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  #1   IP: 24.62.134.232
Old 06-13-2012, 09:52 AM
Sootydan Sootydan is offline
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Question Atomic 4 distributor

Can anyone tell me which distributor I have on my Atomic 4? I'd like to upgrade it to electronic ignition and keep spare points etc for a back up. too a couple pics ,Thanks
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  #2   IP: 24.152.131.155
Old 06-13-2012, 09:01 PM
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Need those pics. What year is the engine?
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Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
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  #3   IP: 69.250.36.59
Old 06-14-2012, 06:55 AM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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Sooty

If the distributor cap is held with two screws it's a Delco.

I just installed the moyer kit yesterday and it could not have been any easier. Put in a new coil (NAPA IC 14) too as the original was questionable.
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  #4   IP: 184.6.139.91
Old 06-14-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zibadun View Post
... Put in a new coil (NAPA IC 14) too as the original was questionable.
Oh boy. Here we go...
Do I dare ask "the OHM question"?
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  #5   IP: 69.250.36.59
Old 06-14-2012, 02:29 PM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnsky View Post
Oh boy. Here we go...
Do I dare ask "the OHM question"?
Sorry I'm new here
It's has about 4 ohm primary winding resistance. Also says "no external resistor required"
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  #6   IP: 24.62.134.232
Old 06-14-2012, 03:59 PM
Sootydan Sootydan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Need those pics. What year is the engine?

Here's the images again, hope they show. Boat's a 1968 Cal 2-30

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91211216@N00/
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  #7   IP: 24.62.134.232
Old 06-14-2012, 04:02 PM
Sootydan Sootydan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zibadun View Post
Sooty

If the distributor cap is held with two screws it's a Delco.

I just installed the moyer kit yesterday and it could not have been any easier. Put in a new coil (NAPA IC 14) too as the original was questionable.
It has the two clips no screws , thinking Prestolite maybe.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91211216@N00/
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:45 PM
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Yep, Prestolite
http://www.moyermarine.com/cgi-bin/s...y=IGEM_13_56.0

A word about your coil:
The Echlin IC-14 coil specification is 3.2 ohms. That's not enough with typical alternator output and electronic ignition. We dug into this in detail in this thread.

I know Echlin says the coil doesn't need a resistor but with our 4 cylinder engines turning at such low RPM we've found the coil or coil plus a ballast resistor in line should be closer to 4 ohms. The thread explains it.
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Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page


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  #9   IP: 69.250.36.59
Old 06-14-2012, 10:29 PM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
A word about your coil:
The Echlin IC-14 coil specification is 3.2 ohms. That's not enough with typical alternator output and electronic ignition. We dug into this in detail in this thread.

I know Echlin says the coil doesn't need a resistor but with our 4 cylinder engines turning at such low RPM we've found the coil or coil plus a ballast resistor in line should be closer to 4 ohms. The thread explains it.
thanks I will look at the thread. Not to beat a dead horse but I measured slightly over 4 ohms across the terminals (with a fluke).
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  #10   IP: 24.152.131.155
Old 06-14-2012, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zibadun View Post
. . . .I measured slightly over 4 ohms across the terminals (with a fluke).
Then you're good. My comment was based on the published specification.

We've seen in the past where the actual resistance is often higher than the spec. My 3 ohm Flamethrower measures 3.3 ohms. Moyer's 4 ohm coils measure 4.5 ohms.
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Neil
Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page


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  #11   IP: 216.81.94.70
Old 06-15-2012, 11:49 AM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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I'm thinking about making a copper heat sink for my coil to cool it off more. Should not hurt anything, while adding a resistor when the manufacturer says "don't" can
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:16 PM
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Mfr's recommendations?

You should do whatever is right for you and at a measured 4 ohms you'll be fine.

Regarding the mfr's statement about not needing a resistor, Pertronix (the mfr of our electronic ignition) claims their Flamethrower coil is "the perfect match" for their electronic ignition product. It follows that the "perfect match" coil doesn't need a supplemental resistor, right?

Well sir, a perfect match it ain't. The "Coil input" thread covers the reasoning, no need to repeat. Here's a case where the mfr says one thing but reality is quite different.

I want to stress that we didn't get into the coil issue thinking we knew better than the mfr. There were two factors that drove our independent study:
  1. Over and over engines converted to electronic ignition were shutting down after about 45 minutes run time, even those with the "perfect match" coil. Something didn't add up.
  2. When two of us presented Pertronix technical assistance with the exact same data set from a single event the responses were completely different!! Following one of their recommendations resulted in no improvement. In fact, I seem to recall the problem got worse.
These two factors suggested rather strongly that we were on our own.
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Neil
Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page


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  #13   IP: 69.250.36.59
Old 06-16-2012, 06:53 AM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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I see this quite often, the "first-line" support (not only automotive) usually gives most ridiculous answers to customer questions. Personally I would not put something called a "flame thrower" in a boat. That seem to be marketed to street racing community

I was thinking NAPA/Echlin have a bit higher reputation and know what they recommend.

now if my resistor less coil fails in the middle of the bay I'd be really embarrassed
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  #14   IP: 206.125.176.5
Old 06-18-2012, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
  1. Over and over engines converted to electronic ignition were shutting down after about 45 minutes run time, even those with the "perfect match" coil. Something didn't add up.
  2. When two of us presented Pertronix technical assistance with the exact same data set from a single event the responses were completely different!! Following one of their recommendations resulted in no improvement. In fact, I seem to recall the problem got worse.
Neil, yes..it got worse..that $30 1.5 ohm coil that the Pertronix guy recommended lasted about 2 hours total, even with a resistor in front of it, as he'd recommended.

It wasn't until I put the 1.8 ohm resistor in front of the 3.3 ohm coil that I stopped killing coils.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4
Well, it's winter time. I did get something like 50 hours on the motor this year!
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  #15   IP: 193.253.220.149
Old 06-19-2012, 03:05 AM
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I'm wondering what percentage of the A4 community this forum reaches and how many people throw in the A4 "towel" after continually killing coils and being left stranded who-knows-where. Without the support of this forum I may have done the same.

I'll go out on a limb and guess that the majority of weekend sailors don't know much about coils, resistance and amperage (like ME) and would quickly get frustrated with repeated engine failures. It's too bad that chance will dictate who gets the "information" and who does not.
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  #16   IP: 71.168.64.101
Old 06-19-2012, 04:39 AM
ArtJ ArtJ is offline
 
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I don't think the coils failed that often in the past with point based ignitions
and smaller alternators. Hence many boats have 20 plus year old coils.
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  #17   IP: 206.125.176.5
Old 06-19-2012, 08:54 AM
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Question a theory

Art has a good point. I consider myself an enthusiast related to my interests. I want to know how everything works, I want it to be functioning as best as is possible. If 14.2 volts is the new charging 'standard', by george, I want 14.2 volts, the havoc it wreaks on everything else is of no consequence!!!

I also want to be involved in every aspect that I can with everything I do/own/build/play to be sure I am familiar with it. This could be the rotting french door frame I repaired/replaced a couple weeks ago instead of paying $350 for a whole new pre-hung door, the shed I built last weekend (instead of paying someone to build me one), the landing/stairs that will likely take me two or more weeks to build (instead of paying a contractor to do one in a day or two), the rig, the sails, the electric, the plumbing in the boat, the engine, etc... I could pick & choose my battles and write a check for someone else to do it that has already done it a thousand times, but where's the fun (or knowledge gained) in that?!?!

My guess is that people that use their boats in a more 'leisurely' manner, may be perfectly content spending $80 for a tune up kit every season, and their engine keeps ticking away getting them in and out of the protected harbor and they never worry about it performing in adverse conditions. Every few years, they replace their chronically undercharged battery, or maybe charging at 13.8v is enough for their usage & it lasts for years. The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it mentality"...and there's nothing wrong with that mentality.

Unfortunately for me, I was born with the "how the heck does that work?" gene, so I like to disassemble, tinker and learn, and sometimes that means stuff that may have been working just fine, breaks, then I gotta fix it or rebuild it.

I may have never had coil problems, nor had to repair my shaft log if I'd left well enough alone and kept the points & not disturbed the repair when I replaced the OEM prop. - However, the P.O. reported "I think the engine is on its last legs" in 2008, and that same engine just powered us to St. Michael's at 2,000 RPM without a hiccup a few weekends ago.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4
Well, it's winter time. I did get something like 50 hours on the motor this year!

Last edited by sastanley; 06-19-2012 at 09:12 AM. Reason: blah blah blah
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:07 AM
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Both points are well taken and Shawn, we have some of the same genes...I'm currently digging the trenches by hand and shovel in order to connect my house to the city sewer system. All that just to not pay someone $2000 to do a (sometimes) questionable job.

As for the A4 I would point out that the conversion from the points system to an electronic ignition, and from a mechanical fuel pump to an electric one, have been documented as being "improvements" that help to avoid some maintenance issues and even conducive to increases in performance. In the EI example, we unwittingly opened Pandora's box of frying coils and chasing red herrings before getting to the heart of the problem.

Working through this problem was educational and satisfying in the end, but again, thanks to the community around this forum. I'm just having a feeling of pity for those temped by "upgrades" without the benefit of the support available here.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:08 AM
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Thumbs up right on!!

+1 Kelly...

Shoveling is good for you anyway...it builds character (& blisters)
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4
Well, it's winter time. I did get something like 50 hours on the motor this year!
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly View Post
In the EI example, we unwittingly opened Pandora's box of frying coils and chasing red herrings before getting to the heart of the problem.
Don covered this 7 years ago in the "Some comments about coils" thread found here. Any of us that heeded his advice would have been trouble free. Read post #1.
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Neil
Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page



Last edited by ndutton; 06-19-2012 at 03:05 PM.
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  #21   IP: 193.253.220.149
Old 06-20-2012, 08:08 AM
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My point exactly. Don is the man and we're all better mechanics from knowing him.

What about the guy who only goes by the Pertronix information, normally a reliable source. Boy is he in for a truck load of headaches...
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:59 AM
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I've been pretty critical of Pertronix but wanted to clarify things somewhat.

I think their product is outstanding. The only problem I have is the guy working the tech desk. In his defense, our little engine is a microscopic part of their business. They are primarily an automotive aftermarket supplier so the lion's share of the technical inquiries are for 6 and 8 cylinder engines turning 3000+ RPM. It's no wonder we threw him a curve ball.

The research and testing we performed were based on Pertronix's own maximum amperage specification so it's not like we found anything new. The specification is buried deep in their literature, that took a little work to find.
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Neil
Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page



Last edited by ndutton; 06-20-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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  #23   IP: 206.125.176.5
Old 06-20-2012, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Don covered this 7 years ago in the "Some comments about coils" thread found here. Any of us that heeded his advice would have been trouble free. Read post #1.

Some of us are slow learners , but she is running sweet now with an ignition circuit amperage of 2.77 amps!!
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4
Well, it's winter time. I did get something like 50 hours on the motor this year!
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:24 PM
zibadun zibadun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
They are primarily an automotive aftermarket supplier so the lion's share of the technical inquiries are for 6 and 8 cylinder engines turning 3000+ RPM. It's no wonder we threw him a curve ball.
Wouldn't a higher RPM engine draw more current from the coil because it has to deliver a higher number of "sparks" to the engine in a given time? So running at slow rpm should put less strain on the coil. I keep reading that coils fail on atomic 4 because the engine is "slow". just curious what I'm missing..
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:16 PM
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My position on this is our coils are 'charged' or 'loaded' for a greater period of time due to fewer discharges per minute. For example, an 8 cylinder engine running at 3000 RPM discharges a coil 12000 times a minute. Between discharges it's 'loaded' and heating up. Our engines at 2000 RPM (typical) discharge the coil 4000 times per minute. It follows then our coils are charged for triple the amount of time as the 8 cylinder engine.

Think of the coil like a soldering iron. The longer time the electricity is applied the hotter it gets.
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Neil
Kalina - 77 Catalina 30 #600

the same year Elvis died

but the pic below is of my previous boat, a Westsail 32
powered with a Perkins 4-107
more pics found on my profile page



Last edited by ndutton; 06-20-2012 at 09:26 PM. Reason: math correction
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