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Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
#689524 03/27/17 12:02 am
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 29
Doug F Offline OP
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IgnitionMod

BSA Gas Tank


Hello all, & Thanks in advance for any help I can get.as I'm starting work on a "66 Lightning been sitting for 23 years. Hopefully the photo links work. They show the all chrome gas tank, which I've not found
any photo of one like it on anything thus far & not sure if it's original or even for a "66 Lightning. Any Thoughts ?
The other photo is of the upgrade ignition mod. Which is the main focus of this post. I think it's a Boyer But other than the lettering on the bottom side there's no brand or other markings on it.
All the models I've looked up have 4-5 wires. This one has 3 ( 1 black wire & 2 yellow) not sure if it's any good, but tracing out wiring that so far is not like the diagram shows in the book, as well as monkey fitted with bad crimps , labels with ? marks etc.. lol you know the look. so I want to make sure it's all wired right before going any further. Also this may sound dumb to those that know but I'm newbie with these & I've not found any definitive answer if it's 1 phase or 3 phase. & I've seen them both mentioned. I'm assuming single phase.
Thanks for any help
Doug

Last edited by Doug F; 03/27/17 12:05 am. Reason: re-inserted link for photo

'66 Lightning Engine, '68 Mark IV frame "bitsa"
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Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #689526 03/27/17 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by Doug F
The other photo is of the upgrade ignition mod. Which is the main focus of this post. I think it's a Boyer But other than the lettering on the bottom side there's no brand or other markings on it.

All the models I've looked up have 4-5 wires. This one has 3 ( 1 black wire & 2 yellow)


It looks more like a regulator/rectifier (for battery charging) rather than an electronic "ignition box".



Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
L.A.B. #689528 03/27/17 12:34 am
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This tank looks exactly like mine from 70Thunderbolt with late type metal badges, somebody just didn't painted it.
+ 1 to LAB post - this is 1 phase Tympanium type of regulator rectifier with 3 wires instead of 4, because it's grounded by the reg / rec body.
It would be interesting to see a picture of the bike from the timing side to make sure it's really 66 A65.

Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #689538 03/27/17 2:17 am
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Hi Doug,

Firstly, welcome to The Forum. smile

Originally Posted by Doug F
the upgrade ignition mod.
All the models I've looked up have 4-5 wires.

+1 to the others' view that it isn't an electronic ignition. 5 wires are: one each to battery -ve and +ve (one via the switches) making the circuit through the electronics themselves, one signal wire to the coil(s) and two to the trigger unit - on a Britbike, usually in place of the points on one end of a/the camshaft. If an e.i. is designed specifically for only one 'earth'/'ground' ('positive' as standard on your bike), it'd be possible to leave out one insulated wire to the electronics themselves, but that still leaves any e.i. needing four insulated wires?

So also +1 to the others' view that it's more likely a combined electronic regulator/rectifier (replacement for both the original rectifier and Zener diode). Again usually, these also have at least four wires - two AC input and two DC output - but there was one make - again limited to 'positive earth' - that had two AC wires (and AC wires are commonly Yellow) but only one DC wire. If the Black wire on your bike's unit is connected either directly to battery -ve or to the harness Brown/White wires, that its metal casing is attached to the bike is the other DC conductor, as battery +ve is also attached to the bike's structure.

Originally Posted by Doug F
not found any definitive answer if it's 1 phase or 3 phase. & I've seen them both mentioned. I'm assuming single phase.

You're almost certainly correct. Lucas didn't make 3-phase stators before 1978 so, while that's plenty of time for a p.o. (previous owner) to have fitted one to your bike, he/she would also have had to have fitted a 3-phase reg./rec. - which have three AC wires - for everything to work.

The only potential fly in the ointment is it isn't impossible for a p.o. to have become confused between 3-phase and 3-wire single-phase Lucas stators - Lucas helped enormously (not!) by using exactly the same wire colour combos. on both types of stator ... facepalm And your bike was fitted originally with a 3-wire single-phase Lucas stator ...

If the bike has three wires emerging from the primary side of the engine (left-hand side of the engine facing forwards), the only way to be absolutely certain is to remove the primary chaincase cover, (carefully) pull the stator off its mounting studs around the rotor 'til you can see the inside circumference; then the ends of the coil cores are visible - single-phase has six, 3-phase has nine.

Only if the stator is 3-wire single-phase is it then correct to connect the Green/Yellow (insulation mainly Green with one or two thin Yellow tracer lines) and Green/Black wires together to one reg./rec. Yellow wire, and the White/Green wire to the other reg./rec. Yellow wire.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Stuart #689917 03/30/17 2:42 am
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Doug F Offline OP
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Hey, Thanks for the great info. Folks.
the numbers on the motor = A65.L.10.1 61, was wondering what the 61 references to.
the reason for thinking it to be a Boyer reg/rec is due to the Boyer pamphlet in one of the boxes of stuff that came with the bike. Good to have that cleared up. tho if it'd actually any good still remains to be seen.
So I'm taking what you said about the tank that it can be painted over ? 'cause I really love the look of that stripe down the top & was thinking it' chrome & can't be painted. That stuff comes Waaay later tho.
My 1st thought was to see if I could get it up running Then go from there for what it needs etc... But after doing much reading on this forum & elsewhere,( so much great info. here) & not knowing what what may have been done to this thing mechanically. Come to the wiser line of thinking I think. to go ahead get into it , clean the sludge trap & check it all over before possibly causing more damage. so I'll be checking out the Stator among & now what what I'm looking for. Guy I got it from said he got it from his friend he used to ride along side with, some reason not sure why it ended up in some mechanics shop who didn't know what he was doing, then sat for 23 years in his garage. I'll get some photos of it posted up soon. headlamp fits the smaller 12v ammeter which I got a new one for it yesterday( 1 5/8" fits perfectly) & a new toggle type headlight switch. as it also was missing.
Pretty excited , I've wanted one for many years. fond memories of the Beautiful old Maroon Red Shooting Star I had as a kid. Should've never let go of it.
Done lots of mechanical work but never actually gone thru an engine myself before.
Thanks again Folks & Cheers to good riding weather

Last edited by Doug F; 03/30/17 2:45 am.

'66 Lightning Engine, '68 Mark IV frame "bitsa"
Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #689968 03/31/17 8:07 am
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Hi Doug,

Originally Posted by Doug F
get into it , clean the sludge trap & check it all over
so I'll be checking out the Stator

When removing the stator, as I say, be careful of the wires - heat and oil makes the insulation brittle and easy to crack if you bend the wires. frown

From taking it apart, I'd be very surprised if you don't end up with a long whistle shopping list ... Depending how much you want to spend, if you find the stator is the original six-coil/3-wire single-phase, bear in mind it was pretty feeble when regulated to 12V (~100W @ 5,000 rpm frown ), so you might consider a new stator and rotor worthwhile. If so, ime avoid new "Lucas"-branded or Sparx, select what're known as "Made In England" (can't be called "Lucas" because Wassell's licence to use the "Lucas" brand and packaging is exclusive frown ).

Originally Posted by Doug F
new toggle type headlight switch. as it also was missing.

Might be a minor point depending, or might be an issue later mating it up to a standard '66 harness(?), but '66 had a rotary lights switch; afaik, both rotary and toggle switches fit the same 'D'-shaped hole, in something like the headlamp shell. Also, I can't find a decent picture of where the switches fit on a '66 BSA twin; on a Triumph (and BSA (The Group) tended to have Lucas supply the same parts to both Small Heath and Meriden), they fit in the left-hand (drive-side) sidepanel. If you haven't found one already, '66 twins parts book.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Stuart #690042 03/31/17 8:59 pm
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Doug F Offline OP
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Hi, Stuart
Thanks for the heads up on the wires, & about the lamp switch. I thought it might be the rotor type But figured I get it going with this & iron things out later once it's actually running.
And yes I'm starting a pretty good laundry list of things I'll most likely be needing based on the reading of a Whole lot of info. posted on this forum. & articles elsewhere. So far plan on replacing / upgrading Stator
hopefully rest of alternator is good. either rebuild Or upgrade to the SRM oil pump. Lot of reading about the TS & DS bushing/bearings. motor has 18000 miles on it so I'm preparing for that. Hopefully I'll get lucky & get some more miles from the conn./rods, Need to find a really good machinist who can do align boring, & good parallel cylinder honing & or boring if it needs it. It's going to be a.rider kind of restore & I'll be taking it easy on it .
I'll finish out the wiring myself & get rid of PO's" cut into wire" crimps & splices . replace all the bad stuff with 14g just to get it up & going. once I hear that beautiful sound & know it's ride-able I'll send for a proper harness & do it up right. for now It's time to get dirty with it & get it coming apart . Wish me luck
Best Regards & thanks to everyone on this forum for incredible amount of information.


'66 Lightning Engine, '68 Mark IV frame "bitsa"
Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #690069 04/01/17 1:16 am
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Hi Doug,

Originally Posted by Doug F
plan on replacing / upgrading Stator
hopefully rest of alternator is good.

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm ...

If the rotor is original, it's 51 years old ... magnetism - which affects how much electricity any stator, new or 51 years old, can generate - attenuates with age, but not at a set rate across even similar components.

Also, the older the rotor, the more likely it is to have the tendency for the magnets to start being pushed outwards. The centre of the rotor is a big hex. with a magnet sitting on each face, held in place by the surrounding non-magnetic metal. There isn't any bond between these parts except for the non-magnetic metal being cast around the hex. and magnets so, once the latter start being pushed out, the inner circumference of even a 3-phase "Made In England" stator is only set about 18 thou. from the outer surface of the rotor ... eek

Originally Posted by Doug F
I'll finish out the wiring myself & get rid of PO's" cut into wire" crimps & splices . replace all the bad stuff with 14g just to get it up & going. once I hear that beautiful sound & know it's ride-able I'll send for a proper harness & do it up right.

Hmmm again ...

Have you considered building the new harness yourself? If you're intending to "replace all the bad stuff", you'll be buying the crimping tools anyway(?), and you'll likely run into the problem of original wires being close to 18AWG but not quite ... frown

British Wiring is the go-to US supplier for wire in the correct insulation colours in modern sizes and correct-looking bullet and spade terminals and insulations to fit, although their stock is limited and expensive compared with Autosparks (BW's British supplier) and Vehicle Wiring Products in GB. Given the strength of the US$ against the UK£, big order from one of them (e.g. VWP has the same crimping tools as BW but a little cheaper, and also cheaper tools?) and top-ups from BW as needed could save you a lump of money compared to an off-the-shelf harness, none of which I've ever found good value or quality and which have several disadvantages if you want to fit 21st-century upgrades? frown

I've several more-detailed posts sitting in various Forums about rewiring, although I'm happy to go through it again if you can't find them.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Stuart #690644 04/06/17 1:07 am
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Doug F Offline OP
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Heya Stuart
Thanks again,
I have been doing lots of reading about the wiring & visited British Wiring's web site. They are the place I'd be getting a harness from when it gets to that point.Although I've also been considering building my own harness with proper colors & connectors. I do already have a set of Klein tools crimpers. & if need be I'll spend the dough to get a better set. this is my Baby after all. I've also been reading about the stators
& already decided I'm going to be fitting a new rotor & stator. been reading lot on this forum about it. Is it fairly easy to upgrade to 3 phase ? or would you advise against it? I'd like to run a good bright light & Have plenty of juice.
As for the Lucas Branding, So the new Lucas branded stators & Sparx are not good ? I haven't read them all but I've seen some internet posts about problems with Sparx.
If you know of a good quality stator & rotor set up I'd sure appreciate being pointed in the right direction.
Thanks for the tips on the other companies for wiring etc.. I'll be checking them out for certain. With all the work I'm going to be putting into this project I want to make every effort to get it " Tip Top"


'66 Lightning Engine, '68 Mark IV frame "bitsa"
Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #690916 04/08/17 4:16 am
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Originally Posted by Doug F
it fairly easy to upgrade to 3 phase ?

As easy as replacing the stator and the rectifier/regulator. As long as your rotor has good magnetism that's all it takes.
Highly recommended if you spend a lot of time in town at low RPM.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"
Re: Help with "66 Lightning Ignition Wiring
Doug F #690962 04/08/17 3:13 pm
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Hi Doug,

Apologies for the delay replying ... the "w" word getting in the way ... frown

Originally Posted by Doug F
British Wiring
the place I'd be getting a harness from

:bigt I've read that, as they build to order(?), they'll incorporate some modifications if asked - things like leaving out the wire to the Zener or rectifier if you're planning to connect a reg./rec. to the other one, leaving out wires to components like condensers if you're planning to fit an electronic ignition, etc.

Originally Posted by Doug F
Is it fairly easy to upgrade to 3 phase ?

As David posted, yes - new alternator stator and rotor bolt in place of the old parts, replace any old rectifier and Zener diode or existing combined regulator/rectifier (unless the latter's 3-phase already) with a new 3-phase reg./rec., connect the new reg./rec. DC negative wire to standard harness rectifier or Zener wire (depending where you decide to site the reg./rec.?), connect the new reg./rec. DC negative wire either direct to battery positive or to standard harness Red wire beside old rectifier or Zener position.

Btw, if you do buy a new harness from British Wiring, tell them you're fitting a high-output 3-phase stator and, if they will modify the harness, ask them to upgrade the Brown/Blue, Brown/White and main Red wires to 28-strand (aka "14 Gauge").

Otoh, if you build the harness yourself and order the wire, terminals, etc. from a British supplier, get these wires in what's known variously as "28/0.30 thinwall", "2.00MM² thinwall" and/or "25-Amp" - it has the same conductor cross-section as the aforementioned stuff from BW but, thanks to a different type of plastic insulation, is thinner overall and has a higher Amp rating. :bigt BW does have it, just not in the right insulation colours. frown

Originally Posted by Doug F
upgrade to 3 phase ?
would you advise against it?

Definitely not. :bigt If you select the high-output 3-phase stator, definitely fit-'n'-forget ime.

Originally Posted by Doug F
If you know of a good quality stator & rotor set up I'd sure appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

Originally Posted by Stuart
what're known as "Made In England" (can't be called "Lucas" because Wassell's licence to use the "Lucas" brand and packaging is exclusive frown ).

There are bound to be US dealers that stock the stators but, apart from Mitch Klempf, I don't know who. frown If you get stuck, TMS in GB (click on the link and scroll down to "47244/UK").

Rotor could be more problematic, if only because they're heavy and likely to cost you an arm and a leg in p&p from GB. I hesitate to recommend 'Wassell Lucas' but it could be your cheapest option given the p&p problem. Otoh, if you have the same problem as a guy I'm helping out on the TriumphRat Classic, Vintage & Veteran forum, he went through three 'Wassell Lucas' rotors before he got one that fitted correctly. mad The problem is they can only have a very fine tolerance to the crankshaft (0.7500"-0.7505"?) but his first was too tight and the second was too loose. eek At least all he wasted was time going to/from the dealer; if you don't have a local one, I'd check with whomever you buy from that they'll pay postage on any returned dud ones?

Originally Posted by Doug F
So the new Lucas branded stators & Sparx are not good ?

Too many posted problems when the (apparently) problem-free "Made In England" version is available for only a little extra.

Hth.

Regards,


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