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1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

Certain high-end Datsun models of the Late Malaise Era came with a seriously science-fictiony feature: the car talked to you! That's no big deal nowadays- $1.29 worth of silicon- but back then it took hardware.

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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

I'd always assumed that Nissan just liked cool gadgetry so much that they'd gone ahead and used $1,278 worth of first-gen Mesoproterozoic Era solid-state digital audio circuitry, no doubt with a shoebox-sized brain packed with 128 whoppin' kilobytes of data.

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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

But no! They created a miniaturized, shock-resistant phonograph, using a 3" white plastic record cut with six parallel grooves (one for each voice message, including "Left door is open," "Right door is open," "Parking brake is on," "Fuel level is low," "Keys in the ignition," and "Lights are on."), and a super-precise stylus that drops in just the right groove when triggered by the device's control circuitry. We're talking about the very pinnacle of analog automotive devices here, and I never knew it existed until a recent junkyard trip. That's when I found an intriguing box labeled "Audible Warning - Don't Drop" under the dash of a 1982 Datsun 810 Maxima.

Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

The Datsun 810 aka Nissan Maxima and the 280ZX could be purchased with this system. You had a dash switch to disable it, in case you found it more maddening than gratifyingly futuristic.

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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Naturally, I had visions of rigging up this fine retro device in my Civic (or maybe hardwired into the Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox), but the vast number of wires coming out of the thing meant that I couldn't get anywhere without a wiring diagram. $10 later, I'd purchased a factory shop manual on eBay and got down to business.

Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Sadly, the friendly Japanese Audible Warning Box seems to be garbooned; I've wired it up in a manner that should convince it that it's still in a Maxima, but the stylus arm never moves when I trigger the "door switch" or "fuel level sensor" conditions. All I get is a forlornly spinning phonograph record and some little clicks from the mechanism. The only thing I'm not certain about is the mysterious item labeled simply "Audio" on the schematic; I'm guessing it's a circuit in the stereo that cuts the music during announcements. I've got these things on my junkyard shopping list, so I'll make one work yet!

Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
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Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots
Illustration for article titled 1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots

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DISCUSSION

AlienProbe
AlienProbe

Oh Wow! thanks for the memories! My college roommate had an 82 Maxima with the voice box. Whenever we would go for a drive, all of us passengers would open the doors on random occasions (while he was driving) and make the car voice warn us. Hahahahah "Right door is open... Right door is open." Oh, that was so much fun.