Points/Condenser ignition system versus Electronic Ignition Systems/Upgrades

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Rednaxs60

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Been mulling this issue over for a while. There are a lot of older GW ignition systems converted to the C5 units (no longer available), or some other electronic ignition system.

The question is why. Because we can is one answer, perception is that it is better - possibly, modernizes our ride, and other personal/non-personal reasons.

Thought of doing this to my '65 Plymouth Fury years ago. Mentioned this to my father and he emphatically said NO. Reason being is that you can jury rig a points/condenser ignition system to get home or to somewhere to get it fixed, but an electronic ignition when it dies requires a tow truck. Have viewed and read many vintage car threads about this and this has been mentioned.

The C5 units were and still are popular, but thinking the development of aftermarket electronic ECU type systems for ignition and/or fuel control has made this unique product not economically feasible anymore. Mind you, the backyard mechanic DIY aspect that we enjoy is quickly becoming more difficult.

Question to the collective, good idea or not? Parts are becoming more scarce, and eventually an alternative solution may need to be found depending on how long you keep your ride, and for others following in our footsteps.

My thinking is that if you are keeping to original - a vintage officianado, keep the original system. If you are going to upgrade use an aftermarket ECU configuration that you can tailor to your needs, expand if so desired, and has the ability to use various non-OEM components to meet your needs. The C5 system brought electronic style ignition to the non-electronic GW world - it addressed a need by the GW world, and is a great product.

Throwing this out there as a discussion item.

Cheers
 
I've had points, Dyna, and a system with Ford TFIs triggered by points. Each had their plus and minus features. The stock system requires periodic adjustment and replacement, plus points oxidize if stored in humid areas. The Dyna is set-and-forget unless something causes a failure, and is a bit delicate. The TFIs worked well and required only the original point adjustment and timing plus the TFI modules could be easily bypassed on the road in little more time than it takes to remove the left side and shelter covers. They were susceptible to damage if over-voltaged, however (a failed regulator damaged mine). I only had the Dyna because it came on a 'wing that I bought, but I still have it on my Hunley and it still works well.
 
Great subject I agree each system has its downside ....
Problem with Honda points like a lot of there stuff is user unfriendly or more better put when you have two separate belts for timing ..you have 2 separate motors ...and Honda idea of proper belt installation couldn't be more wrong ...the belts
Have to be tensioned just right.before points can even be set right ...once you get here setting the points one side then the other is not easy how the points plate is made ...
This problem worse on the electronic dyna units and others ..same problem not enough adjustment and weak leave you stranded ...
C5 ignition are much better cause they have there timing map totally in house and sets to on e point ..TDC. IF BELTS ARE DONE RIGHT ITS YHE BEST SET UP ..I BUILT THE HOOCH BIKE ..A MODDED 1200 THAT ENDED UP BEING A MONSTER OF A BIKE CAUSE I COULD PROGRAM TIMING TO MATCH WEBER CARB I USED ....
BECAUSE YOU CANT REALLY ADVANCE TIMONG WOTHOUT RETARDING TIMING ON TJE OTHER HALF OF MOTOR ITS PRETTY MUCH NOT ADJUSTABLE ....A HIGE FLAW IN THE DESIGN PERIOD ...IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BEST IF THERE WAS ONLY ONE SET OF POINTS SO TIMING IS NOT LOCK INTO ONE SPOT ...OR MADE THE PARTS DIFFERENT AND ADJUSTABLE ...IN MY OPPINION
 
The 1200 engine has two timing checks. One for initial once you set the crank and cam shafts, you use #1 TDC to check the timing on the crank, then a double check using cylinder #3. Neat concept.

An aftermarket system, piggyback or otherwise, is where you have to know what it is you have and what you can do with it. The downside of a preconfigured addition is that you are taking a leap of faith that what you have purchased is what you want/need, and the person on the design end is correct. Generally with these systems there is not a lot of wiggle room for adjustment.

I purchased a piggyback system for the 1000 V-Strom I had. Fuelling was worse with it installed regardless of the setting used, removed it and went back to the stock configuration. The issue could have been my understanding of what I was using, but easier to revert back to stock.

Having mentioned that I might not have known enough about what I wanted to do with the V-Strom and that my understanding of the new component was not as good as it should have been, I think this could be a key element in the success of a modification/upgrade such as this topic.

I submit that when we branch out and want to do a change that could be beneficial, we research and learn enough to be dangerous, but are well intentioned. The downside is that should our new venture/scheme/project does not work out, we tend to blame everything but ourselves:mad:.

This is a good topic, and taking it in different directions because of a person's experience is good information.

Have been reading up on the Ford systems and others, to get a better perspective of what is out there regarding my other project.

It's quite interesting to read the various information available and what is being done with the various system and system components.

Cheers
 
I converted 1956 Chris Craft flathead, 6 cylinder engine from 6 volt to 12 volt. Next, I removed the points and condenser and installed a Pertronix electronic ignition into the distributer. It worked great! Always kept a fresh set of points and condenser in a plastic bag in the event of a failure (can't be worrying about a tow when stuck out in the ocean). Never needed to swap it back and was very pleased with the performance (easier starts, smoother at higher RPM).

IMG_1552.JPG
 
(easier starts, smoother at higher RPM).

View attachment 49415
Easier starts because of hotter spark available.
Smoother at high rpm because there is no point float or bounce.
(Transistor replaced the spring)
Makes good sense.
When EI burns out, you're dead in the water.
When points burn out, or condenser shorts, you're "just as" dead in the water.
Either or, it's smart to carry "something" to swap out just in case you need to get home.

I prefer the maintenence free, plug and play version.
 
Fascinating subjet, my vw trike came with a pertronix distributor installed, which seems to work great. The trouble I have is restarting hot after a short rest. This might be a carb issue, but the same thing is happening to my '83 Interstate. Someone suggested the coils are breaking down on the wing.
 
Hot restart issue can often be carbs. A little gas dribble can nearly hydro-lock a hot engine . It can also happen if the gas tank vent cap is rusty. Slow starts when hot are also caused by starter failing. So many little common items on 1100's like this. BUT, that Pertronix will keep on ticking!
 
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