Ixion FAQ

I've spent lots of money on an electronic ignition. How do I set up the timing?

Hi all, Angel esp.

Angel wrote about problems with his Suzi (9mm Hasta la vista baby) I compiled this, anything major wrong with it tell him. I'll have probably missed summat fundamental out, can't see wood for trees.

>  Another thing that has been annoying me lately, is that I cant
>  get the timing on the Suzuki right (lots of *8-) and curses)
>  I've put in one of those piranha electronic ignitions before 
                           ^^^^^^^ Pirhana ?
Surely a retrograde step. All those of you who've had to buy an electronics gubbins and seen what they charge for them and wished for the good old Kettering system back say I.
>  leaving for Germany (Yes Alex at last) and according to the 
>  instructions you can set the timing for that with a strobo
>  light (white one suggested I had the red one - dont even know the
>  difference between the two - but what the heck I thought).
The difference is that the white ones give a more intense light output. It does this because it draws power from the battery and uses the magnetic field from the ignition leads to trigger the flash. The red ones use a neon tube for the light source and are wired in series with the plug, consequently they have less energy available so less light output. I know the physicists among you will cry not a full enough explanation, but it should suffice.

The advantage then for the white Xenon light source strobes is that they can be used in bright light conditions, the neon strobes tend to be "drowned" in bright sunlight. Also the white light tends to light up a greater area so that it is often easier to time the engine from awkward angles.

( Apocryphal tale time :- Last time I tried timing the Yamaha via the manual's instructions I set the strob up, started the engine and removed the timing cover, looked in and promptly got a phizzog full of oil. The timing marks are continuously in an oil spray. I decided to leave it. It's electronic so shouldn't go wrong 8-} )

The other major difference is price. The Xenon ones are loadsa money, the red amber ones are free with Cornflakes - Cheapskate 9-} (That's me with only one eye after being squirted with oil ).

>  Problem is when I connect the bloody light to one spark cable
>  and try to see something on the timing plate to adjust it I cant 
>  anything !! No signs or misaligned cuts on the metal disk, nothing ..
Consult your manual. You may be looking at the wrong timing plate. Going on the older twin two strokes, i.e. RD250's etc, they used to have a set of points for each pot. Each pot then had its own timing marks. It may be that you need to be on a particular plug lead to see the marks. Also try setting the timing in subdued light to get maximum effect from that hyper expensive strobe you bought. Not knowing what specific model, no of pots etc it's difficult to be specific, so generalities apply.
>  Does anybody know what I am supposed to be seing , why I am not seeing 
>  it and what I can do (like is it possible to set the thing without the strobe
>  ???? !!)
I'd expect a pointer on the engine casing somewhere near the flywheel. On the circumference of the flywheel there normally is a couple of marks that denote Top Dead Centre (TDC) and the recommended advance setting for the bike at tick over. There may be several marks. It helps to get the manual, determine which mark is the correct one and highlight it with a bit of white paint. Warning, only fill the mark, use and artists brush, don't whitewash it, use a metal paint, not Dulux or some such like.

You can set the timing using a bulb or LED and resistor, the LED method being slightly more accurate on account of the bulb's thermal inertia. The most accurate method though is to use the strobe because most manuals give the advance with the engine running at a certain speed. I normally use the bulb method after a rebuild to get the timing somewhere near so that it can be started.

It's quite simple, connect the bulb across the points, you'll probably need to fiddle with the harness so you'll need a manual and wiring diagram. Remove the plug leads and turn on the ignition. If you turn the engine over by hand the bulb SHOULD light and go off. Once per revolution on a two stroke and once every two revolutions on a four stroke if there is one set of points per cylinder. Depending on the arrangement, this may change, again not knowing specific details leaves me open to shooting down in flames. As the points open, the light comes on, as they close the light goes off. What you need is for the points to open when the pointer on the engine case points to the timing mark. If they don't open, you'll need to move the points so that they do. This is normally achieved by mounting the points on a plate that you can slacken off and move. Though on a Honda Xl100s you set the timing by altering the gap between the points. Consult your manual.

One other very important thing, you're timing figures will be specified at a certain engine speed. Ensure that when using the dynamic timing method, i.e. a strobe, (as opposed to static timing, bulb and battery) that the engine speed is set correctly. As engine speed increases, the time it takes for the fuel to burn completely starts to take a larger proportion of the cycle. For the mathematicians, a greater number of radians are passed through from ignition to total combustion. To overcome this, the ignition is advanced, i.e. the spark happens earlier on the cycle so that the maximum effect of the fuel is applied at the right time. The ignition is advanced by automatically shifting the points (normally). If the engine speed is too great, the advance system may be operating and so you'll be setting your points in the wrong place, in extreme cases, the marks may not be visible because they've shifted past the where you can see.

Hope this helps, if it gets through uncorrupted 8-}

This page last updated 18/09/02
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