I am about ready to take the 27 touring on longer trips and its time to start worrying about the generator. After lots of reading I have decided to have a 12 volt system. I want to run a little brighter bulb and three tail lights and also two side lights. The starter is in excellent rebuilt condition with a good bendix, so I think Im OK there. I have read that there is some things to do to the generator to make it last. Some of my questions are, can I run with the generator wire unhooked for now.? How do I adjust the generator to charge less amps,(I think Im supposed to do that). Is there anyway to identify a 12 volt cutout from a 6 volt one.? Im not even sure the generator works, so I assume a volt meter will let me know if it is charging or not.?? Any input is appreciated as I am an electrical dummy so please be gentle and explain it like you are talking to a newbie.
Donnie, If you don't want to go the gear driven alternator route, I would go the gear driven 12 volt generator route, since you want more than six volts. I know your car is not a car meant for judging, so its your decision to go 12 volts. Don't let the 6 volt purists, deter you. As for the starter, 12 volts can be very hard on the bendix. The starter will survive a lot better than the bendix. Either plan on hand cranking most of the time or using the starter very briefly and lightly. I learned that the hard way on my Grandfather's 27 coupe. Many starts of engaging the starter hard for many periods, sent the bendix right off the end of the starter shaft, pushing off the bendix cover in the process. For that reason, I'm putting it back to 6 volts, but I do have 12 volts on my fordor sedan, but I bought one of the L.D. Becker 12 volt starters to solve any problems.
Donnie -- The stock generator will work fine on 12-v. I recommend that you buy one of the Fun Projects voltage regulators, which look just like a cutout but work like the VR on your modern car. John has 6-v or 12-v and negative or positive ground models available. Be sure to order the right one for your application.
Your starter can be re-wired to make it compatible with 12-v. Ken Kopsky has redone a few of them for me. Using the starter in its stock configuration is asking for trouble.
While you're at it, you could send Ken your generator too, and he'll set its output for optimum performance (and/or rebuild it, if necessary).
Check with Ken, first. I know he said that he has quit the custom plating business and is just doing it for cars he is doing a complete restoration job, on. It was just taking too much of his time. I don't know about any other 'partial jobs'.
I put a Becker 12v alternator on my T and added two "A" tail lights as well as the stock tail light. The 12v head lights are real nice. Our two line highways are posted for 70 mph, I want to be seen. By the way, get a 3 to 2 wire converter for the stop/turn lights. You only have to run three wires back when stop/turn share a bulb.
One thing I don't think anyone addressed. NO! Do NOT run the generator with the wire off (Or without the battery connected). The generator will self destruct. You adjust the output by rotating the third brush inside the generator under the clamp on band. You'll need a wrench to loosen it. They sell a special wrench, but I've always been able to make a standard wrench work. I recommend getting the MTFCA book on the Electrical System. It will have the necessary information on how to make this adjustment. The Model T Ford Service book also should have this info.
I've got a twelve volt starter and gear-driven alternator on my speedster. I'm very impressed with their performance. That higher voltage "kick" on startup is comforting. I run 12 volt running lights, brake lights, headlights and horn. Everything, though far from stock looking, works flawlessly. Will Stephan put the system together and really did it properly. When I'm running I'm switched to magneto but start on 12 volt. If I have any concerns it's more for the bendix/starter shaft and the ring gear. However this is the third year on this system and it's working very well. Is it "proper" to have a 12 volt system on a Model T? Absolutely! Without a doubt. It's proper to do whatever you want with your Ford Model T because it's yours. That being said, I run 6 volt on my other two Model T's simply because they work very well. But if I felt it was necessary to switch one of them to 12 volt I wouldn't hesitate.
The main reason for my decision to go 12 volts is the extra lights Ill be running. I hand crank almost all the time anyway. For me, hand cranking is a very good way to tell if everything is working to its best. Mike, where is the best place to get the 12 volt negative ground (fun projects) cutout/regulator. Is it what Langs sell.? I have to do a Langs order in a couple days anyway. Hal, thanks for the heads up on the do not run unhooked. I thought I was not supposed to run it unhooked, but wanted to make sure. Thanks for the replys, I have a direction to start toward now, Ill muddle along till I get it going, "I hate electrical" I can rebuild the engine in my sleep, make it sound "so sweet" so what is it about a starter or generator system that is so intimidating. ??
You can get them directly from John Regan.
Specifically http://www.funprojects.com/products/5055r.aspx for the 12 volt negative ground regulator.
Some place I have an article on rewiring the starter for 12 volts. Not that hard to do. You change the stator windings from parallel to series. I'll keep looking but maybe someone has it handy and can post it.
Donnie, Just do a search for Fun Projects, Model T and Model A parts on the internet.
When ever the locals tell me they are going to switch to 12 volts. I always tell them that I am glad to hear that, because I stalk a good supply of bendixes. I also tell them that not is it "will a bendix break but when. I am of coarse trying to talk them out of switching. Really how much night driving will they be doing and 6 volts turn a T motor over just fine. I also tell them that I carry heavier Model A bendix springs for when they break their T Springs. Donnie its your T, do as you want.
I don't guess I understand the brighter bulb theory. Perhaps there is a better variety of candle power bulbs in 12v? It's not like you send 12v through a 6v bulb and make it brighter. I would assume a 32 candle power 6 volt bulb in a 6 volt system emits 32 candle power, and a 32 candle power 12 volt bulb in a 12 volt system would also emit 32 candle power. What am I missing, besides a broken bendix?
I am not against changing to 12 volts but what makes you think 12 volts will give you brighter lights than 6 volts?
So you're wanting to run with extra lights, when I think of all the 6 volt fifties cars and trucks with a 6 volt battery, two headlights, two tail lights, 5 or 6 dash bulbs, two stop lights, and sometimes a heater running.........
Remember that a six volt headlight uses twice the amps as a 12 volt does. It's just as bright.
Oh, If you need to run your generator when it is not connected, just ground the wire coming out of it. I don't know why or how that works but it will keep it from burning itself out.
Just leave it hooked up and let it charge, it will put out 12 volts if you use a 12 volt battery. In fact it may charge as high as 15 volts if you use a cheap or crappy battery. I have had that problem too.
Hal & Aaron have your answers Donnie. Even if you add stop/turn/running lights what are you adding to the load? actually 3 lights.(if you had a red tail running light which is now disconnected that is. Your 4 running lights are the load. Turn sigs & brake lights are temporary at best. You're been advised as to the problems with a switch so, as a few have said, why bother. Keep your $ where it belongs.
I have to agree with Aaron, but perception is the important thing. If you want to change to 12V, batteries are cheaper and more plentiful, bulbs are easier to find and dirty connections are less a problem, but light output (CP) probably won't change that much.
As a side note, I am presently working with a local Guru to make a set of Magneto driven LED headlights for my '16. They will use about 3VAC to produce about 100 CP worth of light. His circuit solves the dim/bright problem, and will allow for a high/low beam. The light focus is handled by the LED lense so the silvered reflectors in the headlamps become virtually irrelevant. He is currently running a 3V LED headlight on his Harley with stunning results and is marketing a modified LED "Maglite" to law enforcement which produces several million CP.
So, if all works as planned, we may soon have a third choice for modern T lighting... and who knows we may soon be converting our cars to 3Vdc (just kidding)!
I think John is absolutely right. It's all about perception. People perceive 12v as brighter lights, faster starting, more available, and less expensive, and the fact that bulb brightness is based on candle power, a good T engine will start in a half a turn, Group 1 batteries are available at practically any auto parts or Tractor Supply for $80 shouldn't get in the way of their perception.
It's not so much the voltage as light source. While the better lights are currently available only in 12v, there is a very big difference in the light output in lumens, perceived or not.
Standard filament is brighter than gas.
Halogen is brighter than standard.
LED is brighter than Halogen.
HID (Xenon) is brighter than LED.
It just depends on how deep your pockets are. Current LED conversions are right around $200 per headlight. HID kits that used to be over $1500 are now down below $50. Until LED production costs drop seriously, LED is the most expensive light available but not the brightest.
Thanks for all the input. I was planning on trying the LEDs but probably not if they are 200.00 per side. I have used 12 volts on my Ts I used to have. Been awhile back, but never broke anything. That does not mean I won't. Since I hand crank almost all the time anyway, I just may be lucky and the odds have not got me yet. The 12 volt starters that have been re-wired to 12 volt. Do they "kick" as hard as a six volt starter using six volt battery, or somewhere in between a six volt starter using a 12 volt battery. ?? I may go to the 12 volt converted starter later. Right now Im just wanting to get my 6 volt generator to charge my 12 volt battery. I have made my choice and I have heard all the reasons, so as the old saying goes, "Ive made my bed and now I have to sleep in it". I really do appreciate all the comments as they give more things for me to consider. The strange thing about the 12 volt six volt controversy is that everyone is right in there own way, and it is also like asking about oil, waterpumps, bands, ect.
All my starters outperform Ford factory specs for speed and torque. Free running speed of a 12v conversion starter is about 20% higher than the 6v starter. I do a nondestructive conversion to 12v so the starter can be returned to 6v operation by reversing the electrical modifications. The mechanical modifications are the same for both.