Driving with magneto headlights

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2010: Driving with magneto headlights
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - Lyons, GA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 10:35 am:

We took the T out for a drive last night. It was still daylight when we left, but got good and dark before we got back. Right now, we are using 1142 bulbs. I'll say the headlights are sufficient to see where you are going on a straight road. They would be better with good reflectors. These are not the best anymore. On our dirt road, they leave a little bit to be desired. At the speed you would like to drive, they are too dim. Your choices are to speed up or go in LOW to get the engine to speed up. As long as your on a straight away, they are fine. There's not enough light out to the sides to see well enough to navigate sharp curves unless you are in LOW with the engine at high rpm. We had a magnetic, battery operated flashing LED light on the back to keep from being rear ended. We also had all the oil lamps lit. But as we were taking some side streets back home, we came upon a 4 way stop. I got there first and was stopped. I had not noticed it was a 4 way, but when the lady coming from my right began to stop, I realized it was and proceeded to pull off from the stop sign. And so did she! I don't think she saw the black car with the dim headlights (Due to idle speed). When she pulled out, I got the T stopped, but she kept coming (She was turning left onto the street I was on). Additionally, she was cutting the inside of the corner. She didn't hit us, but she got dang close. I was first at the stop sign, so feel I had the right of way, but if we had to have called the cops, all he would have seen was me having failed to yield right of way to the vehicle on the right. Hard to prove who was there first after the fact with no witnesses. In retrospect, I think we should have stuck to the main road on the way home. Karen thought the traffic would be lighter on the side streets. She was right, but there would have been no stop signs for us to sit idling at with dim lights. Going down the street, the lights would have been bright enough for us to be noticed and not pulled out in front of. It will probably be best to limit our night time driving in the thing. We already limit it in the other old vehicles. This one will be no exception. Also, it is probably best to let the vehicle on the right go first at a 4 way stop, even if you were there first.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 11:13 am:

Sounds like you need some mag-powered LED safety lights at all four corners.

:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George...Cherry Hill, NJ on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 11:34 am:

I'm going to say it, even though I'm probably going to regret asking as I can see this going whacky :-)

In this day and age, why 'can't' someone with a little bit of smarts in the area come up with a package...

-forget about mag voltage output, or figure out a way to clamp the 'light' circuit voltage and at the same time use a diode resistor circuit that would feed the needed minimum voltage from another source so that the light circuit always had proper voltage in the event that the converted mag voltage dropped below a level.

-snap in light module that can sense and adjust for 6V or 12V differences all by itself using the existing bayonet sockets.

-wireless as to actual control, and the wireless unit had set-up features such as allowing the rear lamp if 2 are used to become flashers, turn signals and/or brake lights

-a way to add a smaller parabolic shield to the front lamps and use a second bulb in the existing reflector that would shoot out 'amber' in the lower lense area and also be part of the wireless set-up

-Not have to charge 500 bucks for it!

Just a thought...if too wild...just use the old Lily Tomlin one ringa dingy "nevermind"!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - Lyons, GA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 11:40 am:

I'm too much of a purist. It's all I can do to stick the magnetic LED thingy to the back.:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris Big Bear Lake, California on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 11:49 am:

We used to run our 1912 T headlights on the magneto and ran the engine on a 12 volt battery. That way we had stronger lights. We had a light bar with two fog light sized sealed beam lamps in it that we clamped to the front axle. We had a Ruckstell and a Warford and did lots of shifting. The trick was to rev it up and look far down the road for pot holes before shifting. We have driven as much as 50 miles in a single night. The tail lamp was electrified and had a stop lamp also. We got stopped by a police car one night while driving with those lamps but they just wanted to see the old Paddy Wagon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 12:33 pm:

If one is sitting at a stop sign and cannot see a car pulling in front of them would it matter what you were driving?? With everyone but me having a cell phone a call to the law might save a life?? A couple of years ago the local drunk [woman] ran well off the road and hit a big rock in our front yard.If she would not have smashed a front wheel off she would have simply drove off and she tryed!!! The woman could not understand why i seemed upseat with her?? Sorry to say i did not call the law and about 2-3 weeks later she ran a stop on a highway and T-boned a local!! Luckly no one hurt but was it my fault for not having her drunk butt jailed?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By CharlieB-Toms River N.J. on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 01:09 pm:

Ken, in today,s world you're lucky you didn't get blamed/sued for letting her go by the people she t-boned later on. As far as night driving in an un-modified T goes: It's not so much that you have to be nuts it's that every other driver on the road IS. C'mon guys..weak head lights and that one dim red bulb in the rear is begging for trouble.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By willie k cordes on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 01:17 pm:

It is nice to be a purist, but being able to see the road takes priority. You could rig some temporary removable headlights and a rechargeable battery under the seat. When you feel like a "Purist", just remove the lights and take your "Chances". The rest of the time use the battery lights and remember to keep that battery charged. Those flashing LED rear lights are great and the magnetic base also lets you remove them and go into the "Purist" mode"
Just a second opinion.:-)
I almost forgot, "Merry Christmas" and be safe.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 01:17 pm:

Yup,I learned my lesson and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 01:52 pm:

Drive my Ts in daylight when I can, but at dark, you need all the lights you can mount :-)

Today's moderns hardly look for motorcycles, much less slow antique black cars on the road.....

One thing that amazes me is that vendors still offer only the common #63 little 6v, 3 cp bulb for the single rear lamp on typical Ts. I always use the #81, hard to find, but its TWICE as bright, at 6cp, single contact, straight pins, same size as the dim #63, these are both approx 1 1/4" tall.





Now if there is room behind the lens to get the brighter #87, that is my choice for tail lamp. That one is 6v straight pin, single contact 15cp, but it is about 1/4" taller than a #63 at approx 1 3/4" or about a common #1129, which is 21cp, but normally too big to fit into the T tail lamp.

But this accessory tail lamp on Nellie took the #87, 15cp, gives nice bright light on the back.... in the garage with the overhead lights on.



Oh, reflectors help too, the FL license tag is also reflective coated by design.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Berch on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 02:05 pm:

Hal, I've never been in a mag headlight T before, but I know what you're talking about. My first motor vehicle was a 54 Cushman scooter. It was a mag headlight system. It had a centrifugal slip-clutch affair instead of a transmission, so you couldn't rev it up without going faster. It was great on the straightaways but when you slowed down for a corner or rough road it was like turning the lights off. The old neighbor down the road told me one time, "You need to light a match to see if your head light's burning". I got along with it because I was a young invincible kid, on low traffic/no traffic roads and never got to far from home.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren E Henderson, Dunbarton / Concord, on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 02:13 pm:

Dan, thanks for the info about #81. What does cp stand for?
Warren


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Hjortnaes, Men Falls,WI on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 02:47 pm:

cp = candle power, I believe


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Bishop on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 02:58 pm:

Hal,
I had a similar experience to yours. Like Dan, I try to only drive my car during daylight, but occassionally have to drive during darkness. Even tho I try to keep things as original as possible on my '17 touring, after my close call, I switched to 12V battery operated modern headlight bulbs (I already had a 12V motorcycle battery to start the car off of, put another one next to it to run the headlights). Much better brightness ALL the time! I still keep the mag bulbs under the backseat, and it only requires moving 1 wire to convert back to mag bulbs if I want to show off, but it sure is safer! I also put two flashing red LED lights on the back at night like you do. Take care and be safe!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Berch on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 03:28 pm:

Hal, Just a thought. I understand you wanting to not alter your origional car. You could buy a clamp on period correct spot light and "trick up" the bulb (Halogen etc.) and hide a battery under the seat. Maybe even a mag charging system. Then you'ld have a high tech head light you could focus where it would do you the most good. It would carry you through those low RPM situations and be easily removed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - Lyons, GA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 03:53 pm:

Someone mentioned that their preferred bulb was hard to find. When someone mentioned using the 1142 for a headlight, I found on some other forums where those were getting hard to find. They said that the local parts places no longer carry them. But McMaster-Carr had them and may have the ones mentioned above. They have a branch in Atlanta, so even UPS ground is next day delivery for me. I got a box of 10 for less than $10, shipping included.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 07:03 pm:

If you must be so pure that you can't have a battery, then it's the 1196 bulbs you need. 3 amp @ 12 point something volts instead of 1.6 amp in the 1142.

Idle real fast at intersections because there isn't going to be much light at 400 rpm. Don't honk the horn at low idle either or the ignition might go away with the lights on....

Or, get some mag-powered safety lights and idle as low as you like - and honk your horn. :-)

I wo


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 07:04 pm:

I don't know where the "I wo" came from....

1196 bulbs can be found at bulbtown.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By willie k cordes on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 09:30 pm:

I got stopped by a small town cop one night with my flashing red LED light stuck on the rear of my 1924 coupe. The officer told me that a "Flashing Red" to the rear indicates an emergency vehicle. Steady red is OK.
I switched to flashing "Amber" LED and have had no more trouble with the law. He just gave me a verbal warning.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 10:17 pm:

Willie,

Driving a model T at night IS an emergency. :-) The popo should have known that and left you alone or escorted you home.

Merry Christmas!

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 10:52 pm:

I would replace the mag bulbs with halogens, driven from a 12v battery that is re-supplied by the magneto. Then I would keep the battery on an automatic charger when at home. If the mag hasn't quite kept up with demand, the battery would be replenished overnight.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 12:13 am:

I run my T on a magneto but have a 12 volt battery to help with starting.

One of my projects is to put lights on the T because there are so many dumb people out there.
I plan on doing very little night driving so they have to be bright so they can be seen in the daylight.

After a bit of research I found that LEDs produce the most lumens per watt.
My plan is to use 4 white strobes and at least two large red tail lights.
Strobe kits can be purchased for around $120 and LED arrays run about $30 each.
They can be purchased online (Amazon etc.) or from places that supply trailer ligts.
The lights will be attached without making any holes and they will be easy to remove.

After reading about the “local yokel” I’ll stay away from flashing red or blue lights


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Kelsey on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 04:18 am:

Perhaps I didn't read the earlier posts all that well and may be repeating a question already answered, but...has anyone tried the new halogen headlamps? I understand they take a different reflector.

I've taken my car out for test runs at night, driving through our windy development, and have experienced what Hal has with the lack of light going around a turn. Could the lack of light around a turn be due to the bulb or are there other factors that come into play, like the size of the can and it's placement? I was thinking about purchasing halogens but would like some feedback from those who have tried it before I put out the expense. Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Howard near Pgh, PA on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 11:12 am:

I think that it would be hard to see a T's headlights from the side because they are partially hidden by the front fenders.
Howard


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By CharlieB-Toms River N.J. on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 11:52 am:

Flashing LED's and such displays might make you feel safer but in my opinion it's not what other drivers expect to see on a car today. And as stated earlier they might not even be legal. My town is not small but I was amazed to see in the 2010 Recource guide from the Club that there are 6 other T's in my town. I've never seen one on the road in over 15 years of living/driving here. Even I, as a T owner, would not expect that single red lamp in the distance is another T. (at least not at first). I'm sure motorcycle or bicycle would be the first thought from a non T driver. And they certainly seem to get less respect than another car. Again, just my opinion, but if you don't show the idiot's what they expect to see you may pay for it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 12:43 pm:

If it is something they don't expect to see they might focus a bit sooner and and realize that your there.

Flashing white LEDs are used on wreckers etc that are going slowly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 12:50 pm:

Reflective tape is very effective at night, and doesn't show so much in the day.



Note the strips below the tailights. I should put some on the side at the rear, and I could put some yellow along the runningboards and under the fender lips.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, CO on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 01:20 pm:

Has any one with a GENERATOR equiped T tried the Halogen Headlight Bulbs that Macs and Snyder sells ??? Do they throw out any more light than the old 50/32 CPs ???

Also a friend gave me two magnetic LED lights that I use on the back of my Ts (day or night). They are self contained with batteries that last for months. I change them back and forth on my Ts and I am thinking about getting more of them so I will have one for each T. These came out of a truck supply shop. I hope you can see one of them on the back of my Center Door.

A743

Also on my Ts with generators I use a black tail light that I buy at NAPA. Its the same design as a T tail light but is slightly larger so you can use any size bulb you want and also it has a brake light. By using larger bulbs you can see my tail light from as far back as a modern car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 01:49 pm:

Back in the spring of '97, I was unaware of halogen headlight bulbs for the T, so I cut the sockets out of a pair of T reflectors, and mounted 12v halogens by their flanges, with screws. No failures yet.



Note the dim setting filling the upper half.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Kelsey on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 02:34 pm:

Rick:

How was the illumination while driving at night compared to the old incandescent bulbs? Obviously, you've kept them on, so there must be some advantage to it. Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 03:00 pm:

I don't remember the incandescents, other than they were inadequate. The halogens are nothing to write home about either, at least partially due to reflectors that need to be resilvered.



The Warner Lenz may not help, but they are too cool not to use.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Woolf, Alpharetta, GA on Friday, December 24, 2010 - 04:23 pm:

We have a 12V battery in our '13 T for starting and to power the lights. The headlights use halogen bulbs. The sockets were purchased off of the internet for less than $5 apiece. My Dad and I made the socket holders on the lathe from a piece of brass. The socket holders are threaded and screw onto the original burner stands. The bulbs were also purchased off of the internet for less than $3 each. The modifications can easily be changed back to the original equipment.

Below are a couple of pictures.
Halogen LightsHalogens Adapted to Acetylene Lights


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - Lyons, GA on Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 12:12 pm:

A while back, someone posted pics of some black reflective tape. They had placed it on the axle tubes. In daylight, it was next to invisible, but reflected very well at night.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, CO on Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 01:52 pm:

Hal Davis:

One advantage the magnetic take of lights over reflective tape is they blink of and on. I make sure that I put one on each of my Ts when I go out even in the day time.

coupe at Many Parks Overlook

I still have not had much feed back on whether the Halogen Head Light Bulbs throw off more light or not over the 50/32 CP light bulbs.

You can see below that the 50/32 Light bulbs do not so much even with mint reflectors.

Riverside


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, CO on Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 02:01 pm:

riverside snow storm

Rear Light

293


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, CO on Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 02:15 pm:

Sorry wrong picture above. Please see below for picture of Flashing Magnet Light (I hope)

A108b


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