Thursday, May 28, 2015

Touch Up Painting

Kind of a crappy day weather wise to be doing any priming and painting but oh well, can't have perfect weather all the time. Here are a few shots of today painting progress. The paint job on the car is in pretty great shape so the whole car only needs a little spot work in a few places and it's an easy enough job to just mask off the panels that need work and just get to it. Here you can see I have begun adding a few coats paint to my Windshield window edge. Tomorrow I should be able to add a couple of coats of clear coat then let that set for a good day, leave it over night and then wet sand it before adding the polishing compound.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Some Priming And Rust Removal

Today I finally got around to doing that little bit of work along the top of the front of the car above the windshield. Last year I had done a little sanding and rust removal but it sat for a while unfinished until today when I got around to it after making a slight adjustment to the two inner most Fog Lights in K.I.T.T.s Front Nose.

I masked off the area around where I would be working and then sanded down the slightly rusty areas along the top of the windshield frame. The rust was not bad at all, just very minor surface rust so it was pretty easy to sand off with a coarse sandpaper and the gelled rust removal stuff I bought from Canadian Tire. Took a little while to sand it all down by hand and then clean up my exposed surfaces with some rubbing alcohol before priming. I want to make sure I get a good build of the sendable primer on and then sand that nice and smooth before applying my paint.

I'll let the primer set overnight and then give it a light sanding before applying another light coat of the sendable primer. Later on tomorrow I should be able to paint it. I might let the primer sit for another day to fully cure but it's not totally necessary. I'm happy this little job is finally getting done, I had kind of planed on doing later on last summer but ended up having so many other little projects going on with the car that it just kept getting kind of pushed to the side... until now that is lol ;)

Modifications to the Front Ground Effects

I figured now was as good as any time to do something with my Front Ground Effects, they had been kind of just hanging loose for the better part of over a year after I had installed my Knight Rider Front Nose. At first I was not really sure what to do with them and I was not finding a lot of information out there as to what other people within the Knight Rider Community were doing with theirs. Although about a week ago I did see one fellow on Face Book post what he had done which involved doing some modifications to the Front Nose fibreglass itself. I was not sure I wanted to go quite that far as from what I could see from looking at the underside of my car that it looked like just making a few modifications the the Ground Effects themselves with my Dremel tool would be the simpler solution. So after much "humming & hawing" about what to do I decided to go with this idea.

First thing to do was jack up the car so I can get my tools under there to work. Now on the inside of the Ground Effects there is a ridge of plastic that needed to be trimmed off so that the Ground Effects panel would fit more flush with the bottom part of the Knight Rider Front Nose. I used my Dremel tool to trim off the ridge of plastic area I have circled in the the image on the right.

Now on the outer most edge of the Ground Effects panels you'll see another ridge of plastic that also needs to be trimmed off. If you press the Ground Effects up close to the bottom of the Knight Rider Front Nose you'll see exactly where to trim in order to make them fit flush with the bottom of the Front Nose. You can see I have also used Trim Fasteners to secure them to the Front Nose. I needed to use my Step Drill bit to widen out the holes in the Ground Effects for the Trim Fasteners and then use a drill bit to drill holes into the bottom of the Front Nose big enough for them to fit snugly into. Like I say I'm not sure if this is how a lot of people do it but this is just what I did in order to get my Front Ground Effects to fit onto my Knight Rider Front Nose.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Auxiliary Dash Power Button Option

I have been thinking about the possibility of ever needing the dash to be powered without the car's Ignition switch turned on say in the event of a car show or something. My thought is that one of the Lower Console buttons could be rigged to supply power to the dash that would bypass the need for the Ignition to be turned on as that would be very impractical during a car show. So this is what I have come up with in the way of a wiring diagram to do that. Basically in my case the coloured lighted switches on my Lower Console use a Negative or Ground connection so the other side of the magnetic could of a SPST Relay would connect to 12V, this then would activate the Relay switch which would allow the connection to 12V to flow to the dash electronics effectively bypassing the Ignition Switch.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rear Hatch Popper Button Relocation

Yesterday I took on the job of relocating my Rear Hatch Popper switch to somewhere a lot more accessible. One of the Switch Pod buttons seemed a logical choice. I decided to use the Switch Pod button on the Drivers window side of the Pod bottom right side button. (left)

The original location for the Rear Hatch Popper was located just above the car stereo next to the AC and Heater buttons. You can see a good example of this in this shot taken very early on last year near the beginning of my K.I.T.T. build. (right) With the Knight Rider dash design this area although not impossible is a little more difficult to get to. So my guess is that a lot of what is there will get relocated or hooked up to some sort of remote access. For now my Rear Hatch was my main concern as with the Taillight Blackouts I got from Knight Designs there is no key access anymore, K.I.T.T. does not have one. So in my case I was able to use the remote solenoid that was hooked up to the button under the dash.

In order to make this work I needed too take out the Rear Hatch button from the stock OEM dash and do a little work on it. I could have simply removed the button and used a couple of spade connectors with wires soldered onto them but I liked the idea of still having the original switch in place as a backup. So I drilled a couple of small holes into each of the switch pins near the base of the switch in order to thread my wires through. I then soldered on the wires to each of the pins and then drilled a couple of holes into the plastic ridge around the switch base. I then thread each of the wires through these holes, this way when the switch gets put back in the wires will not be "pinched."

I then wired the two switch wires I soldered onto the pins up to the Switch pins of a small NAIS SPST Relay that I installed into my Relay board under the stock OEM dash where the original gauge cluster used to sit. (right) This Relay was hooked up to to the Switch Pod Button which uses a positive pulse for the Relay as the ground connection is made on the Switch Pod Switch Side.

Now from what I understand the stock OEM Rear Hatch Popper switch already has a Relay in behind the dash so I may not have even need the Relay but when in doubt, I use one as it's sure not going to hurt, so basically I probably have one Relay on the Switch Pod activating the Relay for the Rear Hatch Popper, kinda funny but no big deal. It works very well as you can see in my Video from my last post ;)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Upper Console Electronics Install Part 1

S-1 Upper Console Electronics Arrive

I got the Season One Upper Console electronics from Knight Rider World a couple of days ago (left). Here I am giving them a quick test simply hooked up to my Eliminator 12V power supply. They all work great so next will come the fun job of figuring out the best way to install them into my Upper Console. The double board with the digital text light ups on the top (right top) I'm not sure where I am going to put that one as I know it won't fit in the front of my console because on mine I have put the microphone, indicator light, Mic push button and I have installed the little circuit board for the Annunciator loudspeaker that I am using as part of K.I.T.T.s Voice Projection Unit. So I'll end up figuring something else out to use that board for, relocate it somewhere else. I'll hook up the Count-Up display and the Dummy row to my third lighted Rocker switch on the side of my Upper Console so that way when that switch is turned on the Count-Ups and Dummy row will activate and do their thing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lexan Dash Relays Area Cover Plate

I made a Lexan plastic cover plate to be mounted onto the stock OEM dash around my relays area. This will help tuck in the wires and help shield them. I still need to paint this so it's in for just a test fitting for now while I figured out where to mount my aluminum "L" brackets and where best to secure it in with screws. I have small rectangular holes cut and filed out of the Lexan plastic cover plate to allow access to the heating, air conditioning buttons and the rear hatch popper. I think a lot of people who built these knight Rider replicas relocate those switches to somewhere more convenient. I may very well do the same thing, but for now this is a good way I figure to secure in some wires and help kind of panel off the underside of the Knight Rider dash a fair bit. This way it might make adding other goodies into those areas easier as they will have something more to be able to be mounted too. Just a thought anyways.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lower Console Make Shift Space Matt Buttons Additional Wiring Scheme

"Not now Michael, I have a headache"

There may be a better way of doing this but this is for now how I figure I am most likely to approach this particular problem. You see my makeshift Space Matt buttons I made using an old Texas Instruments Calculator are wired like this; All of the buttons grounds are connected but each button makes and individual connection to that ground. Now the Voice Box's built in DTMF random tone generator request a tone by making a connection to ground. You may be begging to see the challenge here ;) So what I have done in this diagram is I have mapped out a way of using two sets of SPST Relays connected to each of the Space Matt buttons individual ground connection wires. What happens here is the first relay in the "Yellow" zone is isolated that it makes the ground connection for the V.B. DTMF tone request connection. The second SPST Relay in the "Blue" zone is isolated in that each one can momentarily activate a device. I could complicate this further by introducing "Step Relays" in order to make the momentary button into a latching button but lets not go there ;) Complicated I know but it will get the job done and do what I need it to do.

Upper Console Wiring Scheme Updated Version

I have updated my wiring scheme for the Season One Upper Console electronics. Basically what I have happening here is my coloured set of four lighted mini-rockers (they go in order of Red, Blue, Red, Blue), the first two rockers are wired to my four Fog Lights through the SPST Relays I have installed under the stock OEM plastic dash. The third switch I will wire up to activate the Upper Consoles LED Displays, and the forth rocker I will have wired to activate the Count Up digital display. I figure this will make for a pretty good trip timer display.

I tested out my Fog Lights wiring yesterday afternoon just to make sure everything was working OK, all good, they work like a dream when the first two rockers are switched on, Red & Blue, the Fog Lights come on and the switch light comes on just as they should. There are other lighted coloured rocker switches that go up into that console that I have not ordered yet and I'm not sure what to do with those so they will be pretty much open to anything much like my buttons on my Lower Console although on my L.C. I do assign the Red and Green "?" buttons to my LCD and GPS screens in my Knight Rider dash. By using this wiring scheme I can effectively turn on my Upper Console electronics with just a couple of rocker switches installed into the console.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Getting Ready To Wire The S-1 Upper Console

I have worked out a work in progress wiring scheme for my season one Upper Console. The way I had it wired before when I was using the season 3 Upper Console which didn't fit quite right, was I had a separate power wire running to each of the switches. For some reason I didn't realize that I only needed one power wire to run to the Upper Console and then just branch off of that so long as the wire is rated the correct AWG to handle the load. I'm still trying to figure out what all of the Season One Upper Console electronics pull power wise plus all of the lighted rocker switches for up there as well. Once I know that I'll have a far better idea of what gauge (AWG) wire to run up to the console. Like I say though in the meantime I have worked out a work in progress wiring diagram for this particular job. Seeing how most of the electronics are LEDs and the switches will be just going to activate the magnetic coils of SPST Relays I can't see the power load being that much, I could probably get away with an 18 AWG or even a 16 AWG gauge wire running from the pawer fuse block I have installed into the lower hush panel on the passenger side. I just want to be sure first before I go to the trouble of running any sort of power wire up there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dummy Row Fixed

Well it was touch and go there for a while, I thought I was going to have to send my "Dummy" row board back to Knight Rider World for repairs or replacement. But with help from the fine folks over there at Knight Rider World we were able to figure out what was wrong with the board and even with my marginal electronics skills were able to fix the board and get it working. At first they thought it might have been a loose or broken solder joint on either one or a couple of the tiny components on the board. I did try re soldering them and then testing the board again only it still did not want to work in the middle display. So I pulled the board from my dash. Having it out of the dash I noticed that two of the pins on the chip were soldered together or "bridged", this it turns out sure enough was the culprit. Using some flux and a nice clean soldering iron tip I was able to remove the solder from between the two pins. I hooked the board up to my power supply and sure enough it worked like a dream. So thanks to the fine folks at Knight Rider World I was able to do the job myself with their guidance and save the hassle of having to ship the board back and wait for a replacement. Right on, I love when things like that get solved.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Installing My Custom Speaker Grill Cover Plates

This morning I installed my custom speaker grill cover plates I had made out of some Lexan plastic I had on hand. I let the paint dry over night and gave them a bit of a wet sanding in the morning, cleaned them up and painted them again. Now they are installed into my Knight Rider 2 TV Dash. They may not be as perfect as if they were store bought but not bad at all for hand crafted, I'm happy with them. Now comes the age old question "To paint the screw heads or not paint the screw heads?"

On one hand I kind of like that little bit of silver but I also would not mind if they blended in too. Decisions, decisions. lol Anyways I'm happy that little job turned out.

On another note though it turns out that my dummy row closes to the monitors has a bad board, maybe a chip so Knight Rider World is going to replace the board for me. I'm surprised I never noticed before but after reviewing my very fist start up test of the dash it had always been like that so I know it's not something that just kind of happened. Just as well I have the dash out to put my custom speaker grill cover plates in and to do a little trimming on the drivers side of the dash mounting wing. Might as well pull that bad board and ship it back to K.R.W.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Adding Some Speaker Grill Cover Plates

Yesterday I cut out the stock OEM speaker grill I salvaged from the red parts car. I cut them so as they fit into the recessed areas of the Knight Rider Dash for the speaker holes. At first they looked a little odd to me because the actual rectangular hole in the grills is on a bit of an angle which was throwing me off for a while. But that's just the way they were made. Even the speakers in the stock OEM dash under the dash pad are set at the same odd angle.

I then made a cardboard template (left) for each side of the dash, one for each cover plate I would make. Here you can see how the speaker matches the odd angle of the elongated octagonal hole I'm making. I made the hole octagonal to kind of go with the same theme that my season one monitor frames have. The next step was to cut my cover plates out of some Lexan plastic I had on hand. I would then need to file and sand them so as they fit nicely over the stock OEM speaker grills that will be set into the recessed area of the dash. The one of the drivers side is cut different to accommodate the Countdown Indicators channel.

Once both of my cover plates were made I gave them a good sanding to scuff up the surface a little so they will be ready for painting. First though I marked where I would drill my holes so as I can bolt them onto the dash when they are ready. Here you can see the cover plates (left) I have them resting on top of the car before I drilled the holes. A little more sanding first though and then they should be good to go. Finally the painting (right). Once this side is dry I'll flip them and do the other side. By tomorrow they should be OK to install into the dash.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Third Dash Test Fitting

Another test fitting today of my Knight Rider 2 TV Dash after trimming a little bit off of the drivers side mounting wing on the dash and sticking down the pipe insulation I ran across the front of the stock OEM dash. I drilled in a few holes and Zip-Tied down the pipe insulation to the OEM dash just to be doubly sure it not going anywhere. After letting the 3M glue dry overnight I also removed the masking tape from around the steering column that I had glued on a piece of the pipe insulation and a piece of high density foam rubber to help raise up the front of the Switch Pods to match the Gull-wing a lot better. I put the dash in for another test fitting and it's definitely fitting better after those tweaks. I think I can still trim a little more off of the mounting wing on the drivers side but I would not take off too much more though as it's fitting pretty good now. Although I did try and put my windshield side moulding back on the window column to see if that would fit, it doesn't so I'm not sure what others have done to rectify that. I do know now that I don't need so many power wires going up to the Upper Console when I can get away with either a 16 or 10 AWG wire to feed power to the upper console. This would minimize the amount of wires I currently have running up both sides of the window column. I can then run that power wire to my fuse block I have installed on the passenger side hush panel. That way both the Upper and Lower consoles will get their power from that block.

My next job for today was to work out what to do with my speaker grills. Fortunately I had gotten some from the red parts car I had which is great because my car for some reason did not have any installed into the stock OEM Dash Pad. Now because my speakers kind of stick up a little this was going to be a little more tricky than I originally thought it was. My initial plan was to try ands see if I could somehow mount the speaker grills in under the Knight Rider Dash but due to the lack of space I figured I would need to modify them to fit into the recessed areas in the Knight Rider Dash made for the speakers. As you can see in the samples (above left & right) I have cut the passenger side speaker grill to fit nicely into the recessed speaker holes in the fibreglass dash. I'll do the same to the other side taking into account that it is shaped a little different because it is pretty close to the Countdown Indicators channel.

Here you can probably see the difference in the shape of the speaker recess area on the drivers side. It's kind of notched out a bit to accommodate the Countdown Indicators area so I will need to reflect that change in the speaker grill for this side. I'll most likely trace out the other one on a piece of cardboard and make the change to it and gets fit it in and then cut out the speaker grill to match.
Once they fit nice I'll cut out a recessed area in the "Slats" of the speaker grills to allow for a countersunk screw in a few areas and then secure the speaker grills to the Knight Rider Dash. I'll probably clean them up and repaint them too before securing them in just so they will look a lot nicer.

2 TV Dash Installation Tweaks

After a lot of experimenting with ways to get the Knight Rider 2 TV Dash to fit perfectly I think I have a pretty good handle on it. Yesterday I tried this option using a long piece of foam pipe insulation I had kicking around. This is a 2" diameter split pipe insulation I got from Home Depot. For my test fitting I just simply taped it into position while I test fitted the dash again.

I noticed that with the pipe insulation in under the front of the dash that it raised up the front of the dash enough that turning the key in the ignition is much easier, it still rubs a little but my dash can also still go up another 1/4 inch approximately to light up the top of the Gull-Wing with the top of the Switch Pods this extra room should make the Ignition Key Collar clear the top part of the dash. I have even been informed that you can trim off the top part of the Ignition Key Collar that interferes with the dash if needed. I'll only resort to that if absolutely necessary.

I took two "Rubber Cups" square rubber blocks you can get from Canadian Tire or most furniture stores so as your furniture legs don't mark up your floors, I placed them close to the passenger side under the foam pipe insulation to give that part of the dash a little more height as it looked like it needed levelling up a bit to match my Switch Pods.

The drivers side of the dash needs to be pushed in more but I was noticing the the side mounting "Wing" was butting right up against the stock OEM dash so I needed to trim off a little of that. I figure about a good half inch by the looks of the picture (above right). So I trimmed of a little less than that to try it out and see if it makes a difference, if it does I'll file off a little more. I basically want to try and get the part of the dash that fits up close to the windshield in under that black masking or whatever it is that goes around the outer edge of the windshield. I think that is how it's supposed to fit.

Here are a few shots of yesterdays dash test fitting, it's really starting to come together and look really good. I still have a few minor tweaks to do like see how it looks now that I had put the "Rubber Cups" in under the pipe insulation close to the passenger side and see if that levelled out the dash that extra bit for the Switch Pods.

I also put a piece of foam pipe insulation over top of the steering wheel column and glued on a piece of high density foam rubber on top of that to help raise up the front part of the Switch Pods to help clear the top of the Ignition Key Collar.

I'll be doing another test fitting to see how those tweaks look today. I had to leave my foam pipe insulation over night to let the 3M glue set that I stuck it down to the stock OEM dash with so today it should be fine for me to go ahead and see how my tweaks will work out. I also hooked up the Voice Box yesterday for a test, first time I have ever done that. If you watched my latest video you'll see that is working really well. K.I.T.T. is REALLY starting to come to life. :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dash Progress Report Part 9

Second Dash Test Fitting - POWER!

Yesterday seeing how I now had all of the electronics installed into my Knight Rider 2 TV Dash I figured it was definitely time for another test fitting in the Trans Am. This time would be a powered test since I know for sure now that my dash gauge cluster wires are wired correctly to the plug. I was pretty sure they were as I had done it very carefully and spent a lot of time making sure that I had labeled each wire carefully. But even still, being new to all of this I had my minor doubts. Here you can see my dash resting upside down on the back of my car (left), in preparation to be test fitted into the car. For this test I would simply be getting my dash into as close a position as possible to see what sort of tweaks and adjustments I would need to do and I would only be hooking up the gauge cluster plug and my plug I had most recently made for my GPS and LCD screens.

Here you can see my dash test fitted into the car (above left & right). Tough to get it in and I can even feel that it will need to be shimmed up and adjusted in some ways. I had a very difficult time getting my Quick Release steering wheel adapter on so some tweaks will need to be done there. Also it was very difficult to get the key into the ignition to turn on the car so some adjusting will need to be done there too. I think I may need to adjust my steering column a little to one side to get it to align better with the top middle part of the Switch Pods.

Here you can see my dash turned on (left). I did notice that the power seemed to have an intermittent connection in my dash gauge cluster plug so I think during all of my out of the car test in my back room the plug connection must have gotten damaged a little. Those pins in the Molex connectors can be pretty delicate and I think when I had two just inserted in for power and ground and held in place with an Alligator clip that somehow the female end of the pin must have gotten inadvertently widened. So I'll need to either re-pin it or just snip the power and two ground connections from my gauge cluster plug and wire them up to a different plug. Most likely one of those more sturdier trailer hitch plugs as the pins in those are factory sealed and very durable. I have to admit if I could have found one of those that was a 10 or 20 pin connector I would have used a couple of those for my dash gauge cluster connections. Oh well, live and learn ;)

I thought also during my dash powered test fitting that one of my "Dummy" rows of LEDs were not working but after reviewing some of my very early dash start up tests I could see that the board always acts that way so I guess that's just the way that one board works.

Over all I was very happy with my latest test fitting even though I can see I have a good deal of adjusting to do to get the dash to fit just right. Being new to this hobby I'm not sure how a lot of the other Knight Rider car builders tackle these many issues so I'll be doing some research on that to see if I can get some helpful pointers and tips that I will pass on here.