Lotus Elan

Powerspark / Aldon ignition

PostPost by: Slowtus » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:51 pm

It is too many decades past for me to revisit all of the theory learned - and used - before and when in the RAF, suffice to say that none of the 'planes I built 'magic' boxes for ever fell from the sky. We called them magic (or 'black' boxes, since they were in fact black, though not in fact "black boxes").

Where was I...we were given a circuit diagram, a large one, D size if I remember (possibly E?, they were LARGE!), all of the necessary components and then proceeded to build these boxes for (RAF)Nimrods), obviously built to milspec, tested, checked etc because failure of one of these boxes while the 'plane was in the air would be embarrassing.

Now, putting aside all the aforementioned about, inductance, coils, foils, remanence, hysteresis or whatever else was mentioned...what I have found over the years is that stock distributor systems work just fine when new and continue to work just fine if/when maintained properly - up to the point where wear requires them to be rebuilt - and once that is done, they work just fine again.

Over the decades I have also noodled around with a variety of aftermarket products such as Aldon, Pertronix, MSD etc and have found a couple of "things" common to all of these. For them to work they need the other 'bits' of the electrical system to be in good order - all of the 'bits'.

If/when these aftermarket products fail I open them up and am amazed to the point of being alarmed that (some of them) worked at all. The design is typically adequate but the build QUALITY is somewhat variable, ranging from, solidly done to "I wonder how that ever worked at all".

So getting back to my second paragraph, which I suggest you ignore (as well as most of this post) success of these items tended to come down to build quality. Unfortunately there is little we can do to determine that quality when buying that shiny new box - fortunately the 'net nows provides SOME level of relief via product reviews but even then...

So, first check the basics, ALL of the basics, then go from there...

Sorry, my stream of consciousness turned into a tsunami. :D
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PostPost by: archigator » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:31 am

Thanks Stu and Slowtus,

I've posted a similar inquiry with the Pertronix help page, and we'll see what they come back with as well. I've replaced almost everything that I think could be the source of the problem... not thinking that it could possibly be the relatively new Pertronix distributor. Pending the anticipated response from Pertronix, I'll also check in with Ray at RD Enterprises regarding the module.

I've also had an issue with the center, spring loaded, button on the Pertronix distributor cap wearing, or burning, down to a nub rather quickly. Not sure what caused that, but I've been through two caps in relatively short order. I have my original Lucas 23D4, to be reconditioned as a last resort. Thanks!

Gary
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PostPost by: jeff jackson » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:54 pm

Hi All and Slowtus,
This brings me back to the basic assumption that these things are not spec'd correctly.
Slowtus, like you, I designed electronics for the Aircraft industry, quite rightly the specs I had adhere to are many and no margin for error. You cannot have anything fail in flight with hundreds of passengers on board.
I doubt there are any spec's (unless someone from Aldon, Accuspark et.al. puts me right) that the modules have to meet. This is after all, is an aftermarket fitment to really old cars. Who knows what sort of EMC the module has to withstand, voltage and current spikes, back EMF, that sort of thing.
For the time being to get the Plus2 back running again, I will go back to points and condenser. That said, I have had many more condensers pack in in my cars than the electronic modules.
I am detemined to build my own now, well, build two and keep one as a spare in the car. I intend to just put the Hall effect sensor under the Distributor cap, and the rest of the electronics in a connectorised box. I will have an LED on the box to indicate to me when the Hall effect is conducting, so I can see if it is working even if the rest isn't, it will also will be an aid for static timing.
All components will be derated enough to withstand any over current, over voltages and temperature extremes.
A new year project!
Happy New Year to all!!!!
Jeff 72+2
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:48 pm

archigator wrote:Thanks Stu and Slowtus,

I've posted a similar inquiry with the Pertronix help page, and we'll see what they come back with as well. I've replaced almost everything that I think could be the source of the problem... not thinking that it could possibly be the relatively new Pertronix distributor. Pending the anticipated response from Pertronix, I'll also check in with Ray at RD Enterprises regarding the module.

I've also had an issue with the center, spring loaded, button on the Pertronix distributor cap wearing, or burning, down to a nub rather quickly. Not sure what caused that, but I've been through two caps in relatively short order. I have my original Lucas 23D4, to be reconditioned as a last resort. Thanks!

Gary
'71 Sprint FHC
Miami, Florida.


One thing that can - will - cause premature wear is the tab on the rotor arm is not making good mechanical contact with the carbon - what you get is arcing which 'wears out' the carbon a lot faster than if it is making good contact. You need to bend the tab up about an eighth to ensure good contact.

Try it...?
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PostPost by: Donels » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:09 am

A friend had rapid burning/wear of the centre button a couple of years ago. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t fix it. He took to carrying a spare distributor cap with him. Two roadside breakdowns and two caps later we replaced the coil and problem solved.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:10 am

Hi Jeff,
i fitted a Hall Effect inside the Dizzy Cap on my Sprint several years ago and it works perfect.
I am lucky to have 2 TVRs also, a 3000m running on Points/Condenser no problem. Also a 3000S with a Piranha Electronic system but runs rough when it gets hot. So i will fit points/Condenser to it and see what happens.
I must say i prefer a complet breakdown to intermittent.
What Hall Effect will you fit a Simonbloc like on my Sprint.
Alan
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:45 am

IMHO switching the full ignition current inside the distributor has many potential problems as highlighted in previous posts and why OEM manufacturers did not do it when they moved from points to electronic switching distributors before they moved to crank triggered multi coil ignitions.

High current, heat , high back EMF, vibration, lack of cooling and small package size make life of the switching system potentially limited when its inside a distributor.

Systems which have the coil current switched in an external module and the distributor switching only a very small signal current appear to be more reliable. The Lumenition optical systems in my Plus 2 and Esprit with their external module have been reliable for 30 years though I still carry a set of points and condenser in the glove box of both cars. My Elan runs points as in my historic racing class as only electronic ignition within the distributor is allowed if you change from points and this have proven unreliable with many of my competitors compared to points for the same reasons.

My Elan with a Bosch distributor and good 911S points in it runs happily to 9000+ rpm with no loss of power compared to the best electronic system but it does need a little more maintenance to keep the points in good condition compared to the electronic optical switching systems in my road cars. The Bosch 911S points are also NLA but I bought up the worlds stock on Ebay so I am OK for the rest of my racing career. Dont know what 911 guys do if they have to run points these days :lol:

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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi Rohan,
with the Bosch Dizzy is the Condenser outside the Dizzy.
Alan
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PostPost by: pauljones » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:05 pm

Veg.

As your not too far away from myself. Im j11 m27 plus 10mins, would you like to borrow my aldon dizzy, ig 2 and leads?
Hardly any use in them.
Kick the tyres and light them fires...!!!!!!!
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:20 pm

alan.barker wrote:Hi Rohan,
with the Bosch Dizzy is the Condenser outside the Dizzy.
Alan


Yes the condenser mounts vertically on the outside of the dizzy. The dizzy orientation has some limits due to this hitting the block but there is plenty of adjust room to set the timing OK.

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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:10 pm

Hi Rohan,

Are you able to share the model number or vehicle the bosch dizzy you use is from? Is it standard or modified (e.g drive, advance curve etc)

I've seen this swap mentioned a few times but failed to find much in the way of specifics. Sounds like it could be from s 911 from the condenser comments.

Thanks,

Mark
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:14 pm

The Bosch 009 distributor was fitted standard by Ford to industrial (2274E) versions of the Kent engine. The Kent industrial engine was typically fitted to '80s models of the Bobcat Skid steer loader.

I bought one of these engines a while ago for a very good price from someone who did not know what it was. I have no idea what the standard distributor advance curve is but I think it would require considerable modication to suit a road car engine given that in its industrial application the engine is goverened to just 3,000 RPM! The drive gear and clamping arrangement is all standard Kent so it all bolts onto any Kent engine. 2274E parts occasionally appear on Ebay USA.

It's an interesting combination of bits and pieces. It has a 711M block (mine's a 1.6 but I believe there were 1.3 industrial versions too) and a semi chambered crossflow head. Pistons seem to be a slightly different construction to the car version. Crankshaft, conrods , etc are the same but camshaft is different. The carburettor is a piddly little Zenith updraft.
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PostPost by: derek uk » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:24 pm

The Bosch 009 is commonly used by VW Beetle guys as a supposed upgrade from standard. Should be easy to find one. It's all mechanical advance and maybe not a good match if the engine has vacuum advance (or retard)

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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:36 pm

From memory the 2274E version of the 009 does have a vacuum advance facility.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:18 am

1970 Ford Escort Twin Cam
1972 Ford Escort GT1600 Twin Cam
1980 Ford Escort 2.0 Ghia
Peugeot 505 GTI Wagons (5spdx1) (Autox1)
2015 Honda City 5spd.
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