[Healeys] New Classic Technologies Fuse Box

Gil Rockwell gilrockwell at gmail.com
Thu Dec 17 07:52:01 MST 2015

Hi Josef,

I completely understand your points and generally agree about a minimalist approach to those who are not electrically literate, especially alongside the road.  I also agree it is a nightmare when all wires are the same color, and worse, undocumented.  I have an engineering background as well so I understand where you are coming from.  When I wire a car, I use different color wires for each circuit wherever possible and tend to use kits from companies that label the function of the wire all along its length.  Modern fuse box assemblies from these companies tend to be very reliable and I've never had a problem with them and it provides the circuit isolation to prevent a massive failure.  Since you are an engineer in Germany, I suspect any German automaker has an electrical system that is considerably complex as compared to cars from the last century.  It is just progress and due to increasing use of electronic "nannies" or safety systems in modern cars.  I like the old school systems as well but I just feel safer when each circuit is individually protected and damage is limited to the circuit in which the failure occurs.  It make troubleshooting for the average Joe easier if he/she doesn't have the experience to find a fault on a system with one or two fuses.  Having a fuse blow for the rear tail lights is easier to find if the problem is segregated to just the rear tail light circuit, and not have to hunt for a fault on many circuits.  But in the end, it is just what you are most comfortable with in dealing with problems in an old car.  Many problems can be avoided by having clean connections, and a good wiring harness protected from rubbing on the chassis with proper clamps and grommets.  


-----Original Message-----
From: josef-eckert at t-online.de [mailto:josef-eckert at t-online.de] 
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:36 AM
To: Gil Rockwell; Healeys, Forum
Subject: New Classic Technologies Fuse Box

I am working as an electronic engineer in the automove industry. The company I am working for parttime is one of the big parts sellers for classic British cars here in Europe. In my spare time I work on my classic cars and help friends with their car electrics. Often I get additional grey hairs when I want to fix something on a friends car and see a wiring harness nobody is anymore able to find the routes of  the cables and circuits. A network of additional cables, additional fuses and relais added without any documentation, cable colours not as they should be and all mixed together or all in one colour!!. A network of cables under the dashboard which reminds me to a telecom switching centre - nightmare.
I see your point and you and many others feel saver the more fuses and relais are installed in the car. Don´t forget they can also fail, and the more you add the more can fail. Its usually the connectors and connections which fail. When you double the fuses and relais you eightfold the connections in the wiring system. So 10times more causes for trouble.
When an electric device fails, it usually causes a short circuit or an open cirquit. Open cirquit means no harm to the system. Short cirquit means any fuse, 5 Amps or 50 Amps blow off before the wiring melts. There are only very isolated failures which can cause real trouble like the overdrive solenoid, when its internal contacts do not open when engaged. This is a point to fit an additional fuse. Another one is the not originally fused back light cirquit.
Your point  "Losing just one smaller circuit rather than disabling a major portion of the car can make  the difference between getting back home or being completely disabled alongside the road."
This I see as a valid point for those drivers who have only marginal skils with electrical systems and are not able to find the issue by their own. But when you can read a wiring diagram and know how to use a volt meter, it shouldn´t be a problem to find the source of the problem and isolate it. I think there are much more who get stranded with generator failure (No, I have to say alternator failure, as these are morre prone to fail than the old LUCAS generator) or electronic ignition failure.
You see my experiance is more from the other side and I am really happy when I have an original wired car with an electrical problem, than one of these with modified electrical systems which usually cause havoc. 
Don´t forget, British classic cars were simple cars and the engineers were clever enough to keep them simple. If you want a complex classic car there are so many mainly Italian, French, classics where you can find these gimmicks and they always cause troubles. That´s why they very hardly won an indurance rally.  Austin-Healeys came through and one reason for that was their elementary but very reliable electrical system with the LUCAS name on it.
Josef Eckert

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