Turn Signal Audio ~ Insufficient Volume

tpms alarm

The Turn Signal audio “alarm”, if I’m comprehending this properly, is a reminder beep that is in-sync with the turn signal and hazard warning flashing lights, that kicks in after a certain amount of time has passed, [thank you Sergey (ssh16) for clearing this up for me] is apparently  not really an alarm, but audible clicking noises replicating the sound of turn signal flashers of yesteryear, in-sync with the turn signal and hazard warning flashing lights, and doesn’t seem to be loud enough for a majority of us driving 124 Spiders, especially with the top down, which is how the car is meant to be driven.  I’m writing this article in answer to seeing another inquiry posted on the Miata.net forum by MX-5 owners, also wanting the volume turned up.  Even at the Loud setting, just like the beeps letting you know you’ve reached the lower and upper limits of the cluster dimmer control (rather than mechanical stops), I know I can’t hear them either.  Yet, I almost jump out of my seat when a faulty interpretation of ABS data triggers false TPMS alarms, proving to us – that same audio transducer, located on the rear side of the instrument cluster circuit board, is capable of being plenty LOUD!


Sergey provided a nice photo of  the actual transducer (think of it as a tweeter) in his excellent Instrument Cluster analysis discussion.  I’m assuming it’s obscuring the “BZ1” component callout (Buzzer #1), and I’m also curious what purpose a second transducer (BZ2, which is not present) was intended to serve (text-to-speech?).

Anyways, BZ1 is mounted adjacent to the stepper motor for the speedometer, close to the right-side edge of the circuit board, and this probably aligns quite nicely with the small slotted grill opening in the cluster canopy designed to allow some portion of the emitted sounds to enter the cabin.

cluster speaker

courtesy of mx5things.com

So figuring out how to alter the existing personalization command that communicates to the Body Control Module (BCM) via the HS-CAN network, the volume level value for the loud setting for the Turn Signal audio (which appears to use the same transducer) to a value much higher than the current setting, yet not quite as loud as the TPMS alarm, would be of value to those of us, currently unable to hear the alarm.  The TPMS Reset acknowledgement beep (which is quieter than the alarm) volume seems about perfect, and I would like to determine that value, and use it as a good starting point.  If someone could intercept these commands over the HS-CAN network, a tweak that would replicate the personalization command (using the louder volume value though) should be easy enough to write.  This is all assuming that the values aren’t predefined in the BCM, and that the command isn’t simply choosing either the Low or High predefined values, but rather, is actually defining the preferred volume value.

personalization3 turn signals

I’d like to familiarize everyone with the personalization setting shown directly underneath the Turn Signal audio volume – the Lane Change Three-Flash feature.  I find that enabling that feature to be very helpful, as it means that by using the momentary-on portion of the switch, resulting in three light cycles, rather than one, and thereby not actually engaging the turn signal lever past the “click” into it’s auto-cancelling mode, it can’t be left on accidentally.  By using this feature for shallow turns, you should find your turn signals behaving as you’d expect, since the self-cancelling feature functions properly after sharper turns.

Here is an illustration showing how the Turn Signal audio “alarm” functions, and by comparing it to the top illustration, you can see that both alarms seem to be actuating the same transducer (labelled buzzer):

turn signal alarm

I was hoping that perhaps a Mazda or Fiat dealer could program the volume, but found this in the Miata forum, which implies that they can only select low or high, just like we can from the CMU Settings screen, but not the actual volume 😦

Turn And Hazard Indicator Alarm using M-MDS

1. Connect the M-MDS to the DLC-2.
2. After vehicle identification, select the following from the M-MDS initialization screen.
→ →a. “Module programming”
→ →b. “Programmable Parameters”
3. Then, select “IC” from the screen menu.
4. Select an item name, and than select option.

Mazda Modular Diagnostic System (M-MDS) display		Function			Initial setting		Setting contents	Control unit
Turn Signal Volume.									The volume of the 	Low					Low / High			Instrument cluster
indicator alarm can be changed.						turn and hazard

8 thoughts on “Turn Signal Audio ~ Insufficient Volume

  1. Main issue with this buzzer that it is hard to make loud clicking sounds. Beep will be always more loud, because it utilized resonance frequency of the buzzer.. Beeping for turn signal will be annoying. I think more simple solution will be adding some more loud clicker, activated by power provided for the turn lights.


    • Thanks for your reply Sergey!!

      Yes, the beep could be intentionally annoying, and since I can’t hear it, I can’t confirm, but isn’t it not supposed to beep until the turn signal/hazard lights have been flashing for a minute or two?

      Perhaps I’ve got this all wrong – Is it not an alarm, but instead just an audible noise in-sync with the lights?


  2. For what it’s worth, I left a query with the folks who have the http://www.turnalarm.com site, asking what the relay type is for our vehicles, and noting that we just want a louder sound, not a change in the actual flash frequency. If it’s a CF13 or CF14, this could be as simple as a $10 USD purchase on Amazon. Then again, sometimes I’m naive when it comes to things like this. So, my question was, the model type (CF13, for example) refers more to the plug type, correct? Would there be a difference between a vehicle that had LED versus incandescent turn lights? Like I said, my vehicular mechanical ineptitude is showing.


  3. Why don’t you guys just have a device that plugs into the obd port or wires into the canbus and reads turn signal messages and triggers your own buzzer/beeper or makes the instrument cluster beep instead of tick?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s