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Miata Sim Rig: Wiring the Lights and Testing it Out

The rig in its new home.

When I built the frame initially, I went through the house measuring each door frame to make sure it would fit. However I failed to plan for the overall width of the dash, which extends several inches past the frame. After some creative tries to get it through the doors, we had to remove the seat and steering wheel.

Once in its place, I knew I wanted to get the lights working before I started playing with it.

Playing with the lights.

I had pruned all the harness connectors from the dash harness, so I connected a few up, starting with the dimmer and the fog lamp switch. I figured it would be an appropriate and convenient control to turn the lights on and off.

With some fussing with the multimeter, I finally gave in and looked up a wiring schematic. I was suprised to find Mazda went to a solid state dimmer, which sinks a varying amount current from the illumination circuit for control. I will stick an o-scope on it to see if it’s PWM or not, since I plan to upgrade the weak bulbs with brighter LED’s. With the switch wiring and color codes figured out, the rest was pretty easy.

I connected everything up first with Wago lever nuts. They’re a great alternative to twisty wire nuts for electrical work, and I routinely use them for temporary wiring and emergency-at-the-track bush fixes.

Wiring a mess. Those little things with orange tabs are “lever nuts.”

With everything wired, I gave it a shot. A few of the tiny incandescent bulbs are burned out and will need replacement.

The classic orange illumination of the 2001 Miata.

With the wiring tested, I went to work soldering it all together and tucking the unused wires into a semblance of organization. I used an old 12VDC power supply from a computer monitor for this project.

Lights all connected and wiring tucked.

And the results are once again awesome! The lights are pretty dim, as they are supposed to be. I may upgrade everything with LED later, but for now it’s pretty cool.

Illumination mostly working!

With that it was time to give it a test drive!

Setting up for its maiden voyage on iRacing using the Oculus Rift S

I’ll continue to add fine touches but for now it’s a pretty rad racing sim seat, with a coffee mug cup holder.

Coffee mug holder for the long commute
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