I have just finished installing a set of turn signals using LED lights and flasher can. They work perfectly, when the car is not running!
On start-up they go nuts, flashing at a great and not too steady rate. I unplugged the flasher unit from its position near the coilbox, thinking the electrical whatever it is may be interfering with it, and made up a jumper lead to position the unit some 2 metres back in the tray of the car. No difference!
I am out of my depth here so need help before I let all the smoke out of the wires.
Allan from down under
You were probably on the right track as to the source but your fix didn't help. Most likely you have electrical noise coming from the ignition system getting into the flasher circuitry. The noise is generally picked up by wiring and this form is radiated noise where the wiring is acting like an antenna. The other form is conducted noise where the noise is on the power supply wires coming again from the wiring but this form is not where the wiring is acting like an antenna but rather the noise is already on the wires having been put there directly by the ignition noise being reflected back through the wires powering the coil box. You can determine which is at fault if you can run your turn signals alone on a temporary separate battery supply. Can you disconnect the turn signal power lead and connect it to be powered from a separate battery supply just to see if that stops the problem when the engine is running? Without a wiring diagram I can't be sure how the power is being sent to your LED turn signals but assuming that there is only one power source to a "turn signal box" with wire leads then to the external LED's you can determine if the noise is conducted or radiated. If the problem goes away when you run the turn signals on separate battery then the problem is conducted. If the problem does not go away then the problem is radiated. I suspect this is a new turn signal setup to the market since noise problems like this are very common to modern electronic devices installed in model T's with original ignition systems. First determine where the noise is getting in and then we can perhaps finish the engineering of your turn signal system to include what needs to be added for it to work in your T. Where there any warnings from the supplier about these sorts of problems or installation "traps" to be avoided?
What did you do to make the flasher unit properly using LED lights? I had to use a special flasher in order to make mine work, but it did not make a difference if the car was running or not. It was a six volt system with the flashng unit mounted under the rear seat of my touring car, far away from any electrical noises.
In the immortal words of Sgt. Schultz "I know nothing" about electronic flashers but here's my .02 anyway. First: does the flasher unit need it's own ground? Second I thought about shielding the unit. Maybe even something as simple as a couple of layers of tin foil to test this. Of course moving the unit 6 feet away, about the distance the Tom has his makes me wonder if shielding would even work.
Are you running a Dist. or coils, have you tried it with standard type bulbs. Did you make up the system or is it a standard one from the parts store. On my 23 using Dist. and standard bulbs I'v had no problems, the system came from the local parts store.
PS I'm not an electrican, just a tinkerer.
John, Anthony and I were hoping you would chime in. I can do the test as you suggest. I will get to it this evening and report.
Tom, I pieced the setup together using components bought on line. The flasher unit is the special type to be used with LED lamps.
Bob,with electricals, I am just a tinkerer too. The car has a standard T system. I have had no problems with standard turn signal systems before, but went to LEDs because I could!
Thanks fellows. I will get back to tinkering.
Allan from down under.
Well, if you put on a tinfoil hat, you can protect yourself from flying saucers too!
Sorry, the tin shielding probably would work, I just thought of the hat and had to post!
I do hope you post the fix when you find it.
I spent a long time getting LED signal lights to work on my racer. They worked perfect when the engine was off but went beserk when the engine was running. Holding the flasher in my hand (temporarily wired up) - the further away from the dash I held it, the better the signal lights worked. I ended up mounting the flasher in the trunk and it's quite happy there. Lucky for me I had some spare wires in the trunk junction box in the custom harness I made.
If your vehicle has a 12v electrical system then buy the electronic flasher from Snyder's (in the Model A section of their catalog) or just look around for this part number EF33RL which is a 12 volt, 3 pin heavy duty electronic flasher.
There may be a 6 volt version but I can't help you there, sorry. Mebbe it works on 6 volts ... I didn't try.
I originally wired up a 555 timer to run the LED signal lights on my racer instead of using a flasher (as I couldn't find a flasher that would work). Man it worked sweet .... and had a perfect 50% duty cycle too. A wise man here warned me it wouldn't work with the engine running ..... and it didn't! I soldered a copper shield around the pcb for shielding and it still didn't work. I wasn't going to waste more time putting beads on the 3 wires running into the copper box and just ordered the above mentioned flasher from Snyder's as by this time it was winter and the garage was too cold to work in.
BTW, the EF33RL flasher does have an external ground wire.
My headlights are also cool-white LEDs. With headlights on, turn signals on and the brakelights on, the current draw is one lousy amp and my generator is very happy. With incandescent bulbs, the headlights alone used to draw 4 amps!
I too had to go to the grounded elctronic flasher for the LED's. Previously, I used resistors to draw enough current to allow the LED's to work, which resulted in a 4 amp usage of current. With the new flasher, using the Hidden Turn Signal unit from Tick n Thru Time, we now draw less than 1/2 amp with the same lights. The grounded flasher was the only chnage on the new set up. No resistors required.
I am using this on a six volt set up.
Working fine now.
Where did you get your cool white LED headlight bulbs? How is the light output? Can you really see at night with them? How about focusing the beam? It would really be great to go to the LED lamps to get the low current draw as you indicated.
I have 2 sets of Logo-Lites on my T's. both are LED and have no trouble. I wonder what the problem is. I may look at LED headlight bulbs if it will give me better night vision.
I would not put myself in the position of having to use the LED headlights to actually see while driving - they're not THAT good! I don't want to get into a running-lights flame war but I prefer to be seen while driving the racer especially since it doesn't have much of a viewable footprint if you get what I mean. I drive with the headlights on in daytime. They're bright enough to be seen and hopefully I never have to jam the pedals to avoid some idiot because of the small size of the car. I have no intentions of driving in the dark with them. The 4 amp draw from the incandescents that were on the car is 50% of the available power that the generator can supply at 12 volts - and that's not good.
If you're interested in researching them, I bought the 1156-CW45-T Cool White LED's from www.superbrightleds.com for $#24.95 each.
This is not an endorsement or hawking or anything else ..... I'm just stating the facts. I liked them so much I bought a second set for the heck of it. As you can tell from the part number, they are an 1156 style base. I've posted photos of the bulbs as well as the headlights lit on the racer in the past here. Those olders posts should be found easily using the search feature of this forum and entering either the part number or probably superbright or superbright.com.
LED technology is wonderful but it does have some tough limitations. Uniform brightness and uniform color is very difficult to repeat and control. LED's have traditionally been sorted for brightness and manufacturers would then place an alphabetic marking on the brightness of a particular batch. This started with 7 segment readouts where if a digit was brighter than the one next to it you would not like it. Thus all of the LED readouts in a given string would be the same brightness code. The second problem with LED's is that they are very very directional with a very narrow viewing angle. This resulted in the need for diffusion devices but diffusing the viewing angle wider then makes the brightness much dimmer. The problem for people like myself who have been asked many times to make up a turn signal kit is that there are no standards as to a specific brightness for a specific part. Some folks have made up bulb replacements for example but notice they don't say that the brightness and viewing angle is exactly the same as an original. Nobody is checking them for equality to original part. Thus you guys can have some fun and put things together but if I sold a kit it would have to be something I can warranty and the kit you buy today may or may not work as well as another bought by someone else even though the parts appeared to be the same. It is way way better than before with tremendous increases in efficiency but just too early for my company to jump in. The LED's that one can buy now will likely not even be for sale in 1 year. I can't continue to re-engineer that thing time and time again which is what would be necessary at this point. If the market will bear the high cost of individually fine tuning the brightness and viewing angle then the project is doable but model T folks don't have a long history of being ready to pay top dollar ha ha. You can put together your own system for cheap and have a lot of fun and it should work great. I kinda am waiting for the not too distant time when having an alternator on the T will be even sillier than it already is.
Fellows, I ran John's test using an independent battery to supply current, and the problem went away, so I have a conducted noise problem. I emailed John with details of the wiring circuit I cobbled together to get the set up running and will await his verdict and hopefully, a cure.
Things like this are a mystery to me. I have trouble keeping the smoke in the wires at the best of times. Hearing electrical noise is way beyond my damaged hearing range, especially when the T motor is running.
Allan from down under
Actually that is good news since conducted noise is a lot easier to get rid of. Usually a large enough capacitor will do it but sometimes you need a series inductor (choke) to help the capacitor do its job better. The separate battery is essentially a large capacitor or a large capacitor is essentially a battery - just depends on your view point. I told Allen that I need some idea of the amount of current that is flowing through the circuit since otherwise the capacitor is a complete guess.
From your response I gather you sent me an email query. I have not seen it yet. however, your response led me to start the car again and switch over to run on magneto. The problem persisted. Given my limited understanding of electricals, I thought there would be no current draw when running on mag with no lights on , no brake lights operating and no current going to the coilbox. Have I missed something here? Or are you needing the current draw for the LEDs?
My power supply is a maintenace free 12v lead acid battery which currently runs on a constant loss basis, the battery being re-charged by a standby charger. This is why I went to LED lights to conserve battery power.
Allan from down under and out of his depth!
I did send you a detailed response to your email. I will check to see if it bounced. You sent me a PM from the forum but I responded to the included email in that PM. You might want to double check to make sure that email address is your true email address.
For knowledge sake and for diagnostics can you tell us the following. 1: where is the turn signal unit mounted. 2: where did you get your positive and negative source. 3: are you running 6 or 12 volt and if it's 12 how much of the system is 12volt. 4: are all lights 12 volt. I think that answering these questions will all so aid in finding your problems.
In order of your questions;
The signal unit is located inside the car adjacent to the steering column, and mounted on the wooden riser for the firewall.
The positive feed comes from a terminal block mounted on the wooden riser under the front floorboards and the earth is to one of the four bendix cover screws.
The system is 12 volt, all of it. Headlights are single fillament 25 watt 12 volt incandescent.
I have had a response from John Regan and am awaiting my son's response to his input before embarassing myself further.
Thanks guys.See you in 2012.
Allan from down under.