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1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? #424755
03/17/12 10:16 pm
03/17/12 10:16 pm
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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I'm looking for 12-volt, electronic ignition options for a '61 Triumph 5TA that has the original distributor type ignition system.

My preference is for a system that is self-generating such that I can substitute a capacitor for the battery - - - I have a lot of vintage bikes and I try to avoid batteries on everything but the electric start bikes. I'm in the U.S. so MOT inspections don't apply, and the bike won't be ridden at night. But if no battery-less plug-and-play solution exists, having a battery is okay.

Electrex offers the STK-012 and STK 012D kits:

Link to Electrex Kits

And the Kirby Rowbotham Mark-2 and Mark-8 kits are options as well:

Link to Kirby Rowbotham Kits

Neither Boyer nor Pazon offer kits for the distributor type bikes.

I am interested in hearing comments from folks who have experience with either the Electrex or Kirby Rowbotham kits.

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Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #424764
03/17/12 11:12 pm
03/17/12 11:12 pm
Joined: Dec 2010
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Sunny Sussex, UK
tbird649 Offline
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I have a 56 Thunderbird with Kirby Rowbotham fitted Pazon EI in the distributor. I run a Vreg regulator with a capacitor fitted. This runs the bike fine, but as I have 55/60 watt headlight I need a small (7AHr) battery, or it dies at tickover. With the standard 35watt bulb its OK. My other bike, more relevant to your post, is a 61 T100A, with 18D2 distributor. I got the EI conversion from Al Osbourne, www.aoservices.co.uk . It is a Boyer MkIV, fitted into the distributor on a backplate, there is a bit of machining to do, but nothing too complicated, which I run on a Boyer Powerbox. My 500 is an off roader, used for Long Distance trials, I have a 35 watt headlight, 5 watt rear light, small horn, brake light. It all runs absolutely fine with no battery. The only thing you have to remember, is to make sure the lights are switched off before starting, but you can get a Boyer Powerbox which only gives power to the lighting circuit once the alternator is producing a certain voltage. AO services website is not the most modern, but if you phone Al, he is very knowledgable, and helpful. Hope this is of use.



Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: tbird649] #424823
03/18/12 7:09 am
03/18/12 7:09 am
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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Great info.

Why did you go with the Kirby Rowbotham modified distributor on your '56 Thunderbird and the Al Osbourne modified distributor on your '61 T100A?

And are you running a standard rotor/stator on each bike or a higher power kit?

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #424870
03/18/12 1:26 pm
03/18/12 1:26 pm
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tbird649 Offline
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When I was looking to fit EI to the Thunderbird, Kirby Rowbotham was the only option I found, in fact he probably still is, as I dont know if Al Osbourne does a kit for a DKX2 distributor. I had to send the distributor away to be machined, and have the EI fitted, this took about 4 weeks, a bit longer than estimated (often the case!) When I did my T100A, last year, I found the Al Osbourne option on the 18D2 distributor, and when I spoke to him, he said he would machine the back plate to what in his experience was about right, it fitted perfectly, so I didnt have to send parts away, and then await their return. Another thing, he advertises the mod as a kit, including coils etc, I didnt require coils as I wanted one double ended coil to save space on my off roader, this wasnt any problem, he just sold me the bits I needed.



Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #424871
03/18/12 1:29 pm
03/18/12 1:29 pm
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Sunny Sussex, UK
tbird649 Offline
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Sorry, just read the second bit. I am running standard alternators and rotors on both bikes.



Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: tbird649] #424913
03/18/12 5:10 pm
03/18/12 5:10 pm
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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More great comments. I really appreciate the help.

Do you think a modern high output alternator kit would eliminate the idle / lights-on issue?

I'm guessing maybe or maybe not depending on whether the high output alternators actually produce more juice at idle, or whether the higher output is only seen at speed.

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #424925
03/18/12 6:19 pm
03/18/12 6:19 pm
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tbird649 Offline
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As far as I know, it will only produce the higher output at higher revs, certainly higher than tickover. but as with my T100A, its no problem with a 35watt headlight bulb. If you do want better lights, you can get Halogen 35 watt bulbs, and LED tail/brake lights, in - and + earth. www.norbsa02.freeuk.com



Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #425177
03/20/12 12:49 am
03/20/12 12:49 am
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arkansas
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leon bee Offline
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arkansas
I didn't want to hijack the thread, but I'm fascinated by that Electrex setup for Tri/BSA- the alternator replacement CDI deal. Anybody here got one of those?

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #425238
03/20/12 10:09 am
03/20/12 10:09 am
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kommando Offline
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A three phase alternator will increase the power produced at low revs over a std single phase alternator, a fresh rotor will also improve output over a 30 odd year old rotor. I run a 3 phase alternator on a Commando with battery and capacitor, if the fuse blows the battery comes out of circuit and the bike runs on the cspacitor and with a 55/60W main bulb it idles fine. I only know the fuse has blown after stopping the engine, when I turn the ignition back on the alternator voltage bulb is off and the bike won;t kickstart but I can bump start it.

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: leon bee] #425307
03/20/12 6:23 pm
03/20/12 6:23 pm
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: leon bee
I didn't want to hijack the thread, but I'm fascinated by that Electrex setup for Tri/BSA- the alternator replacement CDI deal. Anybody here got one of those?


Maybe best to start a new thread since this one is focused on electronic ignition options for the older distributor type ignition systems.

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #426623
03/27/12 11:52 pm
03/27/12 11:52 pm
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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Quick update.

The folks at Electrex recommended their new STK102D kit for no-battery applications. The kit appears to include a new alternator, electronic ignition, and coil. The electronic ignition triggers off the alternator, which should be more accurate than a distributor mounted setup.

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #429032
04/10/12 10:04 pm
04/10/12 10:04 pm
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cattledogkeeper Offline OP
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I ordered the Electrex STK102D kit configured for a battery-less application. My engine is getting rebuilt right now, so installation probably won't happen for another month or two. I'll report back when that happens.

Re: 1961 5TA: 12-volt, electronic ignition options? [Re: cattledogkeeper] #429161
04/11/12 4:35 pm
04/11/12 4:35 pm
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tbird649 Offline
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Looks good, I will be interested to hear how it performs. The only downside I can see, is it only puts out 90 watts, as opposed to 120 for the standard single phase set up.




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