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Discussion specific to electric components of vans. Category for alternators or batteries, starters and ignition parts, anything 12v and electrical issue like fuses, circuitry, wire, terminals, switches, connectors, bulbs, relays, and wiring. Voltage and amperage diagnosis.
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Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 7th 2020, 4:39pm

The posts I've read about removing or replacing the automatic headlight on detector have always made this sound terrible difficult to do.

At least for a 2000 it is about as easy as tying your shoe (note a single shoe, not even both).

Like the dash surround, the vent panel in the middle of the dash under the windshield is just snapped in place.

Pop it out.

You will see the sensor attached to it. Like the instrument cluster lamp holders it is held to the now-removed panel by a ~1/4 turn socket. Twist it counter clockwise (normal fastener direction) to remove it from the panel.

In my case, I prefer to control when my headlights are on or off. Call me a caveman, I'm good with that.

I just put the sensor in the glove box. Pushed the wire back in and closed it all up.

Tested the headlight switch for manual function to ensure everything is copacetic. Now to remember I have to think when it gets all dark and scary.

I found an odd 'feature' of the panel dimmer: at the very lowest setting I could turn off all dash lights, including the odometer display. Might be due to a cheap switch, might be due to it being 20 years old, might even have been a design feature. Not bothered by it, just know that is my experience.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 8th 2020, 8:02pm

Well, I didn't test headlights with the van in gear. Turns out they come on anyhow.

I did find a link to replace the diode sensor with a 2k ohm resistor. Will see if I have one. I'd put tthe sensor back for now, but I dropped it into the defroster vent (oy).

Read more on this link (low in the thread): https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 7&start=20

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 10th 2020, 4:19am

Sure it’s the headlights? The DRLs come on when the van’s in gear, but the parking lights won’t.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 10th 2020, 5:34am

We don't see a location for this user. If it's a Canada Build, after a certain date build, they are required to have automatic lights on all vehicles in Canada. (don't recall what year this went into affect and if commercial vehicles like specific vans were exempt) for a certain amount of time but I do remember my cousin getting a fixit ticket for disabling his. He was lucky because the officer could have given him a much higher fine for "tampering with the control"

I suspect it's a combination of two different things.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 11th 2020, 3:46am

Found an answer that works!

Ok, FYI, USA domiciled.

Several GM forums had conflicting suggestion on the ambient sensor resistance. Had I not dropped mine down the defroster vent, I could have measured it in daylight conditions. The 2k ohm resistance is on a 2005. It is likely different.

Some GM trucks have a 4 wire connector. My 2000 is 2 wire.

Tested a few theories out until I found the working model: 680 ohm resistor. I used a 1/4 watt. I'll report back if this fails due to power levels too high. I can't imagine much current is flowing. I presume the sensor is a trip point in a solid state circuit. All I can tell you is I started at 2k ohms, 0 ohms, 1.5k, and tried 680.

Lights only work when the switch is turned to on, and in all transmission positions. Switch off, trans in all positions, no lights.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 11th 2020, 7:25am

Well,that is cool.just some info for you and others,when the "dimmer switch is turned all the way down, you lose dash lights.Has been that way since the 196o's. AS far as your DRL and auto headlights, you can(once the headlight switch is turned to off)) press the dome light off switch 4 times,and it disables the system.i think it has only been this way for 10 - 11 years. Sleep well.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 11th 2020, 12:32pm

A lot of effort to pointlessly disable a really nice feature

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 12th 2020, 12:44am

2 absolutely wonderful responses. Haha

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 22nd 2020, 6:26am

I was wondering about this myself, if there was a way to take a component out to disable the daytime running lights, but then I screwed around with it and realized that the daytime lights are on a lower setting than normal headlights, and increased visibility is probably never a bad thing.

Though sometimes it would be nice to have the option so that people don't stare at me wondering why my headlights are on and it's incredibly sunny out lol.

Perhaps one of these days I'll just wire in a switch into that circuit or wire it to a button switch under my dash.
With a resistor and a fuse so that it doesn't blow the component when it suddenly gets power.

What would be even cooler would be to replace the photovoltaic sensor with a less sensitive one so they only come on when it's gloomy.
Though it's probably not that simple and there is likely some kind of component in there.
One of these days time going to learn me a bit of car electrical, and at some point it will probably be necessary.
For now I'll just leave it alone.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 22nd 2020, 2:38pm

gman wrote:Though sometimes it would be nice to have the option so that people don't stare at me wondering why my headlights are on and it's incredibly sunny out lol..

People stare at you for this?
I'm pretty sure in this day and age of modern cars and daytime running lights it's probably not an issue.

4 button pushes of the dome overrride will disable DRL's (if you find you "need" that option)

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

June 22nd 2020, 3:43pm

Here's what I did: https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 2&start=80

Works great, though I don't think I've every flipped the switch ON anytime after the initial test.

Re: Removing the dark detector (automatic headlights)

July 15th 2020, 8:06am

I had a 2002 Chevy Tracker, made in Canada and it had
Full time lights.
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