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Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#1
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ThePackRat
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Hey guys, well my headlights have been fine.... Just recently they've started cutting out. The circuit breaker had been replaced a year ago, anyway, while attempting to remove it again, the mount broke in half (the wood material). Is this replaceable?

Posted on: 2016/5/10 5:46
2292 49 touring
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#2
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ThePackRat
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Here's a pic

Posted on: 2016/5/10 5:54
2292 49 touring
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#3
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HH56
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Firstly, am a bit concerned why a one year old breaker would fail. I would strongly suggest examining the wiring carefully. Pay particular attention to the trunk where things could get shoved against a taillight or part of the loom. Places where wires exit thru a hole in the sheet metal for license lamp or go thru clamps for trunk light etc. Since so many lights are fed off that breaker there could be any number of other places. Dimmer switches are a known problem as are sockets for dash lights. If you still have the old original fabric covered wiring then that opens up any number of other possibilities. The least disturbance and that insulation can crack or fall off in chunks.

To the problem at hand, with the photo not showing I can only guess where the break occurred but from past reports and seeing other broken switches will take a guess. The part most concerning is if the break happened to pass thru any holes where the terminals are riveted or if the long brass bar the breaker is attached to is affected. If so, then you could have a terminal loosen or even fall out and that would require another switch. Technically the breaker doesn't need the broken board only portion to work. It is just there to support the incoming wiring. If there was a way to ensure the wires couldn't pull the breaker and possibly short then you could probably get by with the switch terminal end as the only support. The first photo is a typical switch with the line showing where they usually break.

I seriously doubt you will be able to repair the board but having said that, if there is enough material left intact on the back of the switch and break didn't go thru any terminal holes you could buy a small piece of 1/16" Hard and Strong Garolite sheet (phenolic board) from McMaster-Carr or MSC etc. Cut a piece off that sheet and epoxy to the remaining board and broken piece. Quite frankly, I wouldn't bet money it would last as long as it takes to type this reply but maybe worth a shot.

There are a couple of other options. The brass bar is the switch terminal and as long as that is intact you could mount an external breaker. If the wires that normally connect to the broken end are long enough you could buy a universal breaker with mounting ears which is similar in shape to the one on the switch. Find or drill for a convenient screw close by you could use for mounting. Transfer the wires that went to the broken part to the new breaker input. Run a short heavy gauge jumper wire from the breaker out to the brass terminal and attach with screw and nut.

Alternately, you could go to the parts store and buy an ATA style fuse holder and 30amp self resetting breaker. By removing the fuse cover and reworking the end of holder slightly the breaker will mount just like a fuse. The tabs on the breaker can be trimmed as needed so the breaker sits snugly but if desired you could use some heat shrink or tape to ensure the breaker stays well seated. Add some terminals to the wire ends and you have an inline setup. You could connect the wires as before using screws and nuts on both ends in place of a terminal strip or splices. Just be sure to get the 30 amp fuse holder and insulate the wire connections well.

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Posted on: 2016/5/10 10:18
Howard
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#4
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ThePackRat
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It is still unable to post the picture from my iPhone... But the break is between, the circuit breaker and the headlight. Switch .... Right on the L shaped brass peice on the second pic down. If that makes sense. The wiring has been replaced. I'll get over to napa today. Thanks

Posted on: 2016/5/10 10:59
2292 49 touring
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#5
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Owen_Dyneto
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It is still unable to post the picture from my iPhone

File size probably too big or file name not acceptable. See FAQ, "Photo Posting Guidelines".

Posted on: 2016/5/10 11:18
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#6
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ThePackRat
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Finally pulled the switch out... It broke at the rivets. I used a special glue to hold in place temporarily until the replacement comes. For the circuit breaker... Do the wires attach to the brass terminal or the other side?

Posted on: 2016/5/11 13:28
2292 49 touring
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#7
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HH56
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I you are using the inline setup, once the old breaker is off, the brass tab will extend out with a hole in the end. Use the hole and a short screw and nut to attach one wire from the new breaker & holder to whichever side of tab provides the most room. Use another short screw and nut to attach the two or three wires that used to be on the broken side end of old breaker (B terminal of switch) to the other wire from new breaker. Insulate well and tuck wires up so they won't interfere with anything.

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Posted on: 2016/5/11 14:18
Howard
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Re: Headlamp circuit breaker mount
#8
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DavidPackard
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To use household electrical terms the copper binding post is the 'LINE', while the silver post is the 'LOAD'. In automotive terms the 'HOT' wire from the battery (for our 6 volt positive ground cars this would be the negative lead) attaches to the copper post, and the silver is attached to the headlight switch. The stationary post is identified by a copper plating, or a shorter length. The 'Packard' OEM circuit breakers are also marked. The short post is marked 'BAT'. The long post is marked 'AUX'
Internally a circuit breaker is somewhat like a set of points. When all is well the points are in contact, thus providing a circuit. One side of the point set is fixed in the insulated base of the circuit breaker, while the other is mounted on a leaf. It is the leaf that responds to the heat that varies with current. When the circuit breaker 'pops' the leaf defects and opens the circuit. Automotive headlight circuits utilize what is known as a 'Type I', or automatic reset breaker. The leaf motion must be abrupt (snap action) to avoid excessive arcing.
It is a safer design that fixes the 'HOT' lead, and allows the load side to defect. The concern is the failure mode where the leaf defects in such a way that contacts the external case. If the leaf defects into the case, and the circuit breaker was installed correctly there is no short circuit . . . the leaf is not 'HOT'. Just as long as the points re-align as the unit cools this would be known as a 'fault tolerant' design.
The circuit breaker doesn't know about positive versus negative ground circuits, and will work 'OK' with either post attached to the headlight switch, but it is safer to conform to the design intent.
There are European designs that use fuses versus circuit breakers in the headlight circuits. This got me to thinking about what type of failure mode are we trying to protect from that the very first response is to re-energize the circuit . . . and try again . . . and again . . . and again.
The battery is connected to the copper, or, if the posts are not 'color' coded, the shorter post. The brass plate that is part of the light switch is attached to the silver or longer post.
dp

Posted on: 2016/5/11 17:41
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