Right now, I have a 12 volt back-up battery on my 1914 original engine touring -- no generator or starter. Because we drive it a lot, I'm putting turn signals and stop lights on it and am curious what you guys think is best to use: six or 12 volt battery and why? Thanks.
Thinner wires, more parts availability with 12 volts....(less expensive, also).
If you have any thoughts of ever adding starter/generator, then consider using 6V
(Message edited by Adave on October 24, 2014)
Can that magneto charging set up of John Regan's be adapted to charge a 12 volt battery? That would certainly be an easy and cheap way to go if it can be done.
Slim risk, but magnetos can fail and 12v can power the coils better at speed than 6v should it ever be needed.
Yours is one of the few situations where I recommend 12v for a Model T. You're not going to wreck a starter be dis and flywheel, because you don't have them. 12v will give you a better available selection of lights, including readily available LED tail lights. If your mag fails, 12v will operate your coils better than 6v.
I've put a 12v sealed computer battery under the rear seat of my '14 Touring. It it constant loss; I charge it with an external charger once a year or whenever I run the headlights. It has enough power to run the headlights for about two hours between charges.i never run after dark for extended periods of time, so it works out fine. I mounted an LED truck taillight inside my oil tail lamp. It gives me a brake and running light and is stock in appearance.
I have been running a 12V Optima spiral cell battery in my '14 runabout w/o a generator for several years. No problems. I do have a starter on the car (a 12V modern starter), turn signals, halogen headlights, a distributor and a fuel pump. I run one of Ed Bittner's trickle chargers off the magneto. I also charge the battery with a "Battery Tender" trickle charger every few weeks.
Everything works fine and I don't have any problems with doing things this way.
This Sunday I will drive to a car show 30 miles away in the early morning darkness with full lights for at least half an hour. I've done it before with no problems.
My advice is: Don't try this with a cheap battery! The Optima is about $200.
I agree with Eric in your case. First you have a 12 vt. batt. and since you haven't mentioned going for a starter/generator engine why not just go with what's easily available IE: 12 volt components? Actually we're only talking about bulbs and the flasher being 12 vt. Your turn signal switch & wiring aren't voltage specific. On the other hand if you should decide to go for lamps that are "period correct" they'll probably be set up with 6 volt bulb sockets and you'll have to convert them to 12's. Muddy enough answer? By the way go for the Fun Projects stop light switch kit. Totally worth the $.
My 1915 has been running on a 12V lawn tractor battery for years. Its cheap & easy to find and replace should it ever be necessary.
Also makes lighting easy as most times 12 v bulbs are easier to come by.
A small 12V FLOAT (not trickle) charger hooked up overnight once a month or so is fine if you don't use your headlights much. If you do use them at night, plug in the charger when you get back.
The magneto trickle charger works fine on 12V.
I have reverse engineered the small Harbor freight float charger. It's really quite well made, floats at 13.4 V and can be had on sale for about $7.
I've had four of them for about 5 years - none have failed yet!
To answer a question asked - our HSBCK1 charger kit will charge 6V or 12V batteries off the magneto as you drive. The difference is that you will get slightly more charge current when charging 6V than when charging at 12V. My son has a 6V system in his 16 roadster which we equipped with a regular T starter but the engine has no generator. We wired up an HSBCK1 to his magneto and we have run it for many years that way and never have had to charge the battery at all except once on a rather long night drive. This is because we typically drive it for more than a 1/2 hour when we go for a drive and his car kicks right off within a couple seconds when hitting the starter button. Since the car is driven in traffic it is rather risky to not have a starter if one then accidentally kills the motor in the middle of an intersection. We just put the car away for the winter last night. I checked the battery and it was fully charged and ready for storage and the only charger on it this year was the HSBCK1 but the car was never driven at night this year and the magneto runs the coils so there is only the starter as a small load when the car is started. The charger can put back about 1.8 Amps constant current charge when motor is running. Expect that charge to be more like 1.2-1.5 Amps with a 12V battery since there is less potential difference between the magneto voltage and the battery voltage when using 12V versus 6V.
I run a 12 V lawnmower sized battery on my non-starter 1915 to power the lights. I occasionally use it to start the car on BAT after it has sat for awhile but the mag is good so I routinely use that.
My 12 V lights are nice and bright. I just (trickle) recharge the battery occasionally.
Here they are with a fresh charge.
My son and travel in our T a lot. He always takes his GPS, camera (with charger), computer, etc. etc. So I have a 12 volt battery mounted on the running board and a converter sitting on the floor between the seats. On our longer trips the 12 volt battery can become run down to the point where the converter will not function. In the past we had to take a battery charger and charge the 12v battery at the hotel. Kind of a pain. Earlier this summer I installed John's, HSBCK1 charger kit. I made a box to protect the lamp and made it to fit under the drivers seat. I added a switch (because I'm a control guy) and now the mag charges the 12v battery as we drive. I have not had to charge the 12v battery at all this summer. It works great.
Well, once again, you guys have come through with a lot of very helpful suggestions and ideas and I really appreciate it.
We drive the car a lot -- at least I consider 1,400 miles touring this summer (not counting just the occasional drives)a lot but I do not plan to put a starter or generator on the car. We don't drive at night that much but when we do, I use the acetylene generator to power the gas headlights and the kerosene side lamps.
I use the 12v battery for hand-crank starting and to power my one kerosene-converted-to-electric taillight for a tail/brake light.
My plan is to install another tail lamp so as to have two tail/brake/turn-signal lights for safety because we drive so much.
Sounds like 12v is the way to go and maybe using John's charger kit.
I gotta get rid of that big 12v battery sitting under the rear seat door. Takes up too much storage room.