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Ignition choices

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Bikes, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Bikes


    Nov 13, 2012
    i'm at the point where I am ordering parts...did a search and only found older posts regarding boyer, power arc etc.....so my quesion is....not gonna be a race bike, just a pleasure rider, sunny days etc...doesnt bother me to keep the original system but At the same time I like the option of using different advance curves and such.....
    So, new Boyer, new Power Arc($$), or stick with points and my nicely polished coils?
  2. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Dec 5, 2017
    Well my only experience is with the Vape-Wassell EI and it's been great for 4000 miles so far. It's basically like the non-digital Boyers except the pick up circuitry board is epoxy encapsulated with the two signal wires embedded beneath epoxy, so should likely be less prone to fracturing. Price was about $25 lower than the similar Boyer product.
  3. Dances with Shrapnel

    Dances with Shrapnel VIP MEMBER

    Jul 8, 2011
    The Commando motor is really as sophisticated as a stone axe. The motor really does not need any special curves, just enough to ease starting and prevent pinging at lower rpm. I would not complicate your life and just stay the course with points ignition. No fracturing wires and a lot more tolerant of very low voltage conditions.
    river700, Jackson5 and MexicoMike like this.
  4. motorson

    motorson VIP MEMBER

    Nov 29, 2011
    I just finished mounting a Pazon "sure fire" ignition. I had used a Lucas Rita which failed in the rain, probably due to an overcharging voltage regulator. (Maybe RF "noise" from wet ignition wires and everything?) Then I got a Boyer which always seemed to go out of time, probably due to an unsteady voltage regulator. (I sent the Boyer to Canada so Walridge could check it and it came back "good.")

    I then mounted my old faithful Power Arc but the 3x spark system makes a weak spark and the bike actually started running really badly on the way back from the Barber Vintage Festival and I had to dial in 1/2 choke to keep it going. I thought I had a fuel problem but after inspecting the carburetors I found nothing. My torque with the Power Arc was pathetic as well and I had to get the revs to over 3500 to have any good power.

    So, I put in the Pazon. The bike pulls well from 2000 rpm (I have a webcam 312a cam with radiused lifters and the cam is advanced 5 degrees.) and really starts pulling in earnest from 2500 rpm. I had resisted putting in the Pazon because the curve is just a bit less aggressive than stock points and Lucas Rita but full advance at 5000 rpm is still 31 degrees. With my set up the less aggressive curve seems to help torque and my top speed went up by 5 mph. (compared to the Power Arc)

    The Pazon has a really clean installation and can use stock coils. The trigger wires can run all the way down to the points cover with no connector and the connection at the trigger plate is a very clean little set up with a small screw clamping down on the soldered ends of each wire. With what I have heard to be a 7 1/2 year warranty I think it will be the way I choose to go from now on.

  5. Onder


    May 11, 2010
    Points have the advantage of simplicity and reliability and "fixability" at inopportune moments. The problem is getting them exactly timed
    on each side and keeping them there. Add the fact that the AAU wears and there are no current parts suppliers for them.
    I have the Pazon, some digital and some non and they both seem about the same in performance. Mind that I dont have any fancy
    testing tools to find out what Im doing right or wrong.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  6. MexicoMike


    Jan 31, 2010
    I have had the Trip-Spark since '08 and have been very happy with it. But I was very happy with the OEM points/AAU to replace the Boyer that was on the bike when I bought it and would/will go back to points/AAU rather than another E-ignition if the Tri-spark ever fails. The tri-spark advance curve is very similar to the OEM points/AAU which is the primary reason I bought it as opposed to some other e-ignition.
  7. trident sam

    trident sam

    Oct 23, 2012
    I've done many thousands of reliable miles with Pazon surefire, before that I had done many thousands with analogue Boyer.
    The reason I decided to change to Pazon was the fact it will fire at a lower voltage.
    I just don't like the idea of Tri-spark twins ignition with all the gubbins in the points housing, it surely isn't a great place with the heat and vibration, although I do accept a lot are doing good service.
  8. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2013
    I just fitted my 5th Tri Spark, I guess we all like what we like!

    I have replaced 3 x Boyer, 1 x Lucas Rita, and 1 x Wassel.

    Only one of these was properly defective when I replaced it, that was a Boyer on the Commando, which had a broken wire.

    All the others were working well when swapped out, but in each case, the bikes had noticeably better starting, tickover and low rpm running after the change. Which is why I now fit them ‘as standard’ to my bikes where applicable.

    One highly tuned bike yielded a good power increase as well, but that’s another story.

    But, I believe that none of the current systems are ‘bad’ so I think you’ll be happy with whatever you fit.

    Perhaps if you have a local mechanic or shop or even buddies that favour one brand in particular, use that, as then you know you’ve got local back up if needed.
  9. cash


    Nov 10, 2006
    A well set points system takes a lot of beating just requires a little more regular attention.

    If you are more inclined to electronic ignitions buy one with a proper advance curve one that mimics the AAU.

    river700 and MexicoMike like this.
  10. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    Using an ignition system with a programmable advance curve makes sense on a race bike when you are looking for more torque thus more acceleration. But changing the amount of ignition advance has a very similar effect to adjusting the fuel mixture. You might consider playing with fixed advance but with different taper needles before moving to a programmable ignition system. There is obviously a high likelihood that with any given fuel and compression ratio, there is a balance point where the fuel mixture and ignition advance are optimised and if you can keep your motor at that point, you might get the best out of it. But we are not talking sheep-stations.
  11. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    With my own bike, I have not even tried different taper needles. Because I use methanol fuel, the mixture is not so critical. But if I was using petrol for racing, my approach would be a lot different.
  12. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Dec 28, 2008
    Systems based on points require attention and are subject to wear; they do offer a degree of stone-age simplicity, but have a lot of associated small holding screws and aconcentric adjusters that, probably, have been over tightened and damaged over the years. I believe that the points plate assembly may still be available in some form or another, god knows where they are made...

    I suggest that you go with an EI and consider price point and manufacturers warranty. You really don't need a programmable system. Set it and forget it; the Norton will give you plenty of other things to worry about. And, yes, it may fail; that's what your AMA membership and/or AAA gold card are for.

    If adversity doesn't cross your path you haven't had an adventure, just a ride.

    Best wishes.
    cash likes this.
  13. alan hodge

    alan hodge VIP MEMBER

    Oct 10, 2017
    pazon surefire for me with 6v coils//got one on my bsa and commando and sanny claws bringing me one to replace ancient boyer on my Bonneville
  14. htown16

    htown16 VIP MEMBER

    Apr 29, 2009
    For the price Pazon Surefire. I have 4 bikes with them.
  15. 84ok


    Aug 10, 2014
    no aau parts supplier?
  16. Frankie17


    Feb 11, 2015
    Contact sets may also become an issue , Daiichi have stopped producing British contacts

    so swiching to EI may become neccasary
  17. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Aug 19, 2010
    Well . . . . when the "big one" hits and the Electro Magnetic Pulse wipes out my Tri-Spark, I'll reinstall my old AAU, points, and condenser, go the other side of the bike and bodge the edges of my pristine primary timing hole cover, and see if my dusty old timing light still works.
    cash likes this.
  18. Deets55

    Deets55 VIP MEMBER

    Oct 3, 2013

    EMP would probably kill the timing light too. Light bulb and alligator clips may have to suffice.
    Not sure where you would drive to....
  19. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Aug 19, 2010
    Yes, my old Yamaha light & clips would do the job.

    Where would I drive? Past all the dead cars, taking offers for my running vehicle, with an eye out for the guys that want to steal it from me.
  20. Deets55

    Deets55 VIP MEMBER

    Oct 3, 2013
    Apocalyptic Uber
    I like it!

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