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Magnetos, Ignition Coils and Spark Plugs Discussion about magnetos, buzz coils, spark plugs, ignitors and low tension coils.

Magnetos, Ignition Coils and Spark Plugs

Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:00 PM
David Hughes David Hughes is offline
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Default Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

Newbe question here: how does the WICO EK work? I can understand magnetos with moving parts: the EK doesn't have moving parts, only the plate that pulls off the bottom and works the points. I imagine when the plate is pulled off, it changes the configuration of the magnetic field and induces a current in the coil windings, the points connect when the charge is built up in the coil (?). I is a Geologist, not an electrical engineer, thanx

David Hughes
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:53 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

Sounds like you've already got the basics of figured out there.

Can't fault you for driving a Geo though.... oh wait, that's the "Other" geologist
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:57 PM
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Gary Pflum Gary Pflum is offline
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Default Re: Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

When the field is opened (the armature is pulled down) the points open also and the magnetic field collapes in the primary windings and it sends high voltage spark out of the secondary windings to the spark plug.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

Here is a good web site describing the WICO operation -
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:20 AM
Rocket scientist Rocket scientist is offline
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Default Re: Newbe question: how does WICO EK work?

Wico EKs were a pretty cleaver design. It sounds like you've got the basic operation figured out. Two things to know ... old magnets, made before the development of Alnico alloy, will loose their magnetic strength over time unless they're stored with a "keeper" across the poles. In the case of EK magnetos, the movable pole piece or "armature" functions as a keeper IF you remember to always store the engine with that pole piece snapped in the up position. Just turn the flywheel until the magneto resets. The second trick with those is to be sure the moving part of the contact points has a reliable path to ground. Those points are supposed to open slightly after the armature breaks loose and cause the field in the primary winding to collapse abruptly which creates the fast rising pulse in the secondary winding. The problem is that the moving contact doesn't always have good electrical connection to ground. Oil inside the tube acts as an insulator or the little coil spring around the base of the slide gets rusty and doen't make a reliable contact. Either way, the result is a weak or intermittent spark. Cleaning those parts helps, using electrically neutral grease (from electronic supply shops) helps a lot. Another way to fix the problem is to solder a little loop of very flexible ground braid between the moving contact and any good electrical ground point. That makes a big difference in steady spark output. If in doubt, put an ignition scope on the primary coil and watch the baseline voltage. If it doesn't drop to zero between sparks, that contact isn't making a good ground. With a strong magnetic field, good capacitor and clean points those things will knock your socks off when the armature breaks free.
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