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Automobile Electronics by/for Dummies

celta1Just a short post about our rental car.  The Celta that we rented from Budget at the airport in Rio has a bad light switch.  Because of this, I haven’t been able to use the headlights.  This isn’t a big problem around here – the streets in Volta Redonda are lighted up pretty well.  The car has tail lights and a low-wattage bulb in each headlight cluster, so others can see me.  However, it was something that I had to take care of in order to drive safely at night.

In the good ‘ol days, one could simply swap out the light switch.  Not anymore.  Our modern16012009275 cars have all of the switches in one place – bolted behind the steering wheel.  The various stalks that handle the turn signals and lights and wipers all go to the same switch.  If any part of it messes up, you have to take the steering wheel off, bolt on a new switch and then replace the wheel. The linked article shows how to change one on a Ford without pulling the steering wheel.  In my experience, GM cars always need the steering wheel removed to do this job.  Not something that I wanted to do, especially with the cost of auto parts here.

I could have returned the car to Budget at Tom Jobim Airport in Rio, but that’s a two-hour drive each way.  Also, they would likely swap put my 4 door air conditioned Celta for the 2 door non-A/C car that I paid for.  Bye-bye upgrade.  Hmmmm.  So, out with the voltmeter, where I discovered that the fuses to the lights are after the switch.  It was a simple matter to  add thick jumpers between the parking light fuses and the head light fuses.  So. whenever the parking lights see power, the head lights will see it too.  There is a chance that the increased amperage might damage the parking light part of the switch as well (hope that there are relays for the headlights) but the switch is already bad.

If anyone asks, I didn't do that....
If anyone asks, I didn't do that….

After double and triple checking things with the voltmeter, I added two jumpers between the low-beams and the parking lights.  It works fine for now – it’s only got to last another two weeks.  I can remove the jumpers with no problem when I return the car, and then it’s Budget’s problem.

What does this have to do with Brasil?  Not much, sorry.  But, if you’re ever in a jam with your headlights, it is something you could try…

It’s warm and humid here again.  We didn’t really get a thunderstorm yet – just a few stray drops of rain on and off in the late afternoon.  I’m going to get a shower and then head out to Na Moita with my wife.

Try to stay warm,







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