• If you like antique engines, vintage tractors or old iron, please register and join us. When registering, please provide your CITY and STATE in your location!

Webster Tri Polar Oscillator Help

walkswithsticks

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/13/2016
As you can see from my post count, I am fairly new at this, and now I am completely baffled by a problem.

I am working on a Galloway 3hp #47424. The numbers on the magneto are as follows: Type L16 Milton Brown Patents. The other end of the brass strip reads No 630951 McInnerney Podlesak Patents. Of course, it ran fine when stored 11 years ago. This lead me to believe that a little cleanup and such would get it running, but that has not proven out.

Early attempts at starting it would occasionally produce a few hits resulting in gray smoke rings and a modest poof. After several hours of tinkering, I now can get nothing. If I hold the intake valve in (grounding me to the engine) and hold the wire leading from the mag to the ignitor, I can feel no spark whatsoever.

We pulled the magnets and cleaned all surfaces. We did notice that the magnets will barely hold up one end of a common nail.

We disconnected to lead to the ignitor and hooked up a coil and battery. It still would not fire, and the coil and battery soon overheated due to it being a closed circuit. My Associated and United engines have the ability to move a spring and select an open or closed points position. My thought was to make further attempts with the battery and coil, but I cannot see how to change the points to a normally open configuration.

Before I spend a princely sum of money to have the mag rebuilt, I would like to get it running on a battery and coil setup. Any thoughts?
 

Attachments

Dan Baalman

Registered
Age
69
Last Subscription Date
03/26/2017
Well the mag should be able to made to work fairly cheaply, unless the coils are bad. You said you removed the magnets, because of this the magnets will need to be recharged. They must be charged in place on the mag. Your bracket had been repaired, and this may be the reason for the washers between the mag and ignitor bracket. Normally they would not be used. If there is no spark with coil, that leads me to believe their may be a short in the stationary point, requiring new mica tube and washers. I have also had problems with the fahnstock or wire clip making contact with the threaded portion of the stationary point shaft. This is probably the biggest problem I have experienced. They are really simple but can definately cause problems. Wish I had it in my shop for a while, I think I could get it going.
 

Chris Epping

Subscriber
Age
36
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Magnets can lose their magnetism. It may just need a recharge. You are unlikely to feel much of a shock from a setup like this even when it's working properly due to it being low tension. The mag needs to be recharged with the horseshoe in place. You should be able to test run it on a battery and coil. Can you adjust the screw on the igniter trip to just barely hold the points open when the mag is "at rest"?
 

Dan Baalman

Registered
Age
69
Last Subscription Date
03/26/2017
You will not feel a spark from this low tension system. The lead out wire from your mag looks to have no insulation, make sure it isnt touching the case of the mag. Charging the magnets will make a huge difference in the 'pull' you feel
 

Ronald E. McClellan

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/05/2020
First work on getting running with the battery and coil. I assume that your using a low tension coil , your points are clean , there is a good contact with the insulated point , and there is no short from the insulated point to ground/frame. With the points at rest , the points are normally closed to operate with the magneto , however you can adjust the moving point to stay open at rest with a set screw when using a battery and coil. You can check for spark even before you install the mad/igniter by flicking the arm on the front. Keep us informed. Ron
 

Dick Graybill

Subscriber
Age
81
Last Subscription Date
07/26/2020
That is a low tension mag. When you took the magnets out you may not have put them in right.You may not feel any spark on a low tension mag. Did you have batt. & coil hooked up right? If you want to run on batt. and coil, adjust the screw (on the left side bottom)A continuity test light will be a big help for this,so points are normally open, this won't drain battery or melt the coil. Mag will no doubt need charged. It's easier to do then try to tell someone. Dick.
Ron beat me typing.
 

Rick Lockridge

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/06/2019
If your willing to take a trip down to NW Arkansas, I think I could help. I have access to a charger and an engine like yours. Would be glad to help.
Rick
 

walkswithsticks

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/13/2016
Sorry to be a little slow on this. I caught some sort of bug and have been down for a day or so. It may be another day or two before I can get back out.

Here is my dumb question for today. First, I would disconnect the wire going from the mag to the clip. If I turn in the adjustment screw to allow for a slight gap at the points, won't this allow a constant spark from the battery and coil allowing the engine to fire during the compression stroke?
 

Ronald E. McClellan

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/05/2020
In my previous reply I assumed you had a low tension coil. You are saying a spark jump high tension coil with 3 or 4 connections not to be used with your engine. A low tension only has two connections and makes the spark when the points open and will not operate a spark plug . Show me a picture of your coil. Ron************************* And stop taking your pictures on a white background. Your eye does not see the same as what your camera sees and the white shuts the camera adjustment down and gives a black item without any detail. Use a medium brown or gray for background , you will like it.*********************************************
 
Last edited:

Chris Epping

Subscriber
Age
36
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Sorry to be a little slow on this. I caught some sort of bug and have been down for a day or so. It may be another day or two before I can get back out.

Here is my dumb question for today. First, I would disconnect the wire going from the mag to the clip. If I turn in the adjustment screw to allow for a slight gap at the points, won't this allow a constant spark from the battery and coil allowing the engine to fire during the compression stroke?
No, an igniter is low tension ignition. It only sparks once, when the points are separated. When you complete the circuit (points closed) it charges the coil and when the points separate, you get a spark as the coil discharges. You need to use a battery & a low tension coil with two terminals. Negative on battery goes to a good ground on the engine. Positive on the battery goes to one terminal on the coil. The other terminal on the coil goes to the insulated electrode on the igniter. You should have spark when you hook up the battery if you hold the igniter points together. You should not have spark when you hook up the battery if the points are open. Results that differ from this mean you have a problem.
 

walkswithsticks

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/13/2016
Thanks for all of the information. I am still trying to figure it all out.

fortunately for me, a member of the local club that I joined has kindly offered to help. I can't turn down some hands on teaching.

I really appreciate all of the input and offers to help. It is a great help as I try to learn how to get these old engines going and keep them going.
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
First thing to consider is the mag itself. ALL 3 magnets need to have like poles together All North on one side, all south on the other. If they are mixed up, the magnetic fields will be shorted - no spark. Next, if the magnets have been removed without a keeper, they will rapidly lose magnetism - oftem within seconds! The best way to charge magnets on a triploar mag is to do it in with the magnets in place. next option is to charge nested off the mag with proper blocking and with a pair of steel keepers - oneplaced on each side of the nested magnets BEFORE removing from the charger. The keepers are slid off the magnets as they are slid onto the mag case.

After you have good magnets, the next thing is to check the rotor. Has the mag been taken completely apart? If so, was the rotor installed correctly? It can be installed reversed! If reversed, you will get weak spark, or none at all. With the springs removed, the rotor should spin 360 degrees without binding If the rotor hangs up, the end cap bearings are worn and the mag will not operate properly. If the rotor spins without binding, next test - spin the rotor by hand and note resistance to turning. THEN, short power lead to ground and repeat. You should note increased resistance to the turning of the rotor. If resistance does not change, then either open or shorted coils. If it changes, next test. Take an electric drill and using a 1/4 drive extention and socket to fit one of the nuts on the end of the rotor, spin the rotor and read AC voltage from the power wire and ground. it should read 11 to 15 volts. If low - either weak magnets or weak coils.. If voltage good, while spinning mag rotor, drag the power wire against the case on a clean spot. You should get a good flash.

Once the mag checks out, next comes the ignitor itself. low tension is electricaly simple - mechanicaly sscomplicated. Everything must be 'just so'. On the Webster - There are a few things to check. 1) are the spring mount poles straight and parallel? If bent, the mag will not trip correctly. 2) are the springs of equal strength and not painted or pitted with rust? 3) sre the spring mount bushings free and do they turn easily? if not, they will impede the rotor. 4) When at rest, are all 4 spring mount shafts parallel and in lign? A straight edge placed on the end of the shafts should have all 4 shafts touching the edge. If not, this needs to be corrected (bearings, bent end plates etc) 5) With the mag in plac, the screw on the movable pouint should JUST touch the trip arm when the mag is at rest. NOTE: if you want to run the engine on battery and coil, you MUST do the following: 1) disconnect the mag power wire from the fahnstock clip on the ignitor. If hbattery power is applied to the mag, it will fry the coils. 2) turn the movable point screw 1 turn clockwise from contact. This will leave the points open, while the mag is at rest, thus saving the battery from a dead short thru the coil, while the engine is at rest.

The mag should wind up about 45 degrees before tripping. If it does not, you will not create the power necessary to fire the charge in the engine. NOTE: The 2 HP Hercules used a 2 magnet Webster. The 3 magnet one you have is meant for a larger engine. it may work, but might be the reason for the washers - to provide proper spacing for the trip assembly.

On Retard, the mag should trip right at TDC Compression. If it does not trip at the proper time, all adjustments must be made that it does so. Again, electrically simple - mechanicaly complicated. Timing advance is automatic. The retard timing is the set point you need.

To better comprehend the operation, and how the tripolar works, you should try to get a hold of a copy of Doc Shusters book 'The Webster System'. It details history, how the mag is assembled, and how to set up on the ignitor. A must read if you want to work on these mags.
 
Top