THE VARILITE VARIABLE COLOR INDICATOR LIGHT

The VARILITE is a single indicator light which displays meaningful information through color change. It uses a simple system to convert variations in electrical input to changes in color output. The color change is smooth and responsive changing from red to green through the portion of the spectrum between red and green.


There are no steps and no color wheels or moving parts are used.

Although the animated image shown here indicates the color change relative to the overall range of the meter, the "jerky" motion is due to the graphic limitations of this site.  The actual color change in the VARILITE is smooth and unbroken from one end of the range to the other.

The VARILITE  can be used to display analog as well as digital information from a single indicator light. Information requiring fixed colors such as green, yellow, red, etc, can be displayed by simply applying the specific electrical value equivalent to the color. Analog information can be displayed by applying the information in the form of a variable electrical signal. The color output of the VARILITE will be red at minimum input, progressing through the portion of the spectrum between red and green as the input is increased, until at maximum input the VARILITE will be green.

The VARILITE displays information much like the simple meter or gauge with a color band face instead of numerals. When actual numerical values are not critical but indications of changes in capacity, rate, degree, volume, etc. are required, these simple gauges or meters with the color band faces are effective. Usually two colors are sufficient. Three can give more information. If a portion of the color spectrum is used on the face, even more meaning can be given to a particular needle position.

The VARILITE combines the high visibility of the indicator light with the analog information transmitting capability of the meter. With no moving parts to create mechanical inertia problems, the VARILITE can respond more rapidly than the meter. It can flash a bit of information that normally would barely move a meter needle. Visibility is better at low ambient light levels. It can be read at greater distances than a meter. It's most visible in darkness. It requires less panel space. It can be installed away from the instrument panel and its output carried to the panel with optic fiber light pipes. Like the meter, the VARILITE can be interfaced with transducers, etc. to display many forms of analog and digital information, such as....

       Amplitude            Degree           Frequency       Position       Angle
       Importance          Pressure       Capacity           Direction      Level
       Concentration    Distance        Mode                 Quantity       Flow
       Rate                       Resistance    RPM                  Slope            Speed
       Temperature       Time                Vacuum           Volume         Voltage
       Weight                  Depth             Proximity         Condition     State

 In addition to being able to display the "ends" of ranges of information with the usual red and green, the VARILITE can indicate proportionate values in between. Full to empty, hot to cold, maximum to minimum, slow to fast, high to low, charge to discharge, etc. Since one of the most familiar uses of indicator lights is in the automobile, the comparison of the VARILITE with what is sometimes called the "idiot" light warning system will show the advantages of the VARILITE concept.

The oil pressure warning light is designed to alert the driver to a failure of the lubrication system of the engine. The light comes on when there is little or no oil pressure. The engine must be stopped at once to prevent possible permanent damage. There is no warning light until it is almost too late.

The VARILITE, used as an oil pressure indicator light, would be green when the oil pressure was normal. If the pressure should be somewhat less than normal, yet well within the safe driving range, the light would take on some color away from the green but still far from the red. A yellow or amber color would warn the driver that a problem may be arising in the system. With this range of information available long before the "too late" red light comes on, a potential problem could be checked. If the pressure should fall to the value where the standard idiot light would come on, the VARILITE would also be red. The difference in the two systems is that the VARILITE provides a range of information for the driver to interpret, like a gauge.

The temperature warning light is designed to come on just below the boiling point of the pressurized cooling system. Since this temperature (usually around 240" Fl is well above the boiling point of the coolant not under pressure, a system that loses pressure due to a leak or defective seal, can be boiling without the warning light coming on. The driver, unaware that the coolant was boiling off, could continue on for some time before any indication of trouble.
The VARILITE used in the cooling system as a temperature indicator would be green at normal operating temperature, and as the temperature increased, the color of the VARILITE would change smoothly from green to yellow to amber to orange to red, with all the gradations of color in between giving the driver ample warning that the temperature was increasing towards, but had not yet reached, the point where the coolant would boil.

Some other areas where the VARILITE can display information in today's vehicles are: fuel level, battery condition, vacuum, emissions, charging rate, rpm, turbocharger boost, etc.

Although the unique capability of the VARILITE is apparent in these automotive applications, many other areas of information display can utilize this new concept to provide more effective communications between man and machine.

 

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