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Secrets of an Italian Flasher

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  • Bill Mihalic
    replied
    I just edited the original post's "technical nitty-gritty" section to describe the unique wiring of U.S. cars.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Mihalic; 04-03-2018, 09:19 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Mihalic
    started a topic Secrets of an Italian Flasher

    Secrets of an Italian Flasher

    Now that I have your attention...

    After struggling to understand C/4 lighting, especially headlight flashing (so I could have my switchgear repaired properly), I think I finally got it. I would, however, greatly appreciate being corrected on anything I got wrong.

    The Basics:

    NO cars have high beam flash.
    SOME cars have fog light flash (while the others have a fog light switch)
    ALL cars have low beam flash.


    The Details:

    NO cars have high beam flash. Yes, I know the owner’s manual says, “For countries where daylight flashing is allowed, by pulling lever A toward the driver the headlight high beam flashing is obtained.” Uh-uh. Strangely, it’s not even an alternate definition of “high beam” or a mis-translation. It’s just wrong, in all three languages in the manual.

    SOME cars have fog light flash.

    On some cars, if the pods are down (headlight switch rotated “off”), pulling back on the stalk flashes the fog lights. Here’s a paraphrased excerpt from page 97 of the owner’s manual (wiring diagram notes): ”On cars intended for Switzerland, Germany, France (with yellow glass) and Benelux, the fog light is used for day head lamp flash.”

    The other cars, ones that do not have fog light flash, have an operable fog light switch on the console: Again, paraphrasing: “On cars intended for Italy, Austria, England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia, Light 1 (fog light on the wiring diagram) is used as fog lights.” However, the light switch must be rotated on (i.e., pods up) for this to operate.

    The U.S. is not listed, but the U.S.-spec wiring diagram by Paul Bennett, referenced below, indicates that U.S. cars should behave like the second (Italy) group, although the wiring to achieve those results is different.

    (Note: Other versions of the owner’s manual have conflicting information. They say German, Swiss and English-spec cars have fog light flash, while Italian and French-spec cars do not.)




    ALL cars have low beam flash. If the pods are up (headlight switch rotated to “on”) and the stalk is in the upper position, pulling back on the stalk flashes the low beams. (In the other two positons of the stalk the low beams are already on, so there is no further light action.)


    Technical Nitty-Gritty:

    For Euro cars that have fog light flash (along with the standard low beam flash), the heart of the flash control is Relay 91. Current is sent to the armature in Relay 91 when the stalk lever is pulled to flash. If the Relay 91 coil is not energized because the car’s lighting circuitry is not turned on, then the armature is resting against the contact for the fog lights, and the current is directed to the fog lights. If the car’s lighting is turned on and the coil is thus energized, then the armature is pulled against the contact for the low beams and the current is directed to the low beams. In these cars, the fog light switch (center switch below the ashtray) is by-passed and not used for anything.

    Here’s how the owner’s manual describes the fog-flash arrangement in the wiring diagram notes on page 97 (my clarifications in italics): “On cars intended for Switzerland, Germany, France (with yellow glass) and Benelux, phare 1 (the fog light) is used for day head lamp flash. To prepare this system cable 114 (the wire to the fog lights) should be connected to cable 113 (the wire from Relay 91) and invert the connection to tube socket boxes of cables Cu 2,5 L and Cu 2,5 G.” Note: “Phare” is the French word for headlight. Ferrari either accidentally carried it over from the French language portion of the manual, or they just wanted to see if we were paying attention.

    For Euro cars that do not have fog light flash, the wire from Relay 91 that would go to the fog lights is simply not connected to anything, so the fog lights don’t flash. Instead, the fog light wire 114 is wired to the fog light switch, which is powered and operable.

    Here’s how the owner’s manual describes the no-fog-flash arrangement (my clarifications in italics): “On cars intended for Italy, Austria, England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia, phare 1 (the fog light on the wiring diagram) is used as fog lights and cable 114 (wire to the fog lights) is connected to switch 115 (fog light switch).”

    For U.S. cars, although the flash behavior is like the Italy group, the wiring diagram shows a somewhat different arrangement:

    First, by means of shunts in the lighting connector coming out of the switchgear, the flash switch output wire (blue) sends power directly to the yellow wire for the low beam—the same wire that carries the power to the fuse for the low beam if the stalk is in the middle position.

    Second, since the U.S. flasher is never set up to flash the fog lights and it operates directly through the switchgear and the connectors, there is no need for Relay #91, so there isn’t one.

    Third, while the two outer headlights are like the Euro cars and have the high beam, the inner headlights have low beam and high beam filaments, each with their own contacts. That doesn’t really effect the flash function, however, since the flash is still connected to the low beam circuitry.

    (The U.S. fog light switch is wired similarly to that in the Italy group.)



    Additional Comments:

    The above analysis seems consistent with the excellent 2009 write-up by Win Stevenson, “Description and troubleshooting of the headlamp wiring,” which is posted in the Technical Resources section of this website. Note that Win’s diagram and info are based on a Euro-spec car without fog light flash. (Also relevant is Win’s forum post, “Convert Fog Lamps to Daytime Running Lights.”)

    Another excellent source is Paul Bennett’s wiring diagrams that are referenced above, all available for download for $30 at ferrari308gtbi.com.

    Sorting out this subject has been made more difficult by the various lighting terms used by Ferrari and others:

    “Low beam” is also called dipped beam, passing beam, and meeting beam.

    “High beam” is also called main beam, driving beam, and full beam.

    To complicate things, High Beam (along with its synonyms) sometimes refers specifically to the high beam lights, and sometimes refers to the high beam setting, which includes high beam lights plus the low beam lights.

    “Headlights” seems to refer to any forward illuminating lights, so it sometimes includes fog lights.

    I believe the C/4 fog light flash is referred to as “daylight flash” because the headlight pods are down, so it is presumably daytime.




    On my car, this all was made more confusing by the fact that if I pulled the stalk back when it was in the Low Beam position but then pulled it down just a tad, the high beams would flicker on. I now believe that is just a quirk of the contact design/tolerances, but originally it made me think there really was a high-beam-flash mode.

    I think that’s enough for now. My head hurts.

    Regards,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Mihalic; 04-03-2018, 02:26 AM. Reason: Added technical description of wiring for U.S. cars
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