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Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?

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Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Started at 12:12pm on the 30th November, 2017 by stinkwheel
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
I've not looked into it in depth but they seem to be offering a 12v/65W AC/DC alternator with built in electronic ignition to suit a 350 bullet.

This would seem to me to be pretty much a panacea for bullets, giving a high output for lighting/accessories AND a crank mounted ignition pickup which should eliminate timing backlash? Even has vernier degree marks on the rotor.

There has to be a catch??

I hope this doesn't breach the terms of use of this forum. I had a look on the site and couldn't see a crank mounted ignition system that retains lighting provision.
Posted: 12:12pm 30th November, 2017
Adrian Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
I actually bought one of these with a project in mind but went for a Sparx alternator and BT-H magneto in the end.

As you say, a crank-mounted CDI ignition with separate lighting coils seems like a very good idea, except that 65W is NOT a powerful lighting supply at roughly half of what a decent Brit bike alternator should put out. I think the headlight supply on these is AC, so it might work with a 35W H4 headlamp bulb and all the other lights using LED bulbs.

Hopefully Electrex World will cotton on and come up with a version giving at least 100W lighting output for use with a single Reg/rectifier.

The RE India factory actually fitted a CDI alternator to the kickstart 350 AVL Machismo and Thunderbird models as well as the earliest 350 Electras (all Indian home-market bikes but quite a few have been privately immported), the Indian version replaces one of the lighting coils on the Lucas-pattern stator with a CDI charging coil, but still manages a bit more in the lighting output department than the Electrex item does.

Posted: 12:33pm 30th November, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Their description doesn't match the pictures in fairness. They state it's single phase but I count 4 coils. I suppose the knub will be if it can light up a 55W H4. I may pester them with some questions when I get my project near to that point.

Any thoughts on actually retro-fitting the AVL CDI system? Any good? I just looked on ebay and you can buy all the bits to make one (stator, rotor, CDI and ignition coil) for about £100-120.

I suppose the main difference would be it's tricky/impossible to dial in the timing without some fiddly engineering. You're stuck with what it gives you which, from previous history of RE, could be as hit or miss as the points.

I suppose you could make an alloy base-plate with slotted holes that mounts to the existing stator mounting studs (which would need to be shortened) and use the three redundant holes in the stator to mount the stator to the base plate. I suspect it would need to be a pretty odd shape though to clear all the coils and the primary chain.
Posted: 01:10pm 30th November, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Or, I suppose, one could fabricate a new steel stator plate with slotted holes (wouldn't be much, but good for a couple of degrees either way i suppose) and bond the coils to it. We're getting into unknown territory though. I've got a mate who could easily do the fabrication but I'm not sure if there is a good electrical/engineering reason for the base plate being made up of a sandwich of many seperate plates and not just one lump of ferrous metal.
Posted: 01:16pm 30th November, 2017
Adrian Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
The RE CDI alternator isn't a straight swap for the normal one as it uses a different drive side mainshaft. Instead of the usual keyway for the alternator rotor there's a smaller one further inboard for the rotor spacer with the reluctor. There is a a raised segment on the spacer which fits into a recess on the rotor which takes care of the fixed timing. The alternator mainshaft on the CDI models is also longer than on the standard classic Bullet crank (wider alternator), so basically you'd need a mainshaft swap and a deeper chaincase to make it work, if I have the right part in the Retired Models parts book it's part number 502042/A - or possibly 500214F. Otherwise the complete crankshaft from an early CDI 350 Electra should fit a set of metric bearing crankcases, part number 502052/A.

Our hosts MIGHT have some amongst their unlisted parts...

Posted: 10:50pm 30th November, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
I emailed electrex and asked them about it. I wasn't clear to me if the 65W was total output or in addition to a lighting output. I've used their stuff before (rotors and reg/recs for Japanese bikes) and have been happy with them. Got a reply.

"For STK-100D, 65 watts is the maximum output that you can expect when the system is connected with AC control of the lighting circuit. The remaining power is normally used to charge the battery and this would be used for brake light and horn only. Some of our customers are using LED headlight/taillight as this significantly reduces the power requirement but then everything needs to work from DC. If you don’t want a battery, this will be a problem."

Well. It occurrs to me that they do do H4 replacement LED bulbs now (in fact, this years Harleys came with LED headlights). I've had a look at some and one of the companies a) Seems to know what they're talkign about and b) Specifies their bulb is suitable for either positive or negative earth fitment. This suggests to me it's bi-directional and ought to play nicely with AC. I've emailed them to ask about it. Will report back.
Posted: 05:06pm 1st December, 2017
Adrian Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
I'd be very interested to see if one of the LED H4 replacements designed to work on both positive or negative earth systems actually will work on AC (one of my current projects will be using the Indian CDI alternator).

Posted: 10:33pm 1st December, 2017
binary Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Stinkwheel My motorcycle 350 came from India already converted to crank mounted CDI ignition. The Indians did this conversion on Indian motorcycles that were never supposed to be exported. They used electronic ignition parts from later model REs fitted to a longer drive shaft. This made a very reliable ignition system with the pick up mounted on the longer shaft that was very cost effective. The alternator coils are some to run the headlight some to run the battery charging and 1 to power the ignition. I can start my motorcycle with out a battery because the ignition is powered from this coil. There is no points or condenser with this system. All these things are available from the Indian suppliers on eBay. The ignition timing is controlled from a small black box and I have never had any trouble from this at all. It takes care of every thing starting retarded and then going to advanced. There is no pinging or anything. I have lots of pictures of it if you are interested in seeing them. Only a few of these motorcycles left India as they were not exported and I am just lucky to have bought one. I did not know about this until I pulled it apart and found all the differences. Adrian is the expert here and he has done a lot of research on this particular RE model deviation. It is a good idea and using parts from other later model RE motorcycles it is as cheap a conversion as can be done and I have found works 100% all of the time.
Posted: 02:27am 2nd December, 2017
binary Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Right I have just found that Hitchcock's have a lot of what is needed to do this conversion in there used parts & bikes. You can go strait to it by pressing the search button left hand side of page and when the search box appears type in, used2421 and do a search. The search will come up with where it is. Now at the bottom there is the words "found in ignition", with the word ignition highlighted in red. Now click onto the red ignition word and you will be taken strait to a picture and description of the ignition parts available. This is most of the electrics needed plus the different magnetic rotor. The alternator is a 6 wire alternator. Missing is the longer drive shaft and the machismo primary cover. Time is the biggest problem with this conversion as you have to split the cases and split the crank apart to be able to push the short drive shaft out and put the longer shaft in. Then you have to get some body to true the crank up again. When this is all together and the motor in in the frame then you have to put 3 new longer bolts in to be able to mount your alternator further out along the new longer shaft. The longer shaft is so the reluctor can fit in between the magnetic rotor and the drive sprocket. You will have to take 1/2 a thou off the splines on the shaft so that your sprocket can slide on. It just takes time. I am lucky I am on an old age pension and so plenty of time and the bike was already converted to this ignition system, so I just kept it to how it was.
Posted: 03:49am 2nd December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Thanks for the detailed reply and it's certainly more to cogitate on over the christmas period.

I'll let folks know about the H4 LED thing. If they are a go, the electrex system would be more of a viable proposition and I do like the idea of having the ability to "dial in" the timing. Especially if I'm building a hotter engine where I risk running into detonation issues.
Posted: 11:34am 2nd December, 2017
Beezabryan Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Just wondering why?
Posted: 12:14pm 2nd December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Why? A distributor on a single cylinder engine is a bit of an oddity and a relic from the days when these bikes had magnetos. The sensible and logical place to mount the ignition timing mechanism is on the end of the crank.

There are 4 gears between the crank and the points cam, one cam sprocket, two idler gears and the dizzy drive gear. There is play on all of them. It adds up to a LOT of backlash. Anyone who's tried to set static timing on a 350 bullet the the cam in the retarded position will realise just how much.

With the timing on the end of the crank, this is completely eliminated. I'm planning on building quite a poky engine and + or - 5 degrees of slop on the ignition timing is a lot in anyones book. I'm building this bike from scratch so I'm looking into ways of making it as good as it can be.

It would then be tempting to put something fun on the end of the dizzy shaft. Like one of those optical illusion spinning discs. Or a mechanical siren. Or more sensibly. Remove the idler gears altogether and blank off where the dizzy casting attaches.

Bullet whisperer posted a video recently showing just how much backlash there is.
Posted: 02:11pm 2nd December, 2017
binary Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
There is zero backlash in my motorcycle ignition. There are no idler gears and no distributor. There is an after market ignition control module (black box) that has a screw on the side to adjust the timing. I bought one of these but I have never tried it as my ignition with the Indian ignition control module that came with it works perfectly. Crank shaft timing is much better than the Boyer Bransden inside the distributor kit. If you can find a crank mounted ignition that will work on the existing drive shaft of your motor you will certainly save a lot of time.
Posted: 09:22pm 2nd December, 2017
binary Subject: Anyone tried one of those electrex ignitions/alternators?
Hopefully here is a picture on the drive shaft showing the position of the reluctor and the need for the longer drive shaft. NEW 350 CRANK
Posted: 12:01am 4th December, 2017

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