Can you do anything about poor headlighting?
Is there a bulb that can be bought at a local parts store? Is there a HALOGEN Bulb that can be bought locally?
I believe that we are going to need a lot more info -
The bulb depends upon what you are running - mag, 6 volts, 12 volts, Etc.
In general clear glass and a good reflector are where you start.
Remember -- There was a good reason for the change to sealed beam headlamps
Yes, but your reflectors must be good.I bought 6V Halogen bulbs at local hardware store. I took a burned out bulb and cleaned the potting and glass out of the socket, and drilled two small holes in the contac to match the wires on the bulbs. With a small solder iron, I just resoder the wires to the contac. I then applied epoxy in the socket to stabilize the bulb.
At nite,I can now indentify what I am about to hit.
One thing that many people miss is the location of the bulb filament in relation to the focal point of the reflector - which in most cases is a parabola.
In the US the filament was placed perpendicular to the axis of the reflector and it produced a bow tie light pattern.
The fluting on the glass lens took the upward left light and sent it towards the down right.
In Europe the filament was parallel to the axis and it produced a cylindrical beam of light.
They used a shield to block the upper left light.
OH Ya- Incase you didn't get it. -Upper left light is bad for the oncoming traffic.
The high beam filament was usually placed off axis so the light would go towards the upper right and left.
Not that I know anything about automotive lighting after spending 10 years in the industry!
I like that Donald, but the theory is the opposite of night flying. The rule when you have an engine failure is to turn on your landing lights for an emergency landing, and if you do not like what you see, turn the lights off.
Good lighting is easy if you have the correct equipment.
First and foremost is a good silvered reflector per original spec. This is what sends the light forward. The chrome reflectors they sell nowadays don't cut it. The scatter the light everywhere. That is why you don't see chrome used in mirrors unless you at the carnival.
Bulb selection and wiring. I personally run a 32-32 bulb as it is the best match to the generator output, gives out good light and socket orientation is not an issue. As I have no experience with the halogens, I will leave that to others to comment.
If you have the dash mounted light switch, be sure you have the sockets installed in the back of the headlight housing so both come on as high or low together and not one of each. This orientation may be changed by flipping the connection at the back of the housing provided you are using a bulb as stated above. If not, you will have to actually flip the bulb in its socket.
Focusing the headlight is what brings it all together. The Model T headlight is like a MagLight. To get the best use of the light created, you must focus the beam into a solid dot. That is what the screw on the back of the headlight housing is for. I normally remove the lens and shine the headlights on a flat surface about 25-30' away. Once I have established a solid dot, I install the lens. The H lens will flatten the dot into a solid line. I then fine tune the solid line to make it as sharp as possible.
Once you have the headlight set up properly, you will need to aim them. I use my garage door for this as it has distinct lines I can compare each light to. The cars prior to 25 require bending the stem of the headlight. There is a special tool for this and require a bit of finesse to get it right. On the 26-7 cars , you can use shims under the base at the fender or on the crossbar to adjust where the headlight will point.
I have a few caution notes. Any resistance in a 6v system will quickly reduce available voltage. Good grounding paths are critical. I have seen my share of restored cars where the restorer painted everything and then assembled the car. While it may look awesome, in most cases all that paint wiped out any chance of establishing a decent ground.
Be sure you have the correct front spring in your car. I have lost track of how many 26-7 cars I have seen with the earlier front spring including both my 26 cars. An earlier spring with the extra 1" of arch will raise the front of the car enough to make it very difficult to tip the headlights down enough to hit the road. For the 09-25 crowd. The later lower spring will drive the headlights into the ground within 50' of the front of the car.
Good luck and happy travels.
Gustaf, funny, I'll have to remember that one.
Bottom line on nite driving,....I only do it if absolutely necessary, I plan accordingly.
Its better to have good tail lites in my opinion.
The last time I took my speedster to my favorite country watering hole, I forgot that I had tightened the loose mounting on the aftermarket headlights.
They were both pointing toward the left and not slightly to the right as needed.
Lucky for me I did not meet a single car on the back road trip home.
I run my '26 Roadster on 12v and converted my 1918 Cadillac headlights with off the shelf 12v 1157 Halogen replacement bulbs.
With the reflectors adjusted and polished...they do light up the road pretty good!
Topic of having a good ground was mentioned... and should be emphasized. Poor grounds will give dim lights, even though your wire connections are new or bright & shiny.
I run 6V on my Fordor and have very bright lights. People don't believe that they are really 6V.
First, make sure that all ground connections are clean and tight. This includes headlight socket to housing connections, it only slides in there so it needs to be clean and snug, and also clean up the rust and paint around the adjusting screw to make another good connection there between the socket and housing, and make sure that there is a good clean connection from the headlight bracket to the frame! Also check the resistance between the frame bracket and the frame itself.
Second, replace the wiring! 90 year old wiring has lots of resistance, especially if the car was outside or in a barn. You can get every piece of wire and new headlight sockets and plugs from all of the vendors for around $150.00. The headlight sockets are important because the little spring that pushes the contacts against the bulb and also against the plug become weak when they overheat due to poor connections, which in turn causes an even poorer connection.
With clean connections, new wiring, and sockets, you should have nice bright lights. The only other thing I did was change to a "Fun Projects" voltage regulator. It may or may not help, but I have very nice lights, and I have even added some extra tail lights for better visibility with no problems or reduction in brightness. I believe that the voltage regulator works much better than a cutout.
A couple more things to consider.
Halogen bulbs provide more and better light, but also more heat to dissipate (not usually a problem in antique metal lamps). But the "Ohm's Law" of all that is that they require more current to operate. That makes the condition of all connections and grounds even more important. It also means that the weak spots, like the springs in the bulb sockets or the light switch itself may not hold up all that long. (Been there. Burned out that.)
Make sure your wiring is adequate size. This is especially true for those of us staying with six volt (like me). A lot of the cloth covered wire available is only 14 gauge. I make my own out of 12 gauge, and even 10 gauge for some circuits.
Adequate wire, solid grounds, excellent reflectors, good focus, candle power, all are the key to good headlamps.
Also, remember that being seen is as important as seeing. At model T speeds, if you have good night vision like I do, lighting the road ahead is not that difficult. But you also want to be seen by the moron that would turn right in front of you.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Sealed beams are sealed to prevent corroding of the reflector.
Fresh stock reflectors and the correct bulb will give the same light as sealed beams at first, but then after a very short time they will dim down to 70% as bright as sealed beams.
Now go back and reread Wayne's post.
I have My 12 gauge wires running from starter switch post to headlight switch and then directly to headlights. Of course they do go to the junction block but not through the amp meter, that takes too much wire, increases chance of a loose connection & decreases chance of resistance that could dim the lights a little.
Willie, you have been hiding that speedster?
Or did I just miss any pictures that may have been on here of it?
I like the way the rear of the body was made. Very simple but effective.
Aaron, I actually own two speedsters, but the one pictured is the one I drive the most and yes I have posted pictures showing it before.
Speedsters are not the most comfortable to drive for a tall person but they are fun.
Like Clayton, I use 1157 bulbs and 12 volts on both my T's. They are better than any 6 volt lamps I used in the past and are relatively quite inexpensive and readily available.
With the gas head lights on my 14 I have found that if they are properly focused, with good reflectors, you can just about see what you are about to hit at about 25 mph after sunset. So I drive at about 20 mph on back roads with the gas and kerosene lights. LOL. All jokes aside if you drive a T after dark you need to be extra, extra careful. I do drive the 14 after dark on occasion but usually have a tail in a modern car if I am going very far. I was driving my 26 Coupe home after dark one night when a drunk in a Chevy Truck pulled up next to me and let me know that one of my tail lights was burned out. I ordered another tail light from Lang's the next day. Some times life in the slow lane can be a hazard. Be careful out there.
As pointed out but just a reminder...
Once all else is fair and square, there is one point and one point only where the lamp is in the right position on the reflector. The adjusting screw provides for a little...but there was what is called the LCL distance of the original style lamps.
This is the distance from the focal point of the filament to a reference point on the pin. We do not know what this is for Ford lamps as far as I know...but MAZDA in the era said in advertising that their 1129 for single filament or 1110 for dual filament was the proper interchangeable replacement lamp (in the spherical '10' size glass) lamp for Ford cars. Ergo unless it was PT Barnum and they were not as bright a thrown beam as OEM, perhaps the same LCL by definition if they were?
So play away with bulbs and sizes all you want, the LCL just has to be the same as the parabola was designed for or you might just get brighter in some places and darker in others and not able to adjust it out.
The lamp number series is now about 85 years old, and the purpose of the standard was to issue a unique set of specs for each number, not just candle power.
I'm not near any of my lamp books, but do know some have here even have more lamp reference books than me. Find the LCL number for these MAZDA lamps shown...and then any other lamps having the same LCL will match the parabola. Feel free to play with CP and lamp light 'color' all you want at that point.
"Once upon a time" in another of my Don Quixote quests that never got quite finished because something got in the way, I drafted up a manual of how to get the best illumination possible out of old stuff, even resorting to modern standard lamps and how voltage rating played with light etc.
Shown here are cut number 1 and 2. It shows how the light sprays with a proper LCL (figure 1) and how the light sprays with the wrong LCL (figure 2) on a good reflector. On some lamps you just don't have enough adjustment to make a bad LCL good enough to work right.
Good illustrations George --
Just remember that the filament in a lamp is not a single point so most of the light is not at the focal point of the reflector. It is the off focus light that determines most of the light pattern.
Many year ago, when I couldn't afford to re-silver the reflectors, or buy new ones, I lined the reflectors with aluminized tape, similar to the aluminum duct tape available from the hardware store, but made for solar reflectors. Works great but looks funny. Aluminum is a good reflective surface if polished. I am now using the same trick for my side lamps.