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  • Electrical: horn relay

    I know this is a dumb question, but would someone who knows more about electricity than me explain how the horn relay works. I know the middle connection brings power to the relay, and power flows out to the horn button [steering wheel in place but horn ring removed] on the metal plate which is connected to the middle terminal in the base of the relay [under the electromagnet]. When the horn button is pushed are you sending power to ground and allowing the electromagnet in the relay to become powered, closing the contact which allows power to flow to the horns? What I am wondering is this: I have power at the brass button- if I push the button [or ground it], should this close the contact in the relay? I'm thinking the relay may not be doing what it should. Thanks.

  • #2
    Sorry, but I should have mentioned that I'm working on a 55 President coupe.

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    • #3
      There is constant Non-Fused POWER coming in ALL the Time to the Batt. Terminal on the Relay, when you Ground the Wire in the Steering column that goes to the Relay, you close the Relay Contacts and the Third Terminal on the Relay will send Power [ (-) Negative on a Positive Ground System] to the Three Horns, and iF they are Grounded and operating, they will Honk.

      FIRST thing to do, put a Test Light or Voltmeter on the "BATT" Terminal of the Relay with the 2nd. Test Probe Grounded to bare Metal, and check for Power at the Relay.
      No need to turn the Ign. on, this wire is "HOT".

      If you can not Read the Relay Term. marking, it will not hurt to try them all until you get a Light.
      Last edited by StudeRich; 01-15-2019, 10:11 AM.
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        To directly answer your questions - yes.
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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        • #5
          I have power at the 2 terminals in the relay [not the terminal connected to the horns] and at the brass horn button. My question is if I ground the brass button, should this close the relay contact and send power to the horns [assuming they are ok and grounded].

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          • #6
            Originally posted by clifford View Post
            I have power at the 2 terminals in the relay [not the terminal connected to the horns] and at the brass horn button. My question is if I ground the brass button, should this close the relay contact and send power to the horns [assuming they are ok and grounded].
            Yes. That is correct.
            RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

            17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
            10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
            10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
            4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
            5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
            56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
            60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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            • #7
              A relay is nothing more than a simple electronic switch that is used to switch high amperage circuits like horns, OD solenoids, or headlights, thereby allowing the light switch or horn button to only pass an amp or two.
              Skip Lackie

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              • #8
                Thanks to everyone who responded.....Clifford

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                • #9
                  That confuses me when you say you have "POWER" at the Steering Wheel wire contact and also at the same wire contact at the Relay. those are Both Grounds not "Power".

                  It's True you DO have a "Circuit" if you connect a Ground to a Power (Current) wire through a resistance like a; light Bulb, Horn, Test Meter etc. but I would not call a Ground wire a "Power" Wire.

                  There should only be "Power" at the Batt. Terminal of the Relay, nowhere else until the relay is Closed by applying a "Ground".
                  StudeRich
                  Second Generation Stude Driver,
                  Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                  • #10
                    In a related question, I am working on a 57 GH and can ground the horn contact wire on the steering column and get "HONK" from horn. I don't get sound if I touch the steering post/rod itself. If I am unstanding right, it is actually the steering rod that the steering wheel bolts to that works as the ground when you push the horn button? That should complete the circuit as the inner horn button contact is grounded. (Inner horn contact, contacts the brass steering wheel plate which has a male terminal that connects to the spring plate under the horn bar).
                    I can take a spare wire, touch the contact button and on other end, touch steering post column or internal metal parts and get horn to sound, but when I install the steering wheel on steering rod I can not get sound by pushing horn bar. How is the steering post grounded? should I run a ground wire to a steering box bolt?
                    Last edited by Kdancy; 02-10-2019, 09:47 AM.
                    64 Champ long bed V8
                    55/53 Studebaker President S/R
                    53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

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