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Published 25th April 2007 by

I have in my Nissan Skyline GTR a strange Cylon style light cluster mounted onto the ceiling, and I cannot see any useful purpose for it (or ANY purpose for that matter!).

I have been racking my brains trying to work out just what this thing is. All I can work out is that it is some kind of projector onto the lower central part of the windscreen... but nothing is projected and I can only see it when the windscreen is misted up at night.

The cluster has slots in it at an angle so that you can't easy see in, except if you put your head up against it. Inside I can see what looks like a mirror and prisms with a red light and a green light.

The best suggestion I have had so far is Cylon light related! (compare the first picture with the Cylon from classic Battlestar Galactica)

If anybody can tell me what this is please do!!!

UPDATE Number 1: 26-04-2007 08:10

This morning in the light I decided to take off the cover to this strange device to see what was in there. The switch panel has Nissan on it which would indicate that this is a optional accessory/dealer/factory fitted. It is a substantial piece of kit as it is bolted through the head liner to the roof (not just stuck on by after market). With the switch panel removed I can see a circuit panel but there is no part numbers to identify it. When I removed the cover with the slots in, I can see a little more, there seems to be two lights and an array of mirrors in side, but I still have no idea what this thing is.

UPDATE Number 2: 26-04-2007 21:49

I took the cover off when I got back from work, and found that everything was still under wraps. The headlining has been cut away, you can see where it was marked out. It has been done very professionally. Still no observed part numbers. The unit is bolted to the actual roof of the car, through what look like factory mount points.

I checked the number on the circuit board and its an inverter. This will transform the 12V car supply to whatever voltage that the lamp would require.

I cleaned the mirrors as well because they were thick with dust. Maybe this will increase the light intensity a bit. The whole unit is coated with optical quality matte back paint - which isn't cheap. Its the same stuff that the inside of my telescope is coated with.

As the tree said to the lumberjack: "I'm Stumped!"

You can read more discussion about this thing on the GTR Owners Club Forum

So after a bit more investigation, it appears that red light aids night vision, while green light aids visual enhancement to see map details. Mirrors create a polarizing effect on the light beam, which could be the reason the light does not reflect off the dash or windscreen.

You can Read the full post on gtr.co.uk.

I have finally had chance to test this theory, and I can say that as a map light this is very impractical. The light is barely bright enough and is in totally the wrong position.

The light is bright enough when it leaves the slots, but by the time it reaches the mirror it would be too faint to see whilst driving. I have been outside for about 2 hours so my eyes were pretty accustomed to the light by then.

The beam of light is also far to narrow, it is like looking through a letterbox. The position of the dash and the windscreen rule out some kind of map holder there, as there is not enough space.

The position of the beam of light is also wrong, you have to look up to see the map.

The mirror can be adjusted up and down, however you can't adjust it much or the light gets stopped by the slats and breaks up.

I used my proper camera (Canon 350d dSLR) for these pictures as it is far superior to the little one at low light levels and one thing I did notice on the pictures is that the green/red are split, not combined. The red only accounts for a small fraction of the beam.

7 thoughts on “Strange Cylon Light in my Skyline GTR
  • 24th January 2009 at 12:00 am

    It's a DLP projector!

  • 28th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    Hey, maybe it's for the drag track. It senses the color of the Christmas tree and dumps the clutch for you.  ;-) 

  • 27th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    perhaps the last fellow to own the car decided to have some fun with the next British owner, and wired up some random LEDs and is now getting quite a chuckle out of us westerners trying to puzzle this one out  :P 

  • 26th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    I read that the Japanese (along with several other Eastern societies) have a prevalence towards the red end of the visible spectrum and can therefore suffer from colour blindness at the other end of the spectrum to a certain degree. As I understand it, a green/red colour blindness is quite a common kind of colour blindness (although don't know if that's the case for Japanese people).

    I wonder if this unit is designed to project a faint red and/or green light onto the windscreen to enhance the coloured light that the driver finds it hard to see? Maybe enable a colour blinded driver to differentiate a red STOP light from a green GO light? Does the scroll switch change the light from red tinted to green at all? Maybe allowing the user to select the most appropriate setting to cater for his own personal vision problem?

  • 26th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    A bit of a random stab in the dark here....

    But could it be to prevent glare from the rear view mirror, from other cars at night??

  • 26th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    its gotta be some sort of

    a.) radar jammer
    b.) HUD
    c.) alien heat ray

  • 25th April 2007 at 12:00 am

    I have no idea what that is but it looks kinda freaky enough for everyone to want one!


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