Lotus Elan

Driving Lamps on +2S

PostPost by: wparslow » Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:57 pm

Hello again. I'm beginning to understand now that owning a +2 is a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge in that once you think you've tinkered everything you just start at the beginning again.

I have an uprated alternator fitted to my car by Mattys which has at least stopped the battery draining to nothing after half an hour's night time driving but if I use the driving lamps the battery drains to nothing almost before my very eyes.

Any ideas as to why they generate such a draw, they are basically unusuable because of this?

Thanks again +2 forum in advance for your tremendous help.

Wayne
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:16 pm

There has to be something wrong with your charging system or battery

With a decent battery and standard alternator you should be able to run all the electrics on a +2 without a problem.
John

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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:29 pm

I agree 100% with John, time to start checking ground wires I'd guess.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:51 pm

Driving lamps? Surely Fog lamps! They are placed way too low to be any use to see where you are going any better than dipped lights... In fact they will make it worse by giving a bright patch close to the front of the car making your eyes less sensitive to the distance at lower light levels - a common error in night driving. I can count the number of times I have needed Fog lamps on the fingers of one hand in 40,000 miles in the +2. That said, earthing makes an enormous difference to the light output of the headlamps, and use a pair of H4 halogen lamps. I have also noticed that in grotty weather, it is all to easy to forget the muck that builds up on the lens. Give the pod a tilt and have a look at them from time to time.

Jeremy
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PostPost by: wparslow » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:25 pm

Jeremy, you make a valid point with regard to driving lamps vs fog lamps however before starting this post I searched the boards for fog lamps first but only found anything relevant using the term driving lamps - hence my use of the term as it seems to be the one (wrongly) favoured by this board.

I right with you dude, thanks,

Wayne
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PostPost by: type26owner » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 pm

Don't know if this relevant for your car or not but the stock wiring loom has the wire sized only to carry the full load from the generator if that's what was installed from the factory. Most of the alternators will put out twice the amount of current. You have to add another wire to handle the extra current or the wire could overheat. You would also be wise to add what's called a fusible link which is heavy-duty fuse for the battery wire. Since the alternator is directly connected to the battery at all times, if it shorts out then the battery can explode if it sparks nearby or the smoke escapes from the loom.

Some new headlamps/foglights draw more current then the old type so it could be mismatched.

Sounds like your battery is duff. Take the car into a mechanic and have the battery load tested into a carbon pile. They usually will do this for you for free. When it comes to lead/acid batteries heavier is better. Consider going to a gell-cell battery now because the quality has improved enormously recently.
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PostPost by: type26owner » Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:20 pm

You can also check the battery condition at home if you have VOM. Top the charge up with a battery charger. Crank the engine over with the ignition disabled for about ten seconds, that removes the 'surface charge'. If the battery voltage measures only 12.6 it's suspect. 12.4 or below and it's definitely replacement time.

People wait too long before replacing the battery. Thereby they create an overload condition for the alternator and quickly damage it too. This stuff is preventable if you know what to look out for.
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PostPost by: wparslow » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:08 am

Thanks for your observations Keith. The Alternator and battery were replaced with higher output units (both new) by Paul Matty's - the battery was an Excel spec unit so there is almost certainly no problem with it or the charging system per se.

Thanks for your points avbout wiring and fuses though, I'll have 'em checked out.

Wayne
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