Bob Zetnick

Accessories vs. 6v system.

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I'd like to add a heater, radio and turn signals to a car w/ a 6v system. All accessories are 6v. Will these be a drain to the system if all connections are maintained properly?....or is there a certain 6v battery that may handle these upgrades without going to a 12v system?

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If your electrical system is in good condition, not corroded, no frayed or broken insulation, tight connections, good generator, good battery, then adding these accessories should not be a problem. One thing you can do is replace regular Mazda light bulbs (GE patented tungsten filament bulb, nothing to do with the car) with new LED bulbs.  LED's draw just a fraction of the current of a regular Bulb. If you change bulbs you may have to change the flasher in the turn signals as LED's sometimes don't draw enough current to operate the regular flasher. Beside using less current LED's are brighter.

 

There are generally two 6V batteries available. Group 1 and Group 2. The difference is in the case size. Most cars use Group 1. They can be found at parts stores like NAPA and at farm stores like Tractor Supply Company.

 

If your system is in good order don't even think about 8V or 12V.

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Thanks! Yes, wiring and battery are new, generator rebuilt and connections all good.....thanks also for the suggestion on LED bulbs.

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LED's draw just a fraction of the current of a regular Bulb. If you change bulbs you may have to change the flasher in the turn signals as LED's sometimes don't draw enough current to operate the regular flasher. Beside using less current LED's are brighter.

 

Be careful here. You have to be driven by light output (lumens, candlepower...), not Wattage. LEDs are only "brighter" if you get the right bulb. At the moment LEDs burn about 20% of the power of incandescent bulbs for the same light output. They are getting better, some are down to 15% and lower. Halogens are "brighter" than ornery incandescents of the same Wattage so you need a higher Wattage LED to replace them than you would for non-halogens - I recently discovered this in replacing the range hood lights. As far as I can tell, compact fluorescents and LEDs produce similar light output per Watt at the moment.

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I strongly believe in retaining 6V systems, but one needs to consider the generator output.

 

My 1934 Pierce has a 25 amp output generator, and that drops to 17A, even with 3rd brush turned up all the way, when the heat sensor kicks in after 8-10 minutes (that was to help prevent overcharging the battery).  A radio of that era will pull 10-12 amps, so if I had a radio in that car I wouldn't run the radio while using the lights.

 

You didn't identify your car, but if you have a 35 amp 2-brush generator with a 3-stage regulator (very late 1930s forward), you shouldn't have any problems running radio and lights together, but you will have a deficit at idle such as at stoplights and signs.

 

Again, not knowing your car, I'd comment on Bob Call's #2 by saying that in the 1930s there were also Group 3 (used in Pierce 8s, for example) and Group 4 batteries (Pierce 12s and others), significantly larger than the Group 2 case size.  Additionally, I know we can get "Group 1 COMMERCIAL" which is slightly taller -- see that it doesn't interfere -- and possibly Group 2 COMMERCIAL.

 

I run two 6v Optimas in parallel in my three Pierce 8s for the reserve capacity (amp/hrs-AH), because I frequently drive at night, not for faster starting.  The Pierce factory reserve specs for Group 3 batteries were 140 AH, and 165 AH for Group 4 batteries.  Each Optima has just 100 AH reserve; two in parallel have 200 AH.

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Grimy, thanks, my car is a '29 Dodge that I hope will be almost a daily driver. This is the reason for the heater and turnsignals. The radio, I thought, might just be a cool era accessory. I have a typical 6v (from Napa) battery. I wondered about a 2nd battery in series, but I haven't seen it done. I do have an extra battery box I can drop in the car....I also wondered if a larger 6v battery might work....again, all wiring, connections and battery are new and I would hate to go to 12v if I don't need to.

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A reminder two 6v battery's in series equals 12v ,  6v in parallel equals 6v but    higher amps

Al

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Further to what Grimy was saying, Group 1 and 2 batteries I believe are rated 135 AH. Nothing wrong with adding another battery in parallel, positive to positive - negative to negative.

 

Look at the tag on your generator and post the brand and model number here and someone should have reference books that can tell you what the amp rating is to be sure it will meet the draw of the additional accessories.

Edited by Bob Call (see edit history)

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All those accessories were added to older cars without problems. I don't know what generator they had in 1929. Worst case you might need a larger generator, or newer generator with higher output.

 

I hope you don't have one of those Dodges with starter/generator in one?

 

A simple solution would be to leave a battery charger on overnight.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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My Pontiac, with its original 3 brush generator, worked fine with an heater, a radio and night driving until I changed to 50/32 headlamp bulbs and started driving four or five hours at night without enough running in the daylight hours.  My solution was to install a single wire 6 volt alternator.  When you are north of the 49th and you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark it is hard to get enough daytime driving and using a trickle charger was a of of bother even though it worked.

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Thanks for all the ideas! I'm going to try just to use the one battery w/ the 6v system for now....I can change down the road if I need. 

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My Pontiac, with its original 3 brush generator, worked fine with an heater, a radio and night driving until I changed to 50/32 headlamp bulbs and started driving four or five hours at night without enough running in the daylight hours.  My solution was to install a single wire 6 volt alternator.  When you are north of the 49th and you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark it is hard to get enough daytime driving and using a trickle charger was a of of bother even though it worked.

I'll add that in 54 Pontiac had A/C for the first time and the car was 6V.

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