Dead airhead, what now?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by woodly1069, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Well I'd really like to know. When I read the instructions earlier this year, Spring time, I was reinstalling the Dyna Booster that came with my bike many years ago. I had used a Dyna III for a little while, blew it up, and then ran the OEM points for many years. I read the line that said "connect the white wire to the points" and this eliminated the condenser on an Airhead. Also the points have a female connection and the white wire has a male connection so this seemed to fit.

    Then when I read the directions that say "leave the condenser hooked up" and I realize that most vehicles are not wired the same way our bikes are. The condenser is connected to the points or the coil but the two don't meet at the condenser. So now I'm really confused.

    So please ask your Engineer friend. I wonder? Both will work?

    I did learn something from my mishap a couple weeks ago. The Booster died as I was pulling into the Mall for my breakfast. I knew exactly what I had to do to get home that day and so went inside to eat and have two cups of coffee. An hour later I was out side pulling the handlebars and bar backs off so I could get under the tank and move the wires. Next time I wire up a booster I will make it possible to rewire back to OEM with out removing the tank.
    #21
  2. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Does this booster live under the front cover or do you put it under the tank? Or does it matter?
    #22
  3. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Not under the front cover-- that is a bad place for electronics to live because of the heat. The Booster typically goes under the frame backbone between the coils and the tool tray.

    --Bill
    #23
  4. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    cool, just wondering, as a few of the inmates have suggested that using one may be helpful if I plan on riding the old girl any distance! Where would one find a good deal on one? Is there multiple brands available or just one "Go to" brand?
    #24
  5. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Hi Woodster,

    The Booster is an after market item made by several companies. It can be mounted in several places. Directions say to put it somewhere that will get cooling air. I have mine on the fairing frame. Some riders put it under the tank. It's really too big to fit under the front cover.

    [​IMG]

    This seems to be the most popular. There are others, some cheaper maybe. Or you can also build your own. Since they can be attached to the bike in almost any spot a lot of times new riders actually have a booster and don't know it (happened here a week ago, or so). The easy way to tell if you have one is look at your wiring. The points wire goes to the condenser and the right coil wire goes to the condenser. If this is how the bike is wired it does not have a booster. If there is a booster a wire from it will go to the coil.

    There are other systems also that replace more of the OEM system. They may even have an internal electronic advance, eliminating the mechanical advance of the bike. The advantage of the booster is that it keeps all of the OEM system and uses the ignition points as a simple switch that only has to carry normal battery voltage. In the OEM set up the points carry 20,000 Volts and this is what usually wears them out. By eliminating this high Voltage at the points they can last a long time. With a Booster the mechanical advance is kept and the purest amongst us appreciate that.

    Since it is a man made item the Booster can break like anything else. But to revert to the OEM ignition from a Booster involves only moving a couple of wires. Biggest advantage of all. All the original parts are still attached to the bike. We've had long discussions about some more complicated electronic ignition systems and the riders who buy them swear they will pack the points and points plate till that eventful day when it is needed. I did this when I had a Dyna III system. After less than two years of packing these pieces in a plastic bag (this insures the parts will be constantly wet and never dry out) the parts were not usable.

    The usual reason for getting a Dyna III is because there is a ghost timing image and the firing of the two cylinders can be controlled in the Dyna III by two separate magnetic pick ups. This is hard to set up but it can work. After I blew the Dyna III by trying to balance carbs with out using shorting rods but just lifting the plug wires I had to replace all the stock parts that were rusted up in my plastic bag.

    There is a way to fix a Ghost Timing Image with out having to eliminate the stock ignition system. It's a little more complicated but doable by the Home Mechanic. I got rid of the Ghost, Double Timing Image this way.

    I'm a fan of keeping the stock ignition system with it's mechanical advance and adding a Booster.
    #25
  6. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Thanks diston, as always, very informative and helpful! Now I need to find one! By the way, I rode the old bike yesterday and she didn't miss a beat! :clap
    #26
  7. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin!

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    Just found this and was going to say "points"... ("I checked them 100 miles ago....").

    ...then I finished the thread. Yep.


    :evil
    #27
  8. Horsehockey

    Horsehockey A GPS? Huh?

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    My bike came with a Dyna III ignition seven years ago. I've put 65K miles on it since and don't know when a PO first mounted it. My guess is my Dyna III has around 80K on it and at least 10 years. No troubles. When I bought the bike, the black box module was mounted on the front frame down tube, right side. I got tired of looking at it about 30K miles ago and relocated it to the top of my newer nicely flat-topped voltage regulator under the tank. It fits nicely and with some velcro and zip ties, is pretty secure. I did notice just a bit of chafing under the tank so I relocated it a quarter inch and, to be sure, glued on a little inner tube patch to the underside of the tank. There's lots of speculation about how much "cooling" the Dyna boxes need. In my case, the under-tank location of the Dyna box has been trouble-free. Don't know if the boosters generate more or less heat than the ignition boxes, and would find it to be pretty entertaining if some airhead out there with severe OCD would conduct a thorough scientific analysis under all conditions. Thank you in advance.
    #28
  9. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I have blown up two modules. Both Dyna, one, a Dyna III and two, a Booster. I think they actually may be the same unit. They look the same but I don't have them side by side to compare.

    The Dyna III was blown up by my stupidity, I was balancing the carbs by lifting the plug wires. This unit did not stop working all at once but seemed to get weaker and weaker over a period of almost a week and finally the bike wouldn't start.

    The Booster gave out with no warning. It was exposed to cooling air flow. I had not been balancing the carbs by lifting the plug wires. It just went.

    These units can be bought over the counter in many places or ordered on line from many sources. You can even buy them from the manufacturer. The one that works on our Airheads is the DBR-1. It is hard to find this thing on the DynaTek site because they want us to buy more expensive products. But the Booster is on this page;

    http://www.dynaonline.com/skins/products/accessories/Dyna_Boosters/

    I have no connection with Dyna. I would almost prefer to find something else but then I also have nothing against Dyna.

    You don't have to run out and get one of these right away. It is a nice modification to do when you have the time. You may find other units attractive. There are many long threads on AdvRider about these, I'm in a few of them, you may want to build your own. I think the Dyna unit recently went up again, it's now $87. You can build something that is almost the same thing for less than $25. Sorry I don't have the directions. I'm all for that approach but I've never done it.
    #29
  10. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    Faulty condensors can cause some wierd symptoms. My BMW had some odd habits. Watching the points operate with the front cover off I saw sparks jumping sideways from the points....changed the condensor and things looked normal.:clap
    #30
  11. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Bmwhacker, I never thought to pull the front cover before I had this latest issue and was doing some reading on the subject when I found something relating to watching the points arc on a good running bike in a dark garage, man was that an eye opener! Kinda Iike watching plugs fire while laying out on the jugs, unless you know what they look like when they are working normally you would never know the difference if there was an issue...really cool to know the very subtle differences!
    #31
  12. Bgarceau

    Bgarceau n00b

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    Hello everyone,

    I am relatively new to this forum and have gotten quite a bit of help, so thanks to everyone who contributes.

    I have a 1976 R90/6 (mfg 10/1975). I used to own a 1975 R90. I restored that one and sold it about 10 yrs ago. The '76 is new to me. I would not say that I am restoring it, but rather since I just bought it I am taking advantage of the down season to do a very complete maintenance, cleaning, replacing parts where needed and improving where is makes sense.

    One such improvement is to add a points booster. At the same time that I am adding this, I had just prior also replaced the points and condenser. I just added a Dynatek DBR-1 points booster today, and although everything appears to me to be setup correctly, the bike is not running.

    I have done lots of web searching of topics covering this device and there's not much really. This particular thread seems to be the closest in nature. I followed the instructions as best as I can but there is no spark. Removing the wiring from the booster and replacing the original connections gets the spark occurring again.

    Here are the instructions I received with the device. In the image with the instructions I also show the strange wire that was included that has some kind of component(s) inside its plastic housing. I have no idea what to do with this as it is not mentioned at all in the instructions.

    [​IMG]

    I believe instruction #5, really meant "ignition condenser", not coil, and so I connected the wires as in the image below.

    [​IMG]

    Then for instruction #7, I connected the red wire to this point on the left side coil. I determined the connection point after following the wires on a (Hanes) schematic from the ignition to the coil, seeing that wire from the ignition to the coil goes to one coil and then there is a crossover to the other coil (in series).

    [​IMG]

    The black ground wire for the booster is connected behind one of the diode board mount screws, against the engine case.

    I am hoping that a few of you may have completed the installation successfully and can tell me where I am going wrong or misunderstanding the instructions.

    Thanks.

    Bg
    #32
  13. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    You've interpreted the instructions wrong:

    1. BLACK goes to a ground. Engine case is best, but good frame connection can be used.
    2. Disconnect the (factory Black) points wire from coil and plug BLUE wire in it's place.
    3. Connect WHITE wire to the (factory Black) points wire removed in previous step.
    4. RED goes to coil terminal that has +12v when ignition switch is turned on (has factory Green wire)

    --Bill
    #33
  14. Bgarceau

    Bgarceau n00b

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    Thanks Bill,

    I rewired as you described/clarified. There is still no spark, so I may have fried the booster or I suppose the device was bad. I pulled everything out and returned the wiring to its stock configuration. It runs fine.

    Appreciate the assistance.
    #34
  15. Bgarceau

    Bgarceau n00b

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    I suspected that the unit that I bought on eBay was faulty and so I bought another from what appeared to be a legitimate source. I installed the new unit today and the bike has spark. So I will attempt to return the faulty unit.

    Here are a few pictures of the installation, with numbered connections that correspond with the numbered instructions (image of instruction sheet in one of my prior posts).

    Closeup of the mounting location and orientation.

    [​IMG]

    And the reverse. This is shown because the pipe band that is included needs to pass under the master cylinder with no part of it interfering The orientation shown allows for that.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the electrical connections for steps 3, 5, and 6.

    [​IMG]

    ...and, for step 7 (a little difficult to see but you get the idea).

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the completed installation.

    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. Horsehockey

    Horsehockey A GPS? Huh?

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    bgarceau-
    I'd be a little paranoid about tank chafing with that booster mounting. See my post #28 above. You might want to gob some grease on the outboard edge of the booster, then mount your tank, then remove the tank and examine whether or not you've got grease on the underside of the tank. You don't want to have the booster wearing a hole in your tank.....safety issue for sure. As noted in #28 above, I mounted a similarly sized DYNA ignition module on top of the flat voltage regulator and took a couple extra precautions against chafing. What happens statically is not necessarily what's happening while out on the road.
    #36
  17. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    Testing the DBR-1 for clearance with the fuel tank is a very good idea. I am about to install a DBR-1 myself. However, I plan to put my ground (step #3) with all the other brown ground wires (shown in step #7). Neatness helps when installing electrical wiring and keeping the ground wires in a common location is good practice.
    #37
  18. Bgarceau

    Bgarceau n00b

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    Horse/Stan, thanks for the info. I refitted the tank and the booster was in fact a bit too far back on the frame. I un-tightened and slid everything forward and using Horse' grease trick I found that this now leaves clearance. I needed to reroute the clamp strap thru the slot in the relay mount. Some kind of rubber patch seems appropriate as well.

    [​IMG]
    #38