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Old 02-15-2017, 01:27 PM
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Default Original ammeter

I need some ammeter information.
Is this ammeter....



....a Smiths or a Lucas unit?
Would it have an identifying number?
Was this particular style used for all of the Cobras up to CSX2200?

Cheers,
Glen
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:42 PM
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Looks correct for Smith's "Equipped" cars. Based on picture attached...
Joseph Lucas MFG
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Last edited by 1985 CCX; 02-17-2017 at 01:01 PM..
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:35 PM
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Smiths as Jeff said.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:14 PM
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So it would have a number (like AM 2300/01 for example....but not that one)
Any spring to mind?

Cheers
Glen
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:22 AM
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Sorry Glen, your photo won't appear (blue box with question mark), but I can tell you that the correct ammeter for a leafspring car is a Lucas BM4. It doesn't match the other Smiths instruments, and is a 30-0-30 instrument with a pendulum needle shaped like an arrow. It has a full printed scale but no part number visible on the face.
'BM' stands for 'Bakelite Moulded', or maybe 'Base (or Back) Moulded', borne out by the screw terminals on the back being set in the moulded bakelite casing. There is no screw post for a clamp as the ammeter is a push fit in the dash, with small tangs on the chrome bezel to help retain it. It relies on illumination coming from the external bulb on the fuel gauge and has no bulb of its own.

Roger
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:23 AM
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Glen,
Roger is correct. It is a Lucas BM4 model. Part number for that particular unit is 36200B. For the BM4 ammeters, the part number was stamped on the side of the chrome plated brass bezel. The tabs on the bezels had a tendency to break off when the instrument was worked on, so sometimes they were replaced with one with another part number. These bezels are also being reproduced in the UK.
AJ
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Yes I originally thought it was a Smiths too, and obviously it was fitted to to the original 260/289 Smiths-instumented cars.
I found the Lucas parts listings with the model interpretations. Roger, it's definitely a BM4 that I'm after (and yep, BM means base moulded, and "4" means it has a damped movement).
AJ, I now have a list of eleven Lucas 'BM4-family' ammeter model numbers that are correct or could easily be modified to be correct.
They do appear to be rare though, but where's the fun if there's no chase?

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Glen
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:42 AM
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Are you sure that the '4' refers to 'damped'? I've had several of these over the years on various cars, and just like the one currently on my Cobra, the needles have never appeared to be damped. It usually oscillates so quickly it's quite hard to see, and there's no damping mechanism visible inside.

I didn't bother too much about the actual part number as it's not visible when the instrument is installed. They do come up on ebay UK now and then, but you have to plough through a lot of motorcycle versions to find them. Nothing showing at the moment, though - I'd search 'Lucas ammeter' or 'Lucas amp' on the UK site. 'Lucas amp' throws up this, which is only a 20-0-20 but could easily be refaced:

VINTAGE JOSEPH LUCAS BM4 20 AMP AMMETER GAUGE FITS AUSTIN MORRIS RILEY MG | eBay

Roger
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:41 AM
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Roger, I may be wrong, but I don't think you can run a generator with a higher amperage through an ammeter of lessor capacity (the C40 generator puts out 30 amps). I was told by a service that the internal coil of the amp can't handle it. The 30 amp BM4 come up for auction on the UK Ebay. I have gotten a number of them there.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:32 PM
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Sorry I had a brain fart, the gauge is actually a Lucas unit (brought to my attention by Dan C), I have sitting here at the shop on an early Cobra I am restoring...
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:25 PM
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Hey, we all get brain farts (don't we?).
I did see the similar 20 amp gauge on EBay yesterday. I also saw a 30 amp gauge for GBP 429
It's like most rare things we chase for our cars, they will eventually come up within range of our acceptable price.

Cheers,
Glen
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Old Yesterday, 06:22 AM
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Well, if there are no components drawing more than 30A, it doesn't have to be able to handle anything over 30A. Unless there is a huge stereo system, extra lights everywhere etc. the only thing that might draw high current is the cooling fan. A generator/alternator won't produce 30A unless a component is asking for it.
Having said that, I had my 30A BM4 ammeter upgraded by Speedycables internally to handle 50A just in case, as I have a pretty big aftermarket electric fan to try to keep the thing cool in traffic. There's no way of knowing visually that the ammeter has been uprated - it just doesn't deflect quite as far as it used to. Frankly I think they're only useful for showing charge/discharge.

Last edited by rsk289; Yesterday at 04:01 PM..
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