I am going to construct a wood battery box that will hold six 1-1/2 volt dry cells. They are cylinder shaped 2.6 inch diameter by 6.5 inch tall. They will be six in one line so the box will fit in the compartment under the seat behind the tank on my 1913 Runabout. I have seen a couple of pictures from early fords, like in a N, R, or S. They were constructed with two rows of six and the only source of ignition power. I know the 1913 did not come with a battery but the provision was there in the coil box switch. I am looking for pictures of what others have done, and wondering if there is a picture of a true vintage installation.
Before you build your battery box you really do need to figure out where you are going to put it. I have a 1901 Curved Dash Oldmobile (unrestored) and it has dry cell ignition of course. It used 2 banks of 4 cells each for 6V per bank. They are arranged in 2 rows of 4. Since your battery setup is not original anyway and the battery will only be used for starting, there is absolutely no real advantage of 6 cells over 4 for starting and it might be a lot easier to use 4 cells and find a place to put it. 6 cells give you more performance only when they are your primary ignition power. You could arrange then in a row or in a square with 2 on a side. In the CDO the battery box is placed under the seat in the engine compartment and all the way to the passenger side which is on the left since the CDO is right hand tiller driven. I doubt there is room in with the gas tank but maybe at the drivers end. Another place might be under the top most floor board up against the dash on the passenger side. Just guessing. If you have a way to keep the dry cells from rolling out, you might also see if laying them on their side in a row might allow them to slip under something. The higher off the ground the better on a car that is driven since under the floor is gonna catch a bit of dirt and oil if you are not careful in your enclosure design.
Robert, have you found a source for those dry cell batteries?
That is evidently the original A Size battery, used first for telephones and a little later for battery operated radios.
Yes, I purchased these new from McMaster-Carr, the part number is 7759K11 . I have not found another source yet. In reply to John, I have a long narrow compartment that is under the seat behind the gas tank. I have a small lead-acid 12 volt there now.
You can make your own vintage looking dry cell batteries with modern batteries inside: http://www.radiolaguy.com/info/Vintage_Batteries.htm
I think 555 is the number of the 1.5 volt batterys I bought for my old radio filiments.About 2.5 inchs round,about 6 inchs or so tall? But this was years ago.
If that battery is a black plastic one it has cylindrical cells inside of it and was invented by Gates and GE together and then sold to Hawker after a few other stops along the way. It is the father of the so called "optima" battery. Those work great for putting inside a fake battery box if you want to go that route. The reason they work great for that is they are the only lead acid rechargeable technology that can be used in any position which might work well for you. Typical gel cells and other technology can be discharged in any position but must be installed upright when charged. Monobloc technology (Hawker) can be charged or discharged in any position and that might be important to you depending on where you put this thing. Monobloc batteries come in all sorts of configurations and sizes. Contact me if you need help finding one that fits where you want it to. Good luck with your project and keep us informed.
John , yes they are black plastic cylindrical construction. The description from McMaster-Carr is, Air-Alkaline Battery, 1.5V, Screw Style Terminal, 2.54" Diameter X 6.42". So is this rechargeable? If so this will make future use more realistic. I mostly wanted them for the vintage look and thought if they were a true dry cell I would enjoy them until they gave up service.
I remember those large 1.5 volt batteries, we used to use them to heat up the glow plugs on our model airplane engines prior to starting them.
I'm using a 12 volt battery in my two '13s, that are not much bigger than a standard T coil. Why would you want to go to so much trouble?
Please consider NOT putting them near the gas tank. There is a remote possibility of trapping gas fumes and a spark occurring.
Larry, I know what you are saying, and yes my 12 volt battery works perfect. I am really enjoying this car, I had a 1924 T Coupe and purchased this 13 about a year ago. It is an older restoration, and I love the small projects it gives. I have reconditioned a tail lamp, rebuilt an aluminum timer with Anderson parts, just to mention a few. It is the only vintage car I have, and being limited with a single car garage I can focus on this one. I bought a pocket watch that was made in 1903, it reminds me that FoMoCo was formed that year and it goes in my pocket when I get the car out. The motivation for the vintage battery and box comes under the same category of look and feelings. I think others will find it neat when I lift the seat cover. I posted this to see if I could get pictures of what others have done.
Earlier auto dry cells were rectangular, so they fit good into a square battery box, that was normally mounted on the running board.
or this special set-up, round dry cells with special connectors to fit into the special lid of the battery box, just drop in a new dry cell when the old one degraded. Pretty neat for 1909!
Jan. 1909 The Horseless Age
Dan , nice post..........
If you want to go the dry cell route and be period correct, putting a single 6V "hot shot" battery next to (not behind) the gas tank on the passenger side is one method.
If you want to use 1.5V ignition/telephone/clock batteries, you only need four and you can also put them in the same spot.
You can purchase the Cegasa Air-Alkaline cells considerably cheaper here:
Here are examples of six volt hot shot batteries (ignition batteries aka fence batteries):
NO those round dry cells are NOT rechargeable. I was referring to your 12V lead acid rechargeable and just guessing as to what you were using. If your lead acid rechargeable 12V is a gel cell then it is NOT what I was talking about. I know what your dry cells look like from McMaster Carr and they are not rechargeable type.
Thanks John for posting back, I will not try recharging these. I understand I don't need more than the 6 volt hot shot battery. When reading about the early fords it was stated and shown that the coil box used battery 1 and battery 2 as the power source and showed them using a two rows of six round top battery's. When the T came out with the flywheel magneto , Ford did not offer it with the battery as far as I know. So my intention is to display and use them in a similar way as the Model N used. That is a row of six in series connection giving 9 volts. I won't start this box project for a couple of weeks, but I will post a few pictures when I do. Again I appreciate all the input as I am open to all ideas that I can adopt....
50 years ago I would use a 6 volt hot shot battery to feed the ignition on my 1910. I now use a 12 volt wet cell battery. !2 volts are much better for ignition purposes on a nonstarter T.
The modern equivalent of the old No.6 dry cell is commonly used for model engine glow plugs. You can get them at some places that deal with model cars and planes. I use them for my vintage phones and radios. They're about 20Ah capacity and cost about $10 each in this part of the world. Some of them are constructed exactly the same as the original while others are a plastic case housing modern cells - these can be cut open when they go flat and alkaline D cells put inside.
The ones from McMaster-Carr are rated at 1.5 volts 200 Ah and the cost is about $26 each.
I'd like to commend Robert on wanting to do this project. In this day of alternators, disc brakes, electric fans, electric fuel pumps, etcetera, it is refreshing to see someone wanting to pay this much attention to detail.
Fun fact, the little nuts on the top of hotshot batteries make cool little nuts on the top of sparkplugs! same thread size too!
Go to www.radiolaguy.com He sells labels for old batteries. On the site he show how to make a 6 volt battery. You'll have the old look but modern guts.
John I purchased some yesterday....they are not cheap but it will give the battery's that vintage look.......PS....I have been coming to Oshkosh since 1978.....for the EAA convention. I still hope to get some ideas for the wood constructed box that I need to build. I might leave it open top and just make a rectangular box, abut 15x4x7...LxWxH....If anyone has some ideas I am all ears.......
Hi Robert, I see your from Mich.. Well at least that's not to far for you to get to EAA. Do you fly in?
I have flown in many times, I have owned a Stinson 108-2 and a Cessna 195, I now have a bi-plane project. Driving there is what pushed me over the edge with Model T's. I crossed the lake on the Badger car ferry and while waiting to get unloaded, I watched the first car off the back. It was a Model T Tudor, I felt my heart skip a beat and I was hooked.
There were a family of Skingleys in Grayling Michigan around the turn of the century.
Yes, I am the grandson of George and Flora Skingley, my grandmother was a Stephan. The Stephan family homesteaded on the AuSauble river.
FWIW, my '15 has a bracket located between the drivers end of the gas tank and the faux-door panel that was an era accessory for the big round batteries.
This would hold those big radio batteries, and it looks like the lower half of the blue Ever-ready multi cell shown above. I can't take a picture as the '15 on its roller skates got buried for winter...maybe Jay will have a picture????
Well Bob here's my 2 cents: You've apparently bought the batteries and their not rechargeable so at some point you're going to have to re-do your work. At least as far as replacing the cells goes. Because of that I don't think I'd do anything too permanent. If the cells end up not lasting very long a longer lasting solution, such as a rechargeable small motorcycle or lawn mower battery as stated above, might be more cost effective. Personally my thoughts about sticking to originality are balanced by the fact that 1: it won't be seen. 2: rechargeability would be more cost effective and 3: even if you're being judged at a show a modern batt might be OK anyway.
Thanks Charlie for the post. Yes when it comes to original parts etc and keeping it original, we find that many of our parts have been replaced through the years. The battery does have a finite life. I have a nice small lead-acid 12 volt that is doing a perfect job but I want to ad to the flavor of what was done in the day by putting the six dry cells together. I could have done this with six used up dry cells and have the same visual effect, as hiding my 12 volt is no problem. I plan to enjoy these as long as they last and then use my 12 volt hidden from view.
George , if you are able to send a picture that would be great. What others have done is more information........if you need my e-mail address I will post it.........
I've never tried cutting up those dry cells but after they've done their thing you might be able to use them as a case for your modern battery and hide it that way.
John, I would really like to see a picture of your Oldsmobile, if you have one.
Robert, let's see how the snow goes here in the Philadelphia area If I can get to the car, I'll try tomorrow or Tuesday. The '15 is behind the '19 Hack which is behind the old snow-blower which is behind the garden tractor which is behind the newer Cub Cadet 6 speed power steering snow-blower
As to my '15 itself...It ran for 20 years with that bracket empty A 6.3 V lantern battery in the turtle deck worked well, changed it once annually. For the last 3 years it has come off of a lawn tractor 12V also in the turtle. The only reason for that is I sent my son out for a lantern battery one morning as I prepped the car...he got smart and bought the 12V tractor battery and a voltage maintainer.
Here are pictures of what I came up with for a vintage battery for my 1913 Runabout. This is based on what I read about the earlier Ford's , Model N , etc. The wiring diagram I found for the Model N shows two battery's in rows of six. It was not until Henry designed the Model T that we get the flywheel magneto. From the booklet or operator's manual that was written in the fall of 1913, it only mentions that a provision is made for a battery. That provision being , a switch on the coil box. I have a Beaudette body and behind the gas tank is a long narrow compartment that I use for a battery and other stuff. This seemed perfect for the six battery cells and I decided to build a rack to hold them. The rack is not necessary as a board placed behind them would have done the job. I personally believe that when the Model T's first made it out to the Agencies, they installed a battery. No free starts with out a battery. The 1 1/2 volt battery's I used have the look and voltage of the old dry cells but are constructed much different. The originals would have been metal cased with a carbon anode in an electrolyte. These are simply a plastic casing with up to date battery's housed inside. When the battery's have used up there life, I will leave them for display.
Very nice, the reproduction labeling is swell too, neat work. Like it
Add a fuse if you haven't already.
Those look great! Very, very nice work.
: ^ )