By on May 5, 2017

Advent LDWS100

If there’s anything we’ve learned with this project, it’s something we should have already known but tend to forget: Most projects turn out bigger than first imagined, and some are so large as to be either impossible, or not such a good idea after all — at least for those without the proper tools or knowledge.

Such was the case when we went to install the Advent LDWS100 Advanced Driving Assistance System. This is not to say the Advent isn’t a good device. Or to say that it is. It’s simply to say that we couldn’t get it working, so we don’t know.

Advent LDWS100

Using an internal camera and GPS receiver, the system is designed to determine lane position, distance from a vehicle in front, and speed, then provide an audible warning if it senses danger. The device doubles as a video recorder if a collision occurs.

To its credit, the Advent appears to be a high-quality unit. The components all look and feel well put together, the wiring is of sufficient gauge so as to not fall apart when you try to work with it, and the wires are all color coded and labeled. That’s all good. The problem is, installing the LDWS100 is a task more than the average do-it-yourselfer is up for.

One thing that maybe should have clued us in to this is that the unit arrived in a plain white cardboard box, and not in brightly colored consumer packaging extolling its virtues with vivid photographs and bullet points. It looked like something meant more for a professional installer than a consumer.

The second clue came when we got to the installation instructions to wire the unit, which simply said to connect everything as outlined in the enclosed diagram. Said diagram consisted of a schematic with wires labeled ACC + 12V, TS left and right, and GND. It’s the TS (turn signal) one that threw us.

The device presumably won’t warn of a lane departure if a turn signal is activated, just like a factory installed system. The problem is to get to the wiring for the turn signals in our Acura means splicing into wiring in the steering column, which seemed like it held at least as much potential for damage to the vehicle as a poorly timed lane change.

I don’t necessarily fault Advent for this, but it might be nice if device manufacturers or outlets selling products like the LDWS100 better explained in promotional materials what was involved in their installation before a purchase is made. What I will fault Advent for is the lack of a customer service phone number or installation help line included either in the instruction manual or with the product packaging. A visit to their website did produce a contact form, but no phone number. We filled it out, and then received and missed a return call the following day. That didn’t help matters much.

We’ll be packing up the Advent and sending it back. The lesson remains one that we’ve learned before, both on car related projects and others around the home: Understand what you’re buying before making a purchase, and know your own limits.

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25 Comments on “When 18-Year-Old Auto Upgrades Go Wrong: Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warning System – Advent LDWS100...”


  • avatar
    rentonben

    Please note: I’m an idiot.

    When I was 17, I installed an aftermarket car alarm. It needed, GND, 12v, Lock, Unlock, Dome light, Ignition, Trunk, 12v (running).

    Are you telling me a grown adult couldn’t find the left and right turn signal? Heck, boxing up all that stuff to return, getting an RMA, and then creating a post about it is more daunting.

    Have someone show you how to use a volt meter (a $20 device) and a bed-of-nails test lead ($15) and you’ll be set.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      I couldn’t tell you how to remove the cover of the steering wheel column to access those wires on any car I’ve owned.

      I’ve never needed to. Are there any repairs in that area that would be considered common enough to need to know how to do do this?

      I have visions of accidentally setting off the airbag.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well you wouldn’t have to tap into them at the steering column, the wring that usually runs through the sill or back in the trunk area would also work. With proper caution the risk to blowing the air bag is quite low. First you can deactivate the system by removing the fuse followed by disconnecting the battery and then letting it set until the capacitor has time to drain. Then when you are poking around be careful with the wires with yellow connectors and a yellow jacket covering them.

        As far as removing the plastic if the holes on the underside aren’t readily visible or you can’t see what type of tool that fastener needs deep in that recess there is always youtube.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Or a flashlight and a mirror. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          I believe the idea here is to tap into the stalk line to get an *un-blinking* output, not the blinking on/off output from the turn signal relay/controller.

          You can probably get that between the stalk and controller, but also possibly easiest to attach at the stalk.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Highly unlikely because then it would only work on a very select few cars. The standard is that the flasher unit goes between the fuse and the switch. Even on vehicles with a control module the part that supplies the flashing part is usually before the switch.

  • avatar
    John R

    Was the manufacturer promoting this?

    I’m trying to figure out why someone with an older car would want to do this. I get performance upgrades and audio upgrades, but nanny upgrades?

    To me this is like reverse-engineering a Playstation 1 to add a parental control functionality.

    Maybe for an elderly parent? But knowing my dad this thing would just annoy him.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I had a similar thought. It’s interesting to see the challenges of integrating technology like this into an aging car–especially from the resulting commenters with good info–but it seems like far more work than simply looking out the window to maintain lane discipline.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      If you ever come close to rear-ending someone or falling asleep at the wheel, you’ll understand. So will those you might hurt. And don’t bother telling me you will never do such things.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I want someone to offer aftermarket blind-spot warning. Shouldn’t be that frickin’ hard to do: make a little bump that pops onto the mirror and contains both the sensor and the lamp. Could even be internally battery powered if that’s easier. Everything from luxury sport coupes to the Chevy Volt to the Fiat 500 seems to come factory-equipped with a “do the designers actually drive?” level blind spot.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        2″ convex mirrors with adhesive backing do the job nicely. Stick one on each (outside) rear view mirror and blind spots are gone.

        Cost: less than $5
        Time Required: less than 5 min.
        Compatibility Issues: none
        Skill Requires: virtually none
        Technology: none.
        Reliability: 100%

  • avatar
    13kRPM

    Splicing into these wires is pretty straight forward stuff even in the steering column or just below it in dash and I am not talking about with crappy prone to failure snap wire taps. Many aftermarket features (added running lights, reverse alarms, after market stereos) require this basic level wiring know how which consist of read a rudimentary wiring diagram, identify wires, test said wires with a test light and then make a clean sealed splice. I agree with the previous comment, should have had someone give you the five minute tutorial on auto wiring and tools. Even 10 minutes on Youtube should have sorted this one out.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I doubt customer service for this type of product will be of any help with installation regardless. When you buy something that is universal, that means the manufacturer built it as generically as possible. Therefore customer service reps wouldn’t be trained to help on your specific vehicle. Any advice beyond how to plug and play would be for you to look up how to do what you’re asking.

    I find wiring to be pretty daunting much of the time. But once you get elbow deep into it, it usually becomes more clear. Color coding and figuring out what each wire does as you are holding it helps immensely.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bummer!

    I guess this means my evil plan to update my old Buick with Autopilot is kaput.

  • avatar
    MBella

    This is exactly how people get in trouble when they ad aftermarket accessories. Even the most simple hardwired part can become dangerous when you don’t know what you are tapping into. It’s even worse when “master/certified/expert. Audio/ technicians” from Micky shore or car tunes get a hold of your car for an install. You end up with a guy using a test light to find a power he’s looking for. I’ve seen SRS circuits tapped into. They’ll go for anything with approximately 12V.

    A wiring diagram is a must. In the case of your Acura, it appears that tapping into the turn signal outputs at a relay module under the hood would be the ticket, assuming this device just acts like a voltmeter to see when power is applied. If it loads the circuit this also would be a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      My car started exhibiting the most strange electrical and dasboard problems. Turned out the Mobileye C-270 system was the culprit. I speculate that the chip converting between packets from the Mobileye’s internal circuitry and the CAN bus was spewing bogus or corrupted data onto the bus. Pulling the fuse on the C-270 fixed the problems. Of course the C-270 was toast. These things show up cheap on Ebay, but don’t bother. I think every one of them will fail.

      Luckily the critical vehicle control systems are on a separate, high speed bus.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I’ve said it before on this site, but will say it again here:
    Any such system that does not tap into the CAN/OBD bus is not worth installing. Getting speed data from GPS is simply too imprecise for this purpose. So before buying one, check the instructions to see if tapping into the OBD bus is mentioned.

    Even if you got it working, in my experience these units are not durable. I had a Mobileye C-270 fail in 18 months. So the expensive thing was out of warranty. The cheapo replacement I bought, a dashcam with LDW and FCW capabilities, failed in less than a year. I installed it myself. The dashcam worked fine but the warning features were so incompetent it was laughable.

    The third one, a Mobileye 560, is more than a year old now, still working and is surprisingly capable.

    There are some other expensive models, but I’ve been unable to determine if they use the data bus. There’s also an ADAS app that runs on your smartphone. Although it would be easy to design it to use the data bus info, it does not.

    The drawbacks to the Mobileye systems are that they absolutely require professional installation and are expensive. Less than any minor accident though.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Im not sure why anyone would want this. I could see if it had blind spot warning, but only and audible alarm for collision and lane departure?

    That said if you don’t want to tap into the steering column I would go for the tail lamps

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Offering something like this for DIYers? Sounds like a full employment act for personal injury and product liability lawyers when something goes wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’d be shocked if somewhere along the purchase process or in the packaging it didn’t say “install at own risk, test before using, manufacturer strongly recommends professional installation and disclaims all failures due to improper installation”.

      And “I installed it wrong!” is a great defense for them in court, then.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Honda (Acura) have always produced excellent factory shop manuals that owners can buy. Some are available online for downloading. I would generally want to consult the wiring diagram before tapping in to the car’s wiring harness. The turn signal wiring will all come together at the flasher relay somewhere inside the dash.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I hate doing work like this where you’re tapping into factory harnesses. And many of the people that work in that field are hacks you don’t want working on this.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Thank heavens an LS engine swap is much easier, and doesn’t have to deal with all that flowing electrons business.

    It’s ironic that just when the mechanical bits have become more durable than ever, the complexity and expense of upgrading and repairing the electronics will cause cars to be junked with more usable miles left on them than ever.


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