Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

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Dom Denio
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Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Dom Denio » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:30 pm

I have a 1919 Touring with an original 6 volt system running coils. The lights are inadequate for my liking in terms of safety and the fact it has the slight purple headlight lenses. I want to keep the 6 volt ignition system but would like to know if anyone has a diagram for a separate 12 volt system for a LED lighting system that could run off a lawn mower/motorcycle battery. I could store the battery under the front seat next to the round gas tank. I would expect to remove it each night during a tour to be recharged in my hotel room and reinstalled the next morning. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Dom


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by waldo » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:18 pm

For around $40 you can purchase a converter 6 volts to 12 volts. They are not large, I think mine is 3 or3-1/2 square and an inch deep. They are available from both Ebay and Amazon. They have 4 wires, 6 volt in, 12 volt out and 2 ground wires. I twisted the ground wires together and connected them to a grounded bolt on the frame. I mounted my converter to the wood framing behind the firewall under the floorboard. You will have to separate your lighting circuit from the 6 volt source. The LED headlight bulbs can be sourced from many places, superbrightleds.com has been listed on several similar posts. Other posts have made recommendations on what LED "bulb" they suggest. Keep in mind none of them really fit the focus design of the headlight's reflector set up I have tried several different bulbs for headlights. I find they are an improvement over stock, but still are not what you may be used to in a contemporary car. However your nighttime driving should be limited, and you should not be traveling that fast.
Now for taillights and brake lights LED's are a vast improvement over 6 volt incandescent bulbs. That being said, nothing I found could really improve the thick heavily tinted lenses in the kerosene lamps I once used as tail lights. I purchased a 15" 15 LED light bar on Amazon, intended for a trailer for $20. It functions as a taillight, brake light, and turn signals. It has the standard trailer wiring color code, and I used a trailer wiring harness to wire it. I mounted the light bar above the license plate on my rear spare tire mount. For the brake light, i included a flasher like you might have seen on a motor cycle. It flashes 4 times rapidly, 4 times a little less rapid, then stays on. This flasher is available from superbrightleds.com for $4. and is only for 12 volt LED lights. I mounted a SPDT center off toggle switch on the panel under the seat for turn signals. LED's require an LED flasher they also are available for $10 at superbrightleds.com.


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:54 pm

This is not to disuade you from your path. Just information to consider.

For starters, the (purple) fluted lenses are not correct for your car. They look quaint, and someone stuck them in, but they're wrong.

Original reflectors rob light. Replacement chrome reflectors rob light, age-tinted lenses rob light. 12VDC is not necessarily brighter than 6VDC.

Top quality new (not chrome) reflectors, good ground, correct bulbs, and a properly focused beam through new, (correct) flat plain clear glass (not fluted) will undoubtedly give you shockingly better light than you are now experiencing.

Not what you asked, but FWIW.
Scott Conger

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Humblej » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:26 pm

I agree, original ford 6v headlights with good reflectors, good lenses, good bulbs, good ground, correctly pointed and focused are fine. But get any or all of those wrong and they are completly inadequate.
Last edited by Humblej on Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:31 pm

Jeff

you are absolutely right, and even at the best, I avoid night driving whenever possible.
Scott Conger

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Jim_PTC_GA » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:06 pm

My first T a 24 Roadster I used a small 12 volt battery and led lights for brakes and blinkers. It works fine I just charge the little battery now and then. I designed the system to be quick install and uninstall to keep the car as original as possible. I have a drawing some where for the system and will hunt it down.

The T I'm working on now a 25 delivery I'm planning to go the other route and use the 6 volt system with LED brake and blinkers. I don't have a drawing for this system as I haven't designed and built it yet. I'm still working on the body. My decision to go 6 volt with this one is because of the extra battery. While it's small and cheap it's just something extra to maintain and takes up space in my trunk.

I'll find the drawing and post here for good or bad.
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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by TRDxB2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:32 pm

Personally I don't think its worth the bother to change the system other than the bulbs. But here are two options - both are the same in that you will need to disconnect the DIM and BRIGHT connections on your ignition switch and incorporate a toggle switch and mount that somewhere. The difference of the input is a 12 volt battery as in option 1 or a buck/boost converter as shown in option 2 and I included a picture of it. What it does is convert 6volts to 12 volts many are available on ebay for about $12. I purchased this to experiment with and haven't tried it yet. I chose this particular one because of a YouTube evaluation and that its output can be regulated.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LTC3780-Automa ... 80838c7b92 The converter is very small and could be included in a box with the switch. You can also learn about them on YouTube.
Option 1.jpg
Option 2 (2).jpg
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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Jeff Hood » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:58 pm

My 1923 Fordor has nice bright 6V lights. I get asked all the time how I have such good lights on 6V. Most can't believe that it really is a 6V system. Here is what I did:
(1)Rebuilt generator and installed Fun Projects 6V voltage regulator -this is a real voltage regulator, not a cutout.
(2)Cleaned and repaired headlight / ignition switch contacts.
(3)Replaced all 90+ year old wiring -all harnesses are available and will cost a little over $100
(4)Replaced headlight sockets and thimbles.
(5) Cleaned and polished reflectors -you may need to replace yours.
(6) Cleaned all ground connections, starting with socket to reflector, reflector to wire spring and spring to bucket. Then check
for excessive resistance (should be none) between bucket and stand. Next clean where the stand fits into the fender iron and
check for resistance between fender iron and frame (again should be none) and last clean the connection between the
negative battery cable and the frame and replace the negative cable. When you are finished there should be negligible
resistance between the negative battery post and the headlight socket, and full battery voltage at the headlight socket
pins.
(7) use the bright 50cp bulbs.

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Henry K. Lee » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:11 pm

One of the greatest areas most over look is poor grounding. You may think it is good but bad here and there adds up real quick. The poor ground also starts a process in which iron and carbon are drawn into the copper wire which in turns makes a resistor out of it. Heavy current loads begin and so on. Dims lights but good output at amp meter and generator tells a story. Try a jumper wire from a good clean frame section to the back of the bulb socket. It might tell on itself. Ironized copper wire.

Hope this Helps,

Hank

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by TRDxB2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:24 pm

Jeff, you did make an important reference in all the things you did - putting in 50CP bulbs. Most of the LED bulbs are only rated at 50CP. LED's whiter light looks brighter tan Incondesent warmer light but regardless of what the eye perceives 50CP is 50CP.
The advantage of LED's is less amperage to power them which does could effect brightness depending on what the electrical output can produce and what else is being powered. One could do most all the things you have done without spending a dime and then evaluate what the next step, id needed, would be. Doubt if 12 volts would be required


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Arnie » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:48 pm

Henry Lee:
I do not understand about "where iron and carbon are drawn into the copper wire which in turn makes a resistor out of it. Heavy current loads begin and so on."

What I do not understand is if it makes the copper wire more of a resistor less current would flow. Now if the iron and copper are drawn into the copper wire and it reduces the resistance of the copper wire that would increase current flow. However, please explain how the iron and carbon are introduced into the copper wire and how the iron and carbon make more or less current flow in the wire with the other loads still the same, such as the light bulb load!

Arnie


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Jeff Hood » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:01 pm

Frank, that's my point! 12V is not required. What is required is good current flow, ie no resistance. You can't get good current flow through 90 year old wires and rusty ground connections. Even the 21cp bulbs will be much improved if they are getting a full 6+V with good grounds. LEDs aren't necessary, although I haven't tried them, 50cp incandescents are plenty bright.


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Kerry » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:11 pm

Running 8 volt battery, changed nothing, good lights, easy starting and never blown a bulb in 10 years😀

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by JohnH » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:47 am

Jeff Hood wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:58 pm
My 1923 Fordor has nice bright 6V lights. I get asked all the time how I have such good lights on 6V. Most can't believe that it really is a 6V system. Here is what I did:
(1)Rebuilt generator and installed Fun Projects 6V voltage regulator -this is a real voltage regulator, not a cutout.
(2)Cleaned and repaired headlight / ignition switch contacts.
(3)Replaced all 90+ year old wiring -all harnesses are available and will cost a little over $100
(4)Replaced headlight sockets and thimbles.
(5) Cleaned and polished reflectors -you may need to replace yours.
(6) Cleaned all ground connections, starting with socket to reflector, reflector to wire spring and spring to bucket. Then check
for excessive resistance (should be none) between bucket and stand. Next clean where the stand fits into the fender iron and
check for resistance between fender iron and frame (again should be none) and last clean the connection between the
negative battery cable and the frame and replace the negative cable. When you are finished there should be negligible
resistance between the negative battery post and the headlight socket, and full battery voltage at the headlight socket
pins.
(7) use the bright 50cp bulbs.
Well said. It makes a world of difference to follow all those points. I have a 6-12V converter under the seat for the occasions where I might need to run some 12V appliance.

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:10 am

Arnie,
The poor ground causes resistance which in turn causes a polarity pull of electrons of the weaker iron, iron oxide embedded into the copper. Strip back the insulation. Current travels from negative to positive in a DC circuit. If black and no clean copper..., Tay Da!

Just Sayin',

Hank

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:19 am

E=I X R, E being voltage, I being current (Amps), R being resistance (Ohms).

If resistance is increased, voltage is lowered so CP is less, equals dim light.

A simple test is with an ohm meter on the wires, from terminal to terminal.

Chased those pixies enough.

Hank

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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:35 am

Man gotta chime in here after reading this post with my 2 cents; repairing what you've got is the way I'd go for sure. The difference in illumination isn't great enough to do the extra work to convert plus you're adding on battery maintenance. Maybe i'm just El Cheapo but I'd fix up the existing system for sure.
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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Kaiser » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:58 am

Dom, you don't have to change anything to your wiring, just clean all connections and that will probably give you allready a lot of improvement, and on top of that replacement 6volt LED bulbs are readily available from several vendors.
There have been several post here on the 'new' forum and some on the 'old' forum too about LED conversions, just use the search function in the top righthand corner of the page :idea:
Good luck improving your lights !
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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Jim_PTC_GA » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:39 am

Here is the electrical I used for a separate 12 volt led lighting system. I did not install the upper left part with the 6 to 12 volt converter. Also I installed side lights above the tires in the fender wells. These run solid when on and blink when the related turn signal is on. The blinker switch on the steering wheel is one I made with long arms controlling a rotary switch. The blinker switch has led lights on it so I can see which signal is on. I wanted a buzzer but that didn't work out well. Can't hear a thing when driving. There's also a light under the dash so I can see the petals when the running lights are on.

There's a hundred different ways to do this but this is what I did.

The T I'm building now will just have a 6 volt system tied into the existing wiring running led or bulbs.
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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Dom Denio » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:37 pm

Doug, Scott, Jeff, Jim, Frank, Jeff, Henry, Frank, John, Charlie and Leo;

Thank you for taking the time to share your information, experience and suggestions. I will need time to digest all you have shared before I take any next step. You all are appreciated for the assistance given.

Have a great day,
Dom


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by Arnie » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:52 pm

Henry Lee:

Thank you for your response. I reviewed my post and should have said: If the iron and carbon are drawn into the copper wire and it reduces resistance of the wire that would not increase current flow. If the copper wire increased in resistance like a connection that was corroded that could reduce current flow.

What I do not understand it the statement (in the Jan 23rd 8:11 PM post) heavy current loads begin and so on.

Were does the heavy current load come from? If the circuit has light bulbs for instance, unless one changes the light bulbs to lower resistance bulbs, how can the current increase with poor wiring? I can understand current flow decrease with corroded connections, but I do not understand how the current would increase in this type of circuit unless one shorts out a wire to ground for instance. The way I understand it is that when the iron and carbon are drawn into the copper wire you seem to indicate that heavy current loads begin and so on. I do not understand that last sentence, or am I putting words together in the wrong way?

Arnie


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by J1MGOLDEN » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:28 pm

Henry, you might be closest to the real problem with your poor ground theory.

I kind of specialize in electrical problems, so I helped one club member that had no light at all, front or back.

The first step was to turn on the lights and measure the voltage on the wires getting to the lights.

There was about 2 volts in front and none in back at all.

There was a full 6.4 volts from the wires to a separate ground jumper wire to the battery negative post.

Further checking determined there was so much plastic or bondo in the car, especially the fenders, that separate ground wires had to be run to all the lights.

Then the headlights even had a normal brilliance and the brake light even worked.

The car had good paint, top, and upholstery. It really looked good and drove good!


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by DickC » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:45 am

I have to admit that I am less than capable to discuss electrical systems on my several model T's, I do ok with the mechanics. In reviewing all the answers to this subject, I did not see a reference to the issue of mag use verses battery. It is my understanding that care must be taken to not switch to mag if any of the descriptions are used for converting lights to led.


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Re: Model T Electrical Dilemma/Request for Information

Post by J1MGOLDEN » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:18 pm

The Mag only powers the coil box, so that would not be a problem for a T engine with a generator.

An early T engine that taps some of the mag voltage to charge a small battery could or might mess up LED lights.

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