2 functions added to my Ignis by installing relays: Should I be worried

The 2 functions (auto-closing ORVMs & windows) that I needed were added by an accessory shop, apparently by installing 2 relays.

BHPian Mustang_Boss recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

All,

I recently got a new car [Ignis Zeta] and I wanted some more functionality and have approached my Trusty Car accessories guy for the same.

The functionality sought was:

  • Auto closing of ORVMs when locked and unlocked.
  • Auto closing of power windows when locked.

Ignis comes with factory-fitted Power ORVMs and all power windows.

They have installed 2 relays. One for ORVMs and the other for Power windows. Everything is working fine as expected. Plus, I got all power windows Auto up and down functionality from the driver’s console.

Cool! More than what I expected.

Now, everything in life comes at a cost. What cost am I paying for these relays?

Searched a lot about the potential issues, but couldn’t find any significant information regarding the same. Some issues were reported, but they were very less % when compared to the actual sales.

So, back here, on TBhp, looking for answers.

  • I frequently drive on highways and I do not want any kind of issues arising from these electrical fittings. Should I be worried?
  • Do relays go bad? What happens if they go bad? Will the Power windows work in such a case?
  • As the relay comes with Power windows Auto UP functionality, will it damage the motors by powering them for longer than needed?
  • I carry expensive stuff in the car. Any failure means I end up suffering for the day.
  • Any impact on Battery drain when not in use?

New Car itch pushed me to get the Relays. Now, after how they were installed by splicing the wires and drawing a power line from the battery, I have questions now. Guys, please share your experiences, so I can act accordingly. Thank you.

Here’s what BHPian Rehaan had to say about the matter:

I think you’re hyper-focussing on ‘relays’, and giving them a lot more credit than they are worth in this situation.

The first thing to understand is what a relay is: it’s simply a switch. It’s not smart, it doesn’t have any intelligent abilities. It’s just a BIGGER switch (actuated by an electromagnet) that is triggered by a smaller switch.

The fact that it is a big switch (ie. can handle turning on/off larger loads like headlights, power windows, etc) while being controlled by a smaller switch (ie. on/off commands from a micro-controller/chip) is why it gets used in applications like these.

It’s very unclear to me as to how your accessory guy has implemented these new functionalities in your car — so I can’t comment on that. My guess is that it’s probably with some reprogramming, and perhaps a missing relay was added in for some functionality (which might have been left out as cost-cutting due to the feature not being offered on your variant).

Relays themselves exist in your car aplenty (eg. for turning on your headlamps, starting your car, or even blowing the horn), and can be automotive grade, so no cause for concern there.

They look like this, and you’ll usually see them plugged in near the fuse box:

If the relay stops working, the ‘switch’ that it is being used for will no longer activate.

Also, being mechanical devices, when relays start to fail — they sometimes become erratic before they completely stop working.

A relay should only be drawing power for itself when it is being activated (ie. the electromagnet inside it is receiving power).

However, there are 2 types of relays: Normally Open (NO) and Normally Closed (NC).

Normally Open, means that with no external signal, the relay switch is in the OFF position.

Normally Closed, means that with no external signal/power to the relay, the bigger load it is switching will be in the ON position… and if this is the case, the load that it is switching could be drawing power (depending on how it’s wired).

An absolutely horrible ‘dumb’ implementation of the 2 features you wanted could be achieved with an NC relay.

For example, the relay could be wired to be constantly winding up the windows in its “Normally Closed” position (ie when the relay is getting no power).

Then, when the ignition is turned on, the relay gets power and changes to its “OFF” position, not affecting the windows at all.

In this case – it’s horrible because you are continuously feeding power to wind up the window motors for as long as the car’s ignition is off (ie. hours / days).

Try and get some more information from your guy on what exactly has been done. Has there been any re-flashing? Was any wiring added? Etc.

Here’s what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say about the matter:

The features you enabled don’t seem like any must haves or very useful features. At best, they are nice to have features that increase convenience a little bit. Also have never heard of anyone doing such modifications on a new car. While some cars- like the ones from Volkswagen Skoda are very mod friendly as a lot of things can be done as plug and play, I have not heard of Maruti cars like the Ignis being mod friendly with respect to the electronics.

In any case, I don’t think it was a wise idea to do modifications on a new car that involved wire splicing and such electronic enhancements. You may have effectively lost the warranty of the car with these changes and I don’t think the benefits were worth it. If these features were important, ideally you should have got a variant which offered these.

Having said that, since it is all done, the best you can do is clearly understand what exactly has been done, especially the points Rehaan has mentioned. If it does not convince you, then reverse the changes for your peace of mind. The wire splicing unfortunately cannot be reversed without any trace.

Here’s what BHPian ajayc123 had to say about the matter:

Relays are electronically operated switches.

They are usually of two types that I am aware of: mechanical relays and solid-state relays. In the former, there is some mechanical movement of the switch based on another trigger. So they are more prone to failure. Usually, there is a clicking sound when the relay is actuated. In solid state relays, there is no moving part so less prone to failure, and no physical movement or sound.

My sense is that if the relays fail, then the on-off function will be impacted. (This means auto opening / closing may get impacted, so it may stay in the last position before failure). This is no different from such failure in the stock car.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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