Lotus Elan

Smartscreen Intermittent Wipers Review

PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:06 pm

After suffering through the wettest June known to man in our area, I decided to try to get intermittent wiper functionality on the Plus 2. After some searching on-line, I found the Smartscreen system, which is specifically made for British classics. This is a great little product!

http://www.moss-europe.co.uk/Shop/ViewP ... dexID=4396

http://www.smart-screen.co.uk/

I ordered mine directly from Smartscreen and recommend this route to make sure you get the correct unit. Jonathan answered all questions promptly by email, accurately confirming the unit I needed for my Plus 2 Federal (1969 build, original negative ground, c/w two-speed self-parking wipers and electric washer system switched on the hot side of the washer pump) . All these details are important for correct unit selection. Units are available for different wiper and wiring configurations. I would recommend using the well laid out flow chart on the web site to ensure you get the correct unit for your application rather than the "Select by Marque" feature; e.g. I installed the SS05/P in my car, but the marque call-up seemed to indicate SS05/N was the appropriate model. Jonathan caught my ordering error with an order confirmation email and supplied the correct unit, so no issues and much appreciated. Shipping to Canada was easy and inexpensive by regular mail. Payment by credit card sealed the deal.

The installed size of the unit is only approximately 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" with allowance for the spade connectors. The plastic encased unit is very light; I have used double sided tape to mount it and it seems OK. The unit is weather sealed, and Jonathan confirmed it is OK to mount under the bonnet. The kit even came with a selection of female spade connectors with plastic boots and a couple of tapping connectors. Instruction sheet was very complete as well, although I modified the recommended physical location of the wiring a bit to suit the tight fit in the Lotus; the instructions assume locating the unit near the wiper switch behind the dash. Bottom line: as my wiper loom was long enough I was able to install the unit easily under the bonnet in an hour or two without removing the dash.

The operation of the unit is straight forward.

  • Pressing the intermittent window wash switch activates the wipers on normal speed for three cycles and park correctly.
  • The existing two-speed wiper switch works completely as normal.
  • The stock switch and wiper motor do not have to be changed.
  • No additional wire is required in the wiper loom if there is sufficient slack. A short portion of wire may be required from the wash motor power wire to the unit.
  • No additional fuses are required. All wires (except the wash power wire) are located in the wiper loom.
  • The intermittent feature has an adjustable delay range of 3 to 30 seconds.
  • The intermittent delay is easily set. Turn the wipers on to low speed for one cycle by flicking the wiper switch on & off rapidly. Wait the delay period you want, and flick the switch again. The delay is now set, and the wipers work intermittently with the wiper switch left in the off position. The delay is canceled with either one more flick of the switch, turning the car off, or turning the wipers on continuously.

To assess your installation difficulty, I found I needed about 3" to 4" of slack in the wiper loom under the bonnet to easily make the connections to the unit. With this much slack in the loom the female spade connectors can be added to the Green power supply, Black ground, and Wiper Park wires by cutting the wire and crimping them back together with the supplied female spades. The install requires cutting the Normal Speed wire and attaching each end to separate terminals on the unit. The High Speed wire remains continuous and unaltered, and does not attach to the unit. As my wiper motor is on the opposite side of the car, I had to route a tap from the window squirter power wire across the fire wall; this was actually the most time consuming portion of the job.

A note on Lotus wire colours. Many models use 'non-standard' (or earlier standard?) wire colours for the wiper loom. From my notes for my Federal car the stock colours were as follows. This may assist with checking out your loom and following the Smartscreen instructions, which reference the standard colours. As with all Lotus wiring, YMMV. :)

  • Blue/Yellow at the motor plug and Black/Yellow at the wiper switch = "PARK"; Standard Colour is Brown/Light Green. In the Federal Plus 2 Lotus actually changes wire colour at the main connectors between the dash loom and the front loom. :shock:
  • Light Green = "FAST SPEED"; Standard colour is Blue/Light Green.
  • Yellow = "REGULAR SPEED"; Standard colour is Red/Light Green.
  • Green = "Hot in Run and Start, fused"; Standard colour is the same
  • Black = "Ground"; Standard colour is the same
  • Black/Blue = "WASHER"; Standard colour is Light Green/Black

I searched the archives and didn't see this product mentioned here before. There are a fair number of posts on other British car forums recommending the product, but not a lot of detailed how-to information out there, hence the long post. Overall it looks like a great little mod that is pretty simple to install. Adds a nice modern feature to the car without a lot of alteration or hassle. Installation should be easily reversible if desired or if the unit fails; I could easily replace the cut wires in the wiper loom with a block connector and remove the washer tap wire to return to stock.

Cheers! Got to go update my wiring diagram. :)
Attachments
Smartscreen Install 1.jpg and
This shows the mounting position on the right side of the car. My non-stock wiper loom is positioned on the right side; IIRC the stock Plus 2 configuration routes the loom down the left side of the car, across the nose cone, and back up the right side of the car. If this is the case, wiring would be even easier as the washer pump power wire can be picked up easily and there is more slack in the loom length. I have space on the fire wall as the stock solenoid is removed from the car. In stock configuration, consider mounting the unit on the left side of the car.
Smartscreen Install 2.jpg and
This pic shows the unit itself. The image is rotated counter clockwise from the actual mounting position to show the six terminals and their labels. The W and Sw terminals are for the Red/Light Green Low Speed wiper wire that requires cutting. The rest of the wires (Light Green fused power, Black Ground, and Brown/Light Green Park) are tapped to the unit but still run continuously from the wiper switch to the wiper motor. The single Light Green wire is from the washer switch. The Blue/Light Green High Speed wiper wire is left intact and not attached to the unit.
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PostPost by: worzel » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:26 am

Hi Stu

When I bought my car in 78 it had been fitted with a variable wiper control- not as sophisticated as that one though. I assumed it was some sort of rheostat. To vary the speed/delay a simple knob was rotated. The switch/knob had been fitted under the steering column- not a clever idea since I soon dislodged it with my knee not long after buying the car. I removed it then found that the self park facility no longer worked. Still haven't fixed it 34 years later! I think they're a good idea on any car.

Regards

John
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:57 pm

:) John, thx for the reply. Have added some other info...

I think there are several designs for these controllers, but the basic idea is similar for wipers with self park. They use the existing self parking circuit to get one wipe cycle completed in a timed interval. The rheostat or potentiometer control on some of the designs is used to vary the interval of the timed pulse to the motor from the controller. A single pulse is sufficient; the self park feature completes the wipe cycle and turns the motor off. I expect this is why the lower limit of delay interval on some of them is three seconds; this allows one wipe cycle to be completed before the controller sends another pulse.

Apparently there are several ways of building the timing circuit with either digital controls or capacitor / resister combinations with set discharge rates. All of that detail is magic to me, so I was happy when I found this unit with clear instructions for the Lucas set-up. :) Before I found it, I thought I would have to modify a VW or Hella unit from a donor car; pretty sure this would have ended in disaster or at a minimum become known as a DPO. :)

A simple rheostat connected to the motor would not provide intermittent operation; rather I think it would change the speed of the wiper motor and lower the motor power.

In your case I would be thinking there is/was some sort of control devise in the bowels of the DPO wiring, and the park circuit was altered. If you want to fix yours in the future, this link is a very good explanation of how the stock circuit works; I meant to attach this link to the original post as background. Same caution regarding wire colours applies; this link uses the standard wire colours.

http://www.vtr.org/maintain/wiper-problem.shtml

One other note. On my car the motor 'plug' was connected to the wiper loom with five separate female spade connectors. With this set-up it would be very easy to connect the wires incorrectly as IIRC the colours within the motor housing are a bit different from the loom colours (or so faded I couldn't tell). I purchased one of these loom plugs to prevent future wiring errors.

http://www.autosparks.co.uk/product_inf ... ts_id=1220

http://www.britishwiring.com/Wiper-Moto ... p/c805.htm


Although the topic is completely different, this link shows a diagram about half way down of the Lucas 14W motor plug as viewed looking at the motor. This can be used to check out wire colours to their function on the car. I have added the relevant picture of the plug below.

Lucas Wiper Motor Plug Picture.jpg and
Picture of the Lucas 14W Two Speed wiper motor plug with the terminal functions listed. This picture is looking at the motor, and therefore corresponds to the back or wire side of the loom connector. The face of the loom plug is the mirror image, which makes more sense of the terminal number system. My Federal Lotus wiring diagram shows the connector upside down to add to the amusement. The 'Auto Park +ve Supply' in this picture corresponds to a Green loom wire, and the 'Auto Park Switch' corresponds to the PARK wire in the loom, which is usually Brown/Light Green in the standard colour scheme.


http://www.vitessesteve.co.uk/LucasStuf ... tuff2.html

HTH

PS Still raining here so I think I'll give it a road test. :)

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PostPost by: Rokkbert » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:23 am

I've been looking for some subtle mods to do on my plus two and seeing as I live in a notoriously wet part of the world, maybe this is something I should consider!
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:43 am

Still working 2 1/2 years later. Nice feature and less chance of scratching my windshield. :)

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PostPost by: Famous Frank » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:26 pm

Stu,

Very good write up! I'm close to putting the dash and new wiring harness in my 66 S2 SE. That would be a great mod although I'm a little scared to start modifying a brand new harness. I'm already considering electric headlight lifts and will be using an electric radiator fan. It's hard to imagine how to hook all this up to just two fuses! Ha!

I'm considering it. Great write up!

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PostPost by: Foxie » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:47 pm

stugilmour wrote:After suffering through the wettest June known to man in our area, I decided to try to get intermittent wiper functionality on the Plus 2. After some searching on-line, I found the Smartscreen system, which is specifically made for British classics. This is a great little product!


I had problems with poor wiper operation. Many years ago. I replaced the wheel boxes and cable, and regreased the motor. The biggest improvement was fitting relays to both the low and high speed power supplies.

I had fitted a Hella Variwipe, but the Smartscreen looks the business, i have just ordered one.

Bring on the rain ! :)
Last edited by Foxie on Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: jeff jackson » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:21 pm

Hi all,
I am intrigued by this thread, So I decided to work out how to do this myself.
Basically the circuit would entail two relay's and a 555 timer. (or one relay, a FET and a 555timer).
Sketched out the circuits last night, so I may well build one at the weekend and see if it works.
If it does I will post the circuit here.

Regards
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:37 pm

Why not just fit an intermittent wiper relay in circuit ?

Photo to follow if required..

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PostPost by: vxah » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:48 pm

john.p.clegg wrote:Why not just fit an intermittent wiper relay in circuit ?

Photo to follow if required..

John :wink:


For me, because it would need another switch somewhere?
I was going to fit a "rain tracker" system to my +2 as this setup gives you rain sensing wipers and can turn the lights on in low light conditions, I have it on my modern Europa and it works better than some of the factory fitted systems on other cars I have driven! Problem was I just could not find anywhere to put the sensor head on the +2 screen that did not look just, wrong! So, I found and fitted the Smartscreen, it works great except I keep forgetting how to use set it!
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:54 pm

jeff jackson wrote:Hi all,
I am intrigued by this thread, So I decided to work out how to do this myself.
Basically the circuit would entail two relay's and a 555 timer. (or one relay, a FET and a 555timer).
Sketched out the circuits last night, so I may well build one at the weekend and see if it works.
If it does I will post the circuit here.

Regards
Jeff 72+2


You should only need one relay or a power transistor, with your 555 chip and a few resistors/capacitors.

It's a function frequently used in Electronics learning/training books. Provided that you generate a pulse long enough for the wiper to leave its rest position and provided that your self parking is working, the intermittent wipe circuit should work fine. My relkevant books are packed away though.

Generally the difficulty occurs in finding a suitable control device: variable resistor or multi position switch.

I have a Maplin's kit here somewhere that I was going to build up for this job, had it ages but not gotten around the soldering it together. http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/velleman-wipe ... -kit-ve03d
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:33 pm

I have had a Smartscreen wiper control on my MGB for the last 8 years and it is very useful. Mine has the wash/wipe facility so that when I operate the electric washer the wiper is also activated and makes two or three sweeps once the washer switch is released.

I do find that you can sometimes get confused as which mode the unit is in. For example, you have been driving in rain with the wiper on constantly. Then the rain eases off. You switch off the wiper. Then you need an intermittent wipe for road spray. One flick of the switch, wait for X seconds, one more flick and it's working, but you want to alter the wipe rate. So you flick again to switch it off then have to start again. Keeping track of all this while negotiating motorway traffic means that I sometimes don't know whether the unit is on or off. A minor problem, and I dare say I could fit a warning light to let me know if the unit is active. In the main it is a very useful gadget.
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PostPost by: jeff jackson » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:28 pm

Hi Bill,
Like Isaid a relay and a FET.
BTW that Vellerman circuit from Maplins has two relays.

My circuit was sketched out in about ten minutes, that's why I said it may need two relays or one relay and a FET.

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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:12 am

jeff jackson wrote:Hi Bill,
Like Isaid a relay and a FET.
BTW that Vellerman circuit from Maplins has two relays.

My circuit was sketched out in about ten minutes, that's why I said it may need two relays or one relay and a FET.

Regards
Jeff


>BTW that Vellerman circuit from Maplins has two relays.
True but their coils are merely wired in parallel, they use two to increase the number of output contacts.
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