Design of a Lightning Solution that Offers 13000+ Color Combinations for Car Interiors


  • This solution can be implemented in cosmetic upgrades inside cars by the automobile industry.
  • Designers may find this reference design useful for creating embedded automotive solutions.

In the year 2016, Chevrolet Camaro brought a new concept in the market. The concept was called ‘dynamic ambient lighting’. The company, via this solution, introduced 24 different colors of lightning inside the car. Chevrolet gave the users the freedom to change the colors of lights using a small console.

However, the lightning combination was only limited to a combination of 24 lights. On the other hand, this microcontroller-based ambient lightning solution can provide users with the power to set light settings in more than 13000 combinations. Probably, a feature that almost none of the car companies will deny implementing, given the rise of Iot aka smart features in the world.

A compact integrable system 

The design is based on incorporating the minimal hardware configuration. The design consists of an 8-bit microcontroller which is interfaced with a  Transceiver and a Voltage regulator to provide a regulated input to the microcontroller and the transceiver.


The design works in an operating voltage of 8 Volts to 18 Volts. This helps the device to be integrated with the conventional lead-acid battery present in the system rather than an external power source. The output voltage of the circuit is 5 Volts which is connected to the RGB based LED lights. The circuit provides a continuous current output of 250milliampere.

The internal Voltage regulator converts the input voltage into regulated 5 Volts which is the operating voltage for the microcontroller. The controller can be programmed for expanding the number of output channels for the LED.

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13000 different colour and intensity combinations

The designed circuit provides multi-colour mixing to achieve 7 to 16,383 colors based on the three primary RGB colors. The Color intensity can be changed through a PWM signal which can vary the out to 1,023 different levels.

The circuit works as a constant voltage and current driver for the output LED and can be interfaced serially through LIN or J2606 bus protocols.

All these features make the design suitable for automotive lighting based applications and can provide an alternative to a basic single colour interior of the vehicle.

The design has been released and developed by Microchip Technology and the design includes all the necessary documents for open-source prototyping of the circuit. All the technical documents can be downloaded here.




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