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electronic ignition issue (2014)

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by NORTONUP, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. NORTONUP

    NORTONUP

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Hello,
    I have just finished re building my 1972 Commando but I am having problems with the electronic ignition I have fitted.
    It was fine on the points system but since I have fitted the Wassel electronic ignition I cannot get the engine to run correctly, it will run ok at low revs but if I try and increase the revs the engine sounds very rough and back fires, also the strobe at low revs confirms that the engine is firing at 28 degrees but when the revs are increased the strobe tells me that it is firing all over the shop.
    Could I have wired the bike up in correctly or could it be a faulty electronic box, I am thinking that maybe the supply wire is wired to a part of the system that increases voltage when the engine revs increase and that is causing the issue.
    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    The timing is too advanced if you are seeing 28 degrees at idle to low rpm. 28 degrees is FULL advance and should not occur until 3000 rpm or thereabouts. I suspect the timing is going too far advanced at high rpm giving you the rough running and backfiring.

    The 28 degree figure comes from setting up the mechanical AAU (auto advance unit). This was done by setting the timing while wedging the device at full advanced position, then when the wedge was removed, it returned to idle or low rpm position. I have not seen a specification for what the timing should be at idle, but I would guess about 3 to 4 degrees.

    Maybe someone with Wassel experience will chime in and tell you how to properly set it up.

    Slick
     
  3. illf8ed

    illf8ed

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Not sure about the Wassell, but my Lucas RITA is sensitive to switching the low tension leads - right side to right side and the same for left. When I get them wrong it does what you describe.
     
  4. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
  5. olChris

    olChris

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Tex is correct... My wassel requires it to be set "STATICLY" at 28deg... Meaning when you initially set it up you do what you gotta do to acheive 28deg btd (Static).... Once its running with strobe attached adjust to 28-30deg's @ your rev range pending on your requirement.. Me is 30deg @ 3500rpm.. (real plain and safe)

    I will also tell you a secret between you and me...... When!!!!!! i could get mine started after the rebuild it would run "hot" bluing pipes... So that means its retarded...... and i jump in there and rotated the "points plate" a few degrees to advance!!!! it a bit....... Wouldnt start/hard to start and running craply again till i realised after a cuppla days that i was rotating the "points plate" the opposite way...

    So after this revalation dont be afraid to rework or backtrack what you have done. Its usually the simple things that catch us out tho, "it wasnt my fault i turned the plate the wrong way" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: I was on the other side of the bike reading the manual...
     
  6. NORTONUP

    NORTONUP

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Very interesting, everything you describe is my bike. Blueing pipes, hard to start.
    I have had the ignition perfect at 28 degrees but still loads of problems - I stripped the carbs umpteen times thinking it was them.
    I will now re set to 28 degrees and run it, do I turn the plate clockwise or anti clock wise to advance the timing?
     
  7. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    My wassel requires it to be set "STATICLY" at 28deg... Meaning when you initially set it up you do what you gotta do to acheive 28deg btd (Static).... Once its running with strobe attached adjust to 28-30deg's @ your rev range pending on your requirement.. Me is 30deg @ 3500rpm.. (real plain and safe)

    I will also tell you a secret between you and me...... When!!!!!! i could get mine started after the rebuild it would run "hot" bluing pipes... So that means its retarded...... and i jump in there and rotated the "points plate" a few degrees to advance!!!! it a bit....... Wouldnt start/hard to start and running craply again till i realised after a cuppla days that i was rotating the "points plate" the opposite way...

    First.....I have reviewed the Wassel installation instructions provided by LAB. From what I can determine, the engine should be set to 28/31 degrees (this is a static setting). Then I become confused (perhaps having the points plate in view would make more sense), but the instructions say to adjust a mark on the points plate to a timing mark....what timing mark? I can only guess that the marks have been predetermined to provide spark at the 28/31 degree BTC for high engine rpm. Regardless, the instructions go on to say "time the engine running at 4000-5000 rpm". I guess they mean "set to 28/31 at 4000-5000". I have seen advance curves for the Norton engines and most reach 28/31 degrees at 3000-3500. Maybe someone can add their expertise to this point, meanwhile you are on your own as to the rpm you wish to achieve 28/31 degrees.

    Second....blue pipes result from higher temperatures, and greater timing advance results in higher temps.

    Third...., the points plate should be rotated "toward" the engine rotation to advance the timing. Again, not having the points plate in view, I could be wrong on this, but intuitively, the engine turns clockwise (looking at the points cavity) and the points plate should be moved counter clockwise to advance timing.

    I hope this helps

    Slick
     
  8. mike996

    mike996

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    "Second....blue pipes result from higher temperatures, and greater timing advance results in higher temps."

    Cant speak for blued pipes because I have seen pipes that blue and others that do not on the same engine with no changes in anything. However, retarded timing increases engine operating temperatures and, in the pre-electronic ignition days, was a common cause of engine overheating as the points wore…so much so that one of the first checks when an engine was overheating was the ignition timing.
     
  9. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    The instructions say:
    The Wassel rotor has a mark that must be lined up with either an 'A' or a 'C' mark according to rotation, in the same manner as the Boyer rotor paint dot and clockwise/anticlockwise timing holes.

    wassel-electronic-ignition-t13159.html
     
  10. NORTONUP

    NORTONUP

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Yes the rotor has a mark, however regarding the taper, well that's a waste of time only the cap head locks it in place. Adjusting the timing is easy but these are the latest problems.
    When I set the ignition to 28 degrees its a pig to start, set at 20 and its easy to start at 3000 rpm, I have kept the bike running and re adjusted to 28, if I then take the choke off the engine speed increases to over 5000 rpm, I have taken the air screws completely in and taken the throttle slides screws down to nothing, I have even taken the air box off but I still cannot get the idle speed down to normal.
    Checked the compression and that's at 150 per pot, re adjusted the valves as per the manual.
     
  11. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    All you have to do is look at your exhaust pipes....they are bluer, or perhaps even purple, closer to the nuts. It should be obvious the temperature is higher closer to the nuts. It is a chemical property of chrome (and other metals as well), that the color of the oxide is determined by the temperature of oxide formation.

    As to timing and temperature, I will stand by my statement, and can add a thermodynamic explanation if anyone is interested.

    Slick
     
  12. hobot

    hobot

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Don't know the Weesle type ignition but suggest diddling timing up till kick backs then retard till just don't and see if that works. Combats in good state don't like much over 28' full adv as tend to kick back and not a much top end spunk. Too high idle speed is also an indication of throttle air leaks and slowing with choke is a clue. Rough running above idle can be from poor conduction somewhere.
     
  13. PeterJoe

    PeterJoe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    When you described that the timing is firing all over the shop I guess you meant that the timing mark is jumping all around. If that is the case Boyer Bransden suggests you suggest you check three different things. I imagine your Wassel unit is very similar to the Boyer system so I believe that these checks are valid.

    1. The rotor - check to see if the rotor is loose on the crank shaft. Also check to see if magnets are loose within the rotor.

    2. The pickup plate white/black and yellow/black wires - make sure that they do not run close to any of the alternator wires because the magnetic field that surrounds the alternator wire will introduce a AC signal into the pickup plate wires causing multiple sparks.

    3. The rectifier - if the rectifier has a bad diode it could put AC into the electrical system. Check the rectifier by disconnecting the middle connection (the battery wire). If the timing mark becomes stable, replace the rectifier.

    One other thing, you don't want to have the hook up wires too long and coiled up here and there (especially the stator plate wires). That may also cause a problem.
     
  14. hobot

    hobot

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Me and a number of others have run into crazy timed spark when something was wrong with the mounting of trigger unit on cam taper d/t clearances - too much or too little or too loose to even collide at times to confuse ignition brains but didn't break anything in the trigger unit to direct our attention there til all else failed.
     
  15. JimNH

    JimNH

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    My Pazon rotor has to be precisely centered or it will mis-fire. It hung up a bit on the taper and required a tiny bit of persuasion to get centered.

    Do you have resistor caps on the spark plugs?
     
  16. hobot

    hobot

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Ugh Jim, I and my buddy never could get the Pazion Surefire to fire but a few seconds then eventually nothing over a weekend of frustration so went back to contact breakers and a good AAU on '72 Trixie, so never learned to precisely center the Pazion trigger and welcome special tutoring by you before another AAU goes bonkers.
     
  17. JimNH

    JimNH

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Hobot,

    I thought I had it centered but could see a bit of runout when I was getting mis-fires. I brought a Sharpie gently against it while running to mark the high spot and then tapped that spot with a brass drift and a light hammer. It moved then I found I could tighten the screw. It must have been hanging on the taper. Funny but I had tapped it in with a small brass hammer in the first place and thought it was seated.

    It's an Altair and runs very nice.

    jim
     
  18. hobot

    hobot

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Alrighty Jim, that actually helps me understand what you encountered and extra salute for being able to tell hobot of another place for corrective hammering on a Commando. What other craft allows combining blacksmiths tools with digital solid state electronics? I think hammers may almost match my hair dryer scope of use for quality fettering time in worship postures and rituals of the Commando . Ink marking also rates high on required non factory tool kit.
     
  19. olChris

    olChris

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    And the simple answer is

    Advance is clockwise
    Retard is anti clockwise

    I also blamed every part bolted on to the engine for its miserable performance and illhealth.
    Go back to basic and set at 28Deg static...... cos it will be easier to start that at 30+deg
    Mark the OD of timing plate and housing with a hi vis white marker or similiar and "scribe/draw" a line as permanent referance.
    Startup, then strobe to 28deg @ 3-4k rpms and adjust/rotate "points plate" to suit.... This setting will be adequate for general purpose use and starting will be easy kick and run sweetly providing all the other ducks are in a row. Plus ensure carbs are about 1.5 turns out from home (or maybe 2 whatever as long as there the sameish)
    You can "fine" tune later on dyno (ear) or whatever for optimun performance just prior to track days ( :lol: :lol: )

    I also left evidence for the next time i need to venture in.. "A and R with arrows" its a bit scribley but i can read it..

    [​IMG]
     
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Someone mentioned resistor plugcaps/resistor leads.
    Some electronic ignitions get jumpy if there is any emi around. (from unsuppressed HT).
    No idea if this is applicable to Wassell.
    Quite a few manufacturers seem to insist it is necessary.
     

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