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Ignition Issues with Aftermarket Systems

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Ross Ashton
(@12901)
Posts: 2
New Member
 

Hi David, I have exactly the same issue with my 1990 R100GS (EME 450w alternator fitted) Sent my Wedgetail back last year where it was given a clean bill of health and returned. Like yours it had a rough spot 2500-3000rpm where it actually stalled going along in that range.

So, good for a while. Yesterday, going up a hill started doing same thing the turned a corner and bike died. Turned ignition off and on and it fired, but didn’t feel right.

Went to go out this morning and bike died over 2500rpm.

checked ignition module and and went to time but no light come on during timing process moving Wedgetail bean can. Went to time with timing light and strobe light went out at over 2500rpm.
Refitted bean can and OEM module, bike went alright. Timing light the same but bike ran a lot better. No probs over 2500rpm.

 
Posted : 03/10/2024 05:09
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2552
Member
 

Posted by: @acftfliehr

Also changed out the secondary cables with Ricks New NGK wires and caps.  Electrical system has been rang out and checked to include the ground (earth) paths solid from the Batt Neg post to Frame Points and even to the Module and front chin case.

And see, this is the downfall of web-based help. Because 1) there may be a quantum leap between our understandings and 2) our implementations. By "our" I mean you and me. IOW, miscommunication of the details.... and the Devil here is certainly in the details.

I say this because IF the Wedgetail comes back with perfect scores, then you'll need to totally re-think your EI installation. In my last suggestion message I tried to use the analogy between the stock ignition being an analog Victrola and the EI being a digital CD Player. Other than hearing them reproduce music, they have NOTHING in common. And so it is with the ignitions. Other than producing spark, these 2 ignition systems have NOTHING in common.

• The most common fault I find on owner-installed systems is the electrical circuit wiring. Do you have a continuous (100% copper, unbroken, traceable) copper connection between the Positive battery post and the EI control box ? (Proabably so, the stock harness does a good job here.) And, since the electrical circuit is a circle, is a continuous copper path provided between the EI control box and the Negative post of the battery for its return ? Both paths here (supply AND return) are EQAULLY important.

This will include 16 or 14ga copper wire throughout, with soldered connections at each and every junction. NO "crimp terminals" are allowed unless after crimping they are soldered. And any "quick disconnects" plug-in connections must have a connection-promoting anti-oxidation compound on them before being inserted into each other.

Why all this trouble? Because transistor circuits (such as those found in the EI control box) are sensitive to frequency. A points ignition, being analog, could care less about voltage spikes and other gyrations going on in the harness. And where might other frequencies be coming from that would kill the performance of a digital ignition system ? Well it just so happens that there's an alternator (which is only inches away), and its one and ONLY job is to create electrical "alternating" power at varying frequencies. The only voltage source on the entire motorcycle that is "at one with the universe" (and therefore suitable voltage source for the EI) is the BATTERY. Charging System and Ignition System wires are both found within the same wiring harness, but that does not mean they have anything in common or are interchangeable as suitable EI power sources.

• The second most common fault is problem detection. You can't see, hear, smell or touch frequencies, and so they can't even be detected when you use an analog volt meter. And let's not forget that the alternator is also broadcasting frequencies as radio waves, and so you can clearly understand how a hand-held meter is never going to find those frequencies. At the very least, you're going to need an oscilloscope. 

 

I'm not pointing fingers here. I'm simply trying to open up your thinking to consider the step from Points to EI as a quantum leap, rather than the tiny step the Marketing Dept would have you believe. And when you take this quantum leap, your thinking and your tool set have to transition with you. 

Hope this helps.

 

 

This post was modified 4 months ago by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 03/13/2024 07:23
David Fliehr
(@acftfliehr)
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Richard, great points in which I  agree with all of what you say....  I also have the EME Charging system interestingly like Ross's reply!!  I have installed the Repaired Tach etc to the bike but not have test rode the bike (or even run it for that matter...  Am on the road repairing aircraft....

 

With what your propose, I would go one step further, in rewire the primary circuit with a shield to ground conductors for the Wedgetail to Ignition Primary and to the coil if the bike still shows this same symptom....  Agree that it would be simpler to first to the 16 Gauge rewire perhaps but if doing that maybe the shielded wiring should be done anyway?  In avionics we ground the shield at the source, this being the closest to the battery, but in some systems and maybe this we should ground at both ends...

Gotta go for now, am in St Louis heading home....  Hate flying anymore!!!!

 
Posted : 03/13/2024 11:21
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2552
Member
 

Posted by: @acftfliehr

With what your propose, I would go one step further, in rewire the primary circuit with a shield to ground conductors for the Wedgetail to Ignition Primary and to the coil if the bike still shows this same symptom....  Agree that it would be simpler to first to the 16 Gauge rewire perhaps but if doing that maybe the shielded wiring should be done anyway?  In avionics we ground the shield at the source, this being the closest to the battery, but in some systems and maybe this we should ground at both ends...

What you are saying is true. The alternator is broadcasting frequencies and shielded cable and/or a shielded control box may be needed to protect against the wires acting like small antennas and "receiving" these broadcasts. It depends upon the frequency and proximity. However, I have only had to go this far on one motorcycle (not an Airhead) equipped with a Lucas RITA system.

My Boyer installation on a 1979 R100 had initial problems, but not with the EI itself. This may have been because the Boyer control box was mounted up high on the frame, next to the voltage regulator. In that installation, problems were more related to "supply side" power and the Airhead's harness layout and design. And those issues did take several weeks to find.

The "dual rear shock" /7 models run the RED power wires from the battery to the Starter Relay (on the LH side of the frame, just opposite the Voltage Reg). Then a separate RED wire comes off the twin terminal on the Starter Relay and proceeds to the ignition switch. 

 

On the /7 the (under the tank) brake master cylinder will leak caustic DOT 4 brake fluid. When this happens on the side stand, the liquid drips right onto the Starter Relay with its funky power wiring. The caustic brake fluid caused unbelievable corrosion on all the LH side electrical terminals. The Starter Relay was a solid ball of white corrosion (inside and out) and this was causing intermittent power connections.

 

Now mine was a classic case of a bike that ran fine before EI, but after installation BIG issues started to show up. In truth, the same issue was present on both systems, but the analog ignition was too dumb to notice a 10 milli-second power outage, whereas the software in the EI control box had to reboot after each outage "blip". So, I'd hit a small bump, shake the harness, and the ignition would go out. By the time I could stop on the side of the road, the bike would crank and run just fine. Finally, the electric starter operation became more "iffy", which guided me to the Starter Relay. 

Hope this helps.

 

This post was modified 4 months ago 3 times by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 03/14/2024 04:53
Daren Dortin
(@bremoit)
Posts: 31
Eminent Member
 

David-

Thanks for posting all this, especially the video of the tachometer not reading correctly.

I have a 94 R80RT and the tachometer is exhibiting the same issues, though I've not noticed any engine misfires----yet. 

The bike has a WT ignition and have been trouble shooting looking for the fault. My last resort was going to be swapping back to OEM ignition and your posts here confirm I was on the right track. 

I have the OEM bean can to install and see if this solves the tachometer issue.

 

Cheers---DD

 

 
Posted : 03/26/2024 10:24
David Fliehr
(@acftfliehr)
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Richard W - I have had the chance of installing ground shielding on the Wedgetail pigtail, which seemed to take about 80% of the ignition issues that were occurring.

When the bike warmed up a bit it seemed to get a bit worse....

I decided to upgrade the EME EDL4 system (Installed in 2014) is removing and replacing the Voltage/Reg Unit with the the EDL370-MOS Regulator-Rectifier. 

The result, greatly improved on all levels, voltage has never been better, and due to the simplification of wiring.  There was a lot of that A/C EMI  going throughout the backbone to the old regulator by the Battery.

Very clean install and I'm very pleased.  Bike runs with no intermittent missing etc...   I am going to recommend that Wedgetail shield there trigger assy pigtail going forward, as that's what EMI does on their system.  That PMG and stator probably produce a lot of EMI noise that the pigtail from the Trigger Assy has to go right by  on it's way out of the chest case.....

 
Posted : 07/04/2024 19:26
David Fliehr
(@acftfliehr)
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

Here is some pictures of the install and shielding....

 
Posted : 07/04/2024 19:36
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2552
Member
 

Posted by: @acftfliehr

Very clean install and I'm very pleased.  Bike runs with no intermittent missing etc...  

Congratulations. From personal experience I know these are long and hard fought battles. 

You are now officially qualified to instruct owners on the "simplicity" of EI system installation. 

 

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 07/05/2024 03:53
David Fliehr
(@acftfliehr)
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

@wobbly Expert is a term which means a Spirt under Pressure...  Haw!!!

 
Posted : 07/05/2024 08:42
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