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Emerald ignition control unit failure

Jim Wells
(@14591)
New Member Expired Membership

I have a 1992 R100GS with an ignition trigger unit (aftermarket bean can replacement) and matching ICU from Emerald.  As I understand this system, the trigger unit has no advance mechanism and the advance function is carried out inside the ICU in firmware.  I'm told that these ICU's suffer from a manufacturing fault that results in an intermittent "hesitation".  I've confirmed that the current to the coil does indeed drop at the time the hesitation is felt when riding.

Is there an alternative source for a workable ICU?  If not, what is a good source for a trigger unit that includes the advance function?

Unfortunately, these aftermarket parts were installed before I got the bike, so I don't have the originals.  I do have an aftermarket generic ICU that had no internal advance function.

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 12/16/2020 10:01
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

Contact Ted Porter at The Beemer Shop. He imports directly from EI and will have the latest info on status of the ICUs.

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Posted : 12/16/2020 13:07
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

A topic near and dear to my heart. I am presently awaiting a new module for my ‘78, which is the Ei Alpha “classic” ignition. I bought mine from Rick Jones, and it was excellent while it lasted. It too incorporates the advance function in the ICU, eliminating the centrifugal unit. Just got a note today from Ted Porter saying that he has been seen a video from Ei showing a new module being tested, but he does not have a date for availability. 

Mine failed in a similar fashion, with the brief interruptions at speed.....but then it really got silly and could not control the advance at all. A timing light revealed timing marks dancing around in a senseless blur. 

I am anxious for a new unit because when it worked, it worked GREAT!  For my ‘78, it completely eliminates the timing error between cylinders. I can say that it makes a definite improvement. But for now I’m back on breaker points and my Dyna booster. 

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Posted : 12/16/2020 13:48
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

I fitted a 1979 RT (pre-electronic bean can) with a unit from Boyer that worked very well. These units do away with the mechanical advance and do that in software. I thought the installation was straight forward and all the needed parts were included. Boyer is an English firm probably better known within the classic British bike circles, but they've been in business since the 80's and make a solid product.

http://boyerbransden.com/

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 12/17/2020 15:42
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

It is kind of amazing to me, in 2020, that these aftermarket systems have any vulnerability to fail at all. The whole world runs on this stuff. We have an ‘09 Prius that’s about 5% mechanical and 95% electronic ... and it’s absolutely fine. 

I bought a Dyna III back in the late 70’s. Back then, there was an element of risk in buying such space age products. Even it worked for 12 years. Today, these systems should be completely rock solid reliable. There’s really no excuse. Even that 250cc Janus bike I saw in the forum here, with the apparently Chinese engine, has some form of the exact same gizmo in it ... and it will run from now ‘til eternity.  C’mon Emerald Island, you can do it!

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Posted : 12/18/2020 06:44
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

When you get tired of waiting for EI to get their act together, there are a couple of crank driven options you might want to consider. I have the Silent-Hektik Ignition on an R80 G/S that has been working fine, but it was a bit fiddly to set properly.

I recently installed a Sachse system in an R100R. Don't have it running yet, but setting the timing was very easy using a LED on the board to signal when the ignition triggers. The slotted disc also is very easy to adjust using a pair of set screws, VS breaking loose the alternator rotor bolt on the SH.

Both systems use different resistance coils than are commonly found on our airheads, so the installation is on the expensive side. But both also have multiple advance curves that can be selected, and both attach to the crank which eliminates timing chain/cam induced timing variations.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 12/19/2020 15:00
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

The Sachse System is available from Bob’s BMW under the “Enduralast” label. They claim it is compatible with stock coils, however. Don’t know. I’d say a big benefit to that system is that the old system can remain in place, just in case. Swap a wire or two and you are back on the original points ignition.  Nice. 

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Posted : 12/20/2020 11:25
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

Found it again.  The Enduralast/Sachse system can also be purchased from Euromotoelectrics. Guess I have to look at my options if Ei doesn’t return to the market with a new module. Meanwhile, it’s breaker points and the trusty old Dyna Booster .... and double image timing marks. Oh well, it’s carried me many, many miles over many years in this slightly imperfect state. 

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Posted : 12/22/2020 13:56
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

Have you come to a decision for your ‘92 GS ?

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Posted : 12/22/2020 13:58
Jim Wells
(@14591)
New Member Expired Membership

Thanks to all who responded!  Given the weather in Central NY, I'm not feeling a great deal of pressure (yet) to pull the trigger on a new system. 

I have an R90/6 motor under the bench.  Will that point set up from that unit adapt to the '92?

Stay well all,

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 12/24/2020 09:39
David Elkow
(@4949)
Trusted Member Registered

I’m no expert, but I believe not. Like my ‘78, that R90 engine has a “nose” on the front of the camshaft that carries the points cam/centrifugal advance unit. When BMW went to the “bean can” concept in ?1980? or so, the nose on the front of the camshaft disappeared. It won’t transplant over as far as I know. 

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Posted : 12/24/2020 13:13
Jim Wells
(@14591)
New Member Expired Membership

Of course.  I'd have realized that if I'd thought it through.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 12/25/2020 14:29
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

Obviously, David has a "nose" for ignitions.   ? 

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 12/26/2020 11:01
john stirling
(@arni)
Trusted Member Expired Membership
Posted by: @4949

Found it again.  The Enduralast/Sachse system can also be purchased from Euromotoelectrics. Guess I have to look at my options if Ei doesn’t return to the market with a new module. Meanwhile, it’s breaker points and the trusty old Dyna Booster .... and double image timing marks. Oh well, it’s carried me many, many miles over many years in this slightly imperfect state. 

The double image timing marks are caused by a "bent" cam nose. The nose of the cam is not concentric. The nose is pressed into the cam, so it isn't really bent, it's cocked in it's bore. It can be straitened with a small (like jewelers) brass hammer using a dial indicator to tell when it is strait. It's a delicate operation requiring tiny taps with the hammer. Break that nose off and you buy and install a new cam. it is easier to do it to a cam on the bench in v-blocks.

simply fitting a Boyer also solves the problem.

 

any company can have QA problems. it does not mean their design is bad,

my brother just bought a used Prius. the wrench that did the inspection said it isn't really a car, it's an appliance. Bro and the wife call it 'The Dishwasher".

s

 

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Posted : 12/28/2020 10:48

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