Did you know that the first invention of windshield wipers was manually operated? Yeah! You had to move a lever inside the car back and forth, and the same movement is reflected outside on the windshield. Technically, driving in the rain or in heavy winds was a two-person job. Given its function, it was definitely worth the hassle.
However, with the advancement in technology as experienced by most inventions, the electric windshield wipers are clearly a better option. They are so effective that in their highest speeds, they could shake a car from side to side.
Today, windshields are found on cars (windshields and headlights), airplanes and on space shuttles.
How does it work?
The windshield wiper relies on the working operation of the motor and gear reduction, and the linkage of the vehicle to produce such constant motion.
The motor and gear reduction is a combination of the electric motor and a worm gear reduction which powers the wipers, while the linkage converts the rotational output of the motor to the back and forth motion as seen in wipers.
- Wiper Blades
Basically, the arm of the wiper blade, which is an extension from the linkage is laced with a rubber strip and works like a squeegee mop. However, it’s very important that the blade is kept in perfect condition, the rubber has no cracks and is very clean. Else, it could disfigure your windshield by leaving patterns from missed spots during the rain, or from scratches. Also, you need to make sure that the pressure over the length of the blade is even.
- Wiper Blade Schemes
Some of the different wiper blade schemes found in cars include;
The tandem system – which is a pair of wiper blades that work in the same direction with most of the attention on the driver’s side,
The opposed system – which is like the tandem system, but moves in opposite directions, like the name implies
The single arm system – typically has one arm at the middle of the windscreen, and works evenly throughout its span
The single arm controlled – which is found in the Mercedes brand of vehicles. It works like the typical single arm, but covers more area on the screen by retracting and extending as it sweeps across the window.
The driver position – is a rare kind. It features a single arm system with little coverage, and only focuses on the driver’s view.
However, the double blade system, either the tandem or opposed – have been found to be the most effective and most preferred by drivers.
- Wiper Controls
There are different speed settings for wipers. This is because the speed of the wiper very much depends on the degree of rain pour, or the amount of humidity on the windshield. Therefore, the speeds adjusted to match the condition of the windshield. If the wipers are too fast, the windshield dries quickly, and it becomes squeaky, or even worse, cause patterns on the windshield.
On the other hand, if it’s too slow, it’s not effective. Therefore, the driver might need to adjust the speeds depending on how fast the car is going, or the consistency of the rain itself. With the driver having enough trouble focusing on the wet road, this might be somewhat of a distraction.
This is why car manufacturers have invented the rain-sensing wipers, which as the name implies, literally solves the speed problem.