Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Parking Light Conversion and American Electricians

Some time ago I converted my parking lights from the American style to that of the Europeans, in conjunction with doing the headlights conversion.  The reason I had to do something was fairly obvious.


1) The original American-style flush parking lights - cool but broken

Now, the way these lights worked was that each bulb had two filaments, one for the parking light and a separate one for the turn signal.  The lens on the old version was nearly impossible to find, I was told, so I had to go the Euro route.  In any case I was converting to the Euro headlights and this seemed logical.

I removed the old light fixture and saw that that there were two posts, one for the positive wire and one for the negative.


2) Old fixture - the two posts are clearly visible

So far so good. But when the new Euro light fixtures arrived, I was baffled.  Not realizing that these lights acted only as turn signals because the parking lights were located inside the headlight units, I tried a number of ways to hook them up. As you can see, these fixtures had only one post for one wire.


3) The new unit with its one post

I showed the assembly to a master electrician and also to another friend who was well acquainted with electricity. They both suggested drilling a hole in the braket and soldering the ground wire into it.

While experimenting, I hooked up the wires from the car a few different ways. When I got the turn signals to work, the fuse blew when I switched on the parking light. If I hooked the wires to work the parking light, the fuse blew when I tried to illluminate the turn signal.

Finally a kind soul informed me of my error (and that of the American master electrician).  You were supposed to hook up only the positive to the post and then the screws for attaching the unit to the vehicle acted to ground the system to the car's body.

The system only works for turn signals, as I have noted, and the parking lights are built into the headlight assembly.

Eventually the work was completed for the headlights and the turn signal lights and all turned out well.


4) Parking lights prevail!

I don't really get the concept behind the Euro method of illuminating the various lights. Still, it's fun and I can certainly live with the results.  I kind of feel sorry for the my electrician friends who overthought the process.

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