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switches for old power windows

Bob Frisby
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Boise, Idaho USA

switches for old power windows

Post by Bob Frisby » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:04 pm

My 1952 DF302 Hooper Empress has very early power windows in the front. They are the "Piper" brand. One of the three actuating switches has failed to where repair is impossible, and the others are in marginal condition.

These are ivory-colored paddle switches, off-on-off, being spring-loaded to the off position. I can of course substitute modern switches, but they don't look correct. I realize this is a very long shot, but would anyone know there I might buy the correct switches, or something similar??

Thanks for any help,

Bob Frisby
DB18 and DF302 Empresses (and other old Brit cars)
Boise, Idaho USA

Bob Frisby
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Boise, Idaho USA

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by Bob Frisby » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:05 pm

I meant of course on-off-on !!

Bob Frisby

terryfrombury
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by terryfrombury » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:43 pm

Hi Bob
I`m afraid I know nothing about Empresses, and there may well be fellow contributors who can point you in the right direction for these switches. The only reason for commenting is that if all else should fail, the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow had on-off-on switches for the electric windows, and from memory there was a chrome plate which covered them from view, so it might be possible to fit them and make them rather less obvious.
Terry

User avatar
Vortex O'Plinth
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:15 pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by Vortex O'Plinth » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:55 pm

I know nothing about Empresses either Bob, but Piper powered window mechanisms were fitted by a number of contemporary prestige british car manufacturers; among them Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and Bristol. Contacting specialists in these marques might produce something, although of course the switches may well have been unique to each application.

From what understand, Piper units from that era were not particularly robust or long-lived and many have been replaced with modern alternatives - which would probably include the switch-gear as well.
Nick

Pas d'elle yeux Rhône que nous.

Fossil
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:08 pm
Location: Helensburgh, Argyll

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by Fossil » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:32 pm

Bob

I believe that Christian Demler had some Piper type door switches remanufactured a few years ago, it would be worth sending him a pm to see if he still has any left.

As to quality of construction, the many components of my 1954 Dauphin Piper windows are currently in reasonable form having required nothing more than cleaning, rewiring, attention to one commutator and replacement of the counterbalance springs to bring them back to life after 60 years and over 100,000 miles. i believe that the previous owner replaced the drive chains, and several primitive attempts had been made to deal with past wiring issues, but the car appears to have been generally well looked after for most of its life, in particular, from the appearance of the interior of the doors, having probably been garaged and protected from rain for much of it - surprisingly little corrosion anywhere.

Cheers

Geoff

Bob Frisby
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Boise, Idaho USA

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by Bob Frisby » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:07 pm

Thanks for the replies I will follow up on the possible sources suggested. I do have a modern, totally incorrect switch to replace the one that is completely gone, so at least I can keep it running.

My basic problem was that the insulation had "perished", and the motor wires were shorting out with each other. I'm not very good with electrical stuff, so this has been a challenge, since I had no info to start with. But I have rewired everything, done the usual clean-and-lubricate, and all looks good so far. My impression is that this a basically quite a robust unit. However, it has no counterbalance spring.

Thanks again for the helpful replies.

Bob Frisby
1952 DB-18 Empress and 1953 (not '52) DF302 Empress and other old Brit cars
Boise, Idaho USA

Fossil
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:08 pm
Location: Helensburgh, Argyll

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by Fossil » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:34 pm

Bob

Yes, the principal issue with mine was also perished wiring. Fortunately the earth wiring was by far the worst and had immobilised the system before other short circuits could cause serious trouble.

Surprisingly in retrospect both windows worked when I bought the car in 1994, but after a few months they both ceased. A quick glance inside the driver's door indicated that much time and patience would be required to deal with it properly so the window was left in the closed position, the drive chain disconnected and the fuses removed from the bulkhead fusebox until a suitable time could be found to tackle the challenge.

Many moons later the driver's door counterbalance spring then failed due to a pothole I wasn't quick enough to avoid, and the window disappeared downwards with a thud.

I'll not recount the whole of the long and frustrating journey of discovery that the restoration became, first to remove from the driver's door the motor, drive chain and switch assembly complete on its frame, it could not be done otherwise, and then to dismantle it, clean and inspect each component and rewire it all, eventually reassembling ready for bench testing with a spare battery, not forgetting the vital earth return to the battery from the connector block, and the delight of finding that everything worked.

Then the challenge of refitting the frame in the door and connecting all the wires, involving the passing of the main wires through plastic sheathing from the door to the bulkhead and so on. The sobering realisation that the door motor/switching assembly is permanently hot/live, and therefore the importance of those bulkhead fuses, and finally the repeat of the entire exercise on the passenger's door, not least the discovery the that motor didn't work, the discovery of a very worn commutator, and that a refurbished Piper motor from a Rolls-Royce supplier would cost at least GBP600. Therefore recourse to the smoothing of said commutator with a fine file, and adjustment of the brushes with a successful eventual outcome.

Now the pleasure of that work is there every time I look at the car, and I cannot resist checking that they still work every time I get in.

The counterbalance springs are constant tension spiral springs customarily fitted in pairs to sash windows in place of the lead weights on cords found in old buildings, and they are still available online identical to the originals that I found in the Dauphin in the most serendipitous part of the story. I'm still surprised to think that such a device developed and manufactured over half a century ago (excuse pun, the Dauphin is essentially a 1954 DJ256) is still in use, although gas struts are tending to replace them in many applications. A single spring is fitted in each door high up at the level of the cap rail with the end of the spring hooked to the baseplate of the window. I's purpose is to assist the motor to close the window, and it is sufficient to allow the window to be lifted with one finger and maintained closed if the drive chain is disengaged from the baseplate. It is thus a vital part of the window movement system and I'm astonished that it is not present in your Empress. Perhaps there is some other arrangement to balance the weight of the window glass on older examples?

I did write an article about the exercise which appeared in the DLOC magazine the "Driving Member", coincidentally the July 2016 issue, if you received that. If not and/or there is anything else I can contribute to help you please send me a pm via the Forum. If you don't have it I can send you the photos and text by email.

Cheers

Geoff

CDemler
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:14 am

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by CDemler » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:48 am

Hi,
I Have new ones in stock ,no problem.
Chris

andyjchmiel
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:17 pm
Location: Shakopee MN USA

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by andyjchmiel » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:03 pm

Chris - do you have a photo of the switch - I may need some for my DH27 - thanks

Andy

HenryC
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:31 pm
Location: Surrey / East Hampshire

Re: switches for old power windows

Post by HenryC » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:25 pm

Hi Chris,

I need a similar switch for the power hood on my 1954 Conquest DJ252. I wonder if it is the same as the ones you have? I will post a picture later tomorrow.
Cheers, Henry

EL24
Conquest (Drop Head) Coupe DJ252
MGB 8-)

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