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To ditch the points system or not?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Chicken_Feet, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Chicken_Feet

    Chicken_Feet XS650 Member

    Hay team,
    So I have been bitten already by the condenser failing on my on my 78 xs650 standard. I always carry a spare. I have gotten pretty efficient at setting my point gaps and timing etc. But im sick of worrying about it.
    Is it worth upgrading to a new and improved ignition system? Does it reduce the hassle and potentially improve performance?
    Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Maty
     
  2. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Maty,
    what you could do is swap your '78's stock system for a TCI system from a 1980 or newer XS650.
    There's a complete system for sale in the list's classifieds right now and it'll all bolt straight onto your '78.
    Then as the 1980 ignition don't have points or a mechanical advancer you'll only have to worry about the rotor brushes and the rotor resistance numbers just like you always have done.
     
  3. mrtwowheel

    mrtwowheel Honda Etched On Brain Top Contributor

    Condensers.......I think it is a rare thing for condensers to fail, just not something that happens very often. I remember the point sets for my small block Chevys that always came with condensers. More often than not, that condenser was rarely replaced because they hardly ever went bad, lots of new condensers were just tossed away. Points..........I can't wait to have some points to maintain again, hope the necessary procedures come back to me without any problems, really, no worries here. It's really not that hard, there are conditions when the points can be cleaned and situations when they need to be replaced. After some experience with points it becomes a routine maintenance and not something that ever makes the machine inoperable.

    There used to be some very good high performance points available for almost any engine, these points had much better springs than most others, and a great price too, Echlin Gold comes to mind. Wish those were still available.

    Scott
     
  4. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Yes, yes, and yes. It may take a couple adjustments over the first few hundred miles to get the new electronic system set exactly where you want it, but after that, you can pretty much forget about re-setting it. You also get the benefit of a more powerful coil which gives easier, quicker starts and smoother running. Most of us choose the Pamco, which is what I have, but there are others available.

    I'm rather stubborn and stuck with my points for the first few years I had my 650. I've had other points equipped bikes for many years and they were never a problem. The 650 points set-up isn't as good as those other bikes I have though. It requires more fussing and frequent maintenance. It can be difficult to get set exactly. Basically, you're setting two little separate ignitions, one for each cylinder. And not only do you need to set both, for best operation, you should try to match them to one another. That means equal points gaps and the same exact firing points. Like I said, this can be difficult. It's not too hard to get everything set "in the ball park" so the bike will start and run, just hard to match everything exactly.

    With the Pamco anyway, it's essentially like switching to a single points set-up, but without the points of course. It fires both cylinders at the same time so there is just one timing adjustment to be made. No timing match between cylinders needs to be done.
     
    vincejames likes this.
  5. Chicken_Feet

    Chicken_Feet XS650 Member

    Thanks for the advice team! Ill have a ponder and decide over winter.
     
  6. mrtwowheel

    mrtwowheel Honda Etched On Brain Top Contributor

    I vote for, keep the points. You really don't have XS experience until you backfire and blow off a carburetor. Then, after experience, the carburetors stay on. (laughing emoticon inserted here)

    Scott
     
    buzzword likes this.
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Oh, that can happen with a Pamco too, and even with correctly set timing. It seems there's sort of this "gray" area when the bike is half warm, half cold still. Starting under these circumstances requires a choke-no choke decision and a "how much throttle do I apply?" choice. Decide wrong and a backfire may happen, a carb can pop out. That's why I carry tools, lol. I've been kneeling in a parking lot somewhere close to home, fitting a carb back into it's manifold several times already.
     
  8. weaselbeak

    weaselbeak XS650 Junkie

    Worry? I can fix problem points in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. You want to worry have that E ignition give it up on you. And yes, they do. I went back to points. A complete tune-up including plugs is under 40 bucks, and good for far more miles than most XS650 riders ever do in 3 years time.
     
  9. weaselbeak,

    For years I used that very same argument and really believed it. "If the points fail me in the middle of the night, 50 miles from nowhere". But then I had to ask myself, "when was I last 50 miles from nowhere in the middle of the night?" Answer was, "not lately".

    I've changed my ignitions to Pamco w/E advancer and not regretted it for a moment. Things stay adjusted and the bikes run great. What's not to like? Plus, in my limited experience, if an electronic part is going to fail it will do so rather early in it's life. Once cooked in they tend to last very well.

    roy
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  10. I went with the Pamco and E-Advance. It eliminates the mechanical advance. Works great no problems.
     
  11. peanut

    peanut XS650 enthusiast & inveterate tinkerer XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    it definitely is Maty .
    if you are going to upgrade your ignition system I'd advise you to go for an electronic Advance as well as ignition.

    You'll never have to check or set your ignition timing , advance, points or condensor ever again.
    Your timing and advance is going to be absolutely spot on in all conditions .

    I have the Boyer Bransden Micro Digital system which has been around for many years. It is backed by a Company that has been designing and manufacturing electronic systems for classic road and race bikes for decades. I can thoroughly recommend it and it is very easy to fit and cheap to buy.
    I have never read anywhere about one of these systems failing in the 4 years I have had a xs650 where there are other systems that are forever giving problems either in installation or during use.
    http://www.lowbrowcustoms.com/elect...ition-system-for-yamaha-xs650s-kit-00103.html

    Heres a vid of my 79 special blasting up a hill to 70mph to give you an idea of how mine runs with poorly set up carbs .
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  12. weaselbeak

    weaselbeak XS650 Junkie

    I've been relegated to the back of a pickup twice on trips with electronic ignition. Once halfway across southern Illinois headed to Kentucky, the last time in Dayton, Ohio at the air show. I do have electronic ignition on two of my bikes, both are Dyna S which I trust. My California II Guzzi has it, but I carry the original points setup in the bags just in case. Not an option to do that on my Suzuki, so the Guzzi gets the road trips. My son has gotten stranded on both his Yamaha Road Star and Suzuki Intruder, and my nephew on his big Indian. Last year I helped load a Goldwing on a trailer out on the highway by my place on a Sunday. It happens more than you know.
     
  13. peanut

    peanut XS650 enthusiast & inveterate tinkerer XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    no I'm sure you are right Weas it may even happen as much as a mechanical advance and ignition system.
    You only have to look at the hundreds of threads on this forum about a particular electronic ignition system produced by one of the forum members that have either failed or won't work on installation to realise that.;)

    The point I was making is the system that I would recommend would be the Boyer Bransden and nothing else. Its the only system I have never seen a forum thread,or a youtube video about failure. I believe It is the oldest manufacturer of these aftermarket systems in the World . I am sure there must be many aftermarket electronic systems out there but considering the huge price of some of them and their unestablished pedigree and performance I could not recommend them.
    I note that Dynotech do not appear to produce a dedicated electronic advance system for the XS650 so I'm not sure of the relevance of this system to the PO ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  14. weaselbeak

    weaselbeak XS650 Junkie

    Dyna does not make one for the XS650. They could certainly sell them. Electronic ignition works, MAYBE, a little better than points. I've not seen this to be true on the XS650s that I've owned over the years. Properly set points work very well. On my V65C Moto Guzzi, the points weren't such a good system, so it went electronic, as did the bigger Guzzi. On average electronic is certainly less prone to problems, my point being that a problem can't be adjusted out of the equation when you do have one. Bring a trailer, unless you can afford to carry expensive repairs. I can't.
     

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