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Discussion Starter #1
Having spent yesterday working on another fault with the Shadow, I managed to leave the ignition on which was the last straw for the original points based coil of unknown age.

This has me thinking of Electronic Ignition.

I have ordered an electronic ignition kit from this place...

http://www.simonbbc.com/rolls-royce-bentley

A kit I found from them includes the points replacement electronic ignition pickup/electronics, a magnet to go onto the distributor shaft, new rotor arm and new high energy coil. At not very much money I thought it was worth a try, even if it turns out to be not very good or against the advice of those in this forum.

Has anyone had any experience with this kit or others? If so, I would welcome your experiences and if you would care to mention any benefits (such as improved starting or MPG) or drawbacks (such as perhaps reduced spark plug life) ??

I notice FlyingSpares also sell a kit, but quite a bit more expensive? Is this a case of expensive for expensive's sake, or is it a case of you get what you pay for?
 

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I fitted a Powerspark. The details are here:

http://au.rrforums.net/forum/messages/17001/16753.html

The car ran great for a few months but then the device failed so I reverted back to points. I know many owners have had no problems with this unit so don't let this put you off. I suspect the reason for the failure on my car was I was running the car in ambient temperatures of 90 - 110 degrees (when I lived in Las Vegas). I suspect the high under bonnet temperature killed the unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
An excellent read Dounraey, I am looking forward to getting my kit.

Interesting also the comments about electronic points versus electronic ignition, I must admit that when I was looking at this kit I wash interested to see there was no ignition amplifier.

You did thank "Hubert" for a private message about ballast resistors, is there anything with this worth sharing?

When reading your thread and also the various install instructions on the vendors website I did find it curious that the unit seems to get its power from the positive terminal of the coil, which for me did have me thinking "How friendly to the electronics is it for it to run at 9v when running and 12v on cranking?"

I can understand the coil needing an increased voltage during cranking and not tolerating that voltage long term without overheating, but usually electronics like a single reference or supply voltage, which has me wondering if it would be better to give the electronic part power to the 12v side of the ballast resistor, rather than to the coil where it will see 9v running and 12v cranking... But likewise I do also wonder if the unit running at 9v most of the time will make it last longer?
 

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Hi Sarbirus

I can't advise on whether it would be better to run a 12v system at 9v. One thing to note is the original coil is rated at 9v and runs an over voltage during cranking. The high energy coil which is part of the kit will almost certainly be a 12v coil, so it is designed to run at this value. My thank you note to Hubert was for his advice on the ballast resister, which was to remove it. I know Hubert has run his system successfully for years now, at 12v.

The only thing to watch out for is to make absolutely sure you wire the Powerspark the right way round. This will be in the instructions. If you accidentally reverse the polarity it will likely destroy the module.

Geoff
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I fitted a Powerspark. The details are here:

Australian RR Forums: Problem fitting Electronic Ignition.

The car ran great for a few months but then the device failed so I reverted back to points. I know many owners have had no problems with this unit so don't let this put you off. I suspect the reason for the failure on my car was I was running the car in ambient temperatures of 90 - 110 degrees (when I lived in Las Vegas). I suspect the high under bonnet temperature killed the unit.
Well a year later I can report that I wish I had never tried this, it turned into a nightmare!

I am in sunny Bournemouth on the south coast of the UK, so high ambient temperatures happen only once or twice a year here if we are lucky, so were not the cause of my problem.

The first unit died after the engine had run for maybe 30 mins (from memory) and then I ordered a second unit, as the company said I could return the first for a refund as the quickest way to get up and running again.

The second unit never really died, but from the moment I installed it, sometimes the car would start, other times it would not. I am a professional Porsche technician with 30 years experience, and followed the manufacturers instructions to the tee, and analysed what I was doing, but could never find any rhyme or reason why the car suddenly becomes a pain to start or keep running.

In this phase, the starter motor failed, probably because it had more action in 30 days than it had ever seen in the previous 47 years, which kind of put the brakes on sorting things out, along with me being busy.

Eventually, I called in the assistance of a 70 something-year-old friend who used to be something high up in Rolls Royce dealer support in the UK back from the 60s through to the 90s, who instructed me with quite some passion that "Electronic ignition never works on these, nothing wrong with points" So he took away my distributor, gave it a rebuild, and returned it with points and I ordered a new ballast resistor and coil.

Not sure if he was against electronic ignition because like my father (also a mechanic) he thought of such things as necessary modern voodoo, or if there was a long-standing experience of failed attempts by people in his history, but it got the car running again.

It has taken a year to get back to where I should be, partly through my time is limited, and the old friend from Rolls Royce having some health issues along the way, but I am able to say from my own experience, that this electronic ignition kit is a complete waste of time.

Anyway, I just got the car close to being dialled in, and noticed the water temperature rising just as a loud clanking noise came from the front of the engine, shut it down and found the water pump bearings had given up the ghost (or the shadow rather!) so I have been waiting for a water pump for a couple of months, which hopefully will be with me soon so I can continue..

My advice for anyone looking at the electronic ignition kits with the red pickups and rotor arms, sold as many brand names, but identical-looking products - avoid them at all costs.

I really should have taken notice of your experience, and aborted the project right away.

All the best
Jon
 

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The other problem with aftermarket electronic magnetic ignition is that the high voltage inside the distributor effects the pickup that tells the coil when to fire.
It creates it's own magnetic field that can and does effect the proper firing of the spark plugs.
Ignition systems that were designed for points do not have the proper internal shielding inside the distributor to over come this problem.

Luminition is supposed to over come this problem, because it works on a light path being broken, but the module can't take any heat in the engine bay and they fail as well, I've had first hand experience with it.

Points are not that unreliable to warrant installing these hokey aftermarket electronic ignitions.

People who have them and have not yet experienced a failure, are living on borrowed time IMO, and eventually they will fail and leave one stranded and calling a tow truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good point about the electromagnetic radiation from the high tension side of the ignition within the distributor and cap area where the pickup also lives, I had not given that much thought and your hypothesis might well be on target.

Good call....

I started my career as a mechanic back in the late 80's, so spent a large part of my career dealing with points-based ignition systems, and never really thought of them as unreliable compared to the electronic ignition systems I also worked on at the time. If anything, back then I worked on many Porsche 924's which the early models had points, with the later models having electronic (analogue) ignition, with the electronic variety suffering ignition amplifier failures all the time which prompted many people to switch back to points-based distributors.

In theory, a decent electronic system should be super reliable and provide benefits of ideal dwell, waveform and timing, but only if the execution was correct, which in the case of these particular aftermarket electronic ignition components, it seems that they are not well thought out or executed.

Ah well, some money down the drain and a lesson learned.
 

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I think the problem with them are the cheap Chinese components in them, they can be made in the US, but who knows where the parts are from.
And don't feel bad, when the Lumenition failed on my car, it cost well over 100 bucks to get the car home.
 

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I too reverted back to points - powerspark lasted about a month. In a low revving engine like this, I think points are perfectly adequate.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think the problem with them are the cheap Chinese components in them, they can be made in the US, but who knows where the parts are from.
And don't feel bad, when the Lumenition failed on my car, it cost well over 100 bucks to get the car home.
There is a great YouTube channel named AVE by a chap in Canada. Among his unusual verbal quotes is using the word "Chineesium" to describe the materials that cheap Chinese components seem to be made of. I have adopted this word for describing to customers of my workshop of why we do not fit customer supplied parts from eBay... I should really have followed my own advice with the PowerSpark.

Sad to hear the Lumenition failed though, in the back of my mind I had thought of trying out one of those in the future at some point, I will strike that off the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I too reverted back to points - powerspark lasted about a month. In a low revving engine like this, I think points are perfectly adequate.
My head says the same (that there is nothing wrong with points), but my heart likes to tinker and feel I improved something :)
 
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