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Home made electronic ignition


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A friend told me he saw something about this on this web site. I did a search but did not find the info.

The idea was to use a Delco electronic ignition module wired to your old points. This would mean the points were acting only to trigger the ignition. This would reduce point wear to practically nothing and give the other advantages of electronic ignition, such as a hotter more reliable spark. But you would not have to modify your distributor or mess up originality in any way.

The Delco module is not much bigger than a credit card. It can be made to plug into your wiring and can be hidden easily.

Now here is the problem. To make it work you have to add a resistor. My friend did not remember the value of the resistor or where to add it.

Does anyone remember the post or how to do this?

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Doesn't make sense. There would be SOME wear to the points, leading to future point adjustment and replacement. No maintenance is the biggest benefit of electronic ignition. Pertronix makes a trigger unit that is hidden inside the distributor so everything looks original. Interested in hearing more on this if I am way off base.

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I actually found the info I wanted on a Packard web site.

A Ford TFI ignition module can be connected to a points distributor. When this is done the points no longer switch the power to the coil. They signal the module and the module switches the power.

Consequently, the points never burn. The wear is practically nil. All you have to do is check for wear on the rubbing block every few years and reset the dwell if necessary. You can check dwell with a dwell meter in 2 minutes without taking anything apart and only adjust and lube the points if it shows reduced dwell.

This can be done on any 12 volt - ground car without changing any original parts and can be changed back at any time.

The benefit is hotter spark, less wear on the points, more reliable performance all at low cost, using stock parts available at any parts store, and without changing the originality of the car.

The TFI module is no bigger than a pack of cigs even with the heat sink. It can be concealed near the front of the engine compartment where it will get some air and a few inconspicuous wires run to the coil and distributor.

Some of us get a kick out of this kind of thing.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Before Hall effect pickups came into widespread use, these capacitive discharge ignition conversions were relatively common. Used the existing points to simply switch low current for the electronic module. As noted, the newer Hall effect or optical systems do the same thing with no contact and hence no wear.

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Speaking of CD ignition. MSD makes an excellent multiple spark CD ignition and it will work on a points distributor. Good way to light a fire in your old engine.

I don't mind points per se. If I had an electronic ignition car I wouldn't change to points but if I had a points car I wouldn't change it to electronic either. What I would do is add electronic to the points car and eliminate changing points. Just check them with a dwell meter once a year and maybe give them a dab of grease.

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Pertronix makes units for just about all cars. We have one installed in our '41 Packard, which is 6 volt positive ground. Works great!!!! Ran it across country in the Great Race, and two Hemmings Challenges.

One note of caution. Do not turn the ignition switch on without starting the engine. You can fry the unit and find yourself in a panic trying to find your old points plate to get running (happened on a VCRA rally in Texas).


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