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? - what ignitions are out there? -

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by inxs, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. inxs

    inxs xx

    XS650 Ignition Possibilities


    Points…Cam ignition pick-up



    Single lobe cam, twin points system…original

    Double lobe cam, single points system…to optimise power supply you really need to use a dual output coil with a primary winding resistance of about 4-5 ohms



    These are easy to make and easy to f##k-up. CNC production cuts unit costs and make these cheap. Their sensitivity means set-up and quality control must be top. Some under optimised runs of these have made their way onto the market over the years giving them a bit of a bad rep. This doesnt need to be the case. Lobe peaks must be at 0° and 180° and have the same opening and closing profiles. There have been problems with keyway cuttig too. Sometimes bad ones can be reground by hand with a stone.

    Electronic…Crankshaft ignition pick-up

    TCI Unit sends spark signal to the coil

    The electrical system differs between these two variations. The electronic system has an ignition pick-up placed on the stator taking its signal directly from the crank and feeding it to an ignitor unit-these can give problems with soldered contacts and transistor breakdown. Points models take their signal directly from the cam and are therefore subject to retarding problems as the cam chain stretches.

    Electronic models also have integrated solid state Rectifier/Regulators which earth to the frame. Earlier points models earthed at the brushes. When using a later rec/reg with an earlier alternator you need to isolate the brush held with three screws by replacing them with nylon ones-NOT plastic.

    Is one better than the other? I don’t know. I do know that I grew up with points systems and am not afraid of them. They require time and effort ocassionally, but they will not let you down – if you understand the basics its not the points ignition that will stop you getting home. Electronic “black box” systems give you a no maintenance spark curve. Its preset at the factory to emissions regulations and you cant change it. With time the soldering deteriorates and transistors breakdown. When this baby goes you wont be fixing her on the roadside. Youre not riding home.

    You can convert one to the other if you wish – all the machining has already been done.


    A shaft sits laterally through the camshaft, supported by 2 sealed bushes. On the RHS under the round cover above the spark plug you find the advance unit, 2 spring loaded weights. On the LHS are the dual-points. The condensors are attached to the top engine mount. When converting to electronic ign this is all removed.


    These ignition systems do not have the above mechanicals. If converting to points this is an easy fit as the passage for the shaft and bush machining already exist.


    There are slight differences between the alternators for these 2 models.
    - Electronic models take the timing from a pick-up on the stator plate sensing direct from the crankshaft (points models don’t have this and it can be removed).
    - Electronic models use an integrated solid state rectifier/regulator. These ground directly to the frame. Points models ground through the brush held with 3 screws. When converting to electronic or to integrated rec/reg the brush will need isolating with 3 nylon screws - NOT plastic.

    So, given the choice of using one of these or servicing 200 virgins for eternity I would definitely choose the double-lobe cam single points system. 1 set of points is easier to set than 2 and youre never going to be left pushing your bike home once you’ve mastered the points technique. You will attain eternal peace of mind.

    Aftermarket Systems

    Pamcopete http://www.yamahaxs650.com/


    I like this system – ive just installed one on my latest hack. Very simple. If you have an electronic model you will need all the points gear including the advance unit but minus the points, points plate and actuating cam. If you have the points model you need to remove the points, plate and cam. Pamcos neat little hall effect electronic ign goes right here. The 3 cables go black to earth, red to positive coil side and green to negative coil side. You need a low resistance dual coil. Read the instructions eg do not kick over while a sparkplug is disconnected…A rephase model in planning/production ?

    NWZ http://www.steffi-graf.ch/ (NWZ)


    Like the pamco unit the sensor replaces the points mechanism. However the advance mechanism is removed and the control box bolts directly under the coil mounting plate. Also very simple. I know many people using this who are very happy.

    Newtronics http://www.newtronic.co.uk/



    Ex Piranha…replaces the points with an optical sensor. A control box directs the coils. An English company…ive never used these or known anyone who has. Also produce a model for the 270° rephase.

    Boyer Bransden http://www.boyerbransden.com/

    http://www.boyerbransden.com/pdf/KIT00103__BOX00010_.pdf red

    http://www.boyerbransden.com/pdf/KIT00303__BOX00210_.pdf blue


    Remove all points mechanisms and replace with bb as per instructions. Also uses a “black box”. The red model incorporates the earlier models with high resistance primary winding coils. When these go they need to be replaced by similar high resistance coils. The blue model uses low resistance primary winding coils. These I have used and do/don’t like. They have very low tolerance to voltage fluctuations – if your battery or charging system is playing up don’t go far.

    Probe Engineering

    http://www.bore-tech.com/DX-65 Installation Instructions, 2.02.pdf



    Mark Whitebook from Probe Engineering in California (949-489-9561) makes these electronic ign for the 650, 650/277 and the 650/270.

    Remove all points and advance mechanism including the LHS bushing and seal. I have never used this but have heard some good things about it and no bad things

    - so, im not saying one is better than the other nor that any are bad, in truth i havent an objective judgement here as i havent used all these...

    - i have used double points, single points, TCI (original electronic), Pamco, Boyer Bransden and i know people who have used NWZ and Probe.
    - as a result of personal experience, i wouldnt confidently use a Boyer ign on a stock XS due to charging problems.
    - if you wish to run batteryless for weight and space then you can forget the fancy systems, they all require batteries...youre stuck with points or pamco and an RD permag alternator
    - having been brought up on british bikes i have a fondness for the simplicity and practicality of points so my personal preferrence tends to a dual lobe single points cam but i am still enjoying the sheer simplicity of Pamcopetes electronic creation.

    - so add your experiences, thoughts, pictures
  2. Great info inxs!

    I've have a boyer ignition and it seems to be working great. Just have to keep your charging system and battery in good shape as you noted.
  3. jay760

    jay760 XS650 Junkie

    I've got a newtronic system been on the bike for years without a problem the only downside to them is they still use the advance mechanism,I welded the rod to the cam so run permanantly advanced ignition,bit of a bugger to start with a bigbore kit.
  4. Yamanut

    Yamanut XS650 New Member

    This is all great info. But what charging problems have been seen with Boyer? This is what I have and have not had any problems. Just wandering so I can keep check. Thanks for any input.
  5. There aren't any charging problems with the boyer (since the boyer doesn't have anything to do with the charging system) but if you have any charging system or battery problems, your boyer ignition won't work right. You need a full 12 volts for it to work properly so if you have a charging system problem (like worn alternator brushes) or a weak battery that's about to crap out, you might get left stranded. Where on other systems, you still might still make it home if you’re running on inconsistent power or lower voltage like 10 volts. So make sure you charging system is in good shape and you have a good battery and you should be ok.
  6. inxs

    inxs xx

    - although all "black box" electronic ignitions require a battery, boyer seems particularly sensitive to low voltage breakdown-below 11.8v (cf..NWZ below 8.0v) ...this is a real problem with xs650s due to their well known weaknesses wrt charging...you will eventually be left stranded somewhere you dont want to be with no quick repair possible unless your electrical preventative maintenance is top class

    - they have another small problem ive noticed..the induction sensor plate can twist putting the ignition out of sync
  7. inxs

    inxs xx

    - set up for 360° XS6560 engine...crank based, ignition only, no lights, total loss


    - the same set up stacked for a phased CB160/175 racer


    - found this the other day and was intrigued enough to contact the seller for more info...here is his reply

    I really don't have much INFO on these units other then what I've experimented and observed. These are Chinese units designed for the CRF50s internal rotor units. Theyre OEM on some Chinese engines offered for Honda replacements. Maybe you could find some info from them, but I havn't found any.

    What I've done is inspect and test stock crf units and matched coil ohm with the stock units. I've found that theyre very tolerant and will run coils from 1.5 ohm to 0.5ohm coils, dual (wasted spark) and single lead. I've had very good luck with dependably and have raced the units with no issues so far. I've sold over 40 units that I've adapted to Honda 160/175, Yamaha XS, TT, SR500 and YCS1. The units advertise a 15000rpm rev limiter. The only down side to these units is there's No advance curve. Theyre dead timed, but very stable, and like the PVL units have very whispy spark at slow cranking speeds, but I havn't had any fouling or starting problems.

    I'm making 180* degree phased (pictured) and with some modification could make them for 270*/277* degree phased applications. The 270* degree units would have to be stacked differently to keep the primary coils in phase, but that's about it. Bruce at Michigan Engineering is testing a unit for an XS and I have one installed on mine too. See above picturs. It runs Great and much simplier then the ARD or PVL systems.

    I can build these if there's interest.


    Mike Riddle
    2251 Rancho Del Lago
    Briones, CA. 94553

    Ph 925-372-0293
    Fax 925-372-6014


    Q: Will this work with the Boyer Bransden digital ignition?
    A: No. The Boyer Bransden system is a Battery ran Electronic ignition system. You have to run a Battery with that system. This is a CDI stand alone system that doesn't use a battery, for Racing. Why would you want to run both?

    Q: How much is the coil?
    A: Hello, I'm offering a backup CDI unit for an additional $40.00 and a DynaTek DC11-2 Coil for an additional $80.00 with your order for no additional shipping. The Yamaha Unit I'm offering does include shipping.

    Q: Will the system power a headlight and tail light?
    A: No, This unit is for racing and to eliminate the need for a battery in a total loss situation.
  8. pumps

    pumps XS650 Junkie

    All is very pertinent and valuable info for alternatives for our bikes. Thank you for gathering the info and posting it. Running a PAMCO myself but always like to know what's out there.
  9. yamaman

    yamaman xs650 addict

    Though I don't know of anyone running these, until I hear otherwise I'm a huge fan of THESE
    The price might seem high, don't forget some people with std TCI are buying the full advance mech (inc bushes & seals) a full pamco set up and either rebuilding the standard alternator or converting a perm mag. Add all that up & the cost of these is more than competitive!

    Love to hear from someone who's got one.
  10. dlabkeeg

    dlabkeeg XS650 Addict

    Does the Boyer Bransden work better with the RD350 permanent magnet alternator. Would that get rid of the votage drops.
  11. jay760

    jay760 XS650 Junkie

    Yamaman what ignition are you using I can't remember, I know you have told me before:doh:
  12. inxs

    inxs xx

    - thanx yamaman :D dont know how i forgot them, right on my doorstep...i know several using these, these are made in the czeck republic by vade, all seem happy with them,there are a few things,
    no woodruffe key slot​
    timing marks need to be transferred ​
    power generation is low at low revs​
    take care with the cables-engineer must have been trained at VW-brown for earth and black for ign​
    available with or without ign-but costly, 460 euros in europe, 387 euros plus customs and freight outside europe​

    - more, here, use the NWZ, see above

    - dlabkeeg...depends whether youre running battery or not,
    with battery the power supply is ok for all boyer versions blue,red,black if your battery is good and fully loaded​
    without battery only works for the blue version, and then earliest with the second kick-first kick loads the capacitor, 2nd starts the machine-all other circuits must be off...the red and black versions require too much power to start...RD permags, like the Powerdynamo, dont produce enough power at low revs​
  13. ______________________
    and appreciation is sincere

    :bow2: INXS
  14. yamaman

    yamaman xs650 addict

    Jay, mine is a kinda home made (by Betta Bikes in SA) RD rotor, custom wound stator, RD pick up, custom CDI, RD coil. Some time soon, I'll pull it apart, take some pics & add it to this thread :cheers:
  15. Pierrax

    Pierrax XS650 Enthusiast

    Hi guys,

    Do you know that one :
    We are some members of a french XS650 forum discussing about it and we might order some.
  16. KevC

    KevC XS650 Addict

    Came acrosss this place just thro chance, they make replacement CDI units for around £75, list one for an SR500 and say will do them for other models. Might be worth a look, especially for us Brits
    rexs-speedshop- CDI units
  17. bt24

    bt24 XS650 Addict

    I am building a Yamaha 650/770 rephased twin Flattrack bike to be raced on 1/2 mile ovals. Does someone make a CDI system (No Points/No Battery) system for this type of engine set up? If so, what might be the cost?

    Thanks for your help,
    Rio Rancho, NM
  18. yamaman

    yamaman xs650 addict

    Pamcopete now has a re-phase system I believe, his contact info is above.
    You can run the pamco batteryless with a perm mag alternator.

    I think the newtronics also have a re-phased system, not sure what voltage needs are for that.

    As for a CDI type, see post 7 in this thread. :cheers:
  19. bt24

    bt24 XS650 Addict

    What do you think about this system?
    Thank all of you, this forum is a wealth of information.

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