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Tail and brake light bulb, monitoring system 2004 ZR

Having recently being informed by a fellow motorist, that my near side brake light bulb had blown, this was then replaced soon as possible, Generally doing a check on my lights every week or so, I would not have known when this actually occured during any period of that time, so on deciding that the tail, and especially the brake lights are important for both safety and legal requirements, a bulb monitoring system was now considered to being created and installed into the MG over the next few days.

Using a solid core end glow small diameter 1.5 mm fibre optic cable. The original location was to insert them through the rear wiper motor cover, for natural monitoring while using the rear view mirror, but taking into account on really bright days the visual light output would not be too good, So decided on the shaded position of the electric mirror switch, and to place the fibre optics in a specific sequence along the lower edge.

The choice to use the mirror switch made it easier to work on off the car for precise drilling, and also allowed for equal spacing of the cables as shown, Advantages of choosing the electric mirror switch for this project, Its in a good shaded location, and just ideal for that momentary glance down from the drivers position. The insertion sequence of the fibre optic cables (as shown) are with the two outer ones, being the nearside and offside brake light bulbs, and the two inner ones are tail light bulbs, giving an easy and instant notification of which bulb may have blown.     

bulb monitoring system

Light output of the tail light bulbs

Precise drilling to accept the cables, was important for a neat finish as shown, daytime output could be slightly better, dull and overcast day's are very good, night time driving is just perfect, being not too bright,  and of course without any driver distraction.  

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brake light bulbs

Fibre optics inserted to face each of the bulbs

One of the light units, with the optic cables inserted after getting a correct position for obtaining a good, reasonable light output from each of the tail and brake light bulbs.

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fibre optic cables

Completed unit ready to fit back into vehicle

At this stage the light unit shows how it can be removed and then detached from the vehicle at any time, without any disturbance to the fibre optic cable's of which then runs full length, and directly to the drivers chosen view point, in this case the electric mirror switch.

So another low cost safety addition added to the old MG, no electrical wiring, switch or any power supply needed, the visible light emitting from the 4 fibre optics, about the size of a large pin head are clear to view, and not a distraction during night time driving. No need for a second person to assist, or an implement to hold down the brake pedal while going round to do visual light check's.   

Using the electric mirror switch for this project, apart from its suitable location. It also saved having to drill any holes directly into dashboard, of which any changes to the original plan or any messed up mistakes can not be rectified to the interior, but the mirror switch could be replaced.

This feature was taken from an old product that was first used some years ago, product name unknown, in which the fibre optics, as far as I know, were attached on to the 'outside of the light lens' using small sticky pads to register each individual lens area. My own project featured here, is nothing more than a simple update. The main aspect of this fitting, is to know when a bulb is out, and exactly which one that needs to be replaced as it happens, keeping safe and driving legal. You never know who is going to sneak in behind you. (c) 2016. 


Rover 200/MG-ZR Technical and Information Pages (c) 2004-2018.

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