12 volt conversion

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2008: 12 volt conversion
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:27 am:

Hi , l dont want to start a contraversial posting , but to install a good set of brake lights , and turn lights l find that 12 volt now the standard is a whole lot easier to purchase , can anyone advise if this conversion will cause any adverse reaction to the generator or starter.
John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Cascisa in Poulsbo, WA on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:39 am:

John,

The pro's and con's of using 12 volts in the starter and generator circuits has been well debated. If your 6 volt charging and starting system are working well, I would suggest a small 12 motorcycle or Gel-Cell type battery and 12 volt LED lights with the Fun Projects 12 Volt trickle charger that runs from the magneto. This gives you the best of all worlds in my opinion.

Be_Zero_Be


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:45 am:

Some say it will frequently damage the starter bendix, which I feel can and does happen, and some say they have had no ill affects yet with the bendix & 12 volts, which I believe is good luck.

I think there are some good LED options for turn and stop lights on 6V but I'm not versed enough on the topic to make any suggestions. Others....?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harvey Decker on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:59 am:

The Gel-Cell set-up sounds like the easyist way to go? Question: is there a LED set-up that will work off of 6 volts?

Harvey ...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 12:16 pm:

Try this link. They make 6 volt turn signals kits for Model A's that can be used on Model T's.

http://www.logolites.com/led/turn/signals/model-t.htm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim ( ModelTengine.com ) on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 01:08 pm:

John, if your considering going to 12 volts, you need to decide if you'll gamble on the stock starter staying in one piece, or if you want to get one re-wired to use 12 volts.

Re-wiring these starters for 12 volts takes some of the stress off the bendix, adversely putting double the voltage to a stock starter increases the stress on the bendix when it slams into the flywheel.

If you do have one rebuilt (highly recommended), make sure you ask some questions before committing.

Here's a writeup on my experience with one of the companies that do this type of work: http://modeltengine.com/theotherguysstarters.htm

I am sharing this information with everyone in the hope that they don't get the same expensive problems I got stuck with.

I also offer the rebuilding service as a result. I hired an expert with many many years experience to do the work for us and I'm so confident in his work, I'm backing each one that leaves here with a one year warranty.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 03:02 pm:

Thanks, now l think l may be a little more confused as to change to 12 volt or just stay with 6 volt and work with what l got !
Thanks Tim for that insight into starters and also Pete and Bob for the relatef links, like Jerry l have heard both stories, some have changed over to 12 volt and little or no trouble had, but how much is a good starter rebuild. and will the 6 volt generator still charge back to a 12 volt battery ??


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim ( ModelTengine.com ) on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 03:31 pm:

John,

Right now 6v starter rebuild is $250 and a 12 volt conversion is $275 through us. I have no idea what the others charge. Running your stock T generator will work - if have either a stock cut-out or a voltage regulator. Fun Projects makes a 6 or 12 volt version I believe.

How it works - lets assume you have your generator set to charge 8 amps right now on that six volt battery. Charging to 12 volts will have it charging the new battery at 4 amps. This is plenty for daytime driving, and maybe a short trip home in the dark.

I usually ditch the stock generator, opting for either a Performance T Parts alternator or a modern 12 volt generator from Randy (both sources listed in the VF). Both of these will charge your battery at about 30 amps (max), the downside to the generator is the headlights will dim down a little when you idle at a stop sign.

You can see what the 12v generator looks like in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jga_cAnt5qI

And what the alternator looks like in this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9lxPfjBSOs


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel Denis Chicoine, MD on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 03:37 pm:

John, I've got 6 volt logolites and 6 volt tail/stop lights on my 23 and love them. The logolites are LED and very bright, front and rear. The dash or under seat controller is magnetic and can be removed and stashed under the dash if desired. I use a small tractor style light on the rear wired to the brake switch for brake lights. This in addition to the stock light wired with a double filament bulb gives good brake/tail lights. It's all on 6 volts still.
Noel


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 03:42 pm:

Use your existing starter and connect with one or two six foot long 12v cables. These will will add sufficient voltage drop and prevent slamming the Bendix, yet give excellent starter performance. On my 24 I used the 12 volt cables for both ground and positive. On my 27 , one 12 volt cable on the positive was sufficent. The Model T starter is very durable and seldom need repair.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 04:18 pm:

I disagree with Ted. The voltage will not drop until the starter bendix hits the flywheel and it begins to draw heavy current. Unless you need 12 volts to operate your ignition, you can find 6 volt bulbs for all your lights. If you go to 12 volt turn signals with led's that's the only thing you would need 12 volts for and the small battery would be fine. I think, however, that the turn signals are available in 6 volts.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 04:32 pm:

I disagree with Norman. Norman, you have a basic fundamental misunderstanding of electricity and resistance. The starter is a load and the resistance of the long, small diameter battery cable is a load. Current and voltage will be lower at the starter.

Resistance drops the voltage period. For example, put two 6 volt lamps in series and hook them up to 12 volts. Does the first bulb burn out when the voltage hits the second one? No it doesn't.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim ( ModelTengine.com ) on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 04:58 pm:

Here we go again....

I'll agree with you Ted, and I'll help you make your case too:

Fact - 12 volts, 200 amp load, #4 cable = 1.4 volt drop for every 12 feet, so just coil up 54 feet somewhere under the car. The risk of fire is pretty good so bolt a fire extinguisher to the running board.

OR - #2 cable same situation is 0.9v drop for every 12 feet so you'd need 65 feet of cable stuffed up under the gas tank.

The long cables with ends on will cost you about $300 so you can avoid the $275 starter rebuild, and the bonus is you got to keep your old worn out oil soaked starter!

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I see no reason to go to extremes just to avoid doing the job the right way.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 04:59 pm:

I think that magneto-powered LED safety/signal lights are the best solution. Batteries not required. Totally automatic - on with the engine on.

The only requirement is that your car has a working magneto. Ignition performance is unaffected by the addition of the safety/signal lights.

Available in safety (running) lights for rear only or all four corners.

Available soon with turn signal function.

sethharbuck@bellsouth.net


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 05:09 pm:

Wooops , l think l have it now , just stick with 6 volts and work the turn signals and brake light , preference for the brake light is a bright thin strip led about 6-8 inches wide to give everyone behind me the desired warning, turn signals l'd like to look further into the 6 volt version BUT can anyone tell me if a stalk type version that can be mounted to the column is made or available , like the old ( Seth will like this ) mini's used to have early in the piece , with the little green flasher on the end.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim ( ModelTengine.com ) on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 06:07 pm:

John, the vendors sell a six volt turn signal setup. And six volt stock starters can spin a T engine over like a modern car. They just need to be in tip top condition with a good battery, good switch, and the right sized cables.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR. on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 09:09 pm:

In case John (or anyone else) wants to have a Model T starter rewired for 12 volts, I'll throw this out there. Ken Kopsky did one for me, for much less $$ than the price quoted above.

ccwken@wireweb.net


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim ( ModelTengine.com ) on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 09:14 pm:

Hopefully he does a better job than the guy that prompted me to write that article. Whom-ever you get to do the work, ask questions, call around to others, and get the best you can.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 09:40 pm:

My bet is that Ken does a fine job with starters - like everything else he does.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andy Clary on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 12:50 am:

I understand the need for turn signals, I don't have them and have to use arm signals. I left my left turn signal on for 5 miles and could hardly lift my arm the next day.

Andy Clary

PS- If you must have turn signals use 6 volt bulbs and flasher and skip all the monkey motion


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John H on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 06:02 am:

I was able to buy all my 6V electrical stuff new when I installed brake lights and turn signal, without any difficulty. They are available from Model T, and other suppliers into vintage parts (remember, millions of cars, not just Ford, until the mid 50's ran on 6V). VW suppliers are another source as they used 6V until the late 60's. Voltage rating for switches does not matter; it's just the bulbs and flasher you need for 6V.
I used this turn signal switch:
http://db.hella.com.au/cgi-bin/catalogue.pl?flcmd=preview&flmaint=238
Using resistance type devices to drop voltage to run a 6V starter on 12V only works when the current draw of the starter is constant...which it isn't. It is also incredibly inefficient.
I would be inclined to use a separate small 12V battery if for some reason I was forced to use 12V brake and indicator lights...they're not on for long so the battery would last a long time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Todd on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 11:31 am:

john,
the turn signal SWITCH doesn't matter if it's 6 or 12 volt.
It's the FLASHER relay itself that is voltage dependant. They ARE available in 6 volt.
Of course the bulbs will have to be 6 volt.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 12:48 pm:

John
In response to your question about the 6 volt Model T generators ability to charge a 12 volt battery. The answer is, yes it will, but you have to be careful because the original Model T generator is capable of no more than 100 Watts. What this means is when you use it on a 12 volt battery you must keep the charging rate below 7 amps. Even at that it is just on the edge of the generators maximum capacity and if possible you should shoot for no more than 5 amps charging rate.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 01:40 pm:

I stand by my recommendation. Its cheap and painless. Try it, you'll like it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By W Hedges on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 01:44 pm:

I have a 26 tudor that I instlled turn signals on. The 6volt flasher and 6volt bulbs with 2 eliments for brake and tail lights from syders.I am happy with the set up.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 01:45 pm:

Another solution for getting 12 volts is to use the R J Restorations system. Randy Johnson takes 12 volt generators off of late 50's and early 60's Ford automobiles. He replaces the generators with alternators so those guys can get more amperage and run their toys.

He rebuilds the generators and fits a new drive gear on the front. He also provides a new three-way regulator and sets it up so that it makes about 12 amps. He charges about $200 for a complete kit with good instructions and a diagram. I have had good luck with two of them for over ten years with no problems at all with his system or the starter. I am using a long small cable and the battery is at the rear. The starter is happy. The best part of a 12 volt system is that you can get replacement parts anywhere and also run a GPS, radar detector, and other assorted toys.

If you are running a high performance engine with a big updraft Winfield on a long manifold you will need to use a Delco generator off of a 56 or later Chevy because they are stepped down at the rear and will clear the intake and the carburetor. I have included a full sized picture of the generator as mounted.


generator


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john on Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 05:11 pm:

thanks to everyone for this info , l have decided to stick with the 6 volt set up and try to keep my car as original as l can , now that l know where to get the things l need for that l'm off shopping.
thanks again for all of your help and input
John


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