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 Testing electronic distributor

 Created by: jwakil
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 Posted: Mar 19, 2023 04:02AM
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CA
Good to know. Years ago my neighbour came to me for help starting the car he'd inherited from his father. It had points and he had replaced them as part of a tune-up and the car would not start - no spark. I discovered he had set the points gap accurately, but between the lobes, not on one. His points were always open. It is the little things that get you!

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"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: Mar 18, 2023 07:25PM
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Got.  I was trying to do a static timing which I now realize is not possible with an electronic distributor. 

1992 1275 SPI Mini

1981 Porsche 911 Turbo (930)

 Posted: Mar 15, 2023 02:24AM
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CA
Doubtful. With an electronic system, you'd need to know that it was functioning properly.

Cranking the engine without coolant won't hurt it, so long as it does not run long enough to warm up. 30 seconds to a minute would be OK. (If it is your Porsche, go for it!) If the plug leads are disconnected it won't start anyway.

Any distributor (electronic or points) triggers the coil to fire high voltage by having the mechanism read the timing - a cam lift for the points or a signal from a sensor in an electronic dizzy. This sends a low voltage current to the coil which produces the high current.

With a points distributor, you can manually open the points to trigger an event. You would remove the dizzy cap and prepare the high tension lead coming out of the coil to observe a spark. Then turn the ignition to the "on" position and, using a finger or other non-conducting tool to open the points. Note the cam wiper needs to be between lobes and the points closed to begin with.

Depending on the type of electronic ignition, you may be able to trigger it in a similar way at the crank position sensor.
With a 123 ignition system, the crank position is sensed using a shaft like a points distributor, so you might be able to trigger it by loosening the clamp and turning the 123 body to simulate shaft movement. Or just crank the engine with the dizzy cap off and the high tension coil lead positioned as above. Note the 123 times out after a certain time if the key is left on and the engine not running - to protect the coil.

.

"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: Mar 14, 2023 07:57PM
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I’m installing an electronic distributor.  Is it possible to check for spark from the coil with key just in on position or do I need to be cranking the engine?  Can I turn the distributor to point to a specific plug and check spark at that plug without cranking too?  I have the coolant system open and don’t want to crank but want to get the ignition working. 

1992 1275 SPI Mini

1981 Porsche 911 Turbo (930)