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Noob in need of guidance

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Howdy, I'm Jasen and my electronics experience consists of push the power button and use the other buttons to make the device do what you want it to do.
I have been a shade tree mechanic for 30 years and a carpenter/woodworker for 20+ years.
I'm planning on getting one of those electronics labs for kids with a bread board to cut my teeth on before I dive into this project.

So to my point.
I've been reading up on this stuff, which I'm just barely grasping at this point.
I've got the notion of building some custom LED tail lights.
It's a GM with the standard double filament tail light bulbs. One for running lights one for brake/blinker.
What I'm looking at doing is running 5 rows of LED's and using a IC555 cycling high to give the effect of dimmer tail lights. Then I want to run a sequencing circuit that will make each row of brake lights cycle on one at a time and all stay on until the brake is released. I also want the blinkers to do the same but us another IC555 as a flasher which will reset the cycle and run it again until the blinker is turned off. I've found a few schematics online for building a sequencing circuit. I'm thinking I need to use a closed relay wired between the running lights and brake/blinker to interrupt the current from the running lights when the brake blinker are activated so as not to put to much forward volts to the LEDs and to interrupt the high cycling IC555 as well.
Hope this all makes sense, I'm not wet behind the ears, but rather dripping wet;)

Heres my concept schematic, if all y'all wouldn't mind telling me how far off base I am and maybe point me in the right direction.

**broken link removed**

Im lost when you say dimmer tail lights?
you want the tail lights to start bright then go dim?
then have the LEDs sequence (5 rows of 7 LEDs sequencing) for brake lights
then have the turn signals sequence as well(just like the brakes would be confusing)
you know this may not be legal for the street?
the sequencing is easy. the dimming could get complicated. I would rethink the dimming and brake lights. Suggest having the brak lights pulsate instead of blink.
I'm feeling Jason. He just wants to run the lights dim while only using them as tail lights, and then run them in a bright sequence when using them as break lights. It's a good idea actually. I can't comment on the legality, but if this is intended to street use, check that out real good. For dimming and brightning, you can use a simple PWM circuit that switches between the two "states" at the application/deactivation of the breaks. For the sequences, there are several chips which will do the job, including the CD4017. We just had a similar discussion on the "Music Controlled LED Curcuit" thread.

Good idea, hope it works out.
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I don't want to use two sets of LEDs, one for running lights and one for brake/blinker. I read on the internet that turning the cycle up on a 555 to the point that the lights flash so fast you can't tell there flashing and they will appear less bright then if they were just on steady, then they would act like OEM tail lights. As far as the blinker circuit, I just want them to run sequential like the new mustangs or some of the old Fords and Mercury's. The idea of having the brakes run one sequential cycle then stay on is just as an attention getter to those people on the road texting, twittering, reading the paper, while slurp'n on a double tall Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Sugar-Free Syrup from Starbucks.
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Now that I think about it, maybe it would be better for the brake lights flash a few times, then stay on steady.
have seen brake lights that flash

but not completly off.
they just pulsate. A real attention getter.
your going to need some really bright LEDs for sure.
I recall that your going to bread board this first?
seeing how this is a first time project then a microcontroller is not being considered.
build this in blocks
first get the brake light circuit working using small LEDs.
I have a design for fading LEDs that might work. Using an incadesceant bulb (standard brake light bulb) for pulsing effect is easy.
An LED is another game.
let me get back to you.
What is a microcontroller?

I put a little more thought into this with some new information/ idea's. I'm thinking I'll have 3 separate circuits ( running light, brake, blinker) so I'll need two closed relays, one each for the running lights and brake lights. This way energizing the brakes will open the runnning light relay and turn off that power source, and then the blinkers will need to turn off both the running lights and brake lights. I've got an appointment this evening, but will re work my schematic when I get home with what I'm now thinking.

Thanx for the helps so far guy's
Here's my new lay out. I'm sure this can all be achieved on one board, but I'm not quite up to speed on all of this yet, so I'm drawing it up with what's familiar to me.

Thought emergency flashers would be a good idea.
The brake lights now pulse 3 times then on steady.
The blinkers no longer us a 555 but now just run through the repeating sequencer circuit.

**broken link removed**
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