Non-LED daytime running lights on classic cars

Following the LED lights upgrade article in the April 2014 issue of Safety Fast! (V8NOTE475), Michael Bernhard (a Swiss V8 enthusiast) was in touch to send in a "note I made recently due to the Swiss mandatory requirement to drive during daylight with DRL (Daytime Runnig Lights) or equivalent lamps." (May 14)

From January 2014 Swiss legislation on Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) requires that all cars licensed after January 1970 are to be driven with their front lights on. This applies also to foreign vehicles driven in Switzerland!
Failing to do so means a CHF 40.00 spot fine and the police are having a ball right now. Those cars not fitted with specific DRL devices (mostly using LED technology) must be driven with their front passing beam headlamps switched on - neither front fog lamps nor front position lamps are tolerated. This also means that their rear position lights, license plate illumination as well as that of dashboard are automatically on - a heavy load on alternators and batteries resulting in an additional 2% fuel consumption.
Why the 1970 cut off date? Well that is when alternators replaced dynamos on new vehicles and dynamos cope less well when using vehicle lighting for longer periods, so vehicles from the earlier dynamo era are exempted.

International technical requirements (ECE and EU)for DRL only cover front illumination on vehicles. Thus numerous and sometimes quite fancy front illumination devices using LED technology are found on the latest new models. Also many after-market DRL devices are available today for legal retrofitting to older vehicles. Image 297 pixels wideWhen I considered the necessary upgrade for my 1972 MGBGT, I preferred not to add extra LED DLRs - a question of aesthetics and authenticity! Also as I was not prepared to drive during the daytime with all the lights switched on, I decided to wire up just the two passing beams to the ignition switch, and thus avoid the heavy load driving during daytime with the front position lamps, dashboard illumination, rear position lamps and rear license plate illumination all on.

Here's how it was done: The two dipped beam lamp wire connections on the steering column switch system (passing to high beam switch) were
connected to the ignition key device with two relays to protect the battery - that is one relay (on/off) connected to the battery wiring and a second relay to the contact key switch so that the lamps operate as follows:
" When one turns the ignition on, the two passing beams light up.
When turning the key to start the engine, the battery relay switches them off during the operation of the starter motor.
o As soon as the engine fires and when the ignition key no longer operates the starter motor, the second relay switches them on again.

Needless to say, the normal light switch on the dash board is totally independent. So when the car is used during bad visibility conditions, at night or when passing through tunnels, I can switch all the lights on as usual!

A simple and efficient DRL solution whereby one never omits switching the "DRL" lights off when leaving the car. Before making this modification to my car that did happen several times, resulting in a very flat battery and a call for help!
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