By Chris Wantuck
Whether your vehicle is a 1932 Plymouth sedan or a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country, you no doubt enjoy the drive. You can be slowly moving through small town streets in the down town area or travelling at higher speeds on country roads, past the horse farms and corn fields. Today's roads are much better than when these cars were new. Asphalt roads today are a far cry from the wash-board rumble dirt and rock roads available when that '32 Plymouth was new. There has been one noted change, though, that affects all of us. There are many more cars on the road and everyone is moving faster.
One thing we don't like when driving (whether new cars or classic ones) are surprises. When a driver unexpectedly swerves in front of you, crossing your lane to get to the left lane to make a left turn — that can be a bit disconcerting. It is much better for drivers to signal their intentions beforehand so that their maneuver can be safely made. The simplest method to do this is use turn signals to communicate his/her intention of a pending turn or lane change. Equal to brake lights, turn signals alert others of your plan to turn which usually includes reducing your speed.
Turn signals are a rather simple electrical circuit involving just a few components: lights, relays, flashers, turn switch, indicator, and wire. It can be difficult to create a turn signal system. Purchasing one and adding an assortment of extra lights also can prove to be difficult. However, with a little engineering, you can add turn signals to your collector car using only the existing lamps to maintain the car's esthetic appearance.
A turn signal system as offered from S&M Electro-Tech in Blaine, Minnesota accomplishes this as elegantly as any known off-the-shelf system can. S&M's Turn-Switch is an electronic integrated-circuit-based controller that connects all the components together into a single module. This module, usually mounted in an inconspicuous location (such as under the dash board) connects power, lights, brake switch, and the turn switch together. Table 1 shows the results at the cowl and tail lights for the possible conditions such as using the running lights (regardless of head light), signaling left or right, depressing the brake pedal, and using four way emergency flashers.
One benefit of using S&M's Turn Switch controller is the ability to use existing bulbs and light circuits, and in most cases even the original lamps. Tail lights usually have two lights: a low intensity tail (running) light and a high intensity brake light. These lighting systems may feature two separate bulbs with two separate lenses, or could include two separate lamps (housings) or may be packaged as one light with double filament bulbs. Either way they are configured, they consist of two separate electric circuits. The front or cowl lights are a different story, however, usually having a single bulb arrangement only on when the running lights are on. Another front lamp configuration includes running lamps inside the head light. These are usually found on cars before cowl lights were included on fenders or on the body cowl.
FUNCTIONS OF S&M TURN SWITCH CONTROLLER
|Function||Left Cowl Lamp||Left Tail Light||Right Cowl Lamp||Right Tail Light|
|Running Light Off||Off||Off||Off||Off|
|Running Light On||On||On||On||On|
|Left Turn & Brake||Flashing||Flashing||Off||On (Brake)|
|Left Turn, Running & Brake||Flashing||Flashing||On||On (Brake)|
|Right Turn & Brake||Off||On (Brake)||Flashing||Flashing|
|Right Turn, Running & Brake||On||On (Brake)||Flashing||Flashing|
|*Flashers cease when the brake pedal is depressed.|