electronic ignition upgrade
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Thread: electronic ignition upgrade

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    phil clarke
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    electronic ignition upgrade

    Evening all, I want to fit electronic ignition to my 500LS GP rep. as I am finding it difficult to obtain contact sets at a reasonable cost. As I Can't find one for the Benelli does anyone know if the one for a Honda CB550 will fit. I am considering the one David Silver is selling, many thanks Phil

  2. #2
    King of the Group-Buys Laurencewhite's Avatar
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    Laurence White
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    You should be able to get these from Benelliparts.de for around 16 + shipping
    Laurence

    Benelli Tornado 900 LE No. 49
    Benelli Tornado 900 LE No. 81
    Benelli 1130 TNT Titainium
    Benelli 1130 TRE-K
    Benelli 750 SEI
    Benelli 250 2c
    Benelli Motorella



  3. #3
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    Cam Douglas
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    By far the best aftermarket ignitions I've found are from Ignitech in the Czech republic … Electronic for motorbikes - IgniTech P?elou?

    They can also supply electronic pickups to replace the points (assuming your bike has points ignition).

    They're cheaper than pretty much anything else on the market, and are fully programmable by plugging in a laptop (software comes with it). They have way more features and input/output options than all the others (they can do a whole lot more than just make sparks), and can be adapted to fit pretty much any engine you can think of. Very highly recommended.

    Have a good read of their website. I you need any further info, get back to me. I've installed a bunch of them on different types of bike including Laverda, Ducai, Moto Guzzi, including a couple of race bikes. I've not installed one on a Benelli, but if the Bosch system on my 900 Sei ever gives trouble, I replace it with an Ignitech.

    The guys at Ignitech can communicate in English.

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  5. #4
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    I bought a 750 sei new- always points issues.
    I modified two Honda 500/4 Gerex ignition setups. This worked great.

    I am pretty sure a 500/4 aftermarket electronic ignition would fit right on the Benelli Quattro.

  6. #5
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    John DeMaria
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    I just recently did some work on a friend’s 500 Quattro. The points, condenser and points plate were so messed about I couldn’t get anything to work consistently. My shop is full of my own SOHC Honda cb750s (1970-78). I pulled out an NOS cb750 points plate, complete with points and condensers. It screwed right in, but in order to set the correct idle and total advance, I had to lengthen the three mounting slots. Used a Dremel with a small milling tip, worked perfectly. If you don’t want to go Electronic, this is an option

    On my ‘77 Benelli SEI. I use a Sache Electronik Unit. I’m sure they make one for your machine and I highly recommend. Lovely system, flawless operation, not cheap......

  7. #6
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    The Sachse ignitions are not a bad choice. They are easy to install and use a neat little Hall effect pickup system that has built-in LEDs to tell you when the Hall switches are on or off. Makes setting the timing an absolute breeze - no degree wheel or strobe light required. Very clever design. Volker Sachse was a smart man, sadly killed in 2013 while riding his motorcycle to work.

    Only issues I've had with Sachse systems is with the rotor part of the pickup system. They use little neodymium magnets to switch the Hall pickups. The magnets are fitted into the perimeter of the aluminium rotor by drilling radially into the rotor and gluing them in. It's not unknown for a magnet to break loose and fly out under centrifugal forces. If a wayward magnet takes one of he pickups out as it pings off the rotor, then you're up or a new pickup board as well as a rotor (although I expect Sachse would replace parts under warranty in such a case). I now make my own rotors with the magnets inserted by drilling through from the opposite side of the rotor so the drill doesn't quite break the surface at the magnet side, then poking the magnets through from the other side and gluing them in place with epoxy. That way the magnets lie just below the surface in a blind hole and can't fly out.

    The Sachse units are not fully programmable. They just have a selection of pre-set advance curves that you can choose from. That's perfectly OK for 90% of owners who want a plug and play system that'll make good reliable sparks for their road bike. But if you're building a racer and want features like a shift light, or a 3D advance curve that maps ignition timing against revs and manifold vacuum or TPS, or you want to tweak the advance curve on the dyno, then you might want to consider an Ignitech.

    Cheers
    Cam

  8. #7
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    John DeMaria
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    Cam...... All excellent points! I will be checking the magnets on my rotor. What about a thin coat of clear epoxy over top? The other thing that really bothers me about the system is the absolute trust in locking up the rotor while the engine is at TDC. Any “shake or shiver” means an inaccuracy in the base setting. To correct that I am currently machining and alloy hub that will fasten a degree wheel securely to the opposite end of the crankshaft. After mounting a fixed pointer and setting the degree wheel to absolute TDC, I will be able to fire up the engine and using my timing light confirm the actual idle advance, plot the curve and total advance. It will be interesting to see how close I came? I’ll post a picture of the degree wheel, tomorrow.
    All the best, John D.

  9. #8
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    Cam Douglas
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    Hi John

    I don't think a coat of epoxy would make any difference to the security of the magnets. I did a little engineering calculation when fitting a Sachse system to my Laverda RGS motor. At max revs (8500), the centrifugal force trying to pull the magnet out of its hole is around 2kg. That's a lot for a wee little magnet that only weighs a couple of grams when at rest!

    Have a close look at the holes where the magnets are. There should be a couple of centre punch marks next to each hole to peen the edge of the hole over a bit to stop the magnet coming out. Sometimes the edge of the hole hasn't been sufficiently deformed. You can improve it by putting a couple more punches around the hole, but do it gently. The little magnets are quite weak and crumbly, and can be fractured if you look sideways at them. If you bash a massive great divot next to the hole, you might end up turning the magnet to dust!

    It's not the end of the world if you do that though. The magnets are easily replaced and available on-line. Just search ebay for cylindrical neodymium magnets, 1/8" (3mm) diameter. Magnet length can vary (drill the hole deeper if necessary), but around 3 to 5mm will be OK. They are dirt cheap. You'll get 50 of them for few bucks, so it doesn't matter if you bugger up your first attempt. Clean the hole out with a 1/8 drill and insert the new magnet.

    It's important to get the magnet's orientation in the hole correct. One has the N pole outermost (towards the perimeter of the rotor), and the other has the S pole facing out. The rotors are stamped N and S accordingly. One pole switches the Hall sensor on and the other switches it off (I can never remember which is which).

    Put them in with epoxy and peen the edges of the hole over to keep them in place.

    I made a little mandrel that fits a 4" angle grinder onto which I can mount a rotor for testing the security of the magnets. I heat the rotor up to normal operating temperature and spin 'em up on the grinder. The reason I heat them up is to duplicate operating conditions. The aluminium will expand and the glue loses strength (not too hot or it will kill the magnets. Around 80°C is enough). The grinder spins at something like 11000rpm which is more than our old clunker engines will do, even if you miss a gear (most electronic ignitions have a built-in rev limiter). If the magnets stay put in a hot rotor at grinder speed it gives me peace of mind when installing them in an engine.

    Cam
    Last edited by Sprocket; 04-03-2019 at 10:07 PM.

  10. #9
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    John DeMaria
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    Cam....... i’lll certainly be chacking those stake marks. You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought. How do you confirm the Initial TDC set up is correct? Because the “advancer” has been removed in my installation (no more timing reference marks rotating with the crank), here is my solution. It will go on the opposite end of the crankshaft. I’ve yet to find/make a key and the correct nut! Cheers, John D.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails electronic ignition upgrade-6e76f437-d137-432e-be23-7e4e92172d48.jpeg   electronic ignition upgrade-3e5537ba-c26b-4282-80fd-1de6af68ae4b.jpeg  
    Last edited by leleven25#; 04-04-2019 at 06:42 AM.

  11. #10
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    Cam Douglas
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    Hi John

    I use a degree wheel and positive stop to establish TDC. I've done it on heaps of different bikes, but never actually done it with a Benelli. Not that it matters, the same method applies to any engine.

    I've occasionally seen "universal" degree wheels for sale on line, but there's no such thing in reality. None of the different types of bikes I've worked on have the same crankshaft end where the degree wheel fits. If I get a bike in that I don't have a degree wheel for, I make one.

    A cheap and cheerful method is to use an old CD. I have an image file of the degree scale that I can print out and glue to a CD, then it's just a matter of boring the centre hole of the CD to suit whatever crank it's going on. CDs are good because they're round, flat, have a pilot hole in the middle, but most importantly they are light, so they have low rotational inertia. That means they're more likely to stay put when you rev the engine than a heavy metal wheel.

    I have a large diameter aluminium degree wheel for Ducatis that I bought from V2, but the damn thing is like a flywheel. As soon as you start the engine, the wheel slips on the crank. You have to do the clamping bolt up super tight to stop it moving, and even then you can't be sure it hasn't slipped a few degrees. So I now use the CD type on Ducatis too.

    You've done a professional looking job of making your degree wheel. Looks like a very secure clamping method too, with the keyway and 3 screws in slotted holes.

    The positive stop is nothing more than an old spark plug with the innards removed and some kind of projection (like a bolt) inserted into it that will touch the piston and prevent it reaching TDC.

    Attach the degree wheel to the crank and fix a pointer somewhere. The degree wheel can be in any random position at this stage. Screw the positive stop into the spark plug hole. Turn the engine over gently until the piston hits the stop. Note the reading on the degree wheel. Turn the engine back the other way until it hits the stop again and take the degree reading. TDC is half way between the two readings on the arc of the wheel that the pointer didn't traverse. Remove the stop and rotate the crank until the pointer is at the point you've identified half way between the two readings. The crank is now at TDC. Without moving the crankshaft, rotate the degree wheel on the crank until the pointer is at TDC on the wheel and tighten the nut (or whatever locks the degree wheel in place). Your degree wheel is now zeroed at TDC and you are all set to start the engine and do strobe readings.

    Cheers,
    Cam

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