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Thread: Best Electronic Ignition for Chief? - Had it With Condensers

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saltsburg PA
    Posts
    328

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    I decided to order the one from Thorcap.com and be Guinea pig. Total with shipping and currency exchange was $26USD. Figure I'm paying $15.50 for NAPA Echlin crap so $26 isn't bad if it is as robust as they claim. So for now I'll stick with points. Bernhardt makes a good point (no pun intended) about the possibility of a short taking out an electronic ignition. I hadn't considered that.

    I cut open my old condenser. Wow - easy to see why these things don't last. Very cheaply made with no provision at all for vibration resistance.
    Thanks for all replies.
    Last edited by Skirted; 08-09-2019 at 09:33 AM.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  2. #12

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    Thanks for posting that link Jason. Please let us know how it works out for you.


    Kevin

    .
    1916 Indian Powerplus - Cannonball Bike
    1941 Indian Chief - Sonny
    1964 Triumph TR6 - 50 year ISDT Tribute
    1969 BMW R60US
    1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
    Etcetera

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    377

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skirted View Post
    Total with shipping and currency exchange was $26USD.
    Wow, I should be selling $1 capacitors for $26. Clearly, I'm in the wrong business.. oh, wait, I'm not in business at all.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    714

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skirted View Post
    I cut open my old condenser.
    Alright! Jason, if you think of it maybe put up a few pictures of the surgery and transplant operation, his website has some pictures but they arenít all that informative IMHO!
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    271

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    Quote Originally Posted by pisten-bully View Post

    Only problem I've had with my points ignition is dirty points, clean and go... but you're right, there's no control over when they let you down!
    Here is another weak spot with points: I forgot to lube the cam, and the dry cam wore down the follower so much that the points would not open. This was an A.B.A.T.E. party weekend, and my '48 Chief was just about the coolest bike there. Well, it was cool until I got ~1/2 way home. Fortunately, a biker buddy with an empty trailer came along and hauled me and the Chief home. With my new electronic ignition, that particular problem will never happen again!
    George Tinkham
    Springfield, IL
    www.virmc.com

    1941 Indian 841
    1948 Indian Chief
    1956 H-D KHK
    1960 CH
    1964 BMW R69S
    1966 Honda Touring Benly (aka "150 Dream")
    1984 Moto Guzzi V65Sp

  6. #16

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    Howdy chaps,

    If you search electronic ignition here or at Caimag, I covered this one before. Modern point applications assume much higher rpm, multiple points cams and assumption the points block will be running on mirror hard chromed finish on said points cam, therefore spring tensions are set high and rapid wear can be an issue.

    Hall sensor like as units as in Clyde Crouch’s are nearly bullet proof with minimal accommodation. Their longevity can be ensured for a fastidious owner only by fusing them. The primitive thermally activated HD sourced circuit breakers commonly seen at the battery ground strap connection to the back of the trans case flange on Indians are unacceptable for electronics, and I would even say for a now fragile 75 year old auto lite generator. If one isn’t inclined to fuse the whole system at 10-15 amps then at least install an inline 10 amp mini fuse under the full tank where the power source for the sensor exits the ignition wire tube.

    Nothing lasts forever, after 20 plus years in four different machines without a hint of problems when inquiring with Clyde at the donkey barn in March about whether I might just replace the more often used ones as a precaution he mentioned potential failure would be linked to heat. That is a valid concern with my Knuckle with its timer tucked in by the exhaust header but Chiefs, running theirs out in the wind, operate far cooler.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    28

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    For my use, I won’t be putting a ton of miles on the Chief so the points should be fine. I’ll keep a spare set and a condenser with me. Btw, one of my cars has an MSD electronic ignition and it has failed. But the points on my old Vette never left me stranded. The aftermarket electronic ignitions aren’t as reliable as the integrated system on a modern car.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saltsburg PA
    Posts
    328

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    Here is what I ended up doing. Started with original Indian condenser as I like the curved mounting bracket that hugs the distributor and the cans are cad plated brass. Cut open can with Dremel and removed contents. After cutting open a modern NAPA Echlin and making the internal comparison, the original is superior in every way. Easy to see why new ones don't last likely succumbing to vibration as they are not packed tight and use very cheap materials.
    Drilled hole in the side of the can and stuck one lead of condenser through from inside out and soldered. Reused the original black cap and ran the other lead through it. Filled can with RTV, let dry and then crimped edges over to hold cap in place. Reused the original ring terminal because they are heaver gauge than modern terminals. Only time will tell on this but am optimistic.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Skirted; 09-06-2019 at 07:54 AM.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  9. #19

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    Thanks for sharing the pictures, Jason. I’ll look forward to hearing how it works for you.


    Kevin

    .
    1916 Indian Powerplus - Cannonball Bike
    1941 Indian Chief - Sonny
    1964 Triumph TR6 - 50 year ISDT Tribute
    1969 BMW R60US
    1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
    Etcetera

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    714

    Default

    Jason, that’s great, thanks for the pictures!

    Question: where’d you solder the lower wire (the one through the hole in the can)?
    I’ve kept my old condenser and I’d like to do the same!
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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