Lotus Elan

flasher/headlamp dimmer switch

PostPost by: ted » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:33 am

My recently acquired LHD S2 has the dimmer switch on the floor, but I see in several parts diagrams that some cars have a stalk on the opposite side of the steering column from the turn signal switch which appears to function as a dimmer switch and also has a momentary function to flash the lights. I'd like to use the momentary function of this stalk to flash some auxiliary lights. Is this switch a standard Triumph switch and if so does anyone know which models/years it came from? If not is there something else that might work?

Thanks for any insight.

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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:53 pm

The early UK Elans used the matching Triumph Herald/Spitfire indicator and lamp switches with just two positions on the lamp switch available (the third being blocked by a piece of wood).

The later (UK) cars used a later Triumph switch which included a flash capability but whether this can be rerouted to other lamps I'm not sure. It used to raise the lamps too (using a solenoid which the S2 doesn't have) so it might be double pole. (edit: it has been pointed out, below, that this applies only to the +2, sorry)
Last edited by Quart Meg Miles on Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:45 pm

I wonder if Meg is referring to the +2 rather than the two seater. I've had a few of every model S1-4, all convertibles and no sprints. On all of them, the only means of raising the headlights was by pulling on the vacuum switch on the dash. If the main headlamp switch was off and the pod microswitches worked, then the headlamps on a couple of them would flash briefly courtesy of the very unreliable single pole flasher relay when they were raised. The steering column stalk only ever switched between main beam and dipped and there was never a third position. Now, I've only had UK-spec cars, so US spec cars might be different - "Sits back in chair, puts tin hat on and awaits the flaming arrows of correction from those who know better than me" :-D
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:04 pm

nigelrbfurness wrote:I wonder if Meg is referring to the +2 rather than the two seater.

As far as the flasher and solenoid operated vacuum system goes you are right! I had a S130 but I assumed that the contemporary Elans adopted the same system. So apologies for misleading the community.

Regarding the "third position" of the lamp switch you are correct, but if you remove the cover you may find a piece of wood blocking a third position (above level). A friend used it so he could drive with the lamps raised but not lit, but I use mine as a "dim" position, using a relay to place the dip filaments in series across the lamp supply. I fitted it in the early 70s when I was driving through Kingston in the rush hour and didn't want the battery drain of full headlights. I fitted repeater flashers at the same time for the close traffic work.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:39 pm

Quart Meg Miles wrote:Regarding the "third position" of the lamp switch you are correct, but if you remove the cover you may find a piece of wood blocking a third position.


Never did find the Lotus part number for that wood :lol:
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:55 am

Note this modification was for my Federal Plus 2, but may work for what you want.

I purchased a used later type Triumph stalk (Spitfire, Herald, etc?) that included the flash to pass feature (pull back against a spring to flash).

As I didn't want to fuss with wiring the light pods to raise, I connected the flash to pass switch to independent driving lamps mounted behind the grille. I had to modify the Triumph switch by cutting an internal bridge in the switch between two terminals. I can't recall the exact details but it was pretty obvious what had to change. Needed separate power supply to the flash to pass switch so that it works with the headlights on or off.

All lighting used Bosch style relays, so only relay trigger current thru the column switches.

HTH

Stu

PS Can't recall details, but I swapped the two stocks side to side so that the turn signal stalk is on the left hand and the dip / main/ flash stock is to the right hand. Less confusion with a modern daily driver.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:18 pm

types26/36 wrote:Never did find the Lotus part number for that wood :lol:

I suspect it is a Standard Triumph part as the basic switch is the same as the turns indicator. :idea:
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