Learning Electronics

Learning Electronics

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Car Boot Lamp Warning (ICM7556)

On many cars, the boot light will not go out until the lid is properly closed. It is all too easy when unloading the car, to leave the lid ajar. If you are unlucky and the car remains unused for some time, the next time you try to start it, the lamp will have drained the battery and you will no doubt utter a few appropriate words. The circuit described here will give a warning of just such a situation. A mercury tilt switch is mounted in the boot so that as the lid is closed, its contacts close before the lid is completely shut. The supply for the circuit comes from the switched 12 V to the boot lamp and through the mercury switch. When the lid is properly closed, the boot lamp will go out and the supply to the circuit will go to zero. If however the lid is left ajar, the lamp will be on and the mercury switch will close the circuit.

Car Boot Lamp Warning Circuit Diagram (ICM7556)After 5 seconds, the alarm will start to sound, and unless the lid is shut, it will continue for 1 minute to remind you to close the boot properly. The 1-minute operating period will ensure that the alarm does not sound continuously if you are, for example, transporting bulky items and the boot will not fully close. The circuit consists of a dual CMOS timer type 7556 (the bipolar 556 version is unsuitable for this application). When power is applied to the circuit (i.e. the boot lid is ajar) tantalum capacitors C1 and C2 will ensure that the outputs of the timers are high. After approximately 5 seconds, when the voltage across C2 rises to 2/3 of the supply voltage, timer IC1b will be triggered and its output will go low thereby causing the alarm to sound.

Meanwhile the voltage across C1 is rising much more slowly and after approximately 1 minute, it will have reached 2/3 of the supply voltage. IC1a will now trigger and this will reset IC1b. The alarm will be turned off. IC1a will remain in this state until the boot lid is either closed or opened wider at which point C1 and C2 will be discharged through R6 and the circuit will be ready to start again. To calculate the period of the timers use the formula: t = 1.1RC Please note that the capacitor type used in the circuit should be tantalum or electrolytic with a solid electrolyte. The buzzer must be a type suitable for use at D.C. (i.e. one with a built in driver).