Bailey and I have talked about lights. Being a non-starter, non-electrically lit car, we still would like to be able to drive at night.
Has anyone used the 12V alternator sold by Langs? If so, what luck did you have?
If that doesn't work out for us, has anyone used a Prest-O-Lite tank to power the acetylene headlights?
If so, please tell me if you can see well enough to drive 25 MPH in the dark.
We drive all our cars (4) using acetylene. The major problem I have is meeting another car, especially if they don't go to dims (night blinded). The gas lights work fine up to about 35 mph in my opinion. If you are driving in town or lighted streets you'll have no problem.
With that said, electric conversion would be safer and more efficient, I just like doing it the "way it was".
I just finished re-doing my gas lamp plumbing and will try out my carbide generator. Gas light are cool!
A presto-lite tank is a good second choice.
Otherwise, you could just wire them up electrically and run them off a storage battery. We don't need no steenking alternator!
This is a short video of our K with the lights lit on July 4th. It's filmed with my phone, so it's not very clear, but gives an idea of the light.
I prefer "the way it was", too. The reason I asked about a Prest-O-Lite tank was that we have no idea if our generator works, or how well. I understand that carbide pellets (tablets?) are available; any suggestions on how we can see if the generator works?
Find a "smoke bomb" from last week's fireworks. Put a can inside the lower chamber of the carbide generator. Light the smoke bomb and latch the lid. Open the gas valve and see if the smoke comes out your gas pipe. close the gas valve and see that the smoke comes out the valve vent.
See that no smoke comes out the rubber gasket area. If it does replace or re-seal the gasket.
If you choose to go with electric call LD Becker for the alternator. He's the main supplier to the parts guys. It cuts out the middleman and as he says, its guaranteed until the day he dies!
Thank you, Keith.
Thank you, Will. I remember a sign in Trenton, seeing it while crossing a bridge, I think, that said, "Trenton Makes, The World Takes".
Do I remember correctly, or was it an hallucination?
Carbide is cheap and easy and rather than dammaging expensive gass lite's there is lot's of info on how too! The best headlites will not help you at 25 mph when the driver following has his cap on backwards and the music up loud! Bud.
Bill, that sign is definitely there... no hallucination at all. Although I don't have a clue as to exactly what Trenton makes.
100 years ago lots of things were made in Trenton, NJ: http://www.capitalcentury.com/1911.html
Thank you for the picture of that bridge!
Here's a page from the 1914 Owners Manual:
If your gas lights are not good enough for driving at night you are driving too fast. They work just fine for the speed they were designed to be used for. They are actually very bright and can blind oncoming drivers if they are angled too high(just look at he tip of an acetylene torch for a minute). What they do not do is cast a beam very far ahead. I would be more concerned about my tail lamp because if it blows out no one can see you. Back in the day I doubt anyone drove over 20mph at night on those unpaved dirt roads and gas lamps are more than adequate for that type of driving.
Ford K gas headlights at Hilton Head, SC, fall 2012.
Plenty bright for driving 30-35 on the way back from the Oyster House where we had dinner.
Stan, I don't recall that.........
Yup! We pulled off to see if we could read this sign by the gas lights on the way back from the Oyster House. Milt cranked the car and we headed up the road to the motel. The sign said something about a winery. Plenty of light to see by and read the sign by, just not quite enough for my camera.
As long as we're on acetylene lights, they're bright enough for running around the hotel parking light with another fellas wife. Fortunately, the other fellow is enjoying a beverage from the red solo cup (I think there's a song about that).
Obviously, we have fun with the gas headlamps on.....
I turned the flash off on my camera so it would just be the gas lights. Here we are leaving the parking lot at the Oyster House. Of course here there is quite a bit of ambient light.
That is Milt Roorda cranking the K
The lights are pretty bright -- look at them lighting up the white tires on the T.
Rob never misses a chance to give a pretty lady a ride.
I run the gas lights on my Haigh's Chocolate van from a plumbers acetylene bottle with regulator. It has to be vertical so it stands behind the seat.
The regulator allows me to adjust the output of the lights to a steady light. My son Anthony parked it outside a dinner venue at a national tour, and he turned the regulator right down so the lights barely showed. When patrons told him he'd left his lights on he explained they were in parking mode! Some believed him!
Allan from down under.
I've always had mixed feelings on this subject. On one hand, I sort of regret that electric headlamps came out as standard equipment on Fords in 1915 because I own such a car and think that gas lamps look way cooler, regardless of whether they're actually lit. As there are kits to electrify gas headlamps, the choice remains that of the owner.
I suppose it would be kind of cool to be able to "make an exit" from a cruise-in at dusk by demonstrating a carbide generator to spectators and firing up a pair of hissing, sputtering gas headlamps and maybe letting some parentally supervised kid light the kerosene lanterns with a long match. And of course, it would be equally cool to follow that up (as I do) with hand-cranking the engine and leaving the parking lot with the Klaxon horn squawking.
But I've no business complaining. After all, I could have left the electric lamps wired up the magneto as originally intended and I could have then demonstrated how the lights brighten and dim with the rev of the engine. But instead, for convenience and safety, I put in a 12-volt electrical system and stuck turn-signal and brake-light bulbs in the oil lamps. Still, had the car come with a brace of acetylene burners up front, I'd have been sorely tempted to keep 'em original. I do more waffling than I-Hop.
I drive my 14 with gas lights fairly often. I would pick gas lights over an alternator every time.
Wish there was a "Like" button, Paul!
At the 2008 Model T Centennial I was the only Model T owner who used his carbide lamps every night to drive to the hotel after dinner. You will find that carbide lamps are quite effective. Biggest drawback is having to clean out the carbide generator every morning.
we used Prestolite to illuminate our 1912 Buick back in 1958 and the present owner still drives it at night. If you drive rather fast at night the lights will hunt all over the place and shine in the trees and into houses on both sides of the road. Sort of like advertising with searchlights. Our 13 T Touring has the same set-up.
1912 Buick Roadster
1913 Ford Touring
I made the choice to use a 12V alternator and it has worked out well. No problems with it at all.
Another thing you may include in your thinking is electric turn signals and brake lights. Carbide is fine, but driving at night (in my opinion) increases the need for electric turn signals and brake lights. Anyhow, just another thought to make it a more complicated decision.
Contact Lynn Cook in New Johnsonville. He converted his 14 roadster to electric. I don't know what CP bulbs he has but they burn bright white in the middle of the day. Looks like an airplane landing light.