Will cheap-o trailer lights work?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Will cheap-o trailer lights work?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 08:46 am:

Hi all,

As I chip away at my 26 I'm always thinking about the next step and it's time to start thinking about tail lights. I's like to run two tail/brake lights if I could but will settle for one (it's been a while since I've had my head in electrical theory). What I was wondering was if I could get away with run of the mill cheap trailer lights. The ones locally available all say they're 12V so would I just need to fit a different bulb or does it get more complex than that?

Just looking for opinions and to find out what's worked before.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:09 am:

Tim, For my 1927 I bought one of the right hand tail light stands that Langs, and some of the other vendors sell. Then I just used stock tail lights fitted with dual contact sockets. I think you can buy dual contact tail lights that are already made that way or you can just change out the sockets. Another option for the light itself,is to buy the Model A "STOP" style taillights and use them. They are available in 6 volt or 12 volt with dual sockets. They are not a exact match to the accessory "Stop" tail light that was available for the 26-27 Improved models, but they are close, and 99 percent of the folks looking at your car will not know the difference. You can also add LED bulbs if you want them brighter. Here is a photo of my set up before I add the "STOP" style buckets. I have one original model T "STOP" tail light. Im still looking for a second one before I add them to my car. The originals are hard to find. but since my car is loaded with the other accessories for the Improved models, Im holding out for another original. There should be other folks here that can help with the wiring diagram.

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan Danbury, WI on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:18 am:

Yeah, you could use those, but they would look ugly as heck. I got my tails from Brattons. These are actually 28/29 AA truck drum lights, but they are very close to Model T units.



Or, if you feel like sliding down Hwy 61 and doing a road trip this weekend, there's going to be a pretty good sized swap meet at John Pole's place in Cottage Grove, MN this Saturday morning. Might find a couple of stock units there.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By G.R.Cheshire on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:19 am:

Tim: I have hooked up a trailer light on a temporary basis for when I get stuck out at night. I found that you cannot just switch out the bulb because the cheap trailer lights only have 16 gauge wire (that's what an Electrician friend told me) so I soldered a some of 14 gauge wire to the socket and have had no problem. I like the trailer light at night because it is much bigger and brighter than normal T lights and because I have a hidden plug in my harness I can attach or stow the light as needed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:29 am:

I used the same ones Kevin did. They came from JC Whitney but they don't carry them any more. All the big boy parts houses for T's & A's carry them. Their set up for 6 vt. bulbs (2 in each housing) and you can use the large (1129 ?) bulbs in both sockets. Mine are totally removable with no extra holes drilled. Just don't expect miracles from the people behind you. They can be used for stop/turn & tail but that requires a more complicated turn signal switch which cuts out the brake light for whatever side the turn signal is on and causes it to flash.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:36 am:

Sorry but to actually answer your question: The fact that their set up for 12 vt. bulbs is your biggest problem. Their cheaper cost might be negated by what you have to do to convert them ie: buying correct sockets and installing them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan Danbury, WI on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 10:05 am:

The ones I got from Brattons are LED. Just ask them to have the LED setup made for 6 volt NEGATIVE ground. I think they were $10 extra per side. They are plenty bright to be seen. Of course, that's no guarantee that some inattentive driver won't find a way crunch up the rear end of your vehicle.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 11:00 am:

We electrified our cowl lights and got two 6v sockets and bulbs off eBay and my son wired them up and we actually get a dim and bright light out of the cowl lights when our headlights and tail lights come on. We put the same sockets in tail lights and wired them up to a brake switch, so we have dual tail lights and brake lights and all in correct looking.

Just depends on how much you want to bite off.

A buddy put cheap trailer lights on his WWII jeep, but they are inside the rear panel and you only see the plastic lens anyway, so it was not a deal breaker. But again, he converted his T jeep to 12v so it was plug and play.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeff Perkins / St. Croix Valley Mn on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 08:36 pm:

I added this period taillamp and converted it to a brake light. Unfortunately this has a plastic lens, does anyone have a 4" glass lens they would sell?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:21 pm:

All good ideas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dallas landers on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:29 pm:

Bicycle lights

$9 also has flash mode. Take them off in day time. They come with mounts. Just an option. I clip them on when needed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money - Braidwood, IL on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 09:59 pm:

I have the ones Dallas has in his picture. I also have magnetic trailer lights that have 6 volt bulbs in them and a trailer connector to hook up. On or off in 30 seconds.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dallas landers on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 10:05 pm:

My 1st set I glued earth magnets to the back. Turns out they have a chip in them for flash modes. Computer chips and magnets dont mix. Dont ask how I know.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 01:42 pm:

Thanks for all the input, guys. I already have a Fun Projects brake light switch and I think a decent idea of how to wire up brake lights and night time running lights (no turn signals) which I'll bounce off of you before I pull the trigger on that.

As for the lights themselves, how about left and right versions of these?
http://www.macsautoparts.com/ford_model_a/tail-light-black-left-with-license-ill uminator-model-a-1928-1931.html
(Yes, I know the source but I want to try and keep costs down on this little farm truck where I can.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George n LakeOzark,Missourah on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 03:07 pm:

This is how my dad rigged them. Since thin I've gotten rid of the ugly duct tape.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 03:35 pm:

Order from Mac's at your own risk however that's about what I paid for them a while back from Whitney.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 01:47 pm:

I'll probably risk it with Mac's, but I see in the ad it mentions those lights are set up for 12v but will work with 6v bulbs. Can I expect to find a 6v bulb that will just drop in?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 04:05 pm:

In the For What it's Worth Dept., I've not had good luck running 6 volt bulbs thru 12 volt (made offshore) trailer light kits any distance. I suspect that due to the small wire size there is too much resistance. Maybe I have other problems, but using slightly larger diameter wire makes things brighter.


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