Older Than The Lightbulb!

Older Than The Lightbulb!

Try to imagine life without incandescent lightbulbs. There was a time when kerosene was the only way to light your house!

Then the incredible new invention came out back in 1879: the incandescent lightbulb! Nowadays there’s actually a good chance that most of the light in your house isn’t incandescent anymore. In all likelihood you probably have LED bulbs where the regular lightbulbs used to go. LED’s are the next generation in lighting because they use less energy, create less heat and can be much brighter. Heck they can even change colors! We switched to LED because it was so much better, the lightbulb hadn’t changed in over 120 years!

But all that’s really obvious. That’s because the original lightbulb was so outdated, LED’s have been out for years and they’re finally taking over completely. In a couple years you won’t even be able to buy an old-school lightbulb. 

But what’s all this got to do with me, and why is this on a performance website? Well to be perfectly honest you’ve got a piece of electronics that’s the equivalent to the old-school lightbulb in your car right now. Yep, relays and there's at least 10 of them in your vehicle right now. These things have served us well for nearly 200 years!! Hard to believe but the 5-position relay was invented in 1835 by U.S. scientist Joseph Henry and hasn’t changed since! 

(The original 5-position relay, still the same today!)

If the relay is so old-school then what replaced it? Solid State Relays! They’re smaller, like a LOT smaller, and they’re smart enough to know when they’re too hot or running too much current. In fact, you can even run them without fuses because automatic shutoff features are built right in! 

What happens is the OEM’s like GM and Toyota have partnerships with electronics manufacturers who need to use their technology as long as possible to ensure they make as much money as possible. So cars keep coming with big bulky fuse and relay boxes and because it's not in the best interest of these giants like Bosch, Panasonic, and Hella to innovate these designs we get stuck with the same electronics that was under the hood of the Knight Rider!

The moral of the story is that the relay was an incredible invention in 1835. But it’s not 1835 any more! The relay wasn’t designed for the kind of abuse that modern vehicles get, especially not your standard automotive relay with male spades sticking out of it! Cars didn’t used to be able to go from the Arizona Desert to the Colorado Rockies in a day so there was no reason to have a relay that was built for that. But now that’s normal, and solid state relays were built for it! 

You don’t light your room with a candle, so unless you’re a die-hard carburetor guy with a mullet, you shouldn’t switch on your devices with an old-school relay! It's time to step your game up. But hey, we're biased. #kaizenrelay

-Reid Lunde 


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