I have a new stereo head unit in my car that auto dims when the headlights are on. The head unit does not have a variable dimmer, it is either on or off. I have a dimmer switch in my car that is used for all of the internal panel lights. I have measured the voltage from the vehicle dimmer switch as follows:
Position 0 is full brightness, position 7 is the dimmest (gray wire): 0 - 0.0 volts, 1 - 0.5 volts, 2 - 1.2 volts, 3 - 1.8 volts, 4 - 2.5 volts, 5 - 3.2 volts, 6 - 3.9 volts, and 7 - 4.6 volts
I measured the voltage of the headlight trigger wire that runs to the head unit and when the car is running it sits around 13.4 to 13.8 volts (orange wire).
In the past I have used relays for situations where I want an event to trigger something else, but through my research I am seeing that relays will require much higher voltage to trigger than I have. So I need a solution that allows for low voltage trigger, approximately 450 mV but, is also able to handle up to 14 volts. The solution also has to be able to handle up to 5 volts on the trigger side and wont lead to failure. I have been looking around and it seems that a transistor might be my solution, although even reading up on transistors and watching a number of YouTube educational videos on the use of transistors, I am still not sure of how to wire one in, and or if it the best option, plus I haven't worked with current switches before.
Ideally I would splice into the gray wire and run that to my switch (part I am here asking about) as the trigger, and then using the power from orange wire (vehicle side) as my power feed, then my output from the switch goes to the head unit.
Thank you in advance for any assistance!
Edit 1: The radio head unit has an input power wire that is used to trigger the internal head unit dimmer. The power wire from the vehicle is at 0 volts when the headlights are off, and then jumps to 13.4-13.8 volts when the headlights are on. So I don't believe the head unit can handle PWM. The dimmer switch in the vehicle has 7 different positions, with position 0 being all internal lights are at full brightness, and position 7 they are at the dimmest. I would like to trigger the head unit to dim at position 1 of the dimmer, but not have any damaging effects, if the dimmer switch were set to position 7. If that makes sense?