Testing a horn

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Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:29 pm

I have an old horn that has been in the trunk of my 1927 coupe for years. I want see if works. Do I have to be careful of size of wires I use to connect it a 6v battery?


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Humblej » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:18 am

No wire needed, just connect a 6 volt battery charger directly to the horn. Attach the ground/black connection directly to the horn body or bracket, and touch the pos/red connection to the horn terminal.

14 gage would be the proper horn wire size.

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Pep C Strebeck » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:29 am

Is it a Magneto horn or a Battery horn?

Magneto horn operates on AC power and the Battery horn on DC power.


Magneto horn:
horn1.jpg
horn1.jpg (42.45 KiB) Viewed 1321 times
Battery horn:
horn2.jpg
horn2.jpg (49.03 KiB) Viewed 1321 times
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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:06 am

Horns are like starters, don't matter which terminal is which. Without knowing what brand of horn it is, it could be single terminal which would use the body for the return loop, could even be 12 volts like used on Dodge up to about 1926. If it does not work, it may just need a cleaning and lubed. Many of the older horns, there would be a screw holding the back cover on. Horns did require periodic maintenance such as lubing.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:31 pm

If it is a claxon horn such as a Sparton horn made for a Model A, but many times used on a Model T, it has a small electric motor which turns a wheel which moves against a diaphram and makes the familiar OOGA sound. This type horn needs a drop of oil at the bearings and perhaps a little fine sandpaper on the commutator. There is a screw which can be turned with or without the cover on the back of the horn. This screw regulates how tight the wheel is against the draphram and changes the sound of the horn. If it is too tight, the horn will not work. If too loose, the motor will just spin without making a noise.


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:50 pm

My horn is shorter than the two shown by Pep and the back is dome shaped. I took the dome off and found a Delco Remy stamp inside. There is also a 801 number at another location inside. I don't know how to enter photos yet, but will learn soon, I hope.

I didn't know there were two types of horns, a battery one and a magneto one. If my is a magneto horn, can I test it buy connecting it to 6v battery?

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:30 am

Yours is neater, it's GM product from about the 1930's up. No you can't test a magneto horn with a battery, it's AC, all it would do is go clunk.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:41 pm

Mark, Did mean my horn is neither a battery nor a magneto horn? If so, what is it?

If I hook a magneto horn to a 6v, you said it would go clunk. Does that mean it would be damaged or just not reacting to the battery?

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Pep C Strebeck » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:52 pm

If it is a Delco-Remy horn I would say that it is a battery horn and not Ford. I do not ever recall Remy making a magneto horn. As for testing a magneto horn you need AC power, the Magneto horn will not work on DC power provided by a battery or battery charger, just a "clunk" that will make you think it does not work. If you Google "testing a model T magneto horn" you will get plenty of good threads from the old Forum on testing methods.
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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Norman Kling » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:07 pm

If your magneto is working, you can hook up the magneto horn to it and it should honk. However if the magneto is not working, you won't be able to use a magneto horn anyway. They were made for the older cars which did not have a battery. Don't know exactly what year they came out, but the older brass cars had a bulb horn and then for a few years the black cars did not have a starter nor battery. In 1919 the starter was offered. Those cars with starters had both a generator and a battery. But some cars were offered without the starter until the end of production. Anyway, unless your magneto is working, your magneto horn cannot be used on that car.
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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:32 pm

BLB27 wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:41 pm
Mark, Did mean my horn is neither a battery nor a magneto horn? If so, what is it?

If I hook a magneto horn to a 6v, you said it would go clunk. Does that mean it would be damaged or just not reacting to the battery?
I mean yours is nether of the T horns shown above, the one you are asking about would be battery not magneto. A magneto horn would not be damaged by hooking up to 6 volts, just would not do anything but as I said go clunk.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by DHort » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:24 pm

I would presume you need to test a magneto horn on an HCCT. I looked at my Lionel transformer and because that puts out AC. However, one is 18V AC and the other is 21V AC. Can you test a magneto horn with the transformer or is the voltage too high?

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Susanne » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:10 am

Norman Kling wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:07 pm
However if the magneto is not working, you won't be able to use a magneto horn anyway. They were made for the older cars which did not have a battery. Don't know exactly what year they came out...
The mag horn came out mid-1915 - before that they were bulb horns of various types, and in 1919 if you opted for the newfangled cool, snazzy electric goodies, you could also get a battery horn. You need the AC off the mag - DO NOT hook them to your household current AC!!!! - to check.

A Lionel train transformer or doorbell transformer will drop your voltage down far enough to check them, lacking a HCCT or mag current.


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Piewagon » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:29 pm

Susanne:

While it might seem logical that the BATTERY HORN would have been offered in 1919 along with the generator and battery powered starter, the truth is that the battery horn is not offered until 1922 . The magneto horn is the only horn Ford used starting in 1915 until about March of 1922 when the battery horn was offered on starter equipped cars but the magneto horn was still used up to end of production on none starter cars. The very first battery powered horns were NOT mounted to the motor but were mounted to the firewall just like the magneto horns. Both types of horns were moved from the firewall to the motor during 1922 sometime after March.


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Allan » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:41 pm

John, that information on the introduction of the battery horn in 1922 is new information to me.Thank you. On original firewalls I have seen on our Canadian sourced cars there is a chamferred relief on the firewall to accommodate the small housing on the back of a magneto horn. I presume a battery mounted horn would need a larger relief, or a different mounting bracket than that used on the magneto horns. Which should I be looking for?
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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Susanne » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:25 pm

Wow, thank you for the info, John! It makes sense - a battery horn would have been more expense (the mag horns just seem like a really inexpensive item to build) plys I suspect that there were both a bunch on hand and contracts to whoever to make bunches of them... I'm actually surprised that ford went to a battery horn, seeing as the mag horn worked... kinda...

All this got me thinking - I wonder if anyone ever rigged a set of telephone ringer coils (which also required AC) to either operate a horn, or gong a bell, or ?? Darn, something I may have to play with someday... :D

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:55 pm

John didn't mention the easy was to ID a magneto horn, which I think I learned from him. If I remember correctly, when you look in the horn and see an adjusting screw in the center of the diaphragm it's a mag horn.
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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:40 pm

Steve, When you say "looking in to the horn", do you mean looking down the open end or looking in inside the horn with the cover removed.

In a 2009 form Hugh Jass said, "The battery horns have an inner insulation composed of modified bitumen roofing tar. That's the way I've always identified them." Where is the " inner insulation" located ? Is it in the open end or inside the horn ?


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Piewagon » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:09 pm

The USA dashes starting in 1915 also had that flat spot clearance to allow the horn motor to sit in proper position but rarely if ever do you see that detail on a repro dash for USA cars. The rarest of the horn parts to find is the factory number 6437B which is the offset butterfly horn bracket that held the battery horn to the dash. It was short lived and very soon the 6437C part showed up which is the more common horn bracket for both the mag horn and battery horn where it mounts to one head bolt and one of the water inlet bolts. Finally the 6437D bracket shows up on nominal 1926-1927 cars which moves the horn down such that both mounting bolts are shared with the water inlet on the side of the motor. Most people are not aware that there was a 6437B part and I have only seen 2 of them that were attached to battery horns. I don't know what the rules are with regard to size of pictures but if someone can tell me - I have a pretty good (but large) picture of a 1922 Battery horn with dash bracket 6437B that was loaned to me by the late Bud Scudder (R.I.P.) so I could take a picture of it. At first glance it looks like a re-bent 6437 magneto horn bracket but it is larger to account for a forward position due to "z" bend.

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:17 pm

He was being fictitious re the tar :D https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fictitious
All questions about adjusting are moot at this point, you are asking about a General Motors Corporation horn not a Ford horn. The Ford Model T horns and the one you have would not be the same re adjusting or construction.

Now if you are looking to buy a proper horn try Googling: mtfca;horn That will be a good start to ID them or look at the photos posted above.
https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... fca%3Bhorn
Generally the magneto horn will have two rivets on the back cover holding the magnetic coil to it and the can area over the coil will be smaller.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:11 pm

In addition to the horn that was in my coupe's trunk, there was one bolted to the bottom of the frame where the emergency brake handle is attached. It used one of the two bolts that attaches the brake handle to the frame. The horn looks like the first one in the photos posted above. It has a "thing" in the center of the back of the cover that can be turned with a screw driver. When you turn it, you can feel a click as it is turned. I assume it adjusts the sound or what??? There is also a "regular" screw located near the corner of cover. I wonder what that is for. The nuts on the small bolts that attach the cover to the bell can be turned easily so I could take it apart. Is there any reason to take it apart before I test it? I assume it is a magneto horn. How can I test it?

There is label attached to the side of the cover. It contains the following: motor horn, 6 volts, E.A. Laboratories Inc, Brooklyn, NY, made in usa, and a large EA.


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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Allan » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:17 pm

EA, and others, provided horns for model A's. They are motor type horns, a different beast altogether than the T horns.

Allan from down under.

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:24 pm

The one by your parking brake, not a magneto horn. It is 6 volts DC.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:29 pm

Are the photos reversed in the 3rd post? Isn't the top one a battery horn and bottom one a magneto horn?

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:16 am

They are in the correct order.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by BLB27 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:35 pm

There have been postings that say a magneto horn's back piece looks like a tuna can which is what the bottom photo looks like. I have a battery horn, and it looks like the top photo.

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by DanTreace » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:16 pm

Your horn description of an E. A.Labs horn is indeed a motor horn. Should test easy on 6 v DC.

As posted by others, the Model T used a battery vibrator or buzz horn, no motor, as the Model T battery horn goes BLATT--BLATT..

Those motor horns go AH-- OOO-- GA. :D

This is probably what your horn resembles, the cover is big as it covers a motor mechanism.



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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:01 pm

BLB27 wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:35 pm
There have been postings that say a magneto horn's back piece looks like a tuna can which is what the bottom photo looks like. I have a battery horn, and it looks like the top photo.
The horns as ID above are correct. What horn you have without seeing it? Could be aftermarket? Just because someone posted something does not make it correct. How about a link to where you saw the information? Even the 1928 Model T parts book show the two as shown above as magneto, small tomato paste can cover and battery, tuna can back covers. There really would not be room for the points on the battery horn under the smaller cover, it need the larger cover for them to fit.

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50 ... 1432183198

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 08:47 am by John Regan;

I agree that the top pictures are of a magneto horn. If it has 2 power connections on it then it is the likely the early version which started in 1915 and ran up until just after Ford began using the twist turn type of combo light switch and horn button mounted on the steering column which I think is sometime in 1918 or so. There are other characteristics of the earliest horns such as a shorter bell, brass bell ...etc. If the magneto horn has one power connection then it can be used on just about any of the later T's starting with those that used the combo switch/button. If you look closely at the 2 different horns I think you will notice that the rim around the flange part (the part that the horn bell is welded into) is much deeper on the battery horn and the battery horn motor cover is a much larger OD at its outer rim area. The magneto horn motor cover is much smaller in diameter at its outer rim and the magneto horn motor cover will not fit over a battery horn because the battery horn motor is much larger in O.D. under that cover. The later 26/27 horn motor cover is fairly shallow and will not fit over the magneto winding I don't think. I may try to fit one up today to verify that. All battery horn motor covers are held on with just 2 perimeter screws while the magneto horn is held by all of the perimeter screws. The diaphragm for both motors is almost the same with the magneto diaphragm being about 1/16" smaller in diameter than the battery horn but the hole pattern in it is nearly the same. I make up extra diaphragms, bells, and mounting brackets and several guys have bought those and fitted them successfully to magneto horns. The original diaphragms were made from spring steel but often have pin holes rusted through them because water goes in the open front end rather easily. I make my new ones from stainless spring steel but otherwise are the same as factory. It really helps to do that if you can get a piece of the right stuff. The broken bracket on the 26/27 battery horn pictured can be replaced and are currently being reproduced in 2 versions - paper thin steel and full 1/8" cold rolled steel as original. Usually the bracket outlasts the horn so you might be able to salvage a bracket from a junk horn that is otherwise beyond hope. If you are restoring a horn and needing a part send me a PM and I might be able to point you in the right direction.

My note; The motor in this case is the magnet coil that operates the plunger in the battery horn that is controlled by a set of point not a rotating motor.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Testing a horn

Post by Allan » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:42 pm

Describing any model T horn as having a cover over the motor is most confusing, given that the EA Labs horn mentioned earlier is a horn with a true electric motor.
In my experience with our Canadian sourced cars, the easy way to distinguish a T model battery horn from any of the earlier magneto variants is to check the back cover. It alone is almost the size of the horn body, it is slightly domed and is held in place with two small screws/nuts.

Hope this helps,
Allan from down under.

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