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Homemade Rallyman-type fog and driving light switch

Discussion in 'Modified Alpine' started by Alpine 1789, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    I would like to try to make my own Rallyman-type fog and driving light switch. I’ve bid on a few original Rallyman switches on eBay but never won, but what I really want is something that would look correct and could be put into the dash board in place of the panel light switch. I am thinking that I could find a 4-position rotary switch (off-on1-on2-on3) and wire it up to a series of relays to allow me to turn on the fog light, driving light or both. Then, I’d only need to find a knob that looks right, possibly taking one from a different Lucas switch of the era. Of course, nothing is ever as easy at it seems, so I thought I’d poll the group before I try. Does anyone see any major problems with this approach? Does anyone know of a good switch that would work?

    I’ve attached photos of a few I found with about 5 minutes of surfing to give you an idea of what I am thinking.
  2. Andrew

    Andrew SAOCA Web/Graphics Service Donation Time

    Hi Jim,

    I think the two switches you have shown would be great.
    This would be a cool project and it would also be neat to make up a custom switch plate for the dash that would have Fog, Driving and off text on it.

    I would love to give it a go but I would need to talk to you at the Invasion and see the switch you wish to use.
    Will you be at the Invasion this year?

    Another good question for the wise electrical guys or gals out there, what should be done to protect the lights and switch (in-line fues, size)? Should one be worried about to many amps or current going through the switch?

  3. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    A knob would be needed that is small enough to clear the lower dash pad roll. My car is still in the shop, so I'm without an example to check clearance.

    I would think the dash hole for a Lucas switch would be big enough, but would check in advance, although the stock hole in the dash could be enlarged if needbe.

    The only other thing that comes to mind would be establishing On, &&&etc labels if they are desired. They could be put on the dash somehow to match where the switch points.

    I looked into this same thing about a year ago, but did not get very far. Good luck; your plan sounds like a good one!

  4. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    Actually, I was thinking about using something like the switch knob below. This is an old light switch I bought years ago with the idea of doing something like this with it. The switch itself is interesting. It has four different contacts, plus a common with two contacts. But it only has three positions: off, on1, on2. But, if I could adapt the knob to fit a different switch...

    Attached Files:

  5. Lee DeRamus saoca0404

    Lee DeRamus saoca0404 Donation Time

    It can be done. Before I found my Rallyman switch, I converted a switch much like you show, but an older model. It had "off", "side", "headlight", and "fog". It is the same one I have in my 55 Jag XK-140 FHC. Upon taking it apart, there was curved brass strips with holes in it. Some holes had brass rivets, and some didn't. The rivets were the contacts for each position. My first try of adding rivets from the local hardware store, found in the small boxes (drawers) didn't work. The height of the rivet heads was not high enough. This meant replacing all rivets on the strip in the positions I wanted. It took a couple of hours, and an ohm meter, but I ended up with a light switch that had "O", "F", "LR", and "Both". It has the chrome knob with a sort of paddle on one side and a pointer on the other. Looked and worked great. I repainted the disc that had "O", "S", "H", & "F". I used rub on letters from Micro-Mark, www.micromark.com. It is an original Lucas switch, and looks like it grew there. I think the Lucas part number was 31287, but I think they made several like this.
  6. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor


    I visited a couple of hardware stores today and bought three different switches. That, combined with my web surfing, suggest to me that there are two different types of rotary switches that might work:

    Type 1 is correct from a wiring perspective. It has one common and two switched wires. Position 1 is Off; position 2 is On Wire 1; position 3 is On Wire 2; position 4 is On both wires. This switch would certainly be the easiest to wire, but it has two drawbacks. First, they are full rotary, meaning they only go in circles. So, after position 4 you keep turning the knob clockwise to off. This isn't serious, but it seems like it might get annoying in practice. Second, the two switches I bought seem flimsy. I worry about how they will hold up, although at only $5-7 it wouldn't be a big deal to replace them periodically. None of the three wire switches I found online look any better.

    Type 2 switches are sequential, meaning they go clockwise through positions 0, 1, 2 and 3, then back counterclockwise 3,2,1,0. That seems like it would work better and these switches also seem better made. Unfortunately, they have a fourth wire for the fourth position. So this one would require some clever wiring to make position 4 power both lights. I'm not quite sure how to do this, but I know we have a number of people in the club with far more electrical experience than I do. Is there a way to wire the fourth wire to power both lights?

    BTW: none of the switches I bought today will fit directly into a dashboard; the threaded portion on all of them is smaller than the standard Lucas switch. However, making some kind of adapter doesn't seem like it would be too difficult. I'll worry about that once I have the wiring figured out.
  7. Lee DeRamus saoca0404

    Lee DeRamus saoca0404 Donation Time

    Jim, If you could open either one of these switches, you might be able to modify it, like I did on the original Lucas headlight switch. I gave it to my nephew for his 59 TR3. I had it for about 3 years and he has had it on his car for another 2 years. I am an electronic technician with 43 years service. If I knew the correct relays, and the contact arrangement, it would be easy to use switch #2.
  8. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    I'm partial to Switch #2, as well. Could it be as simple as buying two relays (one for each light) and hooking On1 to one, On2 to the other, and On3 to both of them? I was looking at generic automotive relays at Radio Shack the other day and am fairly certain they had two line in terminals.
  9. Mark B

    Mark B Platinum Level Sponsor

    You might want to look at some of the headlight switches for vintage motorbikes on ebay UK. They are nearly identical to the wipac Rallyman and could be modified. I was going this route when I won an actual rallyman.

    From what I remember, the BSA Bantam switch was very close and I was going to make an aluminum circle plate to go behind the switch with the appropriate labels, ie Fog, Spot, etc. Try a search with the keywords, "wipac batam switch" on Ebay UK and you will see what I mean. Some are two position and others are 3, so look closely.

    Mark B
  10. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    Thanks for the tip Mark. I have seen those switches before, but never noticed that some were three position. I'll look more closely from now on.
  11. Lee DeRamus saoca0404

    Lee DeRamus saoca0404 Donation Time

    I would use relays for each type of light. One for fog, one for spot, and the third would be for both. The third one would have to have 2 sets of contacts,
    one for the fog, the other for the spot. Over the years I have burned the contacts for a couple of fog/spot light switches by not using relays. Most switches just can't handle the current that these lamps draw. The instructions for my Rallyman doesn't say to use relays, but I did. The worst case is a wiring fire. Fuses should protect the wiring, but I can speak from expreience, sometimes they don't. When I was a kid I saw a MGTC with a wiring fire under the dash, because a relay wasn't used for the one large fog/driving light.
  12. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    My lucas rotary switch that went missing resurfaced :) . It only 3-way, but the seller tossed in a knob to help me get going.

    I uploaded a picture just to illustrate the knob.

    It's a pointer knob, maybe not what you want, but it clears the gauges and the lower dashpad roll. I stuck a gauge into the dashpad to indicate where its chrome bevel reaches. The dashpad roll area is indented.

    Unfortunately now my mm ruler has gone into hiding, so I don't have its measurement, but the pic gives an indication of the size.

  13. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

  14. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    Thanks. Funny how things seem to show up on eBay whenever they are discussed here. :p

    That is one of the best looking packages I have seen, but the price seems high. I've been trying to buy one of these for years and don't recall ever seeing one go for that much. Of course, the dollar is worth a lot less then it was when I first started looking. Since the packaging on this one is in such good shape, it is probably worth the price if you aren't planning on actually using it - like people who pay extra for toys with the original box.

    However, while this is the period correct way to do it, I really like the idea of putting the switch in the dashboard, in place of the panel light switch. I've never examined one of these closely, but it doesn't appear as though it would work there.
  15. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    I suspect the Wipac pointer knob would be too long to fit on the dash.

    While tinkering with the Lucas switch, I noticed one other variable. The size of the switch may be large enough so that it won't fit into a dash switch hole adjoining the windscreen washer.

  16. Ken Ellis

    Ken Ellis Donation Time

    Jim, et al,
    If you can live with non-standard lighting operation, you could do it with two standard headlight switches...

    The compromises would be: 1. no parking light only setting. 2. no independent control of gauge lights. 3. no aux light-only position.

    Too many compromises? Stop reading now.

    Standard switch up position: all lights off.
    Center position: headlights/parking lights/dash lights on
    Down position: Standard lights, plus your choice of aux lights
    selected by the setting of the standard light switch in the dash light hole.

    Aux light switch:
    up: Aux light A
    center: Aux light B
    down: A + B aux light

    Of course, relays driving everything.
    Should be able to do it with no surgery to standard wiring harness,
    and be totally-reversible.

  17. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    Interesting idea Ken. Thanks. I never use just the parking light and I wired my panel light switch to the headlight switch years ago, so it is just a dummy now. However, let me offer an alternative idea to your suggestion:

    Standard switch:
    Up position: all lights off
    Center position: headlights/parking lights/dash lights on
    Down position: Both Auxiliary lights on

    Aux light switch:
    Up: Both Aux lights off
    center: Aux light A
    down: Aux light B

    This would be easier to remember, but would require some clever thinking (beyond me, at least at the moment) to figure out how to wire the relays to prevent problems from accidentally throwing the Aux switch when the Standard switch was in in the down position.
  18. husky drvr

    husky drvr Platinum Level Sponsor


    I think the normal headlight switch is made internally so that whatever is "on" in the center position will also be "on" in the bottom position.

    Just a thought,
  19. Ken Ellis

    Ken Ellis Donation Time

    Jim and Don,
    I can sit down and pencil out some possibilities in a day or so... it's pretty busy at work at the moment. Keep in mind that you can turn off a relay by feeding +12 to both sides of the coil as well as no volts across the coil. Relays are maintenance items, too...

  20. Andrew

    Andrew SAOCA Web/Graphics Service Donation Time

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