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Dashboard lights

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Mike Austin
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Dashboard lights

Post by Mike Austin » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:06 pm

I am a bit puzzled by my dashboard lights - those lighting the speedo and tacho. They do not come on with my side lights but they do come on with dipped beam. They sometimes come on when I turn (in harmony with the front dogs, nearly) and then slowly dim. They sometimes come on when I first turn on the ignition or go into reverse. The other dashboard lights, the gaudy red ones around controls etc, are fine.
Sounds like a faulty logic somewhere. Any clues? Is there some sort of reset I can do?

SRGTD
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by SRGTD » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 pm

The instrument (speedo and tacho) lighting doesn’t come on with sidelights in my car either. Hadn’t noticed before, so I just went and checked; I never drive on or use just sidelights; always use headlights, and when the headlights are on, the dials are illuminated as I’d expect them to be.

I’m not sure I understand the dimming of the dashboard illumination when turning, but the dashboard illumination is controlled by a light sensor linked to the level of outside light. During dull daylight hours and dusk light conditions, the dashboard illumination will dim down to act as a prompt for you to switch on your lights. In bright and sunny light conditions, the dashboard dials will be illuminated. You will notice this if you’re driving on a sunny day (dials illuminated) if you enter a tunnel or a section of road wth dense, overhanging trees when the instrumentation lighting will dim down.

If you have an ‘auto’ setting on your rotary light switch and you set your lights to auto, when outside lighting levels drop and your instumentation illumination dims down, your headlights should then come on automatically, along with dashboard illumination.

Andy1273
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by Andy1273 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:06 pm

SRGTD wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 pm
The instrument (speedo and tacho) lighting doesn’t come on with sidelights in my car either. Hadn’t noticed before, so I just went and checked; I never drive on or use just sidelights; always use headlights, and when the headlights are on, the dials are illuminated as I’d expect them to be.

I’m not sure I understand the dimming of the dashboard illumination when turning, but the dashboard illumination is controlled by a light sensor linked to the level of outside light. During dull daylight hours and dusk light conditions, the dashboard illumination will dim down to act as a prompt for you to switch on your lights. In bright and sunny light conditions, the dashboard dials will be illuminated. You will notice this if you’re driving on a sunny day (dials illuminated) if you enter a tunnel or a section of road wth dense, overhanging trees when the instrumentation lighting will dim down.

If you have an ‘auto’ setting on your rotary light switch and you set your lights to auto, when outside lighting levels drop and your instumentation illumination dims down, your headlights should then come on automatically, along with dashboard illumination.
Thank you for that explanation I never knew why mine dimmed when going through tunnels near me. Now I know why, thanks.

Mike Austin
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by Mike Austin » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:21 am

SRGTD wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 pm
I’m not sure I understand the dimming of the dashboard illumination when turning, but the dashboard illumination is controlled by a light sensor linked to the level of outside light. During dull daylight hours and dusk light conditions, the dashboard illumination will dim down to act as a prompt for you to switch on your lights. In bright and sunny light conditions, the dashboard dials will be illuminated. You will notice this if you’re driving on a sunny day (dials illuminated) if you enter a tunnel or a section of road wth dense, overhanging trees when the instrumentation lighting will dim down.
Aha! Thanks for the explanation. I cannot say that I entirely agree with the VW logic here. Where is the sensor, and is it possible to disable it so that the dashboard lights do not dim?
I need to check what happens when I turn - and where it is that I am turning. What I suspect is happening is that I sometimes turn round near trees and the light level changes. When I straighten up again, the lighting settles down - in my case, dimming.

cheba
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by cheba » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:00 am

Mike Austin wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:21 am
SRGTD wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 pm
I’m not sure I understand the dimming of the dashboard illumination when turning, but the dashboard illumination is controlled by a light sensor linked to the level of outside light. During dull daylight hours and dusk light conditions, the dashboard illumination will dim down to act as a prompt for you to switch on your lights. In bright and sunny light conditions, the dashboard dials will be illuminated. You will notice this if you’re driving on a sunny day (dials illuminated) if you enter a tunnel or a section of road wth dense, overhanging trees when the instrumentation lighting will dim down.
Aha! Thanks for the explanation. I cannot say that I entirely agree with the VW logic here. Where is the sensor, and is it possible to disable it so that the dashboard lights do not dim?
I need to check what happens when I turn - and where it is that I am turning. What I suspect is happening is that I sometimes turn round near trees and the light level changes. When I straighten up again, the lighting settles down - in my case, dimming.
The light sensor which controls the dimming of the gauge lighting is located within the instrument cluster. If you look close you may be able to see it, it's a small circular spot in the right half of the tacho.

It can't simply be deactivated. As was mentioned before, it is intended behavior in order to prompt you to switch on your headlights when it gets dark (for example when you enter a tunnel). The solution is simply to turn the headlights on. Cars that have the "Auto" mode on the light switch will do this automatically (however this is triggered by the light sensor in the windshield).

I don't know why it would dim when turning though. Does it happen for a particular kind of turn, like only for sharp turns, or only for long turns? Or only in certain locations?

Mike Austin
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by Mike Austin » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:44 am

cheba wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:00 am
I don't know why it would dim when turning though. Does it happen for a particular kind of turn, like only for sharp turns, or only for long turns? Or only in certain locations?
I will have to check further, but my guess is that light and shade can change more when turning near trees etc and the sensor reacts accordingly. I prefer to make my own decisions when to put my lights on and off.

cheba
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by cheba » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:35 pm

I think it's a good feature. Before I retrofitted the "Auto" light switch, I used to leave the switch in "0" (only DRL lights on) during daytime. And it happened many, many times that I drove into a tunnel and forgot to turn on the headlights, until a couple of seconds later when the cluster lights dimmed down which reminded me to turn on the headlights. The lighting in the tunnels is usually enough that you don't notice the lack of light from your headlights, so it's good to be reminded.

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ciclo
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by ciclo » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:02 pm

cheba wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:35 pm
I think it's a good feature. Before I retrofitted the "Auto" light switch, I used to leave the switch in "0" (only DRL lights on) during daytime. And it happened many, many times that I drove into a tunnel and forgot to turn on the headlights, until a couple of seconds later when the cluster lights dimmed down which reminded me to turn on the headlights. The lighting in the tunnels is usually enough that you don't notice the lack of light from your headlights, so it's good to be reminded.
+1

IMHO the sensor integrated in the instrument cluster works perfectly such as it's from the factory.
It's true that with automatic lights is the perfect combination, they do everything for you before you decide, ... with rain, shadows, tunnels, etc ...Image... :lol:

Mike Austin
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by Mike Austin » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:31 am

The problem with such automation is that it does not take into account all circumstances like the driver can. For example, when I switch on my headlights as it gets dark, I choose my time according to the traffic. Headlights suddenly switching on could distract other drivers if done at an unsuitable time. I drive along tree-lined roads quite often. If I had automatic headlights, they would be switching on and off regularly. Consistency in driving, it seems to me, is safer. Let the driver take responsibility.
With the dashboard lights, if a warning of low light is necessary, it would make more sense to dim the trip recorder than to dim the speedo so that you cannot see your speed.
On my previous car, a Fabia, there was a delayed wipe of the windscreen wipers after a wash/wipe selection. This was to remove any water that might be left running down the screen. However, it often left a smear because the water left was minimal. It was intended to help, but was a constant irritation. Automatic windscreen wipers would be a minus point on a car for me.

cheba
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Re: Dashboard lights

Post by cheba » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:08 pm

Mike Austin wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:31 am
The problem with such automation is that it does not take into account all circumstances like the driver can. For example, when I switch on my headlights as it gets dark, I choose my time according to the traffic. Headlights suddenly switching on could distract other drivers if done at an unsuitable time. I drive along tree-lined roads quite often. If I had automatic headlights, they would be switching on and off regularly. Consistency in driving, it seems to me, is safer. Let the driver take responsibility.
With the dashboard lights, if a warning of low light is necessary, it would make more sense to dim the trip recorder than to dim the speedo so that you cannot see your speed.
On my previous car, a Fabia, there was a delayed wipe of the windscreen wipers after a wash/wipe selection. This was to remove any water that might be left running down the screen. However, it often left a smear because the water left was minimal. It was intended to help, but was a constant irritation. Automatic windscreen wipers would be a minus point on a car for me.
I agree that some functions which are there to help are just annoying. Like the delayed wipe you speak about, which luckily my car never had. However it had the "Automatic wipe of the rear window when front wipers are on and you shift into reverse" which could cause the rear wiper to wipe a dirty and sometimes almost dry rear window. The first favor I asked from my friend with VCDS was to deactivate that function. It's a shame that it cannot simply be deactivated in the menu in the car.

At least with the "Auto" light switch you retain the "0", side lights, and main beam modes so you can use it like a manual switch if you like. I've never had to to that though, since the switching works so well and consistently. I've never had a situation where they lights would keep turning on and off, because the switching is delayed for a few seconds, so it won't react to temporary changes in light. Also I believe it is programmed with a hysteresis function so the light level needed to trigger the lights to turn on is slightly lower than the light level needed to trigger the lights to turn back off.

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