The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Technical => Lucas, Electrical, Ignition => Topic started by: RoyC on 28.01. 2020 12:35

Title: Electronic conversion
Post by: RoyC on 28.01. 2020 12:35
I went down the garden to the garage to give the BSA a run.
The last time that I started the bike was end of last September , so was prepared for a sore leg.
Connected the battery, turned the petrol on and tickled till it ran out of the carb,
set the choke, turned the ignition on and gave it a kick over, it spit and kicked back, I gave it a second kick and it burst into life.
I was amazed.
Four months in storage and it went second kick.
It would never have done that on the magneto.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Greybeard on 28.01. 2020 17:11
My magneto bike starts very well after the winter break. If I don't get a first-kick start I blame myself for not flooding the carb enough.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Triton Thrasher on 28.01. 2020 17:56
A magneto doesn’t prevent first kick starting.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: bsa-bill on 28.01. 2020 18:20
First kick requires fuel in the cylinder and a spark, sitting over winter should not stop a maggie from providing a spark (note I quite like electronic ignition, got it on one bike), getting fuel into the cylinder is however subject to a bit of skulldugary at times
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: muskrat on 28.01. 2020 19:47
G'day fellas.
I find with either mag or electric to get a 1st kick start I free the clutch which usually means the motor turns over one or two revs. This primes the cylinders with fuel ensuring a first real kick start.
Cheers
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: RoyC on 28.01. 2020 20:22
Mine never did start first or even second or third kick with the magneto and when it did start it ran very erratically.
It always misfired on the left cylinder, changed to electronic and it runs as sweet as a nut.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Rocket Racer on 28.01. 2020 21:06
Mine never did start first or even second or third kick with the magneto and when it did start it ran very erratically.
It always misfired on the left cylinder, changed to electronic and it runs as sweet as a nut.
a worn or poorly assembled mag will do that.
A good mag would also have fixed it just as well.
Finding someone good to rebuild a mag is often easier said than done.


I run mags or electronic across my bikes, both can work well, both can give grief
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: trevinoz on 28.01. 2020 21:12
I recently put the new tank on the Flash and after six years sitting it started second kick, it almost started on the first.
This is with a magneto.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Black Sheep on 28.01. 2020 22:13
Had to drag the Velo out from winter hibernation. Temp -3, started third kick despite lying for 4 months. Magneto ignition. 'Nuff said.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Joolstacho on 28.01. 2020 23:35
Nothin' like a Velo for easy starting eh?  *grins*
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Tomcat on 29.01. 2020 05:51
My Longstroke and Super Rocket both start first kick, both have reconditioned magnetos on them. Peter Scott did them and I always recommend his services to anyone Down Under.  *smile*
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Joolstacho on 29.01. 2020 07:07
+1 for Peter Scott's reco service. I spent a decade cursing and swearing, and trying to alter all sorts of other things, but since Scott's mag reco it's been first or second kick starter.
Love it!
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Rocket Racer on 29.01. 2020 21:40
In NZ  (Auckland) we have Paul Greet, he knows his stuff.
Happy to PM his contact details to locals
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 30.01. 2020 01:49
Roy.
The exact counter to your story.
I think it was the 1982 ( or there bouts ) All British Rally at Mytleford Vic.
It was drenching rain, as most of them were
Our presso Damien rode down on his A 65 with a Brit Cycle Supply Co dynamo conversion.
We were all packing up and it was decide to try & start all of the bikes before strapping the gear on.
One swing on his lever & the A65 burst into instant life.
Everyone else's mouth opened so wide we nearly drowned from the rain pouring in
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Joolstacho on 30.01. 2020 02:06
Am I living in a parallel universe?!  *eek*
(Probably!)
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Rocket Racer on 30.01. 2020 02:11
Am I living in a parallel universe?!  *eek*
(Probably!)

Joe Hunt magneto conversions to A65 flat trackers were a very common mod as no need for a wiring loom, just a kill button
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 30.01. 2020 05:43
This was not the std hang off the side & hope you don't drop the bike Joe Hunt conversion.
It used a custom inner timing cover with a belt drive to the mag ( yes a JH one ) which sat in front of the engine like an A 10 dynamo.
In the 40 years of BSA foolery only ever saw another one like it.
Damien being a good sport, did dra a dozen or more bikes to the top of the hill so they could try a clutch start and even then more than one required a 2nd or 3rd attempt.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Triton Thrasher on 30.01. 2020 06:38
Magneto, battery and coil and (most) electronic conversions are all capable of causing a spark at the plug, allowing the bike to start.

If your bike has a spark and does not start with one kick, then petrol has not reached the cylinders, or (less commonly) too much petrol has reached the cylinders. 
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Joolstacho on 30.01. 2020 07:34
So the alternator, and battery was retained then TT? (For lighting presumably). What's the coil for if you're running a Magneto?
(Or... '90% of fuel problems are caused by electrics')
I want to see a photo of this machine!
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Swarfcut on 30.01. 2020 10:28
Well, the simple answer is if whatever supplies a good spark at the right time does what its supposed to do, then you ride away.  A good maggie does the job with no worries about batteries etc. I remember seeing a fire pump, some 50 years ago, powered by a Ford Sit Up and Beg E93A Sidevalve engine, with a magneto  in place of the usual distributor. Aircraft  ignition was by magneto, so in the right place with service back up  and regular maintenance they do the job, and in places where failure could be life or death. I suspect many magneto problems are down to poor maintenance, poor quality pattern parts and the obvious condenser ageing and ultimate failure. But a good magneto is certainly up to the job.

 The move to cheaper battery and coil contact breaker systems on later bikes meant a good spark at starting revs, and possible better protection from rain and damp, but the downside is the ability to maintain a well charged battery. How many had bikes that ran for years with the switch set to "Emergency?"
  For our models, add up the cost of a full magneto refurbish, and like RoyC, electronic systems become increasingly attractive.

Swarfy.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: RDfella on 30.01. 2020 10:52
Agree with Swarfy. Fifty odd years ago it was popular to replace the distributor on petrol boat engines with a magneto (especially Ford or BMC). And they were popular for racing. Yes, the spark at low revs was weaker than that from a coil, but superior when the revs rose. On my bikes I (like many others) changed the mag/dyno for BTH racing mags as I suspect the lucas units weren't of the same quality. And don't forget how many two strokes had / have flywheel mags. I note even some modern four strokes have flywheel generated ignition.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Triton Thrasher on 30.01. 2020 12:05
Aircraft  ignition was by magneto, so in the right place with service back up  and regular maintenance they do the job, and in places where failure could be life or death.

Swarfy.

Putting a Lucas motorbike magneto on an aeroplane would be accepted in court as evidence of attempted murder.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Swarfcut on 30.01. 2020 13:26
 Very true, however, whether it would actually allow take off........
  Wico-Pacy, otherwise known as  Wipac,  the scourge of Bantam owners, also fitted to Seagull outboard motors, if I recall. Well whatever it was, it sent buyers to the likes of Mariner.  Spitfires and other Merlin engined planes had twin maggys.

Swarfy.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: RDfella on 30.01. 2020 14:07
I believe Scintilla was favourite, but there were many other makes.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: cyclobutch on 30.01. 2020 17:33
It would never have done that on the magneto.

Mine will.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Triton Thrasher on 30.01. 2020 17:57
   Spitfires and other Merlin engined planes had twin maggys.

Swarfy.

Twin magnetos were a requirement on single piston-engined passenger planes.  May still be.

I remember the pilot killing one mag to check that the engine slowed, as a pre take off check that both were working.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: RDfella on 30.01. 2020 18:36
The Rolls-Royce Merlin had twin BTH mags, firing twin plugs per cylinder so an engine would continue firing if a plug or mag packed up.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Triton Thrasher on 30.01. 2020 20:15
The Rolls-Royce Merlin had twin BTH mags, firing twin plugs per cylinder so an engine would continue firing if a plug or mag packed up.

You don’t say!

Quote from: Swarfy
Spitfires and other Merlin engined planes had twin maggys.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: chaterlea25 on 30.01. 2020 20:35
Hi All,
Skip to the last minute of this you tube videoand see what a magneto can do *eek*
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95vU9hWWO1U

Try that with your EI

John
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: ironhead on 30.01. 2020 21:47
I have a suspicion the switch from maggy to coil was more to do with economics.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: Tomcat on 31.01. 2020 02:50
Don't forget that an electronic ignition needs a good power supply, so a good generator (or alternator) and regulator are a necessity.
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: beezermacc on 31.01. 2020 09:56
Hi All,
Skip to the last minute of this you tube videoand see what a magneto can do *eek*
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95vU9hWWO1U

Try that with your EI

John

Fascinating video.

I find it interesting that anybody should compare a magneto with electronic ignition. Those of us who still use magnetos are using kit which is 60 years old or more whereas electronic ignition on motorcycles has been around for about 35 years. So, if you've just bought new electronic ignition,  it's a bit like putting a cathode ray tube TV in a boxing ring with a flatscreen smart TV, or a vinyl record which has been played 1000 times versus a rap song downloaded from Youtube. There is something wholesome about a magneto when you hold it in your hand - it feels right, it looks right. The reason I like riding old bikes is because I'm riding around on something which is 60 years old and I've fixed or fettled every part of it. OK, there are some parts which have to be replaced if they're worn out but mechanical things like valves and pistons can be replaced like-for-like without affecting the 'oldness' of the bike. Occasionally we build specials like my Rotax-Goldie just for the hell of it; so much has been changed on that bike I wouldn't dare describe it as a classic bike any more. So where do you draw the line? Can a bike that has had one of its most significant age-related idiosyncracies removed still be called a classic?  In the end it's your bike so you do what you want with it, no criticism from me. My definition of a classic bike is something that retains its major significant components. Your definition may be different so we can agree to disagree on that. Six of our club rode to the MotoGP in Assen last year, five A10's all with magnetos. We took two essential spare parts with us, the first was a magneto, the second was another magneto! But we never used either of them!
I give a two-year guarantee on magneto rebuilds and I always have a month's worth of work on the bench. I'm not touting for business - I honestly don't mind if I never see another magneto on my bench - I'd then have time to play with my own toys! My customers acknowledge that we are dealing with old stuff and, occasionally when something goes wrong, I find my customers happy that I'll have another go and sort it out for them f.o.c. In the end you take your choice; there are reasons why people like to stick with magnetos and there are reasons why some people fit electrickery ignition. You make your choice and live with it. I sell electronic ignition kits by the way! I know, call me Judas!
Title: Re: Electronic conversion
Post by: berger on 31.01. 2020 11:01
I like mags I even paid a lot of money to put one with manual advance/ retard on betsy the beezer in place of the competition mag I got rewound and built up myself which  I am saving for the go slow building a berger project , I did test it out on betsy before swapping them *good3*