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Eating condensers

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:58 pm

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
OK...I put this under Knuckle, but, obviously, it could be for just about any machine with points.
What causes a machine to eat condensers?
6v, 32E, original coil...
It runs fine for a few miles, then pop, bam, cough...with big sparks arcing across the points.
Anybody?

Post Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:35 pm

Posts: 2684
Location: Los Angeles, CA
charlie wrote:
OK...I put this under Knuckle, but, obviously, it could be for just about any machine with points.
What causes a machine to eat condensers?
6v, 32E, original coil...
It runs fine for a few miles, then pop, bam, cough...with big sparks arcing across the points.
Anybody?


Could be defective condensers. What is their country of origin?

Post Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:12 pm

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
Probably Taiwan.
But I've cooked several of 2 different styles, and both have been working fine in other bikes.
I was tempted to pick up a Delco at the local NAPA, but they wanted 8 bucks for one, and I didn't want to just cook it.

Post Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:31 am

Posts: 2684
Location: Los Angeles, CA
You can't just use any condenser. If the condenser has too much capacity it will ruin the points. The same will happen if the condenser doesn't have enough capacity.

Post Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:33 am

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
I was using the replica ones from Tedd with the stud on the end when they started to get eaten.
Then I switched to a late pan/shovel (6-cyl Chevy) one, and it worked for a little while.
What are y'all using?

Post Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:04 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
At the risk of being wrong again, I have allways gone under the assumption that a condenser can go bad. If you keep burning condenser's the coil is also failing. Has allways worked for me on bikes an Fords but probably just my luck:)

Post Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:39 am

Posts: 1659
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Sounds like good advice Neil. Although I sure wouldn't trust a capacitor from Teds either :lol: Being stubborn I would probably have bought the Delco one first, only to find out the coil's the culprit :(
DD

Post Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:48 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
I've allways used 6 cylinder Chevy points and condenser, and I use the same condensor for Harley, Indian 6-volt or 12 volt :roll: Of course now that I know thats wrong.... I'll probably continue doing it untill I experience a problem :lol:

Post Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:09 pm

Posts: 536
Location: Wa, USA
I don't know if it works the same for HDs, but on Chevys if you wire the primary side of the coil backwards, they will eat condensers.

Post Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:04 pm

Posts: 2684
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Chevy points won't fit a Knuckle timer.

Post Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:36 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
You're right Chris, I'm running a Pan base plate. I had a bad miss an sometimes she wouldn't start for days, I found the insulator on the Knuckle points pin was spinning an intermittently shorting out. Tried all kinds of ways to reseal it but gave up an run a Pan base instead. Are there rebuild kits for these pins available now?

Post Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:43 am

Posts: 426
Location: Tucson Arizona

Neil74

Yes.........

http://tinyurl.com/lgrjxo

Kurt

Post Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:37 am

Posts: 1659
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

That's nice to know. Back when I fixed mine, I used the plastic part of a "red" crimp connector. drilled the rivet, slipped it on, soldered the top washer back on. I hate doing things the hard way.
DD

Post Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:00 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Nice to know you're making them now, good thing I allways save the old parts, I'll have to order some:)

Post Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:21 pm

Posts: 387
Sorry, double post! :oops:
Last edited by RUBONE on Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:22 pm

Posts: 387
I always do a ten minute modification on my Knuckle/Flathead timer bases to run '70 up shovel points in my bikes. Cheap and easy to find. I have also set a bunch up to run the really good Bendix points but they are hard to find now.
Robbie

Post Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:46 pm

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
OK...I'm going nuts.
New coil...well...different coil, anyway...
New condenser (Delco)
Checked timer base for good ground.
Checked pivot pin for isolation.
Checked points condenser terminal on timer base for isolation.
Checked timer-to-coil wire for short/grounding.
Fire it up.
Big ol' sparks flashing out of the points.
I'm going to bed.
It can't be far off.
There's only a handful of parts to check out!

Post Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:37 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Try a new coil, or a used coil that you know just came off a running machine. The insulator pin is a pain in the rump to check if... it's not cracked bad. I had a friend kicking my bike over in the pitch dark to see exactly where my arc was originating, when it would spark sometimes an not others I put a magic marker dot on the insulator at the spark site. Thats when I discovered the insulator was spinning an exposing the points to the crack. The crack was not visible and I could not spin it with the points removed, under point movement it was obvious it was spinning cause the index mark turned:) If you can borrow another Known good Distributor base with points an condensor you could swap it out to see if that is your problem.

Post Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:06 am

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
Oh, yeah...when the problem started, I checked the pin and insulator...which came off in 2 pieces.
I repaired that with the Colony kit assuming that the problem would CERTAINLY be solved....

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:04 pm

Posts: 197
Location: Bucktown, PA
OK...new points and condenser AND coil.
The bike is running great, like it used to, but there is still a lot of sparking at the points; I wonder how long they can last.
I can't see a bit of sparking at the points of my Pan.
Anybody else have considerable sparking at the points, but the bike runs OK?
Any way to gauge an acceptable amount of sparking at the points?

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