Vehicle: Car: Exterior: Lighting
Fiber optic lighting for vehicles   (0)  [vote for, against]
Auxiliary lights without running power wires

I remember, about 10 years ago, being challenged by a bus mechanic to come up with a way to stop the wires for all the auxiliary lights from corroding. He spent so much time tracing wiring back to its source, replacing bulb housings, and weather sealing, that he thought there must be a better way.

I don’t know if mine is the best or not – well, I’m sure it’s not, but here goes:

Have a centrally generated source of UV light that is easy to access. This’d probably look like a mirrored chamber with a fluorescent bulb inside – quite small.

On the sides of the chamber would be small screw-in ports for the fiber and optical switches. From these ports, fiber would run to wherever the light is needed and enter a mirrored housing through a diffuser lens.

The part of the housing you see from the outside would be formed from a clear lens, coated on the inside with a substance that glows in the presence of UV light. Pick your color.

Brightness and switching is controlled back at the ports on the UV generator.

Nothing electrical, all plastic, so no corrosion.

If the big bulb dies, then they all go out – so have a second bulb for redundancy.

Another version of this idea would use white light as a central source, with tinted lenses at the output side. Simple, but not as power efficient.
-- TIB, Sep 13 2003

Fiber Optics and UV don't mix. http://www.pegasusa...rOpticLighting.html
[Cedar Park, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Haven't we done this before?

Interior fibreoptic lighting is baked in limosines and on the dashboard of many prototype vehicles.
-- Cedar Park, Sep 13 2003

[Cedar Park]:

A UV light source with fiber to phosphorescent lens has been done before?

-- TIB, Sep 14 2003

UV light provides a source of energy for phosphors of any color.

Phosphors coat the inside of the lens.

Think of the UV light as the electrons racing towards your face from the back of your computer monitor (unless you have LCD), and the phosphor as the pixels on the screen. The electrons provide no light, just the energy to produce it.
-- TIB, Sep 14 2003

The problem here is that UV light destroys plastic optical fiber. <link>
-- Cedar Park, Sep 14 2003

If there’s no fiber that can stand the punishment of UV light, perhaps a hollow fiber, with a mirrored interior would be better.

Better than plain old copper wires that corrode anyway :)
-- TIB, Sep 14 2003

Just use glass fiber instead of plastic.
-- Shz, Sep 14 2003

This is a doable idea . I have seen illuminated road signs that use multipul light sorces for each letter . They use multipul light sorces incase 1 bulb dies (it only controlles 25%of each letter ) and the whole system only uses 4-6 blubs , needles to say shitloads of plastic fider though . You could have 1-2 light sorces to illuminate every place on the vechical ..
-- zippyt, Sep 14 2003

It has already been done; It was done on third generation Corvettes (starting in 1968 or 1969 through the early 70s.)

In newer cars taillights are being driven by not lightbulbs, but multiple LEDs clustered together.
-- katz, Sep 15 2003

random, halfbakery