yes" or "no", the agency will provide interpretive guidance to assist regulated parties in meeting their legal burden of determining and certifying the compliance of their products—the final interpretation with respect to any particular product or configuration rests with the regulated party, in accord with the structure of the statutes under which Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are promulgated.
That's why we don't have language in the article saying "Sequential turn signals are legal in the USA" or "Sequential turn signals are illegal under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108": there's no reliable support for either assertion, so all we can do is report as accurately as possible on what is available on the matter.
You further state The sentence, “FMVSS 108 has been officially interpreted as requiring all turn signal lights to illuminate simultaneously” when strictly interpreted, is still incorrect, although, with some thinking, could still be interpreted well enough. If all turn signals on a vehicle were to illuminate simultaneously in a flashing manner, the appearance would be indistinguishable from hazard flashers. I can see where you're coming from, and it's easy to fall into the trap of omitting what might seem obvious. In this case, the scenario you have in mind is not possible because the turn signal function is defined in SAE J588, referent as the turn signal technical standard in FMVSS 108 prior to its recent reformatting, as A flashing light to the front, side, and rear of a vehicle on the side toward which a change of direction is intended The reformatted FMVSS 108 says Turn signal lamps are the signaling element of a turn signal system which indicates the intention to turn or change direction by giving a flashing light on the side toward which the turn will be made. And the international regulation, UN Regulation 48, says "Direction-indicator lamp" means the lamp used to indicate to other road-users that the driver intends to change direction to the right or to the left. Emphasis added in all three cases to point up that a turn signal is by definition on one or the other side of the vehicle, not both. The hazard flasher function is legally an entirely separate function that can be implemented by simultaneous operation of the vehicle's left and right turn signals, but this is not the only way the hazard flasher function can be implemented. It's certainly the most common implementation, but there are other implementations as well. Nevertheless, this is an encyclopædia we're writing, and it's probably unreasonable to expect someone not already extremely knowledgeable about these matters to just figure it out on her own.
It will be a little tricky to fix the offending sentence without at least creating the appearance of disallowed synthesis, so I have added all these "one side" definitions as refs to support my copyedits to the sentence, clarifying the scope of NHTSA's assertion regarding simultaneity of illumination—this we can support reliably. Perhaps someday NHTSA will issue a more explicit statement regarding sequential turn signals, then we'll be able to use it here. And it will be interesting to keep an eye on what the United Nations working group on vehicle lighting and light-signalling (GRE) decides—the UN international regs on the subject presently explicitly require all operating turn signals to flash in synchronous phase, which specifically disallows sequential setups. The GRE is soon to consider whether and how to permit sequential turn signals; if they decide "yes", their language on the matter will likely be quite clear and unambiguous because that's generally how they roll. —Scheinwerfermann T·C21:35, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Vehicle Lighting: UK Practice[edit]

The main article suggests that reversing lights are compulsory. In the UK, the installation of reversing lights is optional, although of course, any prospective purchaser would be critical of a manufacturer who did not provide them. One or two lights are permitted, each having a maximum of 21 watts, and controlled either automatically with the selection of reverse gear or by a dedicated switch with a warning light. There are limits to the mounting height of such lamps, not to be confused with work lights which may be mounted higher on the rear of certain vehicles and which are not permitted for use when the vehicle is travelling on a public highway. Reversing lamps are not currently included within the statutory annual vehicle test. Douglasson (talk) 16:46, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

No, reversing lamps _are_ compulsory in the UK. The old British Standard for fitment of vehicle lights was long ago supplanted by UN Regulation 48, which requires each vehicle to be equipped with one or two reversing lamps. It is true that the MoT protocol does not include an inspection of the reversing lamp(s), but that does not mean they are not required -- merely that they are not tested. —Scheinwerfermann T·C18:23, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I was basing my contribution on the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 (SCHEDULE 14 - requirements relating to optional reversing lamps) which states that there is no requirement for reversing lamps but does give some restrictions on those which are fitted. These Regulations were amended in 2005, but none of the amendments refers to the quoted section. I note that the UN Regulation quoted came into force on 1st January 1982 and the UK became a contracting party on 21 Feb 1985. Since the 1989 Regulations came into force on 1st November 1989, the latter will take precedence in any proceedings. Nevertheless, I think that we will both take a dim view of any manufacturer who not fit them.
One change that I should make to my comment concerns the power rating of the lamps - the maximum permitted being 24 watts per lamp with a maximum of two such lamps. The confusion arose because 21 watt bulbs are much more common on 12 volts systems. Douglasson (talk) 19:19, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Automotive light sources used to be a list of light bulbs used on cars but has been renamed and a lot of general content on regulations has been added to it. Anything unique from that article that generally describes regulations, purpose, etc. of lighting could be usefully merged here. The bulb catalog can be dropped or moved to [some other Wikiproject] that specializes in parts lists. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:40, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. I agree that the regulatory content would be well placed in this article. I would be fine with seeing the bulb catalog disappear from Wikipedia per se completely; it's really not encyclopædic content and would be much better placed in a catalog wiki such as this one, there'll probably be pushback from those who think anything and everything belongs here. —Scheinwerfermann T·C21:58, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Hesitant. I think that bringing too many dimensions into an article makes it hard to follow, especially when it comes to this subject that also sees a lot of evolution when it comes to the sources of light (bulbs, LEDs, HIDs). The use of sub-pages may make it easier. (E.g. pages; Automotive lighting/Lamps, Automotive lighting/Bulbs and Automotive lighting/Regulations Ehsnils (talk) 18:39, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

UNECE = International[edit]

Common reasoning says it is for Europe because of "United Nations Economic Commission for Europe while it maybe adopted by other countries, just as US government regulations may chose to adopt private industrial standards like SAE. I don't think it is correct to refer to it as "international regulation" especially to paint over non European/American English speaking countries.Cantaloupe2 (talk) 15:56, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

What you are calling "Common reasoning" looks to me like just your own guess at things. It's a wrong guess. In fact, it is correct to refer to these regulations as international, for most of the world's countries recognize the, what used to be called "ECE Regulations" and are now known as "UN Regulations". Look at refs #2 and #3 in the relevant article. It is pretty much only the U.S. Americans who don't recognise the UN Regulations, so even though they tend to scoff at everyone else in the world...I think "international" should stay. 04:43, 8 August 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

many images of every type, brand and model, have been replaced with German models, by a German user[edit]

an user: Faep who likes to change all the images of various vehicles and replacing them with German cars, just because he is German. Although I have canceled his action, he has seen fit to unleash an edit war. Please ask to intervene. very probably the user try to discredit me (as it has done in the past) with things that have nothing to do, even on happened. In order to divert your attention from the problem. Please give the right considerations. --Pava (talk) 17:07, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Rear indicator/turn-signal colour and DOT spec in Iceland[edit]

Currently in Iceland all dealerships must sell European spec cars, as in following the ECE headlight pattern and having amber rear indicators(turn signals). But on the other hand, any individual may import North American spec cars that follow the DOT headlight pattern and have red rear indicators(turn signals) and use them in Iceland without modification. Also, you can modify any existing ECE spec car and for example replace the white park lights on the front with amber lights. Presumably I imagine Iceland is the only country in Europe that allows cars to follow either ECE or DOT spec interchangably.

I'm not very familiar with the way Wikipedia works so I'm just wondering how would be the best way to add this to the article? Nammi-namm (talk) 15:46, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Improve structure.[edit]

Today the structure is a bit hard to follow and track down. Especially since it is breaking down the information on where the lamps are located, even if there are lamps carrying the same function both front and rear and therefore carries a lot in common (like the position lights). The designations of the same lamp also differs depending on country and even standardization organization which makes things even more awkward.

Also see my comment under "Merger Proposal".

I have made a few images (Euro style weighs in because that's where I live) that links the various lamps to locations in order to make it easier to connect a designation with a specific lamp.

Ehsnils (talk) 18:58, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I have refreshed the Swedish pages sv:Fordonsbelysning and broken the page up into sub-pages to make it easier. Ehsnils (talk) 18:24, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Structuring and Splitting proposal[edit]

I find this article monstrous from a length perspective. It is unnecessarily broad and deep at the same time. I think many sections should be split off and this article reduced to strictly emphasize breadth at the expense of depth, and link to related main articles as needed. Here are two proposed changes (personally opinionated): split off "4 Conspicuity, signal and identification lights", link to it via a Main article entry, and provide a short summary here instead; also, "7 Light sources" to be migrated to a page titled "automotive lighting technologies" or similar. Skl (talk) 15:13, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

"Monstrous"...? That is an extreme idea! What, it is taking too many pages for you to print it out, and then the stack of paper is making too heavy for you to carry on the cross-country plane trip...? It is the giant, hulking, towering mountain of article that is causing the browser to become crashed and is bringing the computer to the grinding halt and causing the ISP to bill you with the surcharges and throttle the bandwidth for attempting to download such massive article? Your smartphone has exploded in balls of fire? What??? I'm being sardonic, but please come on: what real issue this article is causing for you? What objective standard you are using, please, to judge this article as being "unnecessarily" broad and "unnecessarily" deep? Maybe we shall be taking away the "unnecessary" breadth and depth by removing facts...then you are happy with it? Another way how to describe the article, but with the positive spin, is that it is covering the subject matter thoroughly. At least one of the Wikipedia's length guideline documents says, "Sometimes an article simply needs to be big to give the subject adequate coverage". How you are sure this is not one of those? I am not.
As for your proposals, yes, I agree like you say, they are "personally opinionated". I go further: they look like the random and arbitrary suggestions to me. They would shorten this article, but they would also create the new need for the readers to go to multiple articles instead of one. I don't think that's necessarily improvement. So: I disagree. (talk) 01:01, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Skullydyvan, I have just restored the text you removed from this talk page in this edit. You are permitted to remove or edit your own comments on a talk page (though this should be done within the guidelines at the link), and it looks like you thought better of the personal attack you posted to this page and removed it. That's good, but you are generally not permitted to edit other users' comments except in certain very specific situations, none of which was the case here. If you have a disagreement with (or any other editor), there are many effective ways of resolving it. You can discuss it with the other user on your talk page or theirs, and if that fails there are many other steps you can take. (talk) 03:14, 11 May 2014 (UTC)


Off-topic sections:

3.2.1 Driving lamps, paragraph two: Matters of etymology are discussed. Proposal: creation of an "Terminology and etymology" section or addition of a wikitionary link or something, for less jumping back-and-forth throughout the article between matters of description, regulation, etymology and terminology.

3.2.4 Spot lights: Historical matters are discussed. Proposal: content to be moved to History.

4.1.3 Dim-dip lamps: Historical matters again

4.2.1 Side marker lights and reflectors: History (this one's minor though) Skl (talk) 16:08, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Add "opera lights"[edit]

Add "opera lights" 23:23, 1 July 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Add rear deceleration lamps[edit]

In the US within the last ~15 years I’ve seen higher-end commercial tour/commuter busses equipped with dedicated rear-facing deceleration warning lamps. These rearward facing amber lamp pairs are tied to the electric retarder, and are intended to warn vehicles behind the bus of an impending stop based on deceleration, rather than actuation of the brake pedal itself. When activated they either use the short-multi-flash-burst and transition to steady, or go directly to steady-burning "on".

Unable to locate good citation for it at present. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

California Vehicle Code VC 25251.5 covers them, but CA DMV site down for maintenance.