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Author Topic: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.  (Read 16192 times)

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inline79

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I did this writeup a few years ago for KZR but I think it is worth reposting here for education (and because I put a lot of work into it!)


In the past two weeks I have been blessed/cursed with running points, then a Dyna III ignition, and then a stock KZ650/750 Kawasaki Electronic ignition system. It started with the appeal of upgrading to electronic (Dyna), and ended with kawasaki electronic because of charging problems with the Dyna (thanks Rev!!!).

--== Points ==--
We all love cleaning pitted points and gapping them, right?
Verdict: They need maintenance and your timing gets slowly worse until you adjust them. However, you get to tell all the cool kids you still have points and gaps!

--== Dyna III ==--
I installed the Dyna III about two weeks ago and had the bike running nicely. Unfortunately the bike failed the charging system test with a fully charged, new battery!

Installed Dyna III:

Idle - 11.9V
4000rpm - 12.6V

After much head scratching I got a DC clampmeter to easily measure current in the system:

Idle:
from reg/rec - ~1.0A (Amps)
Battery - 9A OUT
Main fuse (whole bike) - 9.75-10A

4000rpm:
from reg/rec - 11A?
Battery - ~3A IN
Main fuse - ~9A
(I guess it is +/- 1A accuracy)

Breakeven point on the battery charge was about 2000rpm.

Electrical system:
- Stock coils (~4.3ohms each)
- H4 headlight (55W), always on (Canadian bike)
- standing lights, dash lights on

Verdict: Battery is discharging rapidly during idle, though with enough high-speed running (approx 4-5 mins at >4000rpm for each minute at idle), battery can stay charged. Spark could be weak from the lower system voltage.

When I removed the headlight fuse and ran without that 55W load, the battery stayed charged for that 3-day test.

loudgpz has said many times that the Dyna has a very long (300 degree) dwell angle compared to about 180 for point. This extra current load from Dyna seems to have pushed the Canadian KZ650's charging system over the top, and the battery begins to suffer.

My immediate solution was to run without the headlight (during the day!). However, for safety a daytime light is still a good idea. I am designing a simple LED addition to the H4 headlight to make a permanent 20mA "city" light. On Canadian bikes this requires addition of an on/off switch for the headlight so you don't have to keep installing the headlight fuse after the sun goes down.


--== Kawasaki Electronic Ignition ==--
I was fortunate to come across a Kawasaki Electronic Ignition, apparently from a KZ750E2. This bolted right in with some minor electrical modifications.

Idle:
Battery - 12.5V
Main fuse - 6.75-7A (H4 headlight on!)

4000rpm:
Battery - 14.6V
Main fuse - 6.25-6.5A

I stopped the testing there, jumped for joy, and went for a ride. The 14.6V tells me the reg/rec is starting to interrupt the stator power and it is no longer running at maximum output all the time!!!

On the ride, the bike seemed to hold idle better (maybe coils don't get as hot?), and there appeared to be more power in midrange (higher voltage to the coils?).

Verdict: An average of about 3A less power use than the Dyna III setup could only mean a more efficiently running motorbike.

Finally, the latest 1981 IC technology on my bike - just like in the Commodore64!


Conclusion:
The Dyna's high dwell angle taxes the charging system of the KZ650C2. Though not immediately apparent, it is possible that it would severely undercharge the battery over time. I recommend all KZ650s with Dyna installed perform a charging test (particularly Canadian models), and ensure they charge their batteries weekly if the do not pass and there is frequent city riding.

Alternatively, with Dyna III, you can cut out the headlight and install an alternate, low power, city light to provide charge to the battery. However, your coils will still be drawing far more current than they were designed to. (BTW the H4 headlight is a VERY good idea regardless)

Alternative 2: build your own IC Igniter that reads the Dyna signals and can reduce the dwell angle to <200 degrees (it can be done).

Ultimately, Kawasaki Electronic ignition is the way to go!

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650ed

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 07:33:41 PM »

One other issue not mentioned.  While points do gradually deteriorate and may need to be replaced every 10,000 miles or so, the odds are very slim that they leave you on foot because of a system failure.  Electronic ignition, on the other hand, needs no such maintenance - but if and when it does fail you probably are stranded.  I?m not recommending one system over the other, to some of us replacing points every couple years is very easy; to others it?s a nightmare; I?m just pointing out that everything has pros and cons.  Ed
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seanof30306

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 08:02:39 PM »

Thanks for the writeup, Inline.  I've been having massive electrical problems with my @#$%^&*!!! KZ650, and strongly suspect the Dyna S ignition is partly responsible.

I bought an '81 LTD for 50 bucks to get the three phase charging system, and am also thinking the smart play is to swap out the Dyna S for the factory electonic ignition on Fitty (the 50.00 81 LTD parts bike).

A couple of questions:

1.  Is there a way to test the igniter to make sure it is good?

2.  Will the Dyna Green coils I bought with the the Dyna S work with the factory electronic ignition?

3.  Wanna buy a slightly used Dyna S ignition?
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rstnick

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 08:50:44 PM »

I haven't had any experience with a Dyna III, but did start with points, setting them by eye as I had done them so many times, then buying a Dyna S, running that for approx. 5 yrs. Having the Dyna fry, I switched back to points for some years, until piecing together a Kawasaki electronic ignition using parts from a 650 & 750.
At every stage in her life she ran well, but did notice an improvement in engine smoothness when I installed the Kawi elec. Ign. over the points (which had been neglected too long).
With the Dyna S ignition I had Cir Cycle high performance coils, but their resistance escapes me.
I do carry a complete points plate in my tank bag spares I can just plug in in case of emergency.

Quote
A couple of questions:

1. IC Test:





http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v494/rstnick/650%20maintenance%20items/ICignitertestingsteps.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v494/rstnick/650%20maintenance%20items/ICTesttable.jpg

2. Not sure. loudhvx (Lou) would know, or others here.

3. No thanks.


« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 09:18:01 PM by rstnick »
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Rob

KZ650.info home page with tech tips, manual downloads, how tos, etc: http://kz650.info/

'77 C1 project - newest
'78 C2 Candy Apple Blue, 108 000 kms, 18" wheels front & back, Rickman fairing, Koni shocks, braced stock swingarm, Progressive fork springs, ATK fork brace, SS brake lines, GSXR600 rear sets, Kerker exhaust, K&N filter in air box, ported, 1st over bore, Kawi electronic ignition, bought in '84.
'78 C2 project 6 #s off other C2
'79 C3 frame with title & bits, was my brother's.

stevob

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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2011, 09:27:41 AM »

I have a 78 Kz650, just rebuilt the motor in my kitchen over the winter and it is back in the bike. Everything is good but with the motor cold the girl is hard to start and floods easily but once warm it starts easily. Looking at the Dyna S ingition system, will this correct this condition or should I look to new points, condensor and so on?
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squadrider

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2011, 03:18:39 PM »

Look at your carbs first - when these babies have dirty carbs they start hard when cold - if ignition was your problem I would first try wired george's coil mod - but I really think your carb enrichment circuit is your problem
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-Tommy
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rstnick

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2011, 07:08:48 PM »

How are you starting her, to cause her to flood?
You should not twist the throttle to try to help start her up.
Just pull up the choke all the way, make sure the carbs have gas (set petcock to Prime for a minute), keys on, kill switch etc.
If that doesn't start her then:
Quote
but I really think your carb enrichment circuit is your problem.

Points & condenser may need replacing depending on age/condition.
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Rob

KZ650.info home page with tech tips, manual downloads, how tos, etc: http://kz650.info/

'77 C1 project - newest
'78 C2 Candy Apple Blue, 108 000 kms, 18" wheels front & back, Rickman fairing, Koni shocks, braced stock swingarm, Progressive fork springs, ATK fork brace, SS brake lines, GSXR600 rear sets, Kerker exhaust, K&N filter in air box, ported, 1st over bore, Kawi electronic ignition, bought in '84.
'78 C2 project 6 #s off other C2
'79 C3 frame with title & bits, was my brother's.

kz650E1 rider

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 08:17:32 PM »

points dirty/incorrectly gapped can cause same issue too... mine was hard starting cold until I cleaned and gapped the points.
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stevob

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2011, 11:09:29 AM »

Thanks for all these good answers. The flooding was coming from my son twisting the throttle handle on the start attempt which flooded the motor. This we have stopped. I should have cleaned the carbs when the bike was apart, will do now. Going to buy a new set of points, coil setup. Let you know.
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KOOL RYDER

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 12:30:23 AM »

If you are going after the points you just might as well put in a fresh set of condensors for S***ts and giggles.
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oldkaws4ever

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 04:02:12 PM »

I installed a dyna-s in my 650 and it was the best investment i ever bought for that bike, that said i bought a dyna-s for my z1 and i had nothing but problems from the get go.  So i pulled it back off and put it in the box and sent it back.  In the mean time i threw the points plate back on with new points and condensor on it, and gapped them, and it fired right up.  I prefer points in my 900 for sure.
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H2RICK

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2011, 10:13:47 PM »

I'm in favour of points, too. Set up AND maintained properly, they will go a lonnngggg way with no problems. Check your timing every spring and adjust IF required. The coil mod is a definite plus on our 650's, no doubt about it. A big plus for points is that they can usually be bodged somehow on the roadside if necessary......but if you do regular maintenance on them, on-road failures become very unlikely.
Having said that, if I was EVER inclined to switch over to an electronic iggy, I would definitely go with the factory setup. It seems many of the aftermarket electronic setups cause more problems than they cure.
My .02 worth....
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Andy

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 12:04:34 PM »

From what I understand Dyna-S are more prone to failure than the Dyna-III since all the works are located behind the timing cover where it's hot and vibrating.  The Dyna-III just has pickups behind the timing cover, with the rest of the black magic in a separate box which can be mounted anywhere.
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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2011, 03:22:38 PM »

I was thinking about getting a dyna III for my z1 just for that very reason, but i never did.  If i do swap over to electronic iggy again, i will do like H2RICK said and get a factory iggy out of a late 70's or 1980 kz 1000. 
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29Roadster

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Re: Points vs. Dyna vs. Kawasaki Electronic: An Ignition Shootout.
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2011, 07:50:16 PM »

I have converted a couple of antique cars to  electronic Ignition, from  1929 and 1931 and the  conversion has been trouble free for over ten years now. When it comes to my KZ650 I have not made up my mind. Points are easy to work with and only require some minor maintenance. On the 650 they are  easy to access and adjust, so it is no big deal for me. With antique cars, electronic Ignition was just a matter of set and forget, there will always be something else that will require repair and the points setup on these cars is awkward to adjust.

I think that if I were to use my 650 they way I did back in the 80's (daily rider) I would opt for electronic Ignition just because it would be one less thing to think about.  These days the 650 is for fun so I'm leaning to just leaving the points and keeping it all the way it left the factory.

Rick
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 07:54:04 PM by 29Roadster »
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