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Electrical Theory by Joseph Lucas


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ELECTRICAL THEORY BY JOSEPH LUCAS

Anyone who has dealt with British cars and Motorcycles (Lucas electrical systems) will appreciate this...

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ELECTRICAL THEORY BY JOSEPH LUCAS

Positive ground depends on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke". Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing.

For example, if one places a copper bar across the terminals of a battery, prodigious quantities of smoke are liberated and the battery shortly ceases to function. In addition, if one observes smoke escaping from an electrical component such as a Lucas voltage regulator, it will also be observed that the component no longer functions. The logic is elementary and inescapable!

The function of the wiring harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another. When the wiring springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterward.

Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British motorcycles for some time largely because they consumed large quantities of smoke, requiring very unsightly large wires.

It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brake systems leak fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national defense secrets.

Therefore, it follows that British electrical systems must leak smoke. Once again, the logic is clear and inescapable.

In conclusion, the basic concept of transmission of electrical energy in the form of smoke provides a logical explanation of the mysteries of electrical components especially British units manufactured by Joseph Lucas, Ltd.

And remember: "A gentleman does not motor about after dark."

Joseph Lucas "The Prince of Darkness"

1842-1903

A few Lucas quips:

The Lucas motto: "Get home before dark."

Lucas is the patent holder for the short circuit.

Lucas - Inventor of the first intermittent wiper.

Lucas - Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp. The three-position Lucas switch--DIM, FLICKER and OFF. The other three switch settings--SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.

The Original Anti-Theft Device - Lucas Electrics.

If Lucas made guns, wars would not start

Back in the '70s, Lucas decided to diversify its product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered which did not suck.

Q: Why do the British drink warm beer? A: Because Lucas makes their refrigerators.



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Any British car owner coming to Hershey this sure makes you feel welcome does it not?

It is funny. I agree however certainly does not apply to my hunk of junk as I am sure respondents would call it.

Own a 1972 Triumph TR-6 since new. Has 56,534 miles on the odometer and roughly 36,000 of those miles were put on in the 1972-76 time frame. It is loaded with Lucas electronics. In 41 years I can absolutely attest to the fact it has never had an electrical or mechanical problem. For example I took it out 2 weeks ago after being stored since August of 2012. Pulled the choke and it started up. Has the original fuel pump, started motor, wiring, lights, etc. Only electronic parts I replaced are plastic electrical clip covers that turned color due to age.

Having never taken it apart for any sort of restoration it has done quite well within the AACA and British clubs:

--4 time "repeat Senior Grand National" and all awards leading up to this level.

--Was going for my 37th Repeat Preservation at Hershey this year until I read this thread. (Leaving it home as so called Mastertech, Marty. and others now make me nervous about driving the undependable clunker 162 round trip miles.)

--Over the years I ventured outside of the AACA judging system 3 times to show at "all British meets". It received 1st in class at all 3 and I assure you the judging was extremely more rigid than the AACA system.

No Lucas problems here not to say others have had their issues with British cars or any car for that matter.

Peter J.

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Peter J.

"No Lucas problems here not to say others have had their issues with British cars or any car for that matter."

You know I appreciate British cars as much as you do, and certainly didn't mean to offend....

Just continuing some light humor, and hope you'll take my comments for what they're worth,

Marty

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Once upon a time I had a Jag XK-150s. It had to be designed for the US market because the fuel pump (have a dim memory of two ?) was under the driver's seat & to start you turned on the key, opened the door, reached under with a Whitworth wrench and rapped the pump until clicking began, waited a moment, then push the starter button. With RHD you would need a passenger.

BTW the reason most English cars used a positive ground (earth) was so the components would protect the fuses.

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It is all in good fun,, of course. I worked at British dealerships and,later, at a shop that specialized in Austin Healys. Lucas electrics were not as bad as legend suggests. I never had an electrical problem with my Healys. Most of the cars that came into the shop for electrical issues had been poorly maintained or, in some way, butchered by some, well intentioned, "mechanic". As mentioned by Dave, Clear Hooters (only the Brits, eh?) were another issue. Usually it was switches that, when pushed, would fall out behind the dash or snap off in your hand at the slightest pressure

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Hopefully this won't offend any Lucas fans, but I have what I think is a funny personal story related to this topic. I once owned a Jaguar. It was a 1984 Model and I owned it for several months in the early to mid 90s. It belonged to a lawyer who was the son-in-law of one of my fellow Police Lieutenants. The lawyer quit driving the car because it became unreliable. He moved to another house, and left the car in the yard of his former residence, which was sitting vacant. The city threatened him with civil action due to the abandoned car and the overgrown grass. My coworker told his son-in-law that I was an old car hobbyist and his son offered me the car for free so he did not have to worry about Code Enforcement bothering him about the car any more. I thought I had won the lottery, a free car! I took a trailer across town and winched the car onto the trailer. I unloaded the car into the driveway with my son's help. My son injured his leg slightly helping to unload the car. This turned out to be an omen about my life as a Jaguar owner. I bought a service manual and I started tinkering with the car. Some days the car would start up fine. I ran it up and down the driveway a lot. Some days, it would not fire. There was never any particular pattern that I could figure out about why it would run some time and why it would not run at other times. After a few months of playing with the car, I gave up. I found a guy who worked on foreign cars locally and sold it to him as a parts car. I think I made a couple of hundred dollars on the car but I am convinced that I never want to own another one.

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I had a friend back in the 1970's who refused to fly anywhere. He said it never bothered him until he heard that Lucas Electronics had started making some of the electrical components for aircraft. He said he didn't mind pulling to the side of the road on the ground, but at 30,000 feet...

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  • 5 years later...

I had another experience with Lucas electrical systems today. A friend needed help getting a 1959 Rolls Royce running today. This car is owned by a limousine service. He really needed it running since it was scheduled for use for a wedding tonight. We spent a few hours on it. It initially was running very poorly. While we were trying to diagnose that problem, it stopped firing totally. We found one wire terminal on the coil that was apparently only attached with one strand of wire. We replaced that connector and nothing changed. It still would not fire. We discovered that although we got that end of the wire fixed, that wire was still not flowing any current from the ignition switch. We ended up creating a jumper wire to flow from another ignition switched power source to the coil. The car ran fine for a few minutes. After the next time the car stopped running, we discovered that the fuel pump fuse had blown. The fuel pump fuse was found to have a piece of twine attached to it, which led to a small supply of replacement fuse wire. (I guess this is not the first time the fuel pump fuse has blown.) I used the fuse wire to make a new fuse for the fuel pump. (I had never seen that type of fuse before, so it took me a minute to figure out how to fix it.) For those who have never seen this type of fuse, here is a link to an example of what I found attached to the fuel pump fuse with the twine.  https://www.flyingspares.com/shop/rolls-royce-bentley-cloud-s1-s2-s3/electrical/cloud-s1-s2-s3-fuse-battery/holder-card-spare-fuse-wire-dw432.html

 

The Rolls Royce made it to the wedding and I learned a bit more about Lucas wiring than I probably ever wanted to know. I guess it was a good day, but I now know more about why Lucas is often called "The Prince of Darkness". 

Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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On 9/27/2013 at 1:00 PM, mastertech said:

Positive ground depends on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke". Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working.

 

 

LOL! Very good! Actually, my 1968 BSA Royal Star was one of my more reliable old motorcycles. The '73 Honda CB 450 was the one with the electrical problems. :)

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Interestingly, I have never had too much problem with Lucas - periodically something does not work to find the design works best when rand new and not otherwise, but for the most part the issues were coil related, wear in distributor, and somewhat unrelated to Lucas - the wire harnesses just did not have enough extra/slack in them and heat/cold tended to pull the wires off of the blade terminals. 

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I have owned several Triumph sports cars to include my current 1962 Triumph TR4 and have never had a problem with the Lucas systems.

 

The only issue I ever had was with my current TR4.  When i bought it the previous owner converted  the Lucas positive ground generator to a negative ground Delco Alternator.  That was a serious problem until I switch it back to all original.  I have not had a problem with this car since.

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