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Old 03-10-2008, 08:09 PM   #1
khansen30
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Default Dash lights dimmed

My dash lights dimmed (at dusk) for about 30 seconds and then came back to their normal brightness. Never had it happen before, has not happened again since the first occurrence last night.

Any one else had this happen to them? Ideas?

I am not concerned at this point since it has only happened once.

No water leaking for a couple of months now.
Battery (alternator) gage did not change in strength.
As far as I know daytime running lights did not change.

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Old 03-10-2008, 08:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

i wonder if something turned on the regular lights. when the lights go on or off they do that

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Old 03-11-2008, 08:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

Good point - now that you mention that I did just come out from under an overhang. That combined with the dusk conditions must have turned on the lights then they switched back after heading back into the sun. Never would have thought about that one - THANKS!

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Old 03-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

You know what, mine does that every evening around sunset. The dash lights dim, along with the navigation screen, then they come back, BUT not as bright as they were before.

To me, this is very unsual because I always leave the day time running lights/head lights on all day while I am driving. The dash lights are bright during the day. Then, as I drive home in the evening, the car does the above, and even thought the headlights are already ON, the dash lights come back on, but dim.

I thought this was normal.

BL.

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Last edited by Bruce_Lee; 03-11-2008 at 12:53 PM..

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Old 03-11-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

scary as it is the dash lights probably can tell how light or dark it is and adjust itself.

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Old 03-11-2008, 03:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce_Lee View Post
You know what, mine does that every evening around sunset. The dash lights dim, along with the navigation screen, then they come back, BUT not as bright as they were before.

To me, this is very unsual because I always leave the day time running lights/head lights on all day while I am driving. The dash lights are bright during the day. Then, as I drive home in the evening, the car does the above, and even thought the headlights are already ON, the dash lights come back on, but dim.

I thought this was normal.

BL.
The Daytime Running Lights (DRL) operate automatically and need no input from the driver. Are you turning on the headlights/parking lights as well?
Turning on the headlights or having them come on automatically when using the windshield wipers will not dim the dash/radio light unless it is dark enough outside to do so. The system is "smart" enough to distinguish headlights on during daylight hours and at night and will adjust dash/radio lights accordingly.

There is a little knob to the right of the headlight knob that adjusts the instensity of the dash/radio lights when it's dark enough outside.

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

"There is a little knob to the right of the headlight knob that adjusts the instensity of the dash/radio lights when it's dark enough outside."

Yes, I know about that little knob. But when I tried adjusting it to get the dashlights brighter, it wouldn't do much. It is brighter during the day. Here, let me explain my self.

Again, I have set my daytime running lights/headlights to 'auto' in the 'round selector knob' on the left side. So, everytime the Outlook is started, the lights turn on along with the dashboard lights. This is regardless of the time of day or if its cloudy/sunny outside.

Now, when I drive home in the evening, around 6:00 pm, the car senses, or some how knows, that it is sunset and then something happens that causes my dashboard lights and nav screen to dim, for about 5 seconds. They then get a little brighter, but NOT as bright as they were before. This has been true since day one.

Now, again, is this normal? - That the dashboard lights remain somewhat dimmer?

I am going to play with turning on, manually, the headlights and parking lights to see if I get the same results.

BL.

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

"The system is "smart" enough to distinguish headlights on during daylight hours and at night and will adjust dash/radio lights accordingly."

So, you are implying that it is normal. So, at night time (evening), the systems sends more juice to the headlights to make them brighter and thus causing the dashlights and radio/nav screen to get dimmer? It kind of makes sense.

Also, are you saying that in the day time, only the 'head lights' are ON (daytime running lights) and not the 'parking lights'? So, in the evening, the system also turns on the 'parking lights' thus using more juice/battery?

Again, that makes sense. But, I will still play around with my Outlook just to be certain. Not that I don't trust you, but you never know.

I hope this is the case.


BL

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Old 03-11-2008, 07:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

It makes sense to me that they are brighter in the daytime so that you can see them. With the sun coming in and as deep as the instruments are if they were not brighter they would not be as easy to read. When it is dark out (and in) the instruments don't have to be as bright as they will stand out more in the darkness.

Why are we so consumed about how much juice they are pulling? The effect on the mileage is not even enough to think about (covered in another thread).

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Old 03-11-2008, 07:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce_Lee View Post
"The system is "smart" enough to distinguish headlights on during daylight hours and at night and will adjust dash/radio lights accordingly."
There's a light sensor on one side of the front windshield air vent (way up under the lower edge of the windshield. When you turn your headlights on during the day, the light sensors tells the car "hey, it's day!" and engages "parade mode" (see your manual). This keeps the dashboard light brightly, so that you can see it even though it is bright outside.

At night, the light sensor tells the car "hey, it's night!", and your headlights come on automatically. Because it is night, the car computer also dims your interior lights, so that your night-vision is not affected by bright dashboard lamps.

The system in the Outlook is relatively responsive; my headlights always pop on when I drive under the 12-lane highway bridge near my house...

Quote:
So, at night time (evening), the systems sends more juice to the headlights to make them brighter and thus causing the dashlights and radio/nav screen to get dimmer? It kind of makes sense.
.

Ah... no. it's all software; no power drains involved. (The power drain on a running engine caused by headlights is negligible). Ditto for the parking lights; they don't draw much juice either.

Cars have been doing this for decades; I'm surprised you haven't seen this behaviour before?

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Old 03-11-2008, 10:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

Daytime Running Lights
A light sensor on top of the instrument panel makes the DRL work, so be sure it is not covered. The DRL system’s automatic headlamp control will make the low-beam headlamps come on at a reduced brightness when the following conditions are met:
• The ignition is in the ON position.
• The exterior lamps control is in AUTO.
• The engine is running.

When the DRL are on, only the low-beam headlamps, at a reduced level of brightness, will be on. The headlamps, taillamps, sidemarker, and other lamps will not be on. The instrument panel and cluster will also not be lit. When it is dark enough outside, the low-beam headlamps will turn off and the headlamps and parking lamps will turn on. The other lamps that come on with the headlamps will also come on. When it is bright enough outside, the headlamps will go off and the DRL will come on. As with any vehicle, you should turn on the regular headlamp system when it is needed.

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Old 03-12-2008, 09:03 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dash lights dimmed

Any questions now? We have had 3 posts tell the same story but with different info.

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