Lotus Elan

Powerspark / Aldon ignition

PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:15 am

archigator wrote:....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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I was having issues with the centre button as well. I have not ordered a new cap yet; glad you reminded me to get on it, :D That actually could be my remaining issue as my module bench tested fine.

Another thing to check is the module supply voltage while the engine is cranking. Initially mine was dropping quite a bit, and may have been causing the module to not switch correctly. I think the instructions call for module voltage above about 10 volts IIRC.

Sort of frustrating, but as others have said, can easily be a few problems at once.

HTH

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:19 am

2cams70 wrote: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.


TwoCams,

The Bosch 009 distributor is used extensively by those of us who use the 711 Kent engine in Formula Ford. The level of mechanical precision and lack of timing scatter help make consistent power. A good set of points and a genuine Bosch German made condenser works perfectly up to 7000 rpm. The Bosch condensers made in Turkey do not work for more than a few hours. Two bad consensers in a day cost me a $300 test day at Portland last year. It's getting really hard to find good ignition parts as the manufacturing goes to third world countries.

Many of us FF owners were using Pertronix units to replace points in our 009 dizzys. They worked really well until Pertronix decided they wanted to save production costs by moving manufacturing to China. Now one is lucky if a module lasts for more than a weekend. One of my fellow drivers had two fail in one weekend. He borrowed my spare points dizzy for the last race of the weekend. YMMV.

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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:23 pm

With all this talk about poor quality new ignition parts I sometimes wonder whether it would be worth experimenting with condensers that aren't specifically designed for automotive ignition application. A condenser is a condenser after all and all you have to do is match the capacitance rating (uF) of the original and find a voltage rating and dielectric material that works. There's a huge variety available from specialist electronic parts suppliers such as RS components, element 14, Digikey and Mouser. I don't think it would be too hard to find something from a very reputable capacitor manufacturer with vastly superior specifications to the original. Obviously it would require some physical adaptation to make it fit but that shouldn't be too difficult.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:44 am

Again, back to the basics before we start reinventing this particular wheel.

First ensure that the power is there, is 'clean' with good earths/grounds, especially in these cars, wiring is good etc, check for wear of the mechanical bits THEN go chasing the add-on components.

As for replacing the 'condenser' with better, tough to do unless you know where/how and by whom the capacitors are made. Japanese are typically my choice but then we have some (many) Japanese manufacturers having their components made in China and while quality control and manufacturing are improving...

Electrolytics are the most sensitive to temperature and ripple and can be easily replaced with a variety of better quality capacitor BUT, the replacement will typically not fit in a distributor!

No easy solutions here so check the basics first, pay for a good add-on and then - pray. :D
Last edited by Slowtus on Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Craven » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:54 am

If specification of capacity value, around 0.22 microfarad by the way, and a DC voltage rating of 450 was all there is to it the high failure rate would be avoided.
There is a POWER rating for capacitor when used in an AC circuit, its calculation include rate of change of current difficult enough with known waveform but in the case of an ignition system where the peak instantaneous voltage will vary between systems. Probably it’s a poor power rating resulting in overheating being a major contributor in failure.
FWIW
https://www.dummies.com/education/scien ... capacitor/
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:03 pm

One would think something like this might be worth a try:

https://au.rs-online.com/web/p/polyprop ... s/1746306/
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:54 am

2cams70 wrote:One would think something like this might be worth a try:

https://au.rs-online.com/web/p/polyprop ... s/1746306/


As I said, fitting them inside a distributor typically won't happen simply because of the size and shape, I have seen people rewire and mount them outside but if you are going to go to those lengths...why not go with Aldon et al.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:40 am

I don't see any reason why the condenser needs to be anywhere near the distributor. You could in fact mount it next to the coil connected between ground and the connection on the coil leading to the distributor. Would probably be even better mounted there away from engine heat and vibration.
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PostPost by: derek uk » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:45 am

I think that the spark damping across the points is much more effective with the distance between the points and earth as short as possible. That is why they are mounted to the dizzy body with a very short lead to the points.

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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:56 am

I really don't see how it matters when electrically there is a solid connection between these two points in the circuit. If resistance is an issue just make the coil wire thicker. I'd like a scientific explanation as to why the condenser needs to be mounted in or on the distributor!!
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PostPost by: paddy » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:18 pm

2cams70 wrote:I really don't see how it matters when electrically there is a solid connection between these two points in the circuit. If resistance is an issue just make the coil wire thicker. I'd like a scientific explanation as to why the condenser needs to be mounted in or on the distributor!!


It's not solely a matter of the resistance though - this isn't DC so in principle there is the potential for the capacitance or inductance of the wire to have an effect (although I would guess this is negligible) and also you have the potential RFI impact of that wire carrying a very spiky current at a frequency that could cause interference. Whether or not that's an issue in practice I don't know.

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PostPost by: Craven » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:19 pm

‘ A ‘ shows how the coil contact breaker is usually drawn, if however it is redrawn as in circuit ‘ B ‘ it give a better insight to how the coil and capacitor form a series resonate circuit.
Any extra wires added will have some effect but what would be very difficult to predetermine, as to length of extra wires and RFI this could be reduced by using a screened wire.
Capacitor suggested by 2cams70 looks serious enough to build a Flux Capacitor so Back to the Future here we come!!!!!
p1030394.jpg and
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:04 pm

paddy wrote:
2cams70 wrote:I really don't see how it matters when electrically there is a solid connection between these two points in the circuit. If resistance is an issue just make the coil wire thicker. I'd like a scientific explanation as to why the condenser needs to be mounted in or on the distributor!!


It's not solely a matter of the resistance though - this isn't DC so in principle there is the potential for the capacitance or inductance of the wire to have an effect (although I would guess this is negligible) and also you have the potential RFI impact of that wire carrying a very spiky current at a frequency that could cause interference. Whether or not that's an issue in practice I don't know.

Paddy


What is generated is pulsed DC, the bastard offspring - and while note has to be taken of RLC/RFI/EMF and all those other 'lecky things the general principle and general application works just fine...as long as the other components, typically the mechanical ones, cooperate fully.

You want to install the capacitor external to the distributor? Go right ahead, people have been doing it for years.
My point was that selecting and installing a 'better' capacitor in that very small space available in a distributor can be difficult/impossible.

So, (sorry about this, you poor dead horse), FIRST ensure that EVERYTHING else from the wiring to the other components are in fine fettle before you delve into the arcana of capacitor swapping.

Head before hands.

I know this doesn't really help the OP...all I can suggest is that he pop open the offending item, go through the components for quality of selection and quality of build and remedy any and all items if possible.
I used to do such things, re-soldering myriad joints, replacing cheap components with less cheap ones and generally improving the piece of crap passing itself off as an improvement over the original.

These days, I just throw away the offending item and hope that the replacement is somehow better.
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PostPost by: Craven » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Quote from Wikipedia.
When the contact breaker closes, it allows current from the battery to flow through the primary winding of the ignition coil. The current does not flow instantly because of the inductance of the coil. Current flowing in the coil produces a magnetic field in the core and in the air surrounding the core. The current must flow long enough to store enough energy in the field for the spark. Once the current has built up to its full level, the contact breaker opens. Since it has a capacitor connected across it, the primary winding and the capacitor form a tuned circuit, and as the stored energy oscillates between the inductor formed by the coil and the capacitor, the changing magnetic field in the core of the coil induces a much larger voltage in the secondary of the coil.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:21 pm

Without getting into more theory... :shock: and in an attempt to get the OP running smoothly again, I filched this from the 'net.

It simply underscores what has already been stated - if the rest of the system is suspect, worn etc - then no add-on 'electronic' box can solve the problem.

It is a long read but at least it doesn't wander off into the classroom muttering about electron flow and all that other stuff no one cares about.

"Fitting electronic ignition is a great idea – but it will only perform as well as the rest of the ignition system will allow and with many old worn out classics, that’s not too good at all… So sort out your sparks with a thorough overhaul at the same time, starting with the distributor.

A somewhat crude device, electronic ignition will only counteract so much wear; if the spindle, bearings and the auto advance are all clapped out, it will lead to timing scatter and you’ll never get the engine to perform right.

A good diagnostic engine tune-up will discover whether the distributor is failing under high revs. If it is, them have it overhauled or replaced (there are specialists who deal solely with distributor repairs) otherwise you’re wasting your time and money on any further upgrades.

And talking of upgrades, any serious performance tuning of old engines means that the distributor’s auto advance usually needs to be re-calibrated with different springs and bob weights. The higher operating power of an electronic ignition will usually find the weakest link in the system - and it usually means good-bye to tired old ignition leads that may be years out of date.

Although you may strike lucky at an autojumble and find NOS (new old stock) carbon graphite period leads, it is almost essential to go for today’s silicon type designs to cope best with the added zap! Talking of leads, remember that any dodgy ignition wiring can lead to a higher than desired resistance in the circuit, resulting in weaker operating voltages. So ensure that the wiring is in good shape and that all connections are sound, tight and corrosion-free if you want to get the best out of it.

The ignition coil usually works or it doesn’t. Sports coils used to be very popular back in the old days as they provided a fatter spark (a typical coil would boost the 12v input up to 40,000 volts at the plugs). Sport coils are a lot harder to get hold of in high streets now but you may strike lucky at an autojumble.

Ditto second-hand electronic ignitions, although be careful here as you are buying an unknown quantity and they can be more expensive to repair than their worth plus obtaining the base plates to switch over from cb points to a trigger design may prove hard for some engines. Most classic car enthusiasts use copper-cored spark plugs these days; you can still get cheaper metal cored types but don’t be such a stickler for originality!

With electronic ignitions you can usually extend the spark plug gap a touch more and so benefit from a fatter spark. Any of the leading electronic ignition companies will help with additional tuning tips and after fitting, it is probably best to have the car set up on a rolling road to fine tune the engine; in many cases the ignition timing can be individually set for that specific engine under load for optimum effect."

Hope that helps.
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