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Antique Gas Engine Discussion Meet collectors of hit and miss engines, ask questions about collecting, restoring and showing antique flywheel engines.

Antique Gas Engine Discussion

Ignitor Test Bulb


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  #1  
Old 05-01-2005, 11:38:56 AM
W. Bittle W. Bittle is offline
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Question Ignitor Test Bulb

Hey, anyone know if a small neon bulb can be used to test a low tension ignitor style mag setup. I want to see if there is a spark voltage spike on the ignitor and thought that a neon bulb from the ignitor to the frame might flash when the ignitor is tripped. Haven't tried it yet and not sure if my mag is working anyway. So if it does not flash it could be that the bulb idea is no good, or that the mag is bad - so I'm back where I started. Just thought that I would see if anyone else has tried this. Desperate to fill the garage with noise and smoke from a running IHC M

Regards,

Wade
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2005, 11:49:53 AM
Larry Larry is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Well....... The Neon Bulb Idea won't Work, I use a Flashlight Bulb, You will see a small GLOW when the Flywheels are Spun, Either that... or use a VOLT Meter set on the Lowest D.C. Scale. Larry
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2005, 02:27:23 PM
Harry Harry is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Putting a flashlight type lamp across your ignitor will defeat the whole process. True, the lamp will light at peak magneto output, but the big spark will never happen because the circuit never fully opens. Therefore, your ignitor's insulation isn't tested.

The neon lamp approach should work because the circuit will snap open when the ignitor opens, resulting in the high voltage spike from the coil. The question is whether the lamp will load the high voltage down to the point where there isn't enough voltage to draw an arc. Or whether there is sufficient voltage from a low tension ignition to fire the neon at all.

I should have been experimenting with this in the form of an L.E.D. and a series resistor or other electronic voltage measuring components. If it would light up an L.E.D. bar graph depending upon spark strength, it could be a great trouble shooting tool. The whole idea is to tell you whether your ignitor points are closing, whether your ignitor insulation is shorted out and how much strength your magneto and coil has.

Somewhere in my tool collection, I have one of those cheap-o timing lights that you clipped onto your #1 sparkplug and the engine frame. These were simply a neon lamp with a magnifying glass and did not need the 12 volt connection to run them. They were cheap because they had no electronics involved and they also needed a high tension spark to set them off. The catch was that you needed to time your engine in the dark to see the light.
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Old 05-01-2005, 05:00:33 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

I have tested low tension mag output many times with a clearance light or tail light (Not the stop light part) bulb. If you give the mag a fast spin by hand or with a drill it will light the bulb. But not while connected to the igniter. A 1157 or 1156 bulb is a good test for the Model T mag. If you rev the engine up a good mag will toast the bulb.

If you connected a neon bulb across the igniter it would probably dampen the inductive kick enough to kill most of the spark as a neon bulb will soak up a lot of current without a series resistor... Don't ask me how I know this. With the right size resistor you might get a quick flash of the bulb... But... there are too many more accurate ways to test low tension mag output. Oscillating mags are another story but can be tested by removing the springs and spinning them with a drill ect... I believe there are tables as to the desired output of Websters at a certain RPM.
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:45:17 PM
Joe Morris Joe Morris is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Bittle, take a short piece of solid copper wire such as you find in house wireing cable , bare both ends, connect one end to the output post. secure the mag . then hold the other end of the wire very hard against the teeth and spin the mag. if it is hot you will see fire jumping from the teeth as the wire skips across the teeth breaking the curcuit. Done it this way for years. hope this will help a little. Good luck in a good hobby. Joe Morris
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Old 05-02-2005, 09:41:42 AM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

I haven't tried but I bet you could use one of those neon lamp "circuit testers" that are made for 120 Volt wiring.

The tester has a resistor in series with the neon lamp and it draws very little current. I'd bet one of these gizzies would flash when the ignitor points snap open and wouldn't make any appreciable difference in the strength of the spark.

Now, someone needs to try it and let us know if it works.

Take care - Elden
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:04:17 AM
W. Bittle W. Bittle is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Guys:

I have the neon bulb and I got the mag to make a spark with a wire on the timing gear - had to clean the brush contacts inside first. Now I have to get the mag back onto the old M and give it a whirl with the neon bulb attached to the ignitor. If it will flash I at least know that I have enough voltage for a spark even if it damps the spark so that it won't start with the bulb attached. I'll give it a try tonight if Mama will let me go out to play in the garage.

Before I cleaned the brushes the resistance of the mag output to ground was about 50K ohms. Way too high! No spark found when running it with a wire dragging along the timing gear. With the contacts clean it is about 10 ohms. That is what I would expect from a winding like that. Now the voltage output of a coil like this is the rate of change in current times the inductance of the coil. So for a snap opening of the ignitor with a good magnetic field the current change is high in a very short amount of time - thus thus a large number. The product of this and the inductance creates a large voltage. This is the same principle that you see when you unplug a motor that is running from the wall socket and see a flash - try it with you vacuum cleaner.

Well, we'll see if the neon bulb + resistor works. Would be a neat and quick way to determine if the whole ignition system is working on a non-running engine.

Regards,

Wade Bittle
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:38:11 AM
Harry Harry is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Make the resistor value as high as you can while still being able to fire the lamp. This way, the least amount of energy will be diverted from the ignitor to the lamp.

A neon lamp has no resistance until the gas becomes excited and triggers. At that point, it has a much lower resistance, but your series resistor will keep it from draining the spark away from the ignitor. Once the neon fires, the resistor will most likely extinguish the lamp's glow.

I have a bunch of little neon lamps, about 1/4" by 3/4" long, as well as a dial-up resistor test box. You make me want to go out to the old engine garage and have a go at it! A strobe lamp would be a neat tool.
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2005, 12:19:55 PM
W. Bittle W. Bittle is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Harry:

Yea, if it worked you could have a timing light for your engine. Just make some long leads and hold the bulb close to the flywheel while running. As you move it around the flywheel you could find the timing mark and see if it aligned to the block mark at each hit. Now you might have to do this at night in the dark since neon bulbs are not known to be that bright. As long as you didn't get entangled in the flywheel it might be fun. Plus, the neighbors would really be pleased to hear the old iron running at 11PM.

With more work you could actually make a xenon timing light. The trigger could be taken from the ignitor, without loading it significantly, amplified and used to drive the ignitor loop for the xenon bulb. An old camera flash could be modified to do this. Even a flash from one of those Kodak throw away box cameras. Yea, if only there were enough hours in the day and I didn't have to work for a living

Regards,

Wade
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Old 07-25-2005, 12:11:14 AM
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

I'm interested in building xenon timing light for a low tension igniters, can I get a circuit diagram on how to make this exactly. My brother in law is the sparky so I'll have to get him to do it. The Kodak flash setup would be easy to obtain.
Thanks
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  #11  
Old 07-25-2005, 01:55:29 AM
Chuck Parcher (Ks.) Chuck Parcher (Ks.) is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Keep in mind that when you put that mag back on that ihc 3 hp you have to time that mag. if you don't you won't get your peak spark at your ignitor when it snaps

Chuck
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:46:59 AM
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

Led bulbs only work one way. So when you try it if it doesnt light at fiirst flip it around and try again.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:13:56 AM
Brian D. Brian D. is offline
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Default Re: Ignitor Test Bulb

If anyone knows where I could find the information on the Webster mag tables that Ken speaks of, I would sure like to have a look. Thanks.
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