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Old 10-04-2005, 08:17 PM
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Power Seats

I just installed power seats from a 90-something T-Bird in my '72 El Camino.

I ran power from the IGN post on the fuse panel and grounded the circuit to a bolt on the floor dimmer switch. The seats operate, but seem to be "underpowered". I was thinking that maybe my ground isn't sufficient.


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Old 10-04-2005, 08:52 PM
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Power seats and power windows for that matter take a ....Ton "O" Power....

You should be using a fused relay. the "ign" connection of the fuse block will overheat and burn up.
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:58 PM
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Doc here,

Poncho is 100% correct...

ALWAYS use a relay for ANY high current , high draw items..Reasons are 2 fold..

1) safety and integrity of your harness.

2) The ability to deliver high current to the load from the source, with the ease of low current control.

Motors are especially sensitive, because it may draw a reasonable amount of current running NORMAL...but in a rotor lock situation (anything that locks or binds the motor mechanically) can draw up to 10 times the current or until something melts and bursts into flames!

With a relay, the coil only draws between 1 to 5 amps..but the contacts can handle up to 30 or 60 amps.

The relay (s) should be wired so the coil is switched on at Ignition or ACC via a 5 amp slo blow fuse..

The CONTACTS should be wired , CW (center wiper or movable contact) to the seat motor switching , the NO (normally open contact) to a proper fuse link from a direct battery source. These wires should be a proper gauge for the draw, probably 10 gauge...

This configuration will deliver many times more current to the load from the source than the system you have now..and do it safely without possible fire issues..

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Old 10-05-2005, 06:13 AM
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Poncho and Doc: Thanks. I'm sure you're right...now if I only really understood what was said.

I don't know how the original Ford wires were routed. The wires are 14ga and that's what I used for my harness.

I can change my source to the horn relay located on the firewall, which is fed by the battery and alternator. After that you lost me. Any chance of a diagram?

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Old 10-06-2005, 04:55 AM
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Relays The Loooooong Version..

Doc here,

I don't have a specific diagram for a relay, to the seat controller(switches or wherever it gets power from now) But I will try to explain and outline the relay in text for you...

The relay is nothing more than an electrical operated switch, whose CONTACTS can handle HIGH CURRENT, while the control function of the relay is controlled by a low current source (COIL)

The relay is a two part item, the coil, which when powered up, energizes a magnet and pulls a movable contact inside the relay one direction or the other (part 2 of the relay) to make contact with a different set of contacts then previously selected..The coil is a low current item (1 to 3 amps max) and requires power and ground to make it function...

Part two of The relay, are the contacts, these are : Center Wiper or movable contact (the part that the magnet moves) CW,

NEXT a set of NORMALLY OPEN N.O Contacts, (Stationary Contact that when the coil is not powered, has no connection to anything ),

NEXT, The NORMALLY CLOSED CONTACT, N.C. (Stationary Contact that has continuity to the C.W. when the coil power is off, BUT has NO continuity to anything when the coil is powered)

These Contacts are generally High Current, 30 to 60 amp for automotive applications..Have a rating written right on the relay, Something like: 12 volt/1 amp cont/30amp/250 vac..

This decodes as: The coil is 12 volts, and will draw 1 amp continuous duty, the Contacts are rated at 30 amps, and the ARC~over point of the contacts (the point where the contacts will jump a spark or weld shut) is 250 Volts AC..This rating you'll probably never have to worry about..


Practical Application of our relay , we have in theory, a 30 DC amp motor we wish to reverse direction on, and a toggle switch...As you may know, any DC motor (not polarized by diode or capacitor) can be reversed in direction simply by swapping the power and ground wires to the motor..

If you were to try this through the toggle switch (almost all of which are rated at 5 amps or less) will , being the weakest link, heat, swamp current used to operate the motor and eventually burn out..or worse burst into flames..

The answer is our relay...For our purpose, we have a single throw (one movement of the Center wiper) Double pole (Two identical sets of contacts N.O, C.W.,and N.C., Times 2) controlled by the same coil...

Hook the coil terminals thus:

one side to hard ground,

The other to our toggle switch, and 12 volts feeding the switch...

Turn the switch on/off, you will hear the relay go "Click,Click..." this means it is working, and the movable contact is selecting between both sets of N.O. And N.C. contacts which are not hooked up right now.


So far what we done?

We will be controlling a 30 amp motor with a relay , the coil drawing only 1 amp from our switch..which was only good up to 5 amps, and before a liability on that circuit..

OK, Next find the Center wiper on the relay, hook The motor power and ground to both sets of CW's...lets say power on the left, ground on the right...

Find the Normally open sets of contacts and hook up your power and ground from the battery here power on the right and ground on the left...

Next install a set of jumpers from the normally closed terminals to the normally terminals..in an "X" pattern, and there you have it..a reverser..

When the coil is not energized, the motor is running in a forward direction.

The jumper from each NO contact (power on the right, ground on the left) to the NC contacts (because of the "X" pattern..) puts power on the left NC and ground on the right NC...makes connection to the CW (motor side movable contact) and NC contacts..

Power comes out power to power (batt to motor) and ground to ground ( motor to batt) So the motor runs in a forward direction...

Now energize the coil,

The CW is pulled to the NO sets of contacts, which are wired Power to ground, and ground to power motor to battery,

Hence the motor NOW runs in the opposite direction..

At this point it dosn't care about the "X" pattern, because the NC sets of contacts are connected to nothing in this mode...

That's just about it..

For your Purpose, it's even easier..

On your relay wire the COIL, one wire to hard ground, the other side of the COIL through a 5 amp slo blow fuse to any source that comes on 12 volts, with the key in RUN and ACC..

To test, just turn the key on and off a few times..it should go "click, click.." means the coil is hooked up right...

Next find the Normally open Contact on your relay, and with a 10 gauge wire and a proper *-->fuse link<--* run that wire directly to the big bolt on the Solenoid, with the battery cable (fuse link goes here..NEVER INSTALL A FUSE INSIDE A VEHICLE! a fire hazard AND the PCV fumes can knock you out in a closed cabin..)

Lastly, Find the CW contact, using a 10 gauge wire , hook that to your seat controller or where the power is now hooked to now..

Thats it! your done..and now suppling 30 full amps to the motor (s) . They should run faster, and no longer be a fire liability to the car...

Test it out to be sure then button it all up..If it still runs slow let us know, I have a ground system you can install that will ensure the whole car is perfectly bonded..

HINT: when wiring relays avoid putting the battery side to the center wiper, to avoid accidental short on the NC contacts (like dropping a wrench accidentally on it..when just sitting or hitting metal on the body in case of a loose mount..) If you put it to the NO side it is isolated to everything until energized..no possibility of a short..


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