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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So... In the next phase of what could be considered my "1980's show car tribute" 2015 Civic Coupe, I have now added what I call Knight Rider pods. These are a set of control pods behind the steering wheel that emulate the similar control pods that protrude out from the sides of the steering column on the original Knight Rider car, which can be seen in images easily found by a Google search. And I'm talking about the Knight Rider car -- KITT -- from the original show that ran from 1982 to 1986, not any of the cars in the later series or TV-movies.

When I started designing these pods, I realized that I could also add a display in the middle that emulates the "voice box" bar graph display seen on the original Knight Rider car. So, let's start with some photos...

This first one shows a close-up of the Knight Rider control pods, as well as the simulated "voice box" bar graph display...

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This next photo shows a more panoramic view of the entire dash...

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Note that the bar graph display pod does not block the view of the entire tachometer. From the driver's seat, this pod just blocks the center part of the gauge, and the tach needle can be seen coming from behind the display pod and pointing to the RPM values.

There are eight buttons on each of the two control pods. So, what do they do? Well, they're not all functional yet, but let's start with the left side pod. You can refer to the first picture above...

Gauge and Dash Gphx buttons: These are not in use yet, but I eventually intend to make an overlay for the main cluster that will include a few extra gauges and displays. This will not block the view of the existing gauges and iMID screen. When this is done, I intend for the Gauge button to turn this display panel on and off, and the Dash Gphx button to illuminate some sort of visual enhancement effect -- I have not worked out the details of that yet.

U-TURN: This is an idea I've had for a while. When I push this button, it flashes an illuminated sign on the upper driver's sides of the windshield and rear window that says "U-TURN". One idea for this is that, sometimes, when you're in a left turn lane but wanting to make a U-turn instead of a left turn, you generally have to slow down as you make that turn, and if someone is behind you who just wants to make a left turn, they may not expect you to slow down, increasing the chance of a collision. So, if I have the "U-TURN" indicator flashing, then the driver behind me will (hopefully) know that I am intending to make a U-turn and will expect me to slow down during the turn. Note that I use it in conjunction with the standard left turn signal. This feature is hooked up and functional, but I have no idea how legal it is, so if you make one for yourself, use it at your own risk! At this point, it is just experimental.

Delay Light: This lights up my aftermarket driving/fog lights for about one minute when this button is pressed, even when the car is off. The idea is if I park in a dark area and want some light to illuminate the area in front of me when I get out of the car, I can push this button before I get out of the car, and then the driving/fog lights will turn on to illuminate the way and then turn off automatically after about a minute. This feature is hooked up and functional.

Turbo: This plays a jet-sound type sound effect through an interior and an exterior speaker when the this button is pressed. This feature is hooked up, and it is simply a "for show" sound effect. An unintended effect is that it also causes my wife to roll her eyes if she is in the car with me when I press the button.

Bar Graph: This turns on and off the simulated "voice box" flickering bar graphs in the center panel.

The "0" and "1" buttons: These are currently not hooked up to function, but they are hooked up to powered wires that run under the dash and can easily be used for some future project if I come up with more ideas.


Now, we go to the right side pod...

Knight Rider: This turns on a scanning light on the front of the car, similar to the one in the KITT Knight Rider car. This scanning light has been installed for years and also goes to an overhead control panel switch. This button is just a redundant button for this function. This scanning light is likely illegal for use when the car is on the road, so I mainly just use it in parking lots and car shows.

Time Circuit: This turns on the Flux Capacitor prop shown in other pictures that I've posted on this site. As with the Knight Rider scanning light, this is a redundant control, as there are buttons on the overhead control panels that also turn on and off the Flux Capacitor prop.

The "X", "Y", "Z", and "T" buttons: These are for entering 4-dimensional coordinates for when I time-travel. Okay, actually, they're not hooked up to any functions at this time. Like the "0" and "1" buttons above, these buttons are hooked up to powered wires that run under the dash to be used for future projects, if needed. Note that I can easily change the labels of any of these buttons if I hook new features to them in the future.

Illum: This turns on the back-light illumination for the buttons on these control pods. I can turn it off if it gets too distracting on a long night drive.

Dim/Bright: This controls the brightness of the back-light illumination of the control pod buttons.

The "voice box" bar graph display just flickers up and down at random when switched on. I may post a more detailed thread about how I made this, but in a nutshell, I use a flickering LED (this is an LED that automatically flickers at random when powered up) shining on a photocell, and this photocell then controls the voltage going to the bar graph display that I made. The flickering LED causes the photocell to pass a randomly varying voltage to reach the bar graphs, causing them to flicker up and down randomly, as if responding to an audio voice, like in the Knight Rider car.

You can see the faint image of eight indicator lights by the bar graphs -- four on each side. These indicate when features like the U-Turn function, driving/fog lights, Knight Rider scanning lights, Flux Capacitor prop, aftermarket corner marker lights, and underglow lights are on.
 

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I was a huge fan of Knight Rider; I think my love for cars come from that. My love for cars is also not "general;" I don't particularly read car magazines or know the latest news in the car world, but I love knowing everything about my own car, and working on it and detailing it. I see my car as an extension of myself.

When I bought my 2014 Si, it was my first "driver's car." When I discovered that the car tells me to put on my seat belt , or to release the parking break, and that it has heads up display on the i-MID for turn by turn directions beyond the navigation view on the 7" screen, I thought my dream had come true - "owning" a KITT. In fact, on the 7" screen, I rocked a KITT wallpaper for a while.

What you've done is super cool and fun. And I love that I am not the only one whose 9th gen Civic reminisced them about Knight Rider. Can't wait to read more about the details!
 

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NF, I've been reading about your modifications to this car since you began posting them. Fascinating stuff, even if only for the idea that most of them have, or will have, some function.

Why not insert a link(s) into your first post here to your earlier thread(s) featuring mods to this car? I suggest this because I happen to like (easily attainable) continuity. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies! As for the suggestion for links to previous mods -- good idea! Here are a few...





I'm sure there is some repetition between some of the threads, but these posts encompass most of the modifications that I have done to my car.

I would honestly say that Knight rider, at least in a small way, changed the course of my life. I had always been interested in cool car interiors. It started when I was a kid -- and I'm talking late 1960's to early 1970's here -- most likely watching cartoons like Wacky Racers and Speed Racer. Then, in 1973, my father bought a 1969 Cadillac Eldorado, and I was just amazed at all of the features (which were impressive for the time) that it had, such as power locks and windows, cruise control, and a climate control where the temperature was set on a sort of large thumb-wheel with temperature markings on it. It even had an 8-TRACK TAPE PLAYER! We were ballin'! And when I read the owner's manual and saw there was an option that the car did not have -- a rear defogger -- I actually made a fake switch out of cardboard modeled after the photo in the manual and taped it to the dash in the spot where the factory switch would go!

When I got old enough to drive and got my first car, I did some interior mods, but did not get too much into it. But in the autumn of 1982 when I saw the original Knight Rider car, I was mesmerized! From that point on, I made it an almost continuous effort to make whatever car I had at the time emulate KITT to the best of my ability and budget. And I seriously believe that this eventually contributed to me becoming a professional mobile electronics installer for about 12 years, which is where I really learned how to do this type of work the right way -- how to run wires under the hood, how to use relays and diodes, the importance of fusing all power connections, and doing electrical calculations based on Ohm's law, to name a few things.

To me, the 9th gen Civic is a small-scale KITT right out of the box -- a series of digital gauges with a "TV screen" (the iMID screen) to the right of them -- making it a great platform for a modern interpretation.

Stay tuned! I have produced a short video that illustrates many of the functions that involve motion and cannot be fully captured with still photos, such as the Knight Rider lights, the "voice box" bar graph display, and the flux capacitor prop.

EDIT: Okay, here's the video!

DISCLAIMER: Some of these features may not be legal to use, especially when the car is in motion. If you incorporate any of these ideas on your own vehicle, you do so solely at your own risk and responsibility. Check your local laws for more information.

The background soundtrack is an excerpt of an original song called "It's Time."


Note that the remote control can do more than just turn on the effects lights. The video just shows one example of its functions.
 

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I had experiences similar to yours as I was growing up. Any TV show with a featured car in it caught my attention, from My Mother The Car, Batman, The Monkees, The Green Hornet, Starsky & Hutch, etc, and yes, Knight Rider.

Although I'm not big on fancy gimcracks, I like your mods because they appear to be well-executed.

Just clean up those headlights a bit and you're all set. haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No doubt about it concerning the headlights. I'm not sure what happened. We had a 2013 sedan in the household, and its headlights were crystal clear, whereas mine are all foggy. There's a place near me that is supposed to be able to buff 'em up -- I may give them a try. I could try it myself, but I don't have too much experience sanding and buffing, so I don't want to make them even worse.
 

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I just did my headlights - I used Cerakote Headlamp Restoration Kit and it was super easy. Just elbow grease. Just look at a couple of YouTube videos. You wet-sand it by hand and then apply ceramic coating, which is self-leveling. It took like half an hour, including taping around the headlight just in case I scratch the paint.


Loved the video!

No doubt about it concerning the headlights. I'm not sure what happened. We had a 2013 sedan in the household, and its headlights were crystal clear, whereas mine are all foggy. There's a place near me that is supposed to be able to buff 'em up -- I may give them a try. I could try it myself, but I don't have too much experience sanding and buffing, so I don't want to make them even worse.
 
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