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Tri-Spark ignition failure mode

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by concours, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Saturday, A friend's Commando refused to start, I did the troubleshooting routine, found no spark, used the test switch on the Tri-Spark, rapid blue spark on both side. The red LED lights and goes out as the engine is rolled over, as expected. However, there is no spark when the engine is kicked over. Nothing. Old plugs, new plugs. several tests gave repeatability, NO spark.
    Is this the standard Tri-Spark soils the sheets failure mode?
     
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  2. brokeneagle

    brokeneagle VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Mine only failed when hot. Cold start would be fine but when shut down after a ride it wouldn't re-start until a 45 minute cool down. CNW supplied the first one and replaced it with a new one which has been fine so far.
     
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  3. Onder

    Onder

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Had one on a Trident. It was an earlier model TriSpark. It would cut out when riding. Pull over, it would start. Always would restart sometimes
    whilst still riding. Finally worried it would die at in a tight corner or similar. As it came with the bike no warranty. So bought another made no
    changes to the bike and it has never failed since.
    So learned nothing and have no idea why it did this although Ive read that early models had this behavior.
     
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  4. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    To re-phrase my question, when they failed:
    A) Did you perform the tests provided with the unit on paper/online procedure?
    B) The two tests both show functioning, but still no spark during engine cranking speed?
     
  5. 1up3down

    1up3down

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    since the Trispark shows in test as firing and the spark plugs are new, the only other things to check are the plug wires, plug caps - did you remove the plugs, ground them on the head,
    and with ignition on kick the motor over in a dark garage to verify no sparking?
     
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  6. rvich

    rvich VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Sounds like it is time to call Matt.
     
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  7. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    The plugs firing both sides splendidly in "test mode" tells us wires/caps/coils are ok, and yes, yes, yes. The battery was topped up as well.
     
  8. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    I've dealt with two Tri-Spark failures. Both lit up the plugs in test mode with the Tri-Spark red LED also lit. One Norton came in on a flatbed, but wouldn't start, one was on a Triumph which would start fine, but felt like the idle jet was plugged.

    I replaced the DOA system unit with one I had in stock, which was later replaced by Tri-Spark at no charge to me (and rather quickly---great C/S). The recipient Norton has been running perfectly since. I put a new carb on the Triumph before setting up the Tri-Spark that it came with (purchase from a guy in Maryland), so no warrantee; even stripped the new Amal Premier prior to installing it, checking passages, jetting, needle and float setting, which was way off. A new system unit made the Triumph run great.

    I don't remember where, or from whom I heard it, but the news was that Tri-Spark had a bad batch of solid state devices.

    If you have the old points or a Boyer kicking around, I suggest that you try them and see that fixes your problem, if so, you can go from there.
     
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  9. gtiller

    gtiller VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    It really sounds like a magnet-y kinda issue doesn’t it?

    Surely in any system like this that relies on magnetic triggers, it will wear out eventually - either when the magnets themselves lose their va-va-voom or when the mating part inside the unit starts to get magnetic and dull in it’s ability to react so quickly?

    Turning it over on the kickstart and seeing the LED flash is different to it being triggered multiple times in the space of one second.

    I would be interested to know what the expected life of these magnets would be, and whether simply changing out the rotor would fix the issue.
     
  10. Fanfan26

    Fanfan26

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012



    Hello,

    Actually there was a trouble for the 1st generation of Tri-Spark, a component did not support heat, many in France were changed under guarantee.
    Tri-Spark would have solved the problem since.
     
  11. jaydee75

    jaydee75

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    When exactly was the 1st gen over? I've had mine for 5 years, troublefree. Should I be worried?
    Jaydee
     
  12. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Ok, that's two for two, for me as well. BSA Lightning in a hotel parking lot, PA, and this Norton as well. Just confirming where it ended up. Thank you guys.
     
  13. N0rt0nelectr@

    N0rt0nelectr@ VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2014
    After having 3 Tri-Sparks die on me, I gave up on them. At the time I lived in Phoenix so heat could have been an issue.
    Put a Pazon on and for the last 10 years have had no issues.

    John in Texas
     
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  14. lazyeye6

    lazyeye6

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    I've bought and installed 2 Tri-Sparks. One failed (the heat thing) and was replaced. All seems good now.
    I have a Pazon on my Triumph for a couple of years and no issues. If the Tri-Spark on my Norton fails
    I will replace it with a Pazon.
     
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  15. MikeG

    MikeG

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    I've said it before and I'll repeat it again...I have had a PowerArc from Old Britts for about 5 years now with NO issues aside from a bad ground in the original Norton harness. I have asked on here, and of people whose knowledge of Nortons is much greater than mine in person, and no one has come up with a reason why the PA is any better or any worse than a Boyer, Pazon, ect. I have also only heard tell of one PA failure, and that was here https://www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/rebuild-1st-startup-issue.25372/. Still no definative answer on this one from the original poster either. Can't say the same of any of the other EI's as this post clearly points out, but I'm still waiting for a good reason why the PA is so looked down upon?
     
  16. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    I definatively condemned it in 15 minutes. I just wanted to hear how they all poop.
     
  17. MikeG

    MikeG

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    I understand you condemning the Tri Spark, I was referring to the link I posted. The original poster, and most of the replies seemed to blame the Power Arc but as yet theres no follow up on if it was the real culprit or not. If the PA's are that bad I'd like to know the failure mode so I can be prepared is all.
     
  18. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    i
    I've carried a spare Boyer for 6 years.
     

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