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-   -   powering down the alternator (http://www.fuelly.com/forums/f9/powering-down-the-alternator-9606.html)

green swift 08-01-2008 10:59 PM

powering down the alternator
 
I have just finished putting all input and outputs on my alternator on switches.I see no charge on the battery now. I will try this out to see the diiffernce.It has been noted a 10% gain from unbelting the alternator but I have a huge problem with that, I cannot seem to find a belt to just run the water pump.I will also install a 15watt solar panel on the rear hatch tray cover to charge the battery while the car sits. Also, a soalr panel for the front window don't know which one yet probably the 5.5 watt one from ebay.

Striving to beat the oil barrens every MPG.

theholycow 08-02-2008 05:28 AM

It's cool that you're trying this. It's a common idea but I and most others are easily talked out of it. I can't wait to hear the results.

GasSavers_Erik 08-02-2008 09:48 AM

I too am anxious to see your results. It would be great to see a gas log.

I found a detailed repair manual for 1987 Civics and one of the differences between the HF and non-HF CRX schematics was an "alternator control module"

GasSavers_BEEF 08-02-2008 10:59 AM

another possibility is to just unhook the alternator. leave the belt and the alternator in place. this won't yield as high a gains as if you had a shorter belt but it will allow you to see the difference.

metroMPG did an experiment like this but without the solar panels and saw 10% increase but, he actually took off his alternator and fabricated a belt.

kit352 08-02-2008 12:28 PM

im interested too. im in the process of getting everything together for the switch panel and battery monitor. plan is to switch it off after the inital start and turn it back on again once the battery reaches a certain level, probably be around 12v which is around 20 miles of controlled driving. i too am going to use solar as a secondary power source so maybe itll add a mile or 2 or coasting over the course of a few days.
im guessing ill gain around the standard 10% while the alt is off. so say 3mpg for 20 or so miles. i think my next step will be to increase that range by lighting changes or possibly solar panels. im gonna use the ones that came with vw's since they are good quality and i already have some.
please be sure to get back with the results and any notes you may have on it. pics of your interior set up would be nice too.

theholycow 08-02-2008 12:54 PM

If either of you have any problem, you might want to ask user rgathright for advice. He's running a Jeep with the alternator disconnected and using a deep cycle gel cell so he doesn't have to turn it back on; and he's using a power supply that makes sure there's always 14v, since some systems expect that much.
http://www.gassavers.org/garage/view/1440

rakkassan34 08-02-2008 03:46 PM

look into other ideas to drive your accessories such as turbo's or electric motors. I've wondered if I had a strong enough electric motor driving my water pump, air cond, power steering, alternator and what ever else would the alternator keep the battery charged enough

kit352 08-02-2008 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theholycow (Post 113714)
If either of you have any problem, you might want to ask user rgathright for advice. He's running a Jeep with the alternator disconnected and using a deep cycle gel cell so he doesn't have to turn it back on; and he's using a power supply that makes sure there's always 14v, since some systems expect that much.
http://www.gassavers.org/garage/view/1440

seems like his setup is the final solution for doing this. and it looks like he got decent gains, somewhere between 3-6mpg depending on his limited input which is about were i figured to be. only problem i see with his setup is he has an easy $300 into if not more which is fine after its been tested but i think it can be done for almost free. i should have it done in a few weeks, i just wanna datalog my removal of a/c and power steering for a bit longer before i make some more changes.

rakkassan34 08-03-2008 05:23 AM

I can't wait to see your results Kit352. I've always wondered how much gas accessories were robbing. I recently had an idea to have a turbo power all the accessories. I searched the net and found it's not a new idea but couldn't find any mileage gain numbers. More common is a turbo powered alternator for big rigs.

rmcelwee 08-03-2008 08:37 AM

It does not seem plausible that the alt takes 10% of the energy the engine produces (assuming that that translates into a 10% MPG savings). I am definitely not scared to build an alt on/off switch for my car but I am waiting to see some real results first. I would think that I could build something to crank with my hand that would charge the battery but couldn't have 9 others cranking to propel my car 65 MPH. Something just doesn't add up.

FWIW, I am doing a Miata based MPG project right now. My last project was a high powered lightweight Miata and I considered using a Geo alt to save a pound or two of weight. A smaller alt would probably have an affect on the MPG of a car. Perhaps gear (pulley) it so it turns slower and just barely makes enough energy to power the batter during the total drive vs powering and shutting off (or whatever an alt does when it has charged the system completely).

Just my $0.02

DracoFelis 08-03-2008 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmcelwee (Post 113799)
It does not seem plausible that the alt takes 10% of the energy the engine produces (assuming that that translates into a 10% MPG savings).

Actually 10% (or even more) is quite plausible in small cars, especially going down the highway. Remember, the smaller (and more fuel efficient) the car is to begin with, the fewer HP you really need to use to maintain highway speed. As a result, a one or two HP drag from the alternator, could easily translate into 10% (or more) of the total HP that has to be generated by the engine (to both power the alternator and keep the car moving down the road).

BTW: No, I haven't fully disconnected my alternator either (due to the issues involved with doing so). However, I have taken steps to lower my electrical usage in my CRX (energy efficient LED car lights, don't use accessories when not needed, adjusted my electric radiator fan to run less often, etc) , and such steps have produced very noticeable (if not huge) gains in my FE (in my case, I seem to be getting a 5%-10% gain in my FE as a result of my electrical savings efforts). And since disconnecting the alternator completely is (at least from a theoretical standpoint) equivalent to bringing your electrical usage drag (on the engine) to zero (vs simply lowering it, as I have done with my electrical savings techniques), it stands to reason that fully disconnecting the alternator should show even more gains than I've achieved with my electrical power saving approaches.

So this approach is a very sound way to improve FE some. OTOH how much it will help, will generally depend upon the car (some are already better in this area than others). And even in the cars where such an approach helps a noticeable amount, it's still a question as to if the cost and effort of doing this mod is justified by the fuel savings. And the later reason is why I don't (at least not yet) fully disconnect my alternator, but instead just take steps to lower electrical usage in the car (which gives me part of the benefit of a full alternator disconnect, without some of the hassles associated with a full alternator disconnect).

kit352 08-03-2008 03:40 PM

of everything ive studied and read 10% mpg gain is a very realistic number. i think it maybe more or less depending on the car but thats an average. i think older carbed cars would respond much better to this since you can run the battery for longer with no alt but even then modern cars are pretty energy efficient. of course this would probably a mostly summer thing with me since i would be driving at night in winter so i better get cracking. probably get everything sorted and in in the next few weeks.
my new plan after doing a bit more research involves running the field wire to an illuminated toggle switch and to my brake light. im thinking itll act abit like regenerative braking. you want the car to slow down if your on the brakes anyway so the alt should add a bit of resistance to the motor. not much gain really but thats the best time i can think of power on the alt for as little mpg lose as possible. the rest of the system will consist of a voltage meter in dash for alt output and one for battery state. seems like 12v is as low as you want to take a car battery before you start killing it.
i know from my recent endeavors of getting rid of the a/c and power steering the net gain was nearly 3mpg for each on. so the gain was around 6mpg for the two but im still working on more backup data to prove it but i know it does, just need the numbers to dispute the claims of others. it would stand to reason that the alt would be the same. if you spin them all with a load the alt is one of the hardest to turn. the power steering is very easy until you turn the wheel and the a/c is a bit hard but the clutch cycles it on and off.
i would love for someone to do this ahead of me. i dont doubt the gain and i dont doubt the way to do it, i just cant start changing things now. ideally id like to see a bunch of data from others on various cars to get an average of findings. im also gonna start looking into reducing my electrical load in the mean time. ive already ditched my amp and subs so i guess im looking at bulbs. ill get started on that but again i cant put them in until after my currecnt trials and after my trials on the alt disconnect. by then i should be able to have an average tiem i can run the car as is on battery alone then compare to low load electric car. im figuring around 20 min of highway driving in the day before i have to reactivate the battery, probably around 15 min of light city driving due to brake light usage. ill also see how the small solar panel pans out. im not figuring on it doing much but it free since i already have it.

theholycow 08-03-2008 04:55 PM

I like the idea of hooking up the brake light to the field control. Even better would be if you could make it switch on during DFCO, but it could be difficult to detect DFCO.

DracoFelis 08-03-2008 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kit352 (Post 113828)
ive already ditched my amp and subs so i guess im looking at bulbs.

BTW: As someone who has converted most of his car lights (in the CRX, lessor conversion has been done to the other family cars) to LED modules (except for the headlights, as there aren't street legal LED headlight replacements yet), IMHO one of the the best "bang for the buck" areas (i.e. most power saving benefit, for the least cost/hassle of the LED modules) is to start with the small wedge based lights that most cars have (the even smaller "74 bulbs" that many dashes use for dash lights are even a bigger "bang for the buck", power savings wise, but "pulling the dash" to get to those little suckers is often more of a PITA than many want to tackle for their first LED replacement task). And after trying various small wedge modules, I'm finding that the $5 modules from http://www.superbrightleds.com, that look like a small circuit board, seem to make an excellent (and very bright) replacements for a wide range (and even size and wattage) of small wedge based car bulb model numbers. And if you do follow my advice on this style LED module, (as with all LEDs) be sure to match the module color to the car lens color (i.e. red module behind a red marker lens, amber module behind a front amber marker light lens, and only use the (warm) white module for clear lenses such as the license plate lights use for example). Picture below:

http://www.superbrightleds.com/produ.../wled-whp6.jpg

NOTE: As someone who has converted most of my car lights to LEDs, I naturally know that buying some of the big ($24+) Luxeon LED modules (for the main brake/turn/tail lights) will ultimately be needed if you want the full power savings of getting all the lights converted (while still maintaining better than OEM brightness in those "lights"). And before you do that, you will likely have to convert your existing flasher to an electronic one, or you will likely have a "too fast" flash rate (as most OEM flashers will flash the bulbs fast, due to them thinking a bulb is burned out, if/when you have the lower current draw of LEDs).

However, you can easily do a project over time, starting with "the low hanging fruit". And (as I've already mentioned) I've personally found those $5/each (very bright, full 360 degree) 6-LED modules to be some of the best deals out there in very bright LED "bulbs" that will replace virtually any small (12v) "wedge based" bulb you might otherwise be using in the car (which with many cars includes not only "marker lights", but also things like trunk and glove box lights, and even things like the bulbs in the "high brake light"). So IMHO they are a good module to get you started (just follow my advice and don't put a white module behind a colored car lens, even if/when the original incandescent bulb was "white" in that situation, as you will get much better light output if/when you match the LED module color to the color of the car lens that LED module is behind).

But of course, all cars are different, and so while I've had good luck with that style LED module (in fact, I'm about to order a few more for the family cars that I haven't yet converted all the small "wedge bulbs" over to LEDs), YMMV. i.e. I can't promise that those modules will work as well for you as they have for me. All I can do is relate my (positive) personal experience with them when used in multiple family cars.

Edit/addition:
If you still have a "high brake light" that uses real bulbs (the high brake light was often the first light car makers used LEDs for, but some older cars still use incandescent bulbs for this function), don't forget to check which style "bulbs" it uses, as many such "brake lights" actually use (somewhat bigger and slightly higher wattage) bulbs that still use a small wedge base. And if your car has such "bulbs" for its "high brake light", those $5 modules (obviously you'll want the red version of that module for brake lights) IMHO make excellent replacements for those "high brake light" bulbs. Because, not only are those modules (as is pretty much true of all LEDs) able to turn on a fraction of a second quicker than a stock incandescent bulb (which for a brake light can actually be a minor "safety feature", as it gives the person behind you just a little more reaction time), but at least in my experience (and I've now got that module in the high brake lights of three different family vehicles) the red version of that module (when used in a high brake light containing the normal red lens) usually has an effective brightness GREATER THAN the stock incandescent bulb it was replacing! So you save power vs the stock bulbs, get slightly faster turn on of the lights, and also get a replacement that is brighter (and easier to see) as well. Win-win-win in my book.

kit352 08-03-2008 06:06 PM

im not sure that can be done. i think the brake light thing is as close as you can get. later on ill probably rig a system to do everything automatically. once the battery has a decent preset charge itll shut it self off until the battery hits the preset low volt or if the brakes are applied . i cant see a better way of doing it. im not sure it can be done with dfco, if my car even has it. although if dfco cuts power to the pump completely a simple light could tell you its deactivated then a signal would go to a controller that switches on the alt.

kit352 08-03-2008 06:14 PM

its gonna take me a while to figure out that led light thing. i wouldnt even know were to begin when ordering. ill have to go out and do a light census.

Jay2TheRescue 08-03-2008 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theholycow (Post 113834)
I like the idea of hooking up the brake light to the field control. Even better would be if you could make it switch on during DFCO, but it could be difficult to detect DFCO.

I've been holding my brake pedal at about 1/4" while DFCO'ing to traffic lights for fear that I might get rear ended otherwise since I live in a pretty urban area. I also remember seeing a module in the JC Whitney catalog many years ago that would hold your brake lights on for up to 5 or 6 seconds after the brake was released. I may consider tracking one of these down. I think what I may do is take the module and wire it up to a momentary on pushbutton switch on the bottom of the dash. Pushing the button would light the brake lights for 5 or 6 seconds, then they would go out.

-Jay

DracoFelis 08-03-2008 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kit352 (Post 113844)
its gonna take me a while to figure out that led light thing. i wouldnt even know were to begin when ordering. ill have to go out and do a light census.

As mentioned in my previous post, I personally would suggest you start with a few smaller wedge based car bulbs, to get your feet wet.

As to the car bulb census, you will most certainly have to walk around the car to count bulbs. But the following web site actually does a pretty good job at identifying the type of "bulbs" that most cars call for. Now, naturally (since that site if trying to sell you their incandescent bulbs) you won't buy your "bulbs" from them, but they are still a nice resource to tell you which bulb model numbers you are trying to match (but they aren't such a good resource for giving you an exact bulb count, as they won't for example tell you how many "marker lights" you have, just which "bulb" each "marker light" uses):
http://www.sylvania.com/ConsumerProd...lacementGuide/

And once you have the general OEM bulb "model numbers" of your bulbs (by a combination of that web site and a physical count of the number of "bulbs"), you can use this cross-reference to get an idea of which types of "bulbs" can be replaced with which LED modules (even though they are "technically" different wattage/color/etc OEM bulb models):
http://www.superbrightleds.com/bulb_cross.htm

NOTE: The "WLED series" (i.e. small wedge based bulbs) are pretty much ALL interchangeable (except for LED color, which you will always want to match to the color of the car lens the "bulb" is behind), no matter what the original OEM bulb model number is! Yes, there are technical differences between the different (small wedge based) bulb models, but those differences are things like how many watts/lumens the bulb is, what color it is, etc. And most of that is not material info when converting over to LED modules! Which is why I'm now thinking the best approach is simply to use those $5/each 6-LED modules (again, match the module color to the car lens color) I mentioned in my previous post, for pretty much all 12v small wedge based "bulb" needs. The reason I'm now thinking this, is that those modules are pretty much the brightest (and most wide-angle) of any small wedge based bulb replacement I've found (and at $5/each, they are still not that expensive of a replacement LED module).

NOTE: My experience is that you do get what you pay for with LED modules. Try to save a few $$$ on the module cost, and your "cheaper module" will likely be less bright, more narrow angle field of view, or both (and as a result, you may eventually replace it anyway). So IMHO the extra cost for getting the brighter (and wider viewing angle) modules is often well worth it in the long run.

Jay2TheRescue 08-03-2008 06:51 PM

Your owners manual should tell you what bulb numbers are used in your vehicle. I know mine always have, but maybe that's a GM thing... I've never owned a non-GM vehicle.

DracoFelis 08-03-2008 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 113846)
I've been holding my brake pedal at about 1/4" while DFCO'ing to traffic lights for fear that I might get rear ended otherwise since I live in a pretty urban area.

Most cars will turn on their brake lights before you have done enough pedal pressure to actually start braking (and with many cars you can even adjust the sensitivity of the brake light on switch connected to the brake pedal). And if you experiment somewhere you can see this light (or temporarily wire up an extension bulb to the brake light circuit, so that you can see the "brake lights" while driving), you can quickly learn how light of a touch "on the brake" will engage the brake light in your car.

And FWIW another thought I had (which I haven't yet gotten the energy to do to my CRX, but is still on my "to do list"), was to simply wire up a small (red) dash LED to the brake light circuit, so that I can always (easily) see (while driving) if/when the brake lights are on. Yes, I know if I'm braking a lot that my brake lights will be on, but when I simply want to press them just hard enough to engage the lights, the exact pedal pressure is not so clear...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue (Post 113846)
I also remember seeing a module in the JC Whitney catalog many years ago that would hold your brake lights on for up to 5 or 6 seconds after the brake was released. I may consider tracking one of these down.

Sounds clever. However, I could see that also getting you "in trouble". For example, you are starting to move forward from an intersection, and yet your "brake lights" are still on for a few seconds (confusing the driver behind you, and possibly even causing undo attention from a cop wondering why you are "riding your brakes").

So IMHO a better choice would be simply another (only on while being pressed) button, that is positioned somewhere that is easy to press when you want to, which only turns on your brake lights (while you press it) and otherwise does nothing. Ideally, you would want this mounted somewhere that it is easy/trivial to press when desired, but otherwise not in your way. For example, maybe you could mount it somewhere on the steering wheel itself (or maybe on your stick-shift if you have a manual)? Or perhaps a floor mounted button would work good, as you don't exactly need your "brake foot" (and therefore it should be "free" to engage the brake lights) if all you are doing at the time is DFCO (and you just want to alert the drivers behind you to the fact that you are slowing down).

In any event, those are some thoughts I had, and you are free to take this advice or leave it as you see fit. Either way it costs you the same amount (i.e. free). ;)

green swift 08-07-2008 12:30 AM

Powering down the alternator
 
I have already changed every light except headlights and dash lights over to LEDS. I have noticed with this new mod the car going up hills is effortless not like before. I also notice you don't need any throttle to move the car in first gear. The load on the engine is reduced a huge amount. I have not been able to do any highway testing yet no time...I have been told DO NOT SELECT THE SWITCH ON OR OFF WHILE ENGINE IS ON OR SEVERE ELECTRICAL ISSUES COULD HAPPEN LIKE BURN OUT THE OBDII COMPUTER.... Only select charge on when car is off and if you want to go power off then again select it when the car is off to be safe. I will post my gains cheers.....

Jay2TheRescue 08-07-2008 04:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DracoFelis (Post 113855)
Most cars will turn on their brake lights before you have done enough pedal pressure to actually start braking (and with many cars you can even adjust the sensitivity of the brake light on switch connected to the brake pedal). And if you experiment somewhere you can see this light (or temporarily wire up an extension bulb to the brake light circuit, so that you can see the "brake lights" while driving), you can quickly learn how light of a touch "on the brake" will engage the brake light in your car.

And FWIW another thought I had (which I haven't yet gotten the energy to do to my CRX, but is still on my "to do list"), was to simply wire up a small (red) dash LED to the brake light circuit, so that I can always (easily) see (while driving) if/when the brake lights are on. Yes, I know if I'm braking a lot that my brake lights will be on, but when I simply want to press them just hard enough to engage the lights, the exact pedal pressure is not so clear...


Sounds clever. However, I could see that also getting you "in trouble". For example, you are starting to move forward from an intersection, and yet your "brake lights" are still on for a few seconds (confusing the driver behind you, and possibly even causing undo attention from a cop wondering why you are "riding your brakes").

So IMHO a better choice would be simply another (only on while being pressed) button, that is positioned somewhere that is easy to press when you want to, which only turns on your brake lights (while you press it) and otherwise does nothing. Ideally, you would want this mounted somewhere that it is easy/trivial to press when desired, but otherwise not in your way. For example, maybe you could mount it somewhere on the steering wheel itself (or maybe on your stick-shift if you have a manual)? Or perhaps a floor mounted button would work good, as you don't exactly need your "brake foot" (and therefore it should be "free" to engage the brake lights) if all you are doing at the time is DFCO (and you just want to alert the drivers behind you to the fact that you are slowing down).
In any event, those are some thoughts I had, and you are free to take this advice or leave it as you see fit. Either way it costs you the same amount (i.e. free). ;)


That's a good idea... I'm thinking a floor mounted momentary switch on the left where the MFR's used to put the dimmer switch... Man I miss floor mounted dimmer switches. I think they were a lot more convenient than on the steering column.

-Jay

DracoFelis 08-09-2008 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by green swift (Post 114309)
I have already changed every light except headlights and dash lights over to LEDS. I have noticed with this new mod the car going up hills is effortless not like before. I also notice you don't need any throttle to move the car in first gear.

Yes, quality LED modules can actually be brighter than stock (many of the cheap modules are dimmer than stock, but some of the quality ones are brighter than stock), while still giving you aprox 90% power savings over incandescent bulbs (a win-win situation IMHO).

And while you can't convert your headlights to LEDs (yet), it is still pretty amazing how many watts those other (secondary) lights (that come on with your headlights, and also if you just use the "1st position" on the headlight switch) add up to. Depending upon the car (all cars seem to have a different mix of bulbs these days), you can easily save anywhere from 50-200 watts of power (whenever your lights are on), simply by converting car lights to LED modules. And while that still isn't a huge number of amps of power, with many cars (especially smaller, and generally more "fuel efficient" cars), it can be more than enough power difference to make a very noticeable (if not real huge) difference in both idle speed and total fuel economy.

OTOH keep in mind that while LEDs are often "a good thing", you get even more power savings by simply turning off lights when they aren't needed. For example, during bright daylight I have my exterior lights all the way off to save on power (and yes, it does make a small difference vs just running my LED modules).

And I also limit my use of the full headlights (which like virtually all cars, tend to be power hungry) to only when I really "need" them (either to see, or because I'm legally required to have them on), and not when I just want other cars to see me. If I just want other cars to see me (which includes all sorts of marginal lighting conditions from heavy overcast to simply being near sun down), I instead use my secondary lights (i.e. all the exterior lights EXCEPT for the headlights and fog lights). Yes, even with my secondary lights now being LED modules (which only draw about 1/10th the power that the stock bulbs would), the secondary lights still draw a few watts of power when they are on (which is why I turn off even my secondary lights in bright daylight). However, IMHO that power usage (for the secondary LED lights) is a small price to pay to be easily seen (by other drivers) during marginal lighting conditions!

BTW: I'm assuming you don't make this mistake, but just in case anyone else reading it does...

I've actually seen quite a few clueless people run their "fog lights" (the lower set of front facing "headlights", that are only supposed to be run during fog or heavy rain/snow) all the time they have their normal lights on. Apparently they figure they look "cool", or they think it will somehow make it easier for them to see (when in fact most "fog lights" only really help visibility in some types of bad weather). Not only does this waste a lot of power (i.e. lowers fuel economy due to the extra electrical load), but fog lights also tend to blind other drivers (in much the same way as running with your "high beams" always on would do). And to add insult to injury, fog lights are also illegal to leave on all the time in many areas (i.e. in many states, you technically can get a ticket if you run your fog lights when the weather is good, or if you fail to turn them off when approaching other cars).

As to me, the electrical circuit for my fog lights actually has a problem with it, and those "fog lights" mean so little to me that I still haven't bothered to get that fixed after 3 years or so. IMHO just make sure your headlights are top-notch (I have the very bright "Toshiba HIR" bulbs in my main CRX headlight assembly), and your secondary lights (which in my CRX are now super bright LED modules) are in good shape, and "fog lights" seem a bit redundant. Yes, my car has a place where they are mounted, but I still think the times when I want a lot of light "very low" (and am willing to pay for the power usage to get that extra light) will be few and far between. At all other times, "fog lights" (at least traditional fog lights, there are now starting to be after-market LED fog lights) are just a waste of power (and therefore fuel economy) IMHO.

kit352 08-09-2008 02:06 PM

i actually found a site that sells the whole led kit for my car. its a bit more than 100 bucks but includes everythign thats practical. saves me a bit of running around too. i may look into getting them at a later point since i cant justify the cost now. all it would take is for me to blow one light though.

theholycow 08-09-2008 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DracoFelis (Post 114600)
If I just want other cars to see me (which includes all sorts of marginal lighting conditions from heavy overcast to simply being near sun down), I instead use my secondary lights (i.e. all the exterior lights EXCEPT for the headlights and fog lights).

Not only does it save energy, but it prevents glare. :thumbup:

Now if manufacturers could just use those lights, or similar lights, for DRLs instead of using headlights...I hate DRL glare.

Quote:

but fog lights also tend to blind other drivers (in much the same way as running with your "high beams" always on would do).
I've read this countless times posted by others, but despite being very sensitive to glare, most "fog" lights don't bother me -- and certainly don't bother me as much as most DRLs. Especially GM fog lights, which tend to be 27 watt 880 bulbs in diffused housings... Anyway, glare offense for me would be greatly reduced if cars with "fog" lights had their DRLs rewired to them.

Besides glare, lots of dimmed-headlight DRLs end up fooling drivers into forgetting to turn on their headlights, and they're driving with no rear lights on and insufficient forward lighting.

I have my DRLs disabled and just turn on my "secondary" (as you call them) lights when I think they could enhance my visibility, though my GMC has inoffensive dedicated DRLs.

Jay2TheRescue 08-09-2008 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theholycow (Post 114622)
Not only does it save energy, but it prevents glare. :thumbup:

Now if manufacturers could just use those lights, or similar lights, for DRLs instead of using headlights...I hate DRL glare.



I've read this countless times posted by others, but despite being very sensitive to glare, most "fog" lights don't bother me -- and certainly don't bother me as much as most DRLs. Especially GM fog lights, which tend to be 27 watt 880 bulbs in diffused housings... Anyway, glare offense for me would be greatly reduced if cars with "fog" lights had their DRLs rewired to them.

Besides glare, lots of dimmed-headlight DRLs end up fooling drivers into forgetting to turn on their headlights, and they're driving with no rear lights on and insufficient forward lighting.

I have my DRLs disabled and just turn on my "secondary" (as you call them) lights when I think they could enhance my visibility, though my GMC has inoffensive dedicated DRLs.

My truck uses the low beam headlights at reduced brightness. I've been driving with my headlights on for many years... Its a byproduct from when I used to drive emergency vehicles and 6 ton trucks. I just got in the habit of always driving with my lights on.

-Jay

DracoFelis 08-09-2008 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kit352 (Post 114604)
i actually found a site that sells the whole led kit for my car. its a bit more than 100 bucks but includes everythign thats practical. saves me a bit of running around too.

My main word of caution with any LED "kit" (much less a "complete car kit") is to make sure you are either going to get satisfying results (because enough technical detail about light levels/angle is provided before you buy the kit), or that you can return the "kit" if you don't like the results. Because the problem with many LED kits, is that all too many of them (in an effort to trim costs) cut corners on brightness and/or viewing angle, resulting in lights that don't work as well as stock bulbs.

Which is part of the reason I did my conversion over time, as it let me try various modules, and only buy more of the ones that I liked the results from. And the main thing I discovered (after some failed attempts at "penny pinching"), was that it really did seem "worth it" to get the brighter LED modules even if/when (as was often the case) those weren't the cheapest modules available for a given "bulb" replacement. In fact, some earlier attempts to save money, actually ended up costing me more, as I found that some of the cheaper modules just weren't bright enough (and ended up replacing them with the brighter, more expensive, modules anyway).

OTOH when I tried to buy modules on specs (i.e. went for the brightest and widest viewing angle modules), I found that it's now possible to get LED modules that work BETTER (have more effective light where you want/need it) than stock bulbs! So by going with some of the brighter LED modules, I actually got both the power savings AND lights that are easier for others to see (a win-win IMHO, but it did require me to spend a little more initially on the LED modules I bought).

i.e. I'm all for saving power and money. However, with car lights you generally don't want to go with a significantly dimmer than stock "bulb" (or one that has a narrower viewing angle), as doing so will just make it that much harder for you to be seen by other drivers. And sadly, all too many LED modules are currently being sold without any light level specs (which makes you wonder what the makers of those modules are hiding). But if you hunt around (and carefully choose which modules to buy), you can now get the power savings of LEDs, while also getting an upgrade to your effective lighting. So while a proper choice of LED modules will actually make your car easier for other drivers to see, a poor choice of LED modules (which is what you will get, if/when you just buy on price alone) will make your car harder for other cars to see.

BTW: Most of my LED modules have been purchased from http://www.superbrightleds.com (which I have no financial connection with, I'm just one of their customers). I picked them as my main place to buy LED modules for the family cars (after my Dad showed me their web site), as they have a very wide selection of pre-fabricated (direct "bulb replacement") LED modules (making the "upgrade" almost as easy as replacing car bulbs), and their prices are reasonably competitive (compared to other web sites selling similar stuff). And unlike a lot of car LED "bulb" merchants, SuperBrightLeds.com actually posts the light specs of their LED modules directly on their web site (which makes it a lot easier to see what light performance you can expect from each module, vs having to blindly guess if a given LED "bulb" is bright enough to provide satisfying results).

flapdoodle 08-11-2008 08:22 AM

Efficiency of automotive alternators is limited by fan cooling loss, bearing loss, iron loss, copper loss, and the voltage drop in the diode bridges; at part load, efficiency is between 50-62% depending on the size of alternator, and varies with alternator speed.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternator)

V-belt are not terribly efficient. Figure 80% after the belt has been used a while.

Toothed belts can be as high as 98% efficient.
(Gates)

My car has a ton of electrical add ons and a 90 amp alternator. Worst case:
90A X 14v = 1260 watts
Figuring 50% efficiency, 2520 watts
2520/746 = 3.37 Hp

I have a problem with switching the alternator on and off. The power to recharge will still have to be generated using gasoline.

I have a deep cycle battery in the engine (because my desulfator seems to like deep cycle batteries) and I have a larger deep cycle I can put on the floor on the passenger side and plug into the cigarette lighter (fused at 30 amps).

Suppose the alternator is disconnected, I can do my run in town, then use house current and a battery charger to restore what current was used overnight. Cost might be a few cents.

The only problem I can see would be the electric choke heater, which runs of ~24 volts AC from the alternator. For testing I could just block the choke open. Ultimately I would want a manual choke.

theholycow 08-11-2008 08:36 AM

Did someone say "desulfator"? Was it a DIY, or a commercially available product?

flapdoodle 08-11-2008 08:39 AM

I did. My design. I sell plans cheap. I hesitate to post it here, but message me and I will send you the URL.

flapdoodle 08-11-2008 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theholycow (Post 114776)
Did someone say "desulfator"? Was it a DIY, or a commercially available product?

Oh what the heck, it's here:
http://flapdoodledinghy.com/desulfator.html

itjstagame 10-01-2008 07:12 AM

How'd your electrical experiments go? I want to do this too. First I want to properly record the amount of amps (and therefore watts) each system is drawing. Then maybe lower this with LED lights and maybe try to offset with some solar.

I really hate those 1/4 watt, battery tenders though, they're really pricey for what you're getting. I don't mind finding a cheap solar panel on ebay or elsewhere and really want to give peltiers a try, but I'm stuck on what to use as a charge controller. I guess keeping voltage near 14v makes sense even without an alternator, so is there maybe a dual purpose system like that, hook a battery or two (for range) to it and also any electric generation, like solar, and it'll always put out 14v and recharge only when needed, etc? Or plans to build one (more preferable).

My worry with the LEDs is when I'm in DFCO, I want to build them expecting an exact voltage, the 14v thing might do that. I think I'll also need a 555 for when running lights are on to 'dim' my brake lights (same bulb/socket) and have to make my own blinker units. I don't have time to trace and rewire my car ...

Jay2TheRescue 10-01-2008 07:40 AM

There are companies that build LED modules as a drop in replacement for incandescent bulbs. One mentioned fairly often here is superbrightleds.com

-Jay

rgathright 10-08-2008 12:25 PM

Just found this thread and wanted to give you all an update...

The high Louisiana heat forced me to put the alternator cabling back on to power my air conditioner. I am also facing problems with my tires being to tall and causing my MPG to never get high because I have to sping 50Lbs worth of rims. I am trying to find some better rims for my Jeep TJ that are lighter.

suspendedhatch 10-08-2008 05:06 PM

If you have a 1988 or later Honda, the alternator is already pulse-width-modulated. In essence it only puts as much drag on your crank as is necessary to keep the battery charged. If it's an American car you might see some advantage to doing this. We wont know until you post your honest results.

If your battery voltage drops below about 10 volts the injectors don't work as well and as a workaround the ECU will increase the injector times to try to keep the car running as long as possible. What happens is the air/fuel ratio goes very very rich.

Ba1100ns 10-26-2008 07:10 PM

Best of Both
 
I have read most of this one and think if we combine both Ideas it will work.

1) Alternator that can be switched on and off. Many one wire alternators out there or learn how to turn yours off and on.

2) when brake light is on make the alternator. Use the power robbing alternator only when you are slowing the vehicle. Kinda Like regenerative braking on electric vehicle. Maybe even upgrade to a more powerful alternator so you will charge enough during stops.

3) Put in Led's and solar panels just to be cool!

4) Stop buying gas and build a electric :)

Larry

http://fiero-ev.blogspot.com/

rgathright 11-03-2008 06:50 AM

I recommend against using a solar panel because they are very expensive and will get damaged easily in a car.

Jay2TheRescue 11-03-2008 07:48 AM

I think any plan that involves disconnecting the alternator needs to have LEDs to reduce the vehicle's consumtion of battery power A small solar panel (maybe 1/2 amp?) would also be nice to negate the battery discharge of the brake lights during daytime hours. You can get those 12v solar panels that are supposed to keep the battery topped off relatively cheap.

-Jay

GasSavers_BEEF 11-03-2008 08:35 AM

the solar panels you are talking about are really small (5 watts I think) which really isn't worth the time or money in my opinion. they are really good for RVs that just sit. still I guess every little bit helps

also jay, I like your jay the dry cleaner. it is like joe the plumber but with out the stereotypical butt crack. lol

Jay2TheRescue 11-03-2008 09:25 AM

Yeah, I should have shown up at that rally with a "I'm Jay the Dry Cleaner" poster, but I'm glad I didn't. For some reason security made you leave all posters at the gate. You weren't allowed to bring your own in. :(

-Jay


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