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2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
#793311 12/18/19 6:53 pm
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While having owned a number of Brit bikes (2 Matchless, 3 Nortons, 2 Triumphs and a Velo) I recently acquired my first Beezer, a 1970 A65F Firebird Scrambler. It was mostly complete (sump plate? who needs one of those?) but in need of a lot of TLC. Two things came up with which I am unfamiliar and given the few wonky things done by earlier shade-tree mechanics, I figured I'd better ask you seasoned veterans. 1) No capacitor: the two brown/blue wires that should go to one were twisted together and the red ground hanging in space. Should I install one, or what are the consequences of leaving it off? 2) Oil lines: They were disconnected and I'm really wary about this one (below). Which ones from the oil tank go to which ones on the oil pipe union on the bottom of the crank? The little one from the head is obvious. The other two? I'm really wary because the last Commando I bought out of Canada 5 years ago from a "Mercedes mechanic," had the oil lines reversed. While it ran and oiled somehow, it also oiled the hell out of my rear wheel and as I goosed it coming up around a right hand curve, the rear end stepped out and I found myself flat-tracking like Nickey Hayden. While I was able to spin/rub enough oil off the tire to recover, I'm in my 70's and gettin' too old for that s**t. Anyhow, help with the capacitor and oil lines please.


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Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793312 12/18/19 7:12 pm
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It doesn’t need a capacitor if it has a battery.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793318 12/18/19 8:01 pm
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It does need a (actually 2 ) capacitors or it will burn out the points......plus more far to technical reasons for me (assuming it IS running points)

oil lines : the 2 larger pipes on the oil manifold under the motor are diffrent sizes ........1 is 5/16" the other is 3/8" ..........they will correspond to the stub pipes in size on the oil tank BUT be real careful about getting them right or you wont get oil supply

im sure someone will come in and post a pic of how they go


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793325 12/18/19 8:53 pm
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Regarding the oil lines it is easy even if it was no late A 65 oil manifold which has the different pipes as Ignoramus already mentioned.

The lines cross. The outer pipe on the oil tank is the feed side which goes onto the inner pipe of the manifold. The outer pipe on the oil manifold is the scavenge siide which connects to the inner oil tank pipe. You have already figured out that the third connection on the manifold feeds the rockers.

Cheers!

Ph.


Best regards
Phil
Duesseldorf/Germany
'62 A 65 Star (disassembled)
'69 A 65 Lightning
'71 A 65 Firebird
'84 Yamaha SR 500
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793329 12/18/19 9:46 pm
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The brown and blue wires? If they have a big spade connector up under the steering head, they go to the Zener diode, not a capacitor.


mark
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Ignoramus #793336 12/19/19 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
It does need a (actually 2 ) capacitors or it will burn out the points......


I believe you are referring to the two points condensers. He is talking about the single capacitor used in conjunction with or in place of the battery.

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Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1968 T100R Daytona 500
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1970 BSA A65F 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1971 BSA A65 650 - Project
1972 Norton Commando 750 "Combat"


"Every time I listen to AC/DC, so do my neighbors"

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793340 12/19/19 2:38 am
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Ah got it Jon ......you are probably right ......makes sense what you said now i reread the post ,,,,,good catch


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Ignoramus #793343 12/19/19 3:07 am
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the wire color designates branches of the feed
... if the wiring is stock anyway .

the wiring diagram
shows
brown / blue wires ... are fused at negitive battery terminal ... but alway live .
... fused ...but live extensions of the battery negitive .


1 . used to fuse at battery
2. to horn or horn relay
3. to 2mc capacitor ( aka , battery Eliminator )
4. to ammeter

the wire to zener is white .

the ignition capacitors wires are white/ yellow and white /black .

the 2mc capacitor only needed one brown/blue wire ... and one ground .
... but the harness could use this point ... as a looped parallel connection ?
.

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
triton thrasher #793370 12/19/19 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by triton thrasher
It doesn’t need a capacitor if it has a battery.



It's handy if the battery packs up as they sometimes do now, ok one minute, stuffed the next.
I stuck a cap on my bikes after i had that happen around 60 miles from home.
It doesn't have to be a Lucas one, any 4700uf+ 50v+ cap with a ripple current capacity greater than
3 amps will do. At least it will get you home.

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793372 12/19/19 10:44 am
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As Nick says a capacitor is optional but after a battery failed with high resistance one night it got me home with full lighting. Fit a modern capacitor, an NOS one will have already failed or be just about too.

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793375 12/19/19 11:07 am
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1970 Firebird, I have one in the shed with original wiring, Zener wire is blue brown, there are white wires there for the ignition switch. Blue brown at the fuse near battery and two wires on the one spade at the rectifier - terminal. If it had an added large capacitor it would probably be on that circuit, though I don't think there is wiring on the loom for it.

Need 'Stillridin' to chime in with a photo, or description of what he's looking at. The rectifier may be missing or unplugged? We need a little more info.

Yea, those brown blue wires are live from the alternator when running, and live from the battery when the fuse is in and not blown.

When I go somewhere and forget to turn off the headlight and the battery gets flat so lights emit no glow at all, it will sometimes kick start, it will roll start easy enough but I was surprised it kick started, generally a full battery doesn't ensure that, why I park on hills if available.


mark
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
NickL #793376 12/19/19 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by NickL
Originally Posted by triton thrasher
It doesn’t need a capacitor if it has a battery.



It's handy if the battery packs up as they sometimes do now, ok one minute, stuffed the next.
I stuck a cap on my bikes after i had that happen around 60 miles from home.
It doesn't have to be a Lucas one, any 4700uf+ 50v+ cap with a ripple current capacity greater than
3 amps will do. At least it will get you home.


That’s a good feature, somewhat offset by the possibility of the capacitor being more prone to failure than the battery.

I’ve managed to push-start a bike with no battery and no capacitor. Just a good alternator.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793379 12/19/19 12:32 pm
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With the 3 phase high output alternator the bike will start Flat battery or not, when I was running points on the bike it would never run any different, even still start first or second kick.

With EI, it’ll still start straight away but if there’s no lights on the bike will cough and fart if you let the revs drop.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793392 12/19/19 5:00 pm
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The original idea of the 2MC cap was to replace the battery as a weight saver when off roading, more applicable to the singles than the twins. It replaced the earlier Energy Transfer battery-less system, as the wise ones have mentioned it can be handy if your battery fails, If it still works, they have a very short shelf life, counted in months not years. you dont need to fit one as long as the battery is good, you may never need it, and if you do it might not work if it has timed out.


71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793396 12/19/19 6:35 pm
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Capacitors and condensers both have life-spans, and their lives begin the day they are made.
Typically, they live for 10 to 15 years, SHORTER is they are exposed to much heat.
There is an electrolytic material inside them that deteriorates and/or evaporates with time.

Don't buy either one if they lack dates of manufacture, and don't buy "used" ones on eBay.
This also applies to old "MITY MAX" items, which are just glamorized capacitor units.
These haven't been made for 20 years or so.
They are all most likely JUNK by now.

When you mount your ignition condensers, take a hint from 1968-70 Triumphs:
Move them out of the engine's points cavity, to a place up under the gas tank, where the wind stream can keep 'em cooler.

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Mark Parker #793421 12/19/19 10:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Mark Parker
1970 Firebird, I have one in the shed with original wiring, Zener wire is blue brown, there are white wires there for the ignition switch. Blue brown at the fuse near battery and two wires on the one spade at the rectifier - terminal. If it had an added large capacitor it would probably be on that circuit, though I don't think there is wiring on the loom for it.


theres nothing like real wiring ..
... the diagram is theoretical .

does the firebird have an ammeter ? .

Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Stillridin' #793425 12/19/19 11:41 pm
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The average life of a decent electrolytic cap these days is over 10,000 hours.
That's it's life at it's working temperature and being used.... if you buy 'long-life'
caps they can exceed that. Like so many things in electronics, the stuff they
make now is far better than 60 years ago. If you want to buy a cap thats sold
as a 'BSA' capacitor, then you will probably be buying a cheap piece of crap
marked up to be sold as such. If you go to an electronics supplier such as
RS, Digikey, Element 14 etc you can obtain a far better quality item at less
cost.

There is a lot of myth talked about regarding capacitors, much of it is based
on outdated hearsay. Yes, electrolytics dry out eventually but like anything they
come in different grades. Ceramic and tantalum caps do not age at all. Most
polypropylene caps are good for at least 50 yeras as are encapsulated polyester
types. If you run them at or exceeding their rating, they will age more quickly of
course, but so would your engine eh?

Last edited by NickL; 12/27/19 1:46 am.
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
quinten #793472 12/20/19 12:06 pm
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The Firebird has no ammeter, it had the smaller headlamp which I haven't got but I'm pretty certain it didn't have an ammeter.


mark
Re: 2 Q's from an ignorant new BSA owner
Mark Parker #793474 12/20/19 12:36 pm
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Most Brit bikes don't have an ammeter, they have a round thing with a needle that vibrates all over the dial until it dies


BSA B31 500 "Stargazer"
Greeves 200 "Blue Meanie"
Greeves 350
Greeves 360
Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
GM500 sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
Jawa 500 "Llareggub"
Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
'35 & '36 OK Supreme
Kawasaki ZZR1400 "Kuro no senshi"

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