Abstract. We report important new aspects of polar cap convection and precipitation (dawn-dusk and inter-hemisphere asymmetries) associated with the different levels of forcing of the magnetosphere by two interplanetary (IP) magnetic clouds on 20 November 2007 and 17 December 2008 during solar minimum. Focus is placed on two intervals of southward magnetic cloud field with large negative By components (Bx=−5 versus 0 nT) and with high and low plasma densities, respectively, as detected by spacecraft Wind. The convection/precipitation states are documented by DMSP spacecraft (Southern Hemisphere) and SuperDARN radars (Northern Hemisphere). The (negative) By component of the cloud field is accompanied by a newly-discovered flow channel (called here FC 2) threaded by old open field lines (in polar rain precipitation) at the dusk and dawn sides of the polar cap in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively, and a corresponding Svalgaard-Mansurov (S-M) effect in ground magnetic deflections. On 20 November 2007 the latter S-M effect in the Northern winter Hemisphere appears in the form of a sequence of six 5–10 min long magnetic deflection events in the 71–74° MLAT/14:30–16:00 MLT sector. The X-deflections are consistent with the flow direction in FC 2 (i.e. caused by Hall currents) in both IP cloud cases. The presence of a lobe cell and associated polar arcs in the Southern (summer) Hemisphere in the low density (1–2 cm−3) and Bx=0 ICME case is accompanied by the dropout of polar rain precipitation in the dusk-side regime of sunward polar cap convection and inward-directed Birkeland current. The low-altitude observations are discussed in terms of momentum transfer via dynamo processes in the high- and low-latitude boundary layers and Birkeland currents located poleward of the traditional R1-R2 system.