Blinkie® - Signal with Style
Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s fresh new turn signal innovation comes about as a matter of necessity. Fragile reproductions of ‘50s-style add-on turn signal assemblies with obtrusive fasteners tend to create a rather unsightly hiccup. Featuring bulletproof modern electronics in a classic, art-deco, cast aluminum housing, “Blinkie” is currently available to fit the popular 1 ½-inch steering column. All models include a self-canceling feature and emergency flasher switch.
- Self Canceling Timeout
- Emergency Flasher
- Polished-but-paintable Aluminum Finish
- Made in the USA
When Hot Rods & Custom Stuff designed the original Blinkie® turn signal assembly with its art deco appearance combined with modern electronics, the roadster guys asked for something smaller so their knee wouldn’t hit the switch. Blinkie®DASH solves the problem with a small, polished lever that can be mounted on any flat surface. The Blinkie®DASH uses the same solid state electronic control as does the column mounted Blinkie®. The self-cancelling timeout feature assures that we don’t drive with our turn signal flashing. The unit includes an emergency flasher function. Every Blinkie® product is made in the USA. Blinkie® is for 12Volt, negative ground systems only.
- Self Canceling Timeout
- Emergency Flasher
- Polished-but-paintable Aluminum Finish
- Made in the USA
Coming Soon for column-shift ’40-and-later Fords.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Blinkie compatible with LEDs? Yes, Blinkie will flash LEDs or resistive (filament) bulbs in any combination. The control module is rated at 6 amps per side.
- What size fuses should I use for my Blinkie install? There are two 12volt DC inputs used for Blinkie. The first is a switched 12 volt supply going to the Blinkie control module. That line should be fused with a maximum 10 amp fuse. The other input goes to the Blinkie switch (either Column or Dash) and that line should have a 1/2 amp fuse protecting it.
- What type of flasher can should I use….two prong or three prong? NEITHER! The Blinkie control module contains an electronic flasher so the flasher can is not used at all.
- My car is 6 volt, will Blinkie work with 6 volt systems? No, there is not a Blinkie model available at this time….we are working on it!
- My car is positive ground, will Blinkie work with positive ground? Because of the protection built into the module, Blinkie will not work on a positive ground system, it thinks you have hooked the wires up backwards.
- What if I hook the power to Blinkie up backwards with the positive battery connected to the ground side? The Blinkie control circuit has protection for this and it should not be harmed. However, DO NOT hook Blinkie to alternating current, such could damage the control circuitry and void the warranty.
- I push the Blinkie lever to signal a turn but the lever will not stay in the turn position. What is going on? Blinkie uses a momentary switch that gives the control module a command to flash the signal. The lever does not have a detent; therefore it is supposed to return to the center position. DO NOT try to force the handle up or down, this will damage the switch and may void the warranty. A light force is all that is required to activate the signal.
- What if my right side blinkers work if I turn the lever for a left turn (operates backwards)? Usually, this happens when you plug the two wires (purple and brown) coming from the lever (and going to the control module) in backwards. If you insert the two wires with the crimped pins correctly, removing the pins requires the use of a pin extractor. The AMP pin extractor is expensive to buy ($25 to $100). An alternative solution is to cut the two wires and splice them in the correct position. You should use an insulator covering such as heat shrink tubing over your splice.
- When I tighten the clamp on my Blinkie Column unit, the Blinkie is still loose, how can I get it to clamp tightly to the column? If the bolts are tight (see the instructions for the torque value) and Blinkie is still loose, wrap a turn or two of tape around the column under the Blinkie clamp area. This should tighten it up. Use electrical tape instead of masking tape.
- Can I paint my Blinkie? Yes, Blinkie can be painted. IF you remove the back cover, be very careful to not disturb the wiring or switch placement. The Blinkie housing and back cover are both aluminum. Paint Blinkie as you would any polished aluminum part taking care not to get liquids under the lever or on the inside of the Blinkie housing.
- How should I care for the Blinkie polished parts? Again, the housing and back cover are aluminum so any aluminum polish should be acceptable. Try to not use abrasives on the polished aluminum.
- I wired my Blinkie per the diagram but the signals work with the key turned off. This is intended so that the emergency flashers can be turned off and on when the key is off. Even if the turn signal works with the key off, the automatic shutoff will turn the signal off after the timeout. You still cannot have the turn signal operating and run the battery down.
- What can wear out in my Blinkie? There are only two wearing components inside Blinkie Column, two bronze bushings holding the shaft pivot and three switches. The bushings have almost no load so they should last forever. The gold contact switches are rated at 100,000 cycles by the manufacturer. No maintenance is required.
- What if I need to flash something that draws more current than the Blinkie is rated for? You can use a relay so that the Blinkie output controls the relay coil. Since the Blinkie control module is solid state, it can actuate the relay coil easily.
- What is the difference between Blinkie Column and Blinkie Dash? Functionally, there is zero difference, the features such as timeouts, emergency flasher operation, lane change, etc are the same for both units. Blinkie Column is enclosed in a retro-styled aluminum housing that clamps to the steering wheel. Where cockpit room is tight, Blinkie Dash mounts on or under the dash. Both work the same.
- Where is Blinkie made? Blinkie is American made. The castings and machining are done in California. The control module and wiring harness are made in other states. The unit is assembled and packaged in the USA.
- What if I have separate brake lights and turn signals in the rear of the car? If you have separate brake light bulbs and turn signal bulbs, you want only the turn signal bulbs to blink but you don’t want the turn signal bulbs to come on when you press the brake. To do such, don’t hook up the wire from the Blinkie module to the brake pedal switch. Leave the existing brake circuit wires. The only drawback of this is that you lose the feature that keeps the turn signal blinking when you have your foot on the brake.
- I have dashboard indicators for my turn signals how do I hook them up? If you have a left indicator and a right indicator on you dash, hook each to the front turn signal (left to left and right to right) so that the indicator is in parallel with the front signal. IF you only have a single indicator on the dash, it is a little more involved. You need to use two diodes to isolate the left circuit from the right circuit. You will connect the single indicator to both the left and right side front lamps WITH THE DIODES in the circuit. Diodes can be purchased from an electronics store. The diodes are p/n 1N4001 (50v, 3 watt). An electrical diagram will be posted on the web showing the hookup.
- OK, I added the diodes to my single lamp dash indicator. The turn signals work but the indicator on the dash doesn’t work. What is wrong? Usually, this is because your diodes are installed backwards.
- I added the diodes to my single lamp dash indicator and the turn signals both work but only one side blinks the dash indicator. This means that the side that doesn’t blink has the diode installed backwards.
Download Blinkie Installation Instructions (PDF)
Download Blinkie Dash Installation Instructions (PDF)
THE STORY OF BLINKIE
As chronicled elsewhere, Randy Clark and Mike Edwards started a conversation regarding building a ‘39 Ford Deluxe coupe that looked like a stocker on the inside and outside, but with modern mechanicals and underpinnings, allowing it to be driven anywhere anytime. This discussion morphed into a spreadsheet that defined the theme of the car and attempted to list every part of the build. The spreadsheet was intended to keep the project focused on the theme so the project didn’t wander off course.
They knew that, as part of the theme, the stock steering column and banjo wheel were important features that needed to be kept—no big GM column on an original-looking car. But there was this empty spreadsheet box for “turn signals.” Mike found several art-deco-looking original signal mechanisms on the Internet and bought them. The problem with all of them was the hokey-looking gear clamp that held the signal assembly to the column. They were designed to be universal (and cheap) so the band clamp was a good solution in 1950 when appearance didn’t matter. The other problem was that the old units were not self-canceling—they blinked forever just like the typical car in Sun City. It wasn’t difficult to figure out that what was needed was an old-looking turn signal that clamped onto a Ford column and had modern electronic internals.
Fortunately, between Randy and Mike’s two companies, all the components of a design, build, and marketing team already existed. The design was done using CAD solid modeling. Several SLA (3-D printing) models were made and tested until the appearance was just right. Then, the model went to a shop in LA who did the investment castings in aluminum (no plastic). Another shop in Orange, CA. CNC machined the castings. In parallel, a company was contacted to furnish an electronic control module that was self-canceling, could flash any combination of LEDs and resistive bulbs, and was in a small package so it could be mounted under the dash where there is typically no room.
Remember, this was all done because there was a void in the aftermarket for a product that met the specification for Mike’s ‘39 coupe (look old cool and be modern functional). At some point in the journey, Randy said, “hey, I could provide these to other hot rodders who have the same problem.” The turn signal quickly became a product, but it needed a name. “Randy’s Turn Signal” wasn’t a good sounding name, but BLINKIE had merit since BLINKIE was something descriptive and easily remembered. The name was submitted for a registered Trademark which was granted in early 2013. The BLINKIE design was submitted for a patent in late 2012 and is pending.
BLINKIE #1 went to Randy’s display and BLINKIE #2 went on Mike’s ‘39 coupe where it works as intended. When the first column-mounted BLINKIE was installed and working, Randy saw a need for a second turn signal that wouldn’t hit a driver’s left knee in a tight cockpit of something like a ‘32 coupe or roadster. The solution was to take the same electronic control and use a dash-mounted switch with a smaller lever. Thus, the BLINKIE DASH was born. The popularity of BLINKIE DASH was immediate when it was shown at the LA Roadster Show; the guys who drive cramped cars are enthusiastic about the BLINKIE DASH product.
From the first 25 preproduction models of each design (that quickly sold), BLINKIE and BLINKIE DASH units are now in full production. Polished or painted, the unit looks period correct in a pre-‘50s car. The next iteration coming is a column-mounted unit that will clear the shifter rod on a 1940-up Ford. Randy has installed a prototype on a customer’s car and threw the design to Mike so the CAD model could be done. The first 10 prototypes of the BLINKIE SHIFTER were ready in May of 2013.
So, from a simple need of a turn signal on a single car, an entire product line was born.
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Call Hot Rods & Custom Stuff at 800-HOTROD 5 to order yours now.