Monday, January 16, 2012

Big Display

Teaching automotive technologies today involves a good deal time spent demonstrating how to use a scan tool or oscilloscope to view and gather data and/or electrical waveforms. Those demonstrations become difficult when trying to present the data on a laptop computer screen to a group of students (yes, most of the programs that we use today are computer based). Eighteen students divided by one 15" display equals the possibility that someone gets left behind. We are resolving that problem with a large screen TV and a rolling cabinet in which we can store all of our test equipment including test leads, laptop computers, scan tools and various other pieces of testing equipment. We're tackling this project "in house" with the help of NMC tech staff. We started with a rolling cabinet and built a raised counter top. Under the counter will reside a PC, keyboard and mouse. A switch will allow us to swap the display from the PC to another input (scan tool, laptop, etc.). A webcam on an articulated arm will act as a document camera to magnify and display parts and documents. The camera will have a clip which will allow us to remove it from the arm and place it under the hood (or anywhere else on the vehicle) and allow all to view the subject matter at a very high resolution. We are about halfway through the project and should have it finished in a week or two.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We are in the process of installing all of the bits and pieces needed to make the Hybrid Trainer Vehicle legal for use on the street. After studying the Michigan Vehicle Code, I found that we would need mirrors, lights, a windshield and a few other items to make it come together. The mirrors are installed, as are the headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals. The taillights, brake lights and turn signals are high efficiency LED units. The cool thing about that is they appear to be clear, but light up red or amber when energized. Actually, the lights are merely mounted. Our next class starts next week, and they will design and implement the lighting controls and wiring to get everything on line and working. I can't wait to get them started!

The turn signals are below the headlights, to the outside.

Turn signal on the left, taillight/brake light on the right.