Lotus Elan

Dashboard wiring questions- federal Plus 2

PostPost by: The Veg » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:07 pm

So I'm finally getting the wiring sorted in my dashboard in hopes of getting it back into the car before long. And of course, I've happened upon some things about which I'm not quite certain.

First item: multi-bullet connectors, and how they are portrayed in the electrical diagram.
I see some connectors with a different number of wires in one side to the number in the other side. In this case do they all connect together? Especially perplexing since some triple-connectors appear to be one piece of metal inside while other appear to be individual connections that are merely housed in a common piece of plastic.
img_20171023_164219.jpg and


Second item: the anti-theft switch. The two red/green wires have been spliced together at some point in the past, but the remaining two wires are connected to the switch. Do the spliced wires bypass the function of the switch?

Third item: the brake fail light test switch. Am I correct that this switch is normally open, and that if I eliminate it the light won't come on as long as its wires are not connected to each other?

One more electrical curiosity, not so much related to the dashboard: what exactly does the 'control box' do?

Thanks in advance; I'm sure I'll have more questions later.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:17 pm

Doing the same thing now, too, pal. :mrgreen: Working on a Federal Plus 2s from February 1970.

Some of the connectors designed for bullets have a common connection to all points and some have discreet paths. Easy to tell the difference, of course.

I believe the wiring diagrams always mean common connection if the lines go into the same box. My wiring schematic (the one I've decided is closest to my car) shows a small black rectangle for individual connections.

Find some examples in your wiring of common connection connectors and look at how they're drawn on your wiring schematic. That will confirm for you how these are depicted.

The brake fail test switch . . . not at mine now but it's spring loaded, right? Continuity test it in it's "normal" position and you'll have your answer.

Not quite at the point of your other questions. Glad to hear you're retaining the anti-theft switch, though. Love that thing :mrgreen:

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PostPost by: pharriso » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:45 pm

I can answer some of your questions:

The Veg wrote:Second item: the anti-theft switch. The two red/green wires have been spliced together at some point in the past, but the remaining two wires are connected to the switch. Do the spliced wires bypass the function of the switch?


The anti-theft switch has 2 sets of contacts, one set for the feed to the coil which are closed with the switch off, the second for the horn & are open with the switch off. So putting the alarm on will cut the ignition & sound the horn when the thief tries to steal your car. My guess is your two leads joined together are the coil feed & yes they bypass the function of the switch.

The Veg wrote:Third item: the brake fail light test switch. Am I correct that this switch is normally open, and that if I eliminate it the light won't come on as long as its wires are not connected to each other?


Correct, the test switch only checks that the bulb is powered & functional (i.e. not blown) by providing a separate ground path to the bulb. Normally the ground is only supplied when the brake fluid drops in the SOVY so the float drops & shorts across the two contacts.


The Veg wrote:
One more electrical curiosity, not so much related to the dashboard: what exactly does the 'control box' do?
.


The attached document explains how the DB10 allows the Federal Elan to use a single bulb in each tall light for turn lights & brake lights.
GOLDEN GATE LOTUS CLUB - Elan & Europa (Federal) Indicator & Hazard Light Circuit.pdf
Golden Gate Lotus Club article
(1.34 MiB) Downloaded 153 times
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:08 am

Sea Ranch wrote:Doing the same thing now, too, pal. :mrgreen: Working on a Federal Plus 2s from February 1970.

Mine says 10/69, so close enough that it's probably the same.

Some of the connectors designed for bullets have a common connection to all points and some have discreet paths. Easy to tell the difference, of course.
I believe the wiring diagrams always mean common connection if the lines go into the same box. My wiring schematic (the one I've decided is closest to my car) shows a small black rectangle for individual connections.


Kind of what I suspected. Good to know I was on the right track.

The brake fail test switch . . . not at mine now but it's spring loaded, right? Continuity test it in it's "normal" position and you'll have your answer.


That's why I asked; the continuity test produces dodgy results.

Glad to hear you're retaining the anti-theft switch, though. Love that thing :mrgreen:


I hadn't really decided either way, just wanted to be sure how it worked to inform that decision. If I keep it I'll probably have to find a replacement, as I think the one I have is broken.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:12 am

Thank you so much, Phil, for posting that doc. That club has some really helpful members :mrgreen:

Curious that the author, Tom Carney, consistently identifies the terminals/contacts on the DB 10 differently than my DB 10. Down the one side he lists them as 1, 6, 7, 8. On the other they are labeled as 5, 2, 3, 4. My DB 10, the terminals are simply 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 6, 7, 8.

Hmmm . . . guess I will have to contact him to see what's up.

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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:16 am

The anti-theft switch will definitely be an easy switch to source. Very common, I believe. Unlike the DB 10, which British Wiring list, but at $160US :shock:

Nice looking unit inside, I'll grant you that. But at that price, we will do well to guard and protect the one we have :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:33 am

pharriso wrote:The anti-theft switch has 2 sets of contacts, one set for the feed to the coil which are closed with the switch off, the second for the horn & are open with the switch off. So putting the alarm on will cut the ignition & sound the horn when the thief tries to steal your car. My guess is your two leads joined together are the coil feed & yes they bypass the function of the switch.


Thanks; I'll have a closer look at the diagram and see if I can verify that. Sounds useful.

Correct, the test switch only checks that the bulb is powered & functional (i.e. not blown) by providing a separate ground path to the bulb. Normally the ground is only supplied when the brake fluid drops in the SOVY so the float drops & shorts across the two contacts.


Since my car doesn't have the SOVY I'm guessing that the pressure differential switch is what activates the light. I'm ditching that switch along with the servos, so I guess that means I can assign the FAIL light to indicate something else now. Or not, in the interest of adding lightness. :mrgreen:

One more electrical curiosity, not so much related to the dashboard: what exactly does the 'control box' do?

The attached document explains how the DB10 allows the Federal Elan to use a single bulb in each tall light for turn lights & brake lights.


The 'closest-fit' drawing I have says 'RB 340 Control Box.' Is that basically the same thing as a DB10?
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:34 am

Have you got the factory workshop manual for the Plus 2?

The wiring diagram for the "Elan =2S, alternator, federal, shows the "DB 10 Relay" almost dead-center in the schematic.

Shoot me a pm if you don't; I can help you out .. . :mrgreen:

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PostPost by: wotsisname » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:59 am

RB340 is fitted when you have a dynamo (rather than an alternator). It ,in effect, controls the charge / discharge of the battery.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:14 am

wotsisname wrote:RB340 is fitted when you have a dynamo (rather than an alternator). It ,in effect, controls the charge / discharge of the battery.


Yes, aka the Voltage Regulator
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:58 pm

Hrm, OK, different items then.

Yes, I do have the original workshop book. The drawings I'm using are the "March '68-March '69" one and the "+2 RB340 Control Box (federal), negative earth," as these are the closest fit to what I've found in the car and so far they are spot-on. The car is October 69 according to the plate in the doorjamb and not an S. These drawings show no DB10 (or anything with eight connections), and only a handful of individual relays such as main, dip, etc. Just in case I do have a discrepancy, where in the car would the DB10 be located?

As for the regulator, my car was originally equipped with a dynamo but some PO installed an alternator, probably a long time ago as it's rather big and chunky and old-looking. Making sure that it is wired properly is on my list of things to do.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:38 pm

Veg, quick note as some of the info here seems a bit confused. Your car (50/2036) is presumably identical to mine (50/2181). Mine was in stock form a 1969 build date Federal with four minor gauges, two fuses, flat switches. Judging from some of the responses guys might be thrown off with your car listed as 1970, which I think are typically six minor gauge, lots of fuses, etc. I had the same issue as my car is registered 1970; I changed the vintage in my signature line as it gets confusing.

EDIT. See you clarified build date above while I was typing. Would recommend chNging your signature line to 1969.

From your picture you are using the correct Federal diagram where the wires are numbered rather than called up by colour code. My car followed this diagram exactly. However, the diagram can be hard to read as it is not the usual schematic, so I often had to look at the other Plus 2 schematics to figure out an individual circuit. I also relied on the standard British Standard wire colours (lots of listings on-line, this one has the standard listed):

http://www.team.net/sol/tech/LucasColours.html

Diagram in my Lotus WSM is called:

LOTUS ELAN PLUS 2 FEDERAL
(RB 340 CONTROL BOX)
March ?68 ?> March ?69

The date range is hand written, so not sure if it came from the factory.

As mentioned already, the Control Box in this usage is the mechanical box that regulates the generator charging current/voltage. The DB10 refered to is not present on our cars, as I think it relates to a later NA regulation on the various tail light filaments.

EDIT. I see you are on an alternator. I completely removed the regulator during my rewire. I have a copy of alternator Instructions from Ray at RD that might help you to check over your wiring in this area.

Yes the brake fail is triggered by differing pressures between the front and rear brake circuits (no SOVY). In my car the switch (called the PDW Valve on the schematic) is located left side proximal to the pedal box. Both the test button switch and the PDW are momentary normally open switches. If you are ditching the switch and thinking of reassigning the warning light, you might want to consider a low oil pressure light?

I would absolutely ditch the anti-theft switch as it is prone to failure. Back in the day I recall being stuck at Whistler Mountain as the owner of the Plus 2 didn?t know about the feature. The switch either failed or got bumped, and we couldn?t figure things out in the parking lot and hitchhiked home. To me there is a certain irony in trying to electrically immobilize a vintage British sports car. :D

At a minimum get a new switch I guess. For reliable anti-theft I installed a remote controlled relay that turns off all the power to the car, which I really like.

The switch has the following:
- one (2) Black Ground: Used to ground the horn?
- two (8) Red/Green: Basically the ignition feed to the coil. Runs from the tach and voltage stabilizer mounted on the tach. Will need to think a bit to recall the details. From memory you are correct that joining these two defeats the imobilizer feature, but not 100% sure right now.
- one (21) Purple/Black: Horn trigger from horn relay (switched to ground by horn push or anti-theft switch; joined at firewall bullet connector).

Regarding the mass of loom connectors in your picture, I would seriously consider replacing them with modern plastic multi-pin block connectors with integrated crimp spade connectors. I got mine here:

http://www.vehicle-wiring-products.eu/s ... connectors

They have a few kits available with several different sizes and the required crimping tool. The big advantage is once these are installed and working you will never have an issue with miss-reconnecting the mass of wires to essentially identical bullets.

Position the connectors so your entire dash can be removed by simply disconnecting the plugs. Figuring out how all the bullets go together is really a job you only want to do once! :D The common style connectors Randy described are replaced by crimping multiple wires together at the spade crimp. The crimping is a double roll affair, not the unreliable crimped deals we get here at the auto parts store.

I can?t 100% remember the convention in the drawing, but generally if you see the same number directly opposite the bullet is straight through and isolated. Where you see two of the same number on one side and the same number opposite they are connected (e.g. 11 in your picture). The puzzling ones are like 12 and 13 in your picture; I think I had to examine the other schematics to figure out if they were connected.

When you get to the wiper circuit, I recall they actually changed conductor colour at one of the bullets. :?: You will see it when you get there, but not readily apparent if everything is apart now. I think it is shown in your picture as (6) Blue/Yellow to the wiper motor joined to (40) Black/Yellow to the wiper switch. The minor pain with the wiper circuits is Lotus did not use the standard colours.

HTH. Ask away as you proceed. Do confirm your model vintage as well.

Excellent winter project, but not to be rushed. Although it can seem frustrating and tedious at times, I was always motivated by imagining paying a professional to dig through the issue. :D

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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:50 pm

stugilmour wrote:Veg, quick note as some of the info here seems a bit confused. Your car (50/2036) is presumably identical to mine (50/2181). Mine was in stock form a 1969 build date Federal with four minor gauges, two fuses, flat switches. Judging from some of the responses guys might be thrown off with your car listed as 1970, which I think are typically six minor gauge, lots of fuses, etc. I had the same issue as my car is registered 1970; I changed the vintage in my signature line as it gets confusing.
EDIT. See you clarified build date above while I was typing. Would recommend chNging your signature line to 1969.


Yes, it is exactly like that. Thanks for the suggestion; I think I'll do that.

From your picture you are using the correct Federal diagram where the wires are numbered rather than called up by colour code. My car followed this diagram exactly. However, the diagram can be hard to read as it is not the usual schematic, so I often had to look at the other Plus 2 schematics to figure out an individual circuit.


Just my luck that I've got the car for which the diagram with the wires bundled instead of drawn separately applies. But I took that and another that seems relevant to a local copy & ship place and had them blow them up to about 2' x 3', which makes the drawings *MUCH* easier to use.

Diagram in my Lotus WSM is called:

LOTUS ELAN PLUS 2 FEDERAL
(RB 340 CONTROL BOX)
March ?68 ?> March ?69

The date range is hand written, so not sure if it came from the factory.


Yep, that's the one.

EDIT. I see you are on an alternator. I completely removed the regulator during my rewire. I have a copy of alternator Instructions from Ray at RD that might help you to check over your wiring in this area.


I'd love a look at that.

If you are ditching the switch and thinking of reassigning the warning light, you might want to consider a low oil pressure light?


Excellent idea.

To me there is a certain irony in trying to electrically immobilize a vintage British sports car. :D


Indeed! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

At a minimum get a new switch I guess. For reliable anti-theft I installed a remote controlled relay that turns off all the power to the car, which I really like.


Sounds great! Although the manual gearbox and choke are probably quite effective for keeping a huge percentage of people from being able to drive it anywhere. :lol:

Regarding the mass of loom connectors in your picture, I would seriously consider replacing them with modern plastic multi-pin block connectors with integrated crimp spade connectors. I got mine here:

http://www.vehicle-wiring-products.eu/s ... connectors


I may have to look into that. My plan was to use a pair of 15-pin Molex plugs, which I've already purchased but have only installed one on the dashboard side and none on the car side. Not too late to change plans if I like your suggestion better.

When you get to the wiper circuit, I recall they actually changed conductor colour at one of the bullets. :?: You will see it when you get there, but not readily apparent if everything is apart now. I think it is shown in your picture as (6) Blue/Yellow to the wiper motor joined to (40) Black/Yellow to the wiper switch.


I think I remember seeing that last night as I was looking at all kinds of stuff on the drawing.

HTH


It definitely does!

Excellent winter project, but not to be rushed. Although it can seem frustrating and tedious at times, I was always motivated by imagining paying a professional to dig through the issue. :D


I'm actually way behind where I'd hoped to be by now. I moved into this house back in December but between getting settled here and then getting my fiance settled here starting in July, I've lost some considerable garage-time. Now I'm less busy with domestic stuff and time is returning, so progress awaits.

Tangling with the wires doesn't scare me so much, as many years ago I was an RF-electronics technician for Uncle Sam. I've forgotten most of the actual electronics theory stuff, but following a wiring diagram and making sure that the electrons go where I want them to go has never been a big deal.

Right now the plan is just get all the electrics working and make some small improvements. At some point down the road I'd like to totally re-wire the car, maybe if I ever do that big body-off refurb I often think about.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:06 pm

DB 10 was factory mounted at the left end of the engine bay firewall, inside the cockpit, vertical orientation.

Stu . . . "To me there is a certain irony in trying to electrically immobilize a vintage British sports car. :D " That's very funny!!! :lol:

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PostPost by: Bud English » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:33 am

Stu . . . "To me there is a certain irony in trying to electrically immobilize a vintage British sports car. :D "

With the anti theft switch still active, the car can self immobilize at will, and will do so at the most inopportune time. Mine did that to my ex in the middle of the Felixstowe train station parking lot during her first solo drive. The car was never tied up after that whenever I wanted to use it. She never trusted it again. Perfect! :lol:
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