I have often wondered if a small bicycle generator could be used with our Ford Model N to charge the battery and/or run the coils. Ford NRS cars do not have magnetos, but rely on one or two batteries to run the coils.
This year on the New London to New Brighton MN tour, I almost became a "victim" of the buzzard wagon because I only had one battery and it ran low about half way through the 120 mile run.
Thanks for any ideas. I could run it on the flywheel or on a tire, as bicycle generators do.
This an example of what I am thinking about.
The next question is, how much "power" do four coils operating on 12 volts require?
I've seen at least one period advertisement for an aftermarket dynamo for N-R-S in an early accessory catalog. Unlike a magneto which generates electricity and controls ignition timing, the dynamo only generated electricity and the stock timer and coil was used. The dynamo was not used to charge a battery but to provide current to the ignition while the car was running.
I'll see if I can find it in my literature and post it online.
Bicycle generators are very low powered devices and the amount of charge you could get would just make the whole exercise kinda silly to contemplate as a real means of driving these early Fords by this self charging means. You could get almost any DC motor to put out some current if you spin it but the real problem is then regulation to prevent burning out the generator if it is small. With a bicycle generator of old - if you peddled too fast you got short light bulb life. If you really pursue the idea, use a wheel chair DC motor or something like that which can put out 5 amps or so. Check surplus catalogs.
I think your time and effort would be better served if you paid very close attention to some facts about the situation. A set of coils will draw .65 amps from your battery when you are driving. Yep that's all! Most any car battery will be at least 70-80 Amp hours capacity. That means that if fully charged your battery should easily power your car for 100 hours of driving (70/.65=107.7 Hrs. The problem is that because the battery doesn't seem to need charging very often, the battery is then allowed to descend into discharge for long periods of time and most batteries are then damaged and no longer have the capacity they had when new. What you need to do is get a good battery to start with and then invest in a "constant voltage" type battery charger and get in the religious habit of putting it on the battery the moment that you can when the day, weekend, or week long tour is over. We tend to bring the car home and decide that "tomorrow" I need to recharge the battery and "tomorrow" becomes a month and the battery is seriously hurt. I like the constant voltage type chargers since they can be left on a battery for days or weeks without hurting the battery and if used as directed here, you will never find yourself on a tour with a dead battery. They can be attached to a lead acid battery without regard for whether the battery really needs charging or not. They just bring the battery "UP" and top it off and leave it at that place until you disconnect it. What I use is a variable voltage regulated DC power supply. It has voltmeter and amps meter on it. For my 6V battery I set it to 7.05Volts and put it on the battery. The ammeter will read almost zero once the battery is fully charged. There is no harm if it sits that way for a long time.
Hope this helps.
Do the "cheapie" maintainer chargers accomplish this? (they show charging or charged, and only "trickle charge". I have a few of them, and usually leave them on our farm tractors over the winter).
BTW, I know how to spell bicycle, but my iPad doesn't.
Fixed it Rob. Chris B
How the he'll did you do that???
Here's a photo of a battery and charger I use for my old cars. A friend of mine in TX (Ed Messenger) put me on to these batteries about 15 to 20 years ago. It is a sealed battery and I've never had one leak. He said he uses them because he can lay them down and they won't leak. I've adapted a simple plug onto the end. I think the batteries are made for "sidewalk cars" for kids. I use these on my 2-cyl Buick, 4-cyl Buick, and all my pre-starter T's. They last for 5 years or so with minimal care. They will take lots of abuse (when compared to a regular car battery) such as not charging for some period of time. I charge them for about 24 hours once a month during the touring season. Over the winter, I don't charge it from October until March. Forget about messing with the "Battery Tender". I've run all of NLNB with one of these batteries in our 2-cyl Model F Buick. They have also run on multiple days tour. A photo of the charger is attached. It came from Radio Shack. I just had to adapt the plug for the battery. Forget Hot Shot, Motorcycle, or Car Batteries in your ancient vehicles (not to be used in a car with a starter or to power headlights..unless just a short time...this is for ignition only). The batteries run about $25 from a battery store like Interstate. It's been so long ago since I bought the charger, I don't remember how much it was. It's easy to transfer from one vehicle to another with the quick detach plug.
We use the same type of 6 volt battery (from Power Wheels electric kiddie cars) for our Model Ts with the quick connect shown. We have also used them on my dad's 1910 IHC roadster.
My brother used to work for FAO Schwartz (the toy retailer) and gave me six batteries about 15 years ago. Two are still going strong.
How about just keeping a solar battery maintainer handy? should be easier than mounting a generator or carrying an extension cord.
Thanks for the good ideas.
I like the idea of a "self contained" power source (generator/alternator) but maybe better battery and maintenance are the best answer.
Get one with quick break-away leads...and put it by the passenger door...lol
Smarty me ran a permanent jumper set to the outside of the splash apron, driver side since thats the side closest to the outlet and the same side as the battery...
Backed it in (as oppossed to normal pull in) time before last, plugged it up right away cause then its always 'green' light at the outlet adapter for the next time (7+ V).
Hopped in the car, started right away, drove away...thank goodness I used bayonet plugs at my contact block and a wire clamp just behind the connector block mounted underside of the body...need I say more? D-U-M-B ! But no damage done, bayonet plugs let go before it pulled either end...and didn't even notice until I pulled back up in the drive a while later.
Skeaking of battery chargers. I'm not really sure of what is meant by "constant voltage" types other that they are constant in their output. I have a boat that requires 2 huge batteries. For years I have used a sears charger. hooked up through a light timmer like the one you would use when out of town to "fool" the wantabe theives. I have the timer to on/off 15 minutes each day and is set to the lowest amps plssible. The batteries last for years and are always ready when I can get up the strength to go. Distilled water only....Same for my 3 T's. Jerry....
Constant voltage means a charger that puts out a very precise constant voltage setting such as 7.05V as opposed to an unregulated source that might put out anywhere from 6 to 7.5 which is then unsuitable for charging since if the voltage being output is 6.0V then it will not charge the typical 6V battery while 7.5V is too high of a charge voltage to leave on a battery indefinitely. If you buy a constant voltage charger with a precision output voltage set to the ideal battery "float voltage" you can be sure the battery will give you maximum life and be fully charged without using up any of its electrolyte from overcharging.
John Regan convinced me to buy a Schauer Model CR-612 battery charger. I love it. They are no longer made, but you can still find them available in stock on Google. They go new for about $75.
It is a constant voltage current regulated charger that can be used for 6 or 12 volt batteries. It is small, light and portable.
One of the best units I have ever owned.
Ron the Coilman
If you can't find a constant voltage charger for your 12V battery, I can make one for you. I am using a 12V gel cell battery for the Oakland for starting. Of course it runs on mag so the battery is only used for starting and will last for a very long time on a charge. It would work just as well for what you are wanting though. I still charge up the battery once in a while though.
Here is the ad I wrote about earlier. It is from the "Northwestern Automobile Co. 1913 Catalog of Ford Specialities and Automobile Supplies," the earliest aftermarket accessory catalog I have ever seen published specifically for Fords. Northwestern Automobile Co. was an automobile agency in Minneapolis, MN.
Since the set-up is belt driven instead of gear or chain driven, I believe it serves only as a generator of electricity and does not appear to include any type of timing mechanism.
Also below is an K-W ad with close-ups of the model F magneto that appeared Trent Bogess's and Ron Patterson's ignition article that appeared in Vintage Ford.
The last ad is for an unknown make of magneto that is included in a page that Ralph Ricks occasionally posts. It appears that it is friction driven off of the flywheel and does not include a timing device.
Model F magneto is at far right
Close up of model F magneto
Unknown brand of magneto - appears to be friction drive