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Why doesn't the spark-spark?


I found a used buzz coil at an antique shop yesterday and spent several hours cleaning all the metal as well as the points, reassembling all and then varnishing the wood case and soldered Fahenstock clips to the terminals. Having tested coils before on a purely amateur basis, I find that I am getting an excellent and bright blue spark at the points but can get nothing at the grounded spark plug...thinking it might be a bad connection I changed the spark plug and rechecked for positive connections...still no spark at the plug but continued hot spark at the coil itself. All connectors are good, spark plug is new so what might be the problem?...I've scratched what little hair I have left until I'm darn near bald!!


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First the plug has to be grounded to the same ground as the coil is using. Are you sure it is wired up correctly? If so it could be a condensor failure or a secondary winding issue. I would get an automotive condensor and hook it up externally to see if that cures the problem, it will only work with an open condensor though if the one inside is shorted it won't work, you will have to go inside to fix it. I have seen several posts by other members with photo's of the fix, you should be able to use the search to find them.

Here ya go:

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Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
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If the condenser is shorted, the points won't buzz. Just connect an auto condenser externally across the points.

Thing is, with even a non-existant condenser, you should be getting a small, weak spark at the plug terminal.

Take care - Elden:wave:

Andrew Mackey

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If you arn't spark shy, try touching the hi tension output lead when under power. No shock - shot secondaries. If you get a strong jolt - still a possible bad coil, but probably bad condenser. Also, check all connections at the points mounting - there may be corrosion under the mounting nuts and posts. How many volts are you using for a power supply?:confused:


I'm using 12 Volts..I may have found the culprit. I cleaned out the entire case exposing all the wires. The wire going to the spark plug terminalwhen wiggled in a certain spot, the current would flow to the plug nice and hot. Tomarrow I'm going to seperate the wooden case and solder a new wire from the coil to the terminal...if this solves the problem I'll be happy but it it doesn't I will salvage the capacitor and other hardware and junk the rest. It just isn't worth playing with anymore but this became a challange more than anything else as I have 3 super buzz coils that I don't even use but keep for backup. Thanks for information...and yes, I am VERY shock shy. When I was about 8 or 9 and coming from the city my friend who lived on a farm told me how much fun it was to pee on a wire that went around his barn and watch it run down the wire a ways and then to the ground..right!!!! I tried it and ever since that trick of my friend I am super sensitive to shock.