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What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. #745814 08/17/18 11:45 am
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Nickjaxe Offline OP
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Had yet another condenser fail on me a few days ago...lucky if I get a year out of one...prob made in the far east.

I remember from my early car driving days of the late 60s that condensers had a value stamped on them..I think it was m/f was that micro farads???

The ones I buy online for my bike..a BSA Bantam B175 its a 2 stroke and basically the same as a D14 and the last one BSA made in the early 70s.

Anyway the condensers are inexpensive to buy but pricey versions are available to....but you just dont know what your buying as they look identical.

I decided to buy an expensive one this time to save more breakdowns but my £20 one looks identical to a £3.50 one and you just dont know if your being ripped off...anyway I fitted the new expensive one yesterday...took the bike for a test run and its a very different machine now...lots smoother.

Not 100% sure about this yet but feel lots less vibrations from the motor will know better the more I ride it in the coming days.

But whats very noticeable is the chugging I have always had on the over run at lower rpm has nearly all gone from the motor...I get it in the throttle fully closed position...a sort of slightly uneven firing making the bike jump slightly when slowing down...I have to pull in the clutch slightly to lessen the effect and preserve the transmission...even the idle is smoother.

But nobody I ask really know what a condenser does...they sort of do but I think there is more to this little device that meets the eye....

The chugging I get I am wondering if I am somehow getting more than one spark.

So who know just what a condenser does.

Nick in the UK.



Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
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Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #745815 08/17/18 11:48 am
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Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #745820 08/17/18 12:42 pm
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The condensor stores electricity, when the points are closed +Ve voltage is being sent to the condensor, when the points are opened the field of energy colapses and that stored voltage is transfered to the coil...

So, with that in mind, altering the (Dwell) angle of the points, (increasing or decreasing the points gap) will alter how much charge goes to the coil. This (more noticable on a bantam) will alter how the engine performs, if you close the gap to .012" the engine will seem more peppy but not see a good top speed, at .018" it will seem more slugish compared but give a better top speed (if you have enough road to find out)

As for your condenser problem, IF they are actually failing I would suspect something is encouraging its failure. I've ran original 60's condensers on the A65 without a problem (and working better than new ones) but at the same time they are known to fail. Possibly the points faces need addressing? or are the points boucing? (weak spring)


beerchug
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #745934 08/18/18 2:53 pm
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A condenser is a capacitor, if you can read the rating then you can always try an alternative source. Coil, points and condenser should match; modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #745954 08/18/18 6:41 pm
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And, as our own "Magnetoman" has taught us, capacitors and condensers have a SHELF LIFE as well as an
"IN SERVICE" life.
And that life-span begins the day they are manufactured.

They can be new-old-stock and still go bad just from old age.
That is why, when they were used in cars and trucks with points ignition systems, an ignition check-up always included replacing "points, plugs, and CONDENSERS."

Just a cheap "insurance policy" against on-the-road ignition failures.

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #745955 08/18/18 6:42 pm
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And, as our own "Magnetoman" has taught us, capacitors and condensers have a SHELF LIFE as well as an
"IN SERVICE" life.
And that life-span begins the day they are manufactured.

They can be new-old-stock and still go bad just from old age.
That is why, when they were used in cars and trucks with points ignition systems, an ignition check-up always included replacing "points, plugs, and CONDENSERS."

Just a cheap "insurance policy" against on-the-road ignition failures.

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Dibnah] #745958 08/18/18 7:33 pm
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Hi,

Originally Posted by Dibnah
modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.

This is a misunderstanding ...

. Coils switched by points have a certain primary resistance to limit the amount of current they draw. Some electronic ignitions (e.g. most of the ones sold to work on Britbikes) work with coils of this type.

. Coils designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting have a very low primary resistance; used with points (something they aren't designed for), there isn't any current-limiting so of course they'll "burn points and cook condensers" ,,, before they burn and cook themselves.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
Coil, points and condenser should match;

confused With what?

Hth.

Regards,

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746015 08/19/18 3:52 am
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Uhh Stuart,

You might want to research the purpose of a condenser.

Start here; http://classicmechanic.blogspot.com/2011/03/ignition.html

Then, if you are still interested, a bit more depth; http://brightsparkmagnetos.com/faqs...%20condenser%20do%20in%20a%20magneto.htm

Or, if you have a lot of time to spare, BING " purpose of a condenser ", and use up a few hours.

The condensers are sized to work with the electrical characteristics of the coil involved. the larger the coil, (inductance wise), the larger the condenser.
The points can handle any current that a proper coil can draw. It is the arcing when they open that pits them.

Geez a snout, Jimmy

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Jerry Roy] #746022 08/19/18 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by Jerry Roy
It is the arcing when they open that pits them.

That is the primary purpose of the condenser, to prevent arcing at the points. Not so much to preserve the points, but to preserve the energy lost to arcing.
Points closed, the condenser has a short across it. Points open, the condenser absorbs the initial current surge while charging. Once charged, the condenser is an open circuit, causing the field in the coil to collapse and spark happens.
The proper value for the condenser is determined by how quickly it needs to charge and its resonance with the inductive value of the coil.
Better quality condensers will have closer value tolerance and less leakage.


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: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746030 08/19/18 10:00 am
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NickL thank you for that...very comprehensive.

Wish I knew more about electronics but I just have to accept what people sell me and hope its right with electrics.

I could re wire a bike with ease and use my multi tester to find a high resistance connection....but ask me the theory of electrics and and bar a basic knowledge i'm lost.

Question...people tell me any condenser of any car will work with my 6v bike...is this correct and but will a wrong spec condenser make my engine run not so smooth and indeed could the wrong one harm an engine.

The 3 condensers I have bought over the last 3 years...none have a rating or value stamped on the body of the condenser as they used to be years ago in my car driving days of the 70s.

Nick.

Last edited by Nickjaxe; 08/19/18 10:53 am.

Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746098 08/19/18 11:16 pm
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Thanks for the link...interesting.

Question...if I ordered a condenser from eBay marked up as suitable for a 1960 Morris Mini car.

What would I expect if I fitted it to my bike.

And it there any way to tell what value the correct Condenser should be for my single cylinder 6v BSA Bantam.

Evidently...my bad experience with condensers off eBay supposedly for my bike is typical.

What issues would an incorrect spec give??

Nick.



Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Stuart] #746137 08/20/18 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by Stuart
Hi,

Originally Posted by Dibnah
modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.

This is a misunderstanding ...

. Coils switched by points have a certain primary resistance to limit the amount of current they draw. Some electronic ignitions (e.g. most of the ones sold to work on Britbikes) work with coils of this type.

. Coils designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting have a very low primary resistance; used with points (something they aren't designed for), there isn't any current-limiting so of course they'll "burn points and cook condensers" ,,, before they burn and cook themselves.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
Coil, points and condenser should match;

confused With what?

Hth.

Regards,


I see no contradiction between
Originally Posted by Dibnah
modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.
and

Originally Posted by stuart
Coils designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting have a very low primary resistance; used with points (something they aren't designed for), there isn't any current-limiting so of course they'll "burn points and cook condensers" ,,, before they burn and cook themselves.


The sales spiel for a new coil should state if compatible with points ignition.

My experience is with Ford four cylinder engines, a coil specified for factory electronic ignition will burn out points within a few hundred miles, probably due to the lower resistance of the coil for the electronic ignition. Typical resistance values are something like less than 1 ohm for factory electronic, 1.5 ohms for ballast points ignition and 3 ohms for non-ballast points (Ford four cylinder).

Coil, points and condenser should match each other as a set.

OP, have you measured the resistance across the primary connections on your coil?

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: NickL] #746138 08/20/18 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by NickL
As i said most general purpose capacitors/condensers supplied for auto use are 0.22uf 400v.dc.
The value is +- 10% on a good day. It's really not that critical as all makes of coils are different anyway.
Too small a value will cause burning of the contacts as insufficient energy can be absorbed on points opening.
A larger value will more heavily damp the ringing frequency and reduce spark energy slightly.

I remember sticking a 1uf 250v cap on a friends bike as it was all i had available, he rode it for ages without any problems.
That capacitor value was 5 times too large according to specifications. Plus the voltage rating was too low.


Specialist electronic component suppliers offer a wide range of capacitors, would be interesting to try a range and monitor voltages across the points

https://www.rapidonline.com/catalogue/search?Query=capacitor

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746141 08/20/18 8:15 am
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Very informative guys...thanks for your time.


Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746410 08/22/18 6:02 am
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i skimmed all the responses so bear with me,seems everyone knows the caps purpose. the value of the cap would depend on the coil used.the voltage is the counter emf generated on the low voltage portion of the coil during field collapse (spark event). the only way to know what the counter emf voltage is to measure it with an o scope on the subject machine running.im not to sure if 500v is too small but its possible. if you want the old fashioned points i would recommend you invest in some 630v orange drop film caps and mount them on the coil primary points terminal to ground if they dont fit in the regular location. get a .22,.33 and .47 mfd caps and monitor the point faces and watch for metal transfer adjust capacitance as needed to prevent it.once fitted i doubt you'd have any further difficulty. i've never done it but the theory seems sound to me.modern film caps have an excellent reputation.

Last edited by jaycee; 08/22/18 7:19 am.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Dibnah] #746419 08/22/18 9:13 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted by Dibnah
I see no contradiction between
Originally Posted by Dibnah
modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.
and
Originally Posted by stuart
Coils designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting have a very low primary resistance; used with points (something they aren't designed for), there isn't any current-limiting so of course they'll "burn points and cook condensers" ,,, before they burn and cook themselves.

That's because you're misunderstanding. If you use low-resistance coils "designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting" with electronic ignitions designed to replace points - that don't do the current limiting - you'll "cook" the electronic ignition too.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
The sales spiel for a new coil should state if compatible with points ignition.

Over the years I've been reading this Forum, there have been innumerable posts by people who bought a (usually twin-lead) '12V' coil and "cooked" the Boyer-Bansden/Pazon/Sparx/whatever e.i.

Because a '12V' 0.5-Ohm-primary resistance coil isn't electrically the same as a '12V' 3-to-4-Ohm-primary resistance coil. The "sales spiel" rarely, if ever, mentions the primary resistance.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
My experience is with Ford four cylinder engines,

Precisely. "1.5 ohms for ballast points ignition" is the same primary resistance as a '6V' coil in a 12V system with coil supply Volts reduced by a series-connected ballast resistor, "3 ohms for non-ballast points" is the same primary resistance as a '12V' coil in a 12V system with 12V coil supply.

But what Ford happens to do with electronic ignition doesn't correlate with the commonest electronic ignitions sold for Britbikes; these should not be connected to lower-resistance coils because the electronic ignitions "don't do the current limiting" that's an essential requisite of use with low-primary-resistance coils.

There are e.i. sold for Britbikes that use low-resistance coils - Boyer-Bransden MicroPower and Pazon Smart-Fire - but the supplied coils are entirely different from standard Lucas and pattern coils.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
Coil, points and condenser should match each other as a set.

Originally Posted by NickL
Originally Posted by NickL
As i said most general purpose capacitors/condensers supplied for auto use are 0.22uf 400v.dc.
The value is +- 10% on a good day. It's really not that critical as all makes of coils are different anyway.
Too small a value will cause burning of the contacts as insufficient energy can be absorbed on points opening.
A larger value will more heavily damp the ringing frequency and reduce spark energy slightly.

I remember sticking a 1uf 250v cap on a friends bike as it was all i had available, he rode it for ages without any problems.
That capacitor value was 5 times too large according to specifications. Plus the voltage rating was too low.

It's not just the voltage across the points that matters. If you try a very large value cap it will absorb so much primary energy that there will be no spark!
You can merrily experiment with values from say 0.1-1.0uf and get worse or better reduction in arcing BUT you may either erode points more or reduce
spark energy. Compromise was what it was all about. Another thing to bear in mind is the type of dielectric used in the cap and it's dv/dt rating.

Yes, using a low inductance HEI type coil with points and no current control will burn points, no matter what cap you use, it will also cook the coil.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746423 08/22/18 10:29 am
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Took my bike for a good run last night...revs much more smoothly and with ease to higher RPM.

This is the first time in 3 years of ownership and 3 cheapo condensers its reved so freely and without vibration...I was convinced I had an out of balance crank.

Love to know what the effects of the engines firing they where having to upset it as badly as they did.

Question...these Boyer type condenser replacement devices...do they really do a better job than a bog std condenser?


Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746426 08/22/18 11:55 am
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Y'know, with all due respect, when it comes to all this, Nick is the bloke ! Now, I know in the past the silly old bugger has told me not to believe what he writes, but when it comes to this stuff, I do believe ! Anyway, I'm determined one day to meet a certain Mr Luckock, and then I'll get the real drum !

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746429 08/22/18 12:29 pm
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Yup, Nick is man with ignition experience..... .. There are big difference in electronic ignition systems on bikes...Some use what they call a CDI ignitor and the coil ohms vary depending on manufacturer from .6 to 3.5...I'm assuming the 3.5 ohm types are simple with limited dwell or current control....Pazon lower price units use 3-5 ohms, the higher price "race" ignitions use .6 ohm.....
For years I rode a 67 Triumph 650 I equipped with Delco car coils and condensers...The coils were 1.8 ohs and I added a 1.5 ohm ignition ballast resistor to each coil...I do think the resistance might change with temperature but the points lasted a long time.Car coil conversions on bike became popular after Cycle Magazine tech report in the 1970's...


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,2001 Sportster....On a bike you can out run the demons..
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Stuart] #746460 08/22/18 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Stuart
Hi,

Originally Posted by Dibnah
I see no contradiction between
Originally Posted by Dibnah
modern coils designed for electronic ignition can easily burn points and cook condensers.
and
Originally Posted by stuart
Coils designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting have a very low primary resistance; used with points (something they aren't designed for), there isn't any current-limiting so of course they'll "burn points and cook condensers" ,,, before they burn and cook themselves.

That's because you're misunderstanding. If you use low-resistance coils "designed to work with electronic ignitions that do the current limiting" with electronic ignitions designed to replace points - that don't do the current limiting - you'll "cook" the electronic ignition too.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
The sales spiel for a new coil should state if compatible with points ignition.

Over the years I've been reading this Forum, there have been innumerable posts by people who bought a (usually twin-lead) '12V' coil and "cooked" the Boyer-Bansden/Pazon/Sparx/whatever e.i.

Because a '12V' 0.5-Ohm-primary resistance coil isn't electrically the same as a '12V' 3-to-4-Ohm-primary resistance coil. The "sales spiel" rarely, if ever, mentions the primary resistance.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
My experience is with Ford four cylinder engines,

Precisely. "1.5 ohms for ballast points ignition" is the same primary resistance as a '6V' coil in a 12V system with coil supply Volts reduced by a series-connected ballast resistor, "3 ohms for non-ballast points" is the same primary resistance as a '12V' coil in a 12V system with 12V coil supply.

But what Ford happens to do with electronic ignition doesn't correlate with the commonest electronic ignitions sold for Britbikes; these should not be connected to lower-resistance coils because the electronic ignitions "don't do the current limiting" that's an essential requisite of use with low-primary-resistance coils.

There are e.i. sold for Britbikes that use low-resistance coils - Boyer-Bransden MicroPower and Pazon Smart-Fire - but the supplied coils are entirely different from standard Lucas and pattern coils.

Originally Posted by Dibnah
Coil, points and condenser should match each other as a set.

Originally Posted by NickL
Originally Posted by NickL
As i said most general purpose capacitors/condensers supplied for auto use are 0.22uf 400v.dc.
The value is +- 10% on a good day. It's really not that critical as all makes of coils are different anyway.
Too small a value will cause burning of the contacts as insufficient energy can be absorbed on points opening.
A larger value will more heavily damp the ringing frequency and reduce spark energy slightly.

I remember sticking a 1uf 250v cap on a friends bike as it was all i had available, he rode it for ages without any problems.
That capacitor value was 5 times too large according to specifications. Plus the voltage rating was too low.

It's not just the voltage across the points that matters. If you try a very large value cap it will absorb so much primary energy that there will be no spark!
You can merrily experiment with values from say 0.1-1.0uf and get worse or better reduction in arcing BUT you may either erode points more or reduce
spark energy. Compromise was what it was all about. Another thing to bear in mind is the type of dielectric used in the cap and it's dv/dt rating.

Yes, using a low inductance HEI type coil with points and no current control will burn points, no matter what cap you use, it will also cook the coil.

Hth.

Regards,


Stuart, you appear to be looking for an argument where there isn't one, and I'm not going to get bogged down in a fog of multi-quoting, I'd rather go to the dentists. The simple fact remains that coils designed for electronic ignition can easliy burn points and condensers, is that not something we are all agreed on?

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746461 08/22/18 7:21 pm
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That's good news! The slow deterioration in performance of any engine over the years is not always apparent, but the return to full performance is always noticeable.

Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: NickL] #746502 08/23/18 9:37 am
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Hi Nick....the Boyer sys...only going on what an online mate tells me...he bought a Boyer condenser eliminator kit some years ago...around 3...failed after 18mth...so he replaced it.

Far as I know its not full electronic ignition as he still have a std 6v coil and points...but no condenser.

He did tell me they are no long sold...

He found an other company making a similar kit recently I will get more details from him.

At the moment its to hit and miss what type of condenser we get.

So the engine vibration I was experiencing is that consistent with a poor spec or quality...I was convinced it was mechanical.


Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746503 08/23/18 10:00 am
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Nick I think this is the Gamatronix version of the Boyer kit.

https://www.eBay.co.uk/itm/Universal-Electronic-Ignition-System-Kit-6v-SIX-volt-POSITIVE-earth/190628414067?hash=item2c6256c273:g:8tQAAOSwzIVZcQTZ

I'm sure the price is a typo.

I have bought other stuff from this company...they seem very good.

My bike is 6v Pos earth.

I like keeping my bike and its ignition sts...but if its going to be an ongoing prob getting hold of doesn't condensers I would consider going down this route...interested in your thoughts Nick.


Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: NickL] #746512 08/23/18 12:52 pm
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i used a CDI multi spark ignition box triggered by points on some of my hot hod car stuff...I believe even today, many US brand aftermarket CDI multi spark boxes can be triggered by points...
Yes, V-8's with a single set of points..Somehow back in the 60's we all managed to run V-8's up to 6000 rpm with 45 cubic inch cylinders having 11-1 compression with single point ignitions, just 30 degrees of dwell.. Most converted to dual points for a total of about 36 degrees of dwell and would fire a .030 plug gap at 7500 rpm. Ran the tightest points gap possible to extend dwell...At the drag strip guys would bypass the ballast resistor for a supposedly better spark...TEL in the fuel would foul the plugs a bit and make for misfiring at full throttle high RPM..Have to do a few full throttle runs to clean the plugs.. Checking the points frequently was a way of life with high performance engines. Fuel mixtures needed to be a bit rich to light using the limited ignition systems...


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,2001 Sportster....On a bike you can out run the demons..
Re: What the purpose of a condenser in the ing sys. [Re: Nickjaxe] #746527 08/23/18 3:28 pm
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I see Nick...so would one of these devices be useful on a 6v Bantam that seem to run ok at present and are they long lived.

If I thought I could find a reliable source of quality condensers I would not even coincided the idea....my mate swears by his...but as I say his first unit failed after around a year.

With you being a radio tech at one time...bit of a long shot this...dont suppose your into amateur radio?

Nick.


Recently bought my 1st ever motorcycle...a humble 1969 BSA Bantam B175...I am enjoying using my Bantam so much...does all I need.
My car that I use daily is an old series Landrover that I bought new 40 years ago and has just become tax free.
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