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No Sparkage

DangerDan

Forum Website User
VOC Member
I tried to revive the 53 BS my father left me today, too no avail. No spark or current to the coil. The amp meter doesn't register anything. I had picked up a copy of "Mercian Motorcycle Manual"and the wiring looks fairly simple. Somewhere along the way a Lucas A311 EI Amp. found its way onto this bike. Now I have singular wires with and without fuses running everywhere in the battery area. The pregnant questions now becomes, does it really have to be this complicated. Is there a different manual, that better illustrates this; you can recommend ? Is the Lucas amp overly complicated?
There are some assumption I have made. The switch in the head lamp housing has nothing to do with operating the engine. It is the toggle switch under the battery that enables the engine to run.
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Does it have a magneto or a distributor? You may have to sort out the wiring or rewire if it is a distributor.
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
A 1953 Vincent came with a Magneto Ignition. If you have a Lucas Ignition, most likely it's a Simple points and coil distributor type from a Series D or, a Lucas Rita Electronic Hall Effect after market set up. The ones I've seen all had two coils, so I'm confused as to what your bike has. Why not hook a battery straight to the coil and ground after disconnecting it from everything else and see what happens? Can you post pictures?
Cheers, John......... p.s. don't let the smoke escape out of the wiring!
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
If it is a RITA, then it needs an on/off switch, which may have been through the Miller switch. If the RITA is left on by mistake, the power transistor on the circuit board burns out. It can be replaced by someone who can solder circuit boards.

David
 

Howard

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Whooooaaaa Dan!!

All those answers are right, but I had dificulty following them, and I know what they mean.

It sounds as though you've got a non Vincent ignition so find out what it is before you start tinkering with it. It might not even be an ignition problem, some electronic setups don't give the big blue spark you're probably expecting.

Give us more details of when it was last run, what's happened since etc etc There's a lot of people here who'll give you good advice if they've got all the right information to start with.

Join the club, you'll get a wealth of information for less than $1 a week.

H
 

DangerDan

Forum Website User
VOC Member
IMG_4715.jpgIMG_7261.jpgIMG_9385.jpgIMG_3760.jpg



My father could only get it to briefly run at any one time. He suspected he had a problem with the dynamo. Those were his words. The picture of the cap with my thumb is stamped Miller 6 volt. The picture of the coil shows an aluminum cap behind it with wires going into the harness. There is an opposite view with the forward exhaust pipe. And finally there is the Lucas EI amp. One other thing there is a 12 volt battery Any help is appreciated.
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Dan,

It looks to me like you have a 12 volt Lucas RITA ignition. The device that looks like a distributor looks like a Mistral unit. You have a 6 volt Miller generator, which should have not much to do with the ignition other than supplying the battery charge. The battery needs 12 volts so there may be a regulator, like a Gardner regulator that is changing the 6 volt to 12 volts. If anything that I have just said is true, then my previous statement may also be true: this ignition needs an on/off switch of some sort, which is probably in the headlamp switch. If the switch is left in the "on" position the power transistor in the silver rectangular box that says "Lucas" will have burned up. It will need replacing.

The RITA ignition is popular, so it may be good to ask around for some help from someone who has used one. If you are tracing wires, you can pop the headlight out and see if the terminals on the left side (facing the headlamp) of the miller switch are being used as an on/off switch. You can then trace the wire or wires back to the silver box and/or the battery.

The unit that I have called a "Mistral" is the distributor or maybe more accurately the actuator. It determines when the spark will happen and to which cylinder it will go. This bolts right to the engine case and has a gear on it inside the timing chest. Mistral is the name of the manufacturer, but there were several manufacturers over the years. I hope that others on the Forum have more details that may help.

David
 

b'knighted

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
The manufacturer of the Rita kits in England:
Mistral Engineering
Unit 12 Taylors
Gravel Lane
Chigwell, Essex
England IG7 6DQ
44 20 8501 2161 voice
44 20 8501 2270 fax

Lucas Rita ignitions went out of production in 2004 when the amplifiers stopped being manufactured (though they are now back in production as MOIRA (see http://www.hoppybikes.co.uk/moira.htm).

The Moira does not require a switch although one can be fitted to lock it off.
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Dan,
Even if you fix that Rita system, and I'm not saying you shouldn't, you still have to feed it and that poor little generator (any generator for that matter) is going to have to run at full capacity to keep up with the lights and the battery, plus spin fast enough to make the 12v you need. Short of buying an alternator for your bike to solve the power supply problem, why not simply put a self contained BT-H ignition on it? If I were in your shoes, this would be what I'd do.

http://bt-h.biz/v_twin_magneto.htm

Cheers, John
 
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