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Model T

Electrical Information


Ignition and Starter

The first model offering an electric started was in 1918 available on closed  cabs  models only as optional equipment.  They added a ring gear to the flywheel, a 6 volt generator, and the 6 volt battery.  On these electric models they added a 6-volt tail light (1) and the 6-volt electric lighting system. By 1920 all models offered the optional electric start at a price of  $75 .  1925 was the last year open cars were available without a starter, magneto powered headlamp and oil tail lamp.

Models without  the 6- volt starter system work from a magneto system.  The hand crank turns the engine ignored create alternating current.  The current is generated by 16 v-shaped magnets, which are clamped to the flywheel and rotated past a ring of coils fixed to the inside of the transmission case.  Up to 28 volts could be reached depending on the engine speed.

 The current produced by the magneto or stored in the 6-volt battery is distributed to a commutator (timer)  to four vibrator spark plug coils mounted in a case under the dash.  (these coils give a distinct buzzing sound when activated).  These ignition coils boost up the current to operate the spark plugs.

The Lighting System

The first head lamps were actually acetylene gas lamps.  There were two square oil lamps and a square oil tail lamp.  In 1911 Magneto powered electric conversions were offered.    1914 was the last year the acetylene gas lamps and square oil lamps were available.  1915 electric lights with 9-volt bulbs and were wired in series due to the various voltage from the magneto.  In this arrangement the lights were dim at low engine speeds and so bright at high speeds that it would burn out the bulbs.  1917 a magneto powered horn was included as regular equipment.  1919 electric tail lamp  and 6-volt lighting powered by the newly available battery system.