Monday, October 17, 2011

Spark Plug Fouling Q and A

               Do your Spark plugs look like this?

Q: Richard in Western Australia asks about misfiring , loss of power and a breakdown resulting from sooty fouled spark plugs. What’s causing the plugs to foul?

A: There are many possible answers to this question starting with the fuel. If the carbon on the plug is dull black (as above) it’s likely due to a rich fuel air mixture. Alternatively the problem could be oil burning if the carbon looks glossy. Usually these problems clear up to a degree if the engine is running at higher speeds – try checking your plugs after a high speed run to see the difference.

The fuel we get now is formulated for fuel injected cars with EFI computers which doesn't help things however many people find they can get their engines to run OK with it. If I have a choice between 91, 95 or 98 octane ( Australian fuels) I go for the 95.Possible causes:
  • Overly rich idle mixture
  • Oil burning
  • Spark plugs too cold – incorrect heat range
  • Excessive use of chokes
  • Weak ignition or coils
  • Excessive idling and low speed running
With the fuel we get now we expect a bit more soot on the plugs with slow speed riding. Check the heat range and consider going hotter but also check the plugs at high speed to make sure they are not getting too hot. Minimise warm up and low speed riding and keep the revs up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tri-Spark Powered Rocket3 wins at Manx Grand Prix 2011

Riding the 850cc Tri-Spark powered Rocket3 entered by Steve Robins in the Formula Classic event was Mark Parrett who took victory as all other riders in the class had retired. But, don't think for one second that this made it an easy victory for Mark. His victory was hard fought as he had no back brake for much of the race and was also black-flagged in error. He later received a time credit resulting in a final interval timing result of 09:40.

Helping Robins and Mark at the Isle of Man were quite a team of guys including Phil Packham, John Ford, Pat Brown and John French and according to Robins without this team they would not have got the bike to the grid. He said, "You've got no idea how much work is required at an event like this.

"What's more it was all done while suffering from sleep deprivation and stress. These guys delivered beyond the call of duty." Humour appears to have helped them all through the low moments with everyone's high skill levels solving many a problem on the fly.

Robins also said that without the support of their sponsors they would just not have been able to take part. "The products supplied showed how robust these solutions were when tested in the ultimate test of the island. I would highly recommend them to all." Included in the list of suppliers is Tri-Spark who supplied the electrics and ignition.

Mark took the ride on the 850 at late notice winning the respect of everyone as he had never ridden it before and what's more had to contend with a right shift which is not his preference. That didn't stop him from achieving lap 2 speeds of 95MPH and winning the event. "It was astonishing," said Robins, "And to bring the 850 home for a win more so."

"I am in total awe of the riders," Robins said. "It takes a brave and very skilled man to ride these old bangers at the speeds they do on the island roads, total respect."

Finally Robins said, "Those who came over to the island to watch and support us many thanks, you've got no idea how much it all helped."

Jo and Stephen Kelly certainly enjoyed themselves. This comment from Stephen sums up the thrill and fun of participation perfectly, "We went, we saw and we'll be going back!"

If you want to read more of what Steve Robins had to say go to the Triples online forum.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Customer Ride

Darrell Ricketts in the USA sent is this shot of his tasty 750 Commando.

He Commented ....
"it was extremely simple to install, high quality and rock solid reliable. I love the clean installation and no black box to hide under the tank. I would definitely recommend it and I have. I chose it mostly because I wanted to eliminate the separate box and simplify the wiring."
Darrel Ricketts

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Manx Grand Prix 2011

We’re planning to attend the Manx GP this year to support Steve Robins entry, Rob North Rocket 3 – 850cc in the Senior Formula Classic race.

Steve Robins has been a Tri-Spark supporter from the beginning first using the systems on his own bikes and later recommending them, and even fitting some, for riders in the Brisbane area. With two spark plugs per cylinder, the racer will be fitted with dual output coils connected to the Tri-Spark triple adjustable control box. This is a sequential system that fires the coils only as needed so there’s no wasted sparks. This system has optimum coil saturation even at high RPM due to the sequential firing method plus an adjustable rev limiter and advance slope adjustment.

Steve commented “With the punishing 4 laps (and about 20 laps of practice) of the 60Km circuit at the Isle of man at extreme revs (between 7000-9000RPM for about 1.5 hours at a time ) every aspect of the motor and chassis has to have extreme attention to detail applied and the very best solutions available in the market to increase the chances of finishing let alone winning . Having used the Tri-Spark Ignition systems, Coils and Regulator/Rectifiers for some years trouble free and very successfully it was a no brainer selecting the ignition and other electronic components - Tri-Spark.
We have a serious line up in the Triple pit crew on hand at the Manx with Charlie Barnes, John French, Pat Brown (from Triples Rule), Gary Woodcock and of course Steve Kelly all assisting . We will be based in Ramsey and no doubt will have a few beers at the Trafalgar pub in the evenings so anyone coming over for the event make sure you look us up.”

Classic Twin for any crank angle

This Beauty belongs to a local Adelaide rider with a passion for racing. He asked if we could adapt the Classic Twin to fire at the 180 degree firing angle for this engine. We found a way to acheive this with some small changes to the unit and by moving the magnets on the rotor to the positions required for the engine.

We also have customers using this ignition on 76 and 90 degree Triumphs as well. If you have an offset crank engine this may be the ignition you've been looking for. Please contact us for further information. Note: this feature is only available on the latest version units.

Magneto Replacement Kit

There was a great deal of interest in our new Magneto Replacement kit that we launched at the All British Rally. This kit includes an alloy housing for bolting the classic twin system onto the engine where a three bolt flange mount magneto would normally sit.

This is a 12 volt system that also includes a twin lead ignition coil with the electronic ignition.

Introductory pricing $549 Australian for the kit.

View with the cap removed

Ignition Coil Q & A

Q: Brett in Australia asks “I’m installing one of your Classic Twin ignitions on my 850 Commando and I’d like to use a single coil with twin outputs. It has 4 ohm primary resistance. Do I wire it as per the diagram in the instructions but without the black link wire between the coils?”
A: The minimum coil resistance recommended with the Classic Twin is 3 ohms so your 4 ohm coil would be fine to use. As you said the wiring is the same as in the instructions but you eliminate the link wire shown between the 2 coils when using a single coil.

Q: Alan in California asks “is the voltage regulator is required when fitting our Classic Twin ignition system on a 650 Triumph.”
A: The regulator is a recommended upgrade to the charging system but is not required to get the new ignition system operational.

Q: Peter in the UK asks “I’d like to order a Tri-Spark kit for my Rocket 3. What coils do you recommend to go with it?”
A: We recommend our Tri-Spark 12 volt Power coils with the triple kit. They have the same dimensions as the Lucas coils that came with the Rocket 3 but with higher spec materials we get twice the spark duration over the Lucas coils.

Are all coils pretty much the same – no way!

A long spark duration is desirable for easy starting especially on cold engines where the fuel mixture is the most varied. High spark intensity minimises the chance of misfiring, reduced plug fouling and can make the most of high compression and highly tuned engines.

These coils would also be compatible with the original points ignition in the triples except the T160 which would require 6 volt coils with its original points setup utilising a ballast resistor.

Click here for further information about our coils.

Q: Stuart asks “I see on your web site you recommend 6 volt coils with your twin ignition (Classic Twin) but my bike has a 12 volt battery. Why is this?”
A: First up, the Classic Twin is a 12 volt ignition system designed to work with a 12 volt electrical system. The reason for the 6 volt coils is they are wired together in a series circuit and as such they present a 12 volt load to the ignition module. It’s simply 6 + 6 = 12. In series circuit the 2 loads add together to equal 12 volts. This is commonly done with other similar ignition systems.
If 12 volt coils were used instead, they would make a 24 volt load and would be under powered by the 12 volt electrical system resulting in a weak spark.

Coils Compared 4 volt 6 volt 12 volt
Lucas ( 17M4) 4 volt 1.0 Ohms primary resistance
Lucas (17M6) 6 volt 1.8 Ohms primary resistance
Lucas (17M12) 12 volt 3.6 Ohm primary resistance

Tri-Spark 4 volt 1.0 Ohms primary resistance
Tri-Spark 6 volt 1.9 Ohms primary resistance
Tri-Spark 12 volt 3.5 Ohm primary resistance

All British Rally Draw Prizes

We pulled the winners names out at 4pm on the Saturday of the All British Rally with the help of Richard from Montimedia (left in photo). Montimedia look after our web hosting and have been a great help with setting up our web site and ecommerce. We highly recommend Montimedia for any of your IT needs.

The winners were:

First prize a $200 Tri-Spark voucher – Tony Pocock

Second prize a $150 Union Jack voucher – Julie-Ann Brennan

Third prize a set of Tri-Spark coils – Stephen Edwards

Fourth prize a Tri-Spark voltage regulator – G. Hodgson

Congratulations to you all and thank you to all those who entered.

Customer Report

Great to get feedback from Phil Hollonds. He said, “ Good tips Stephen keep up the good work on the newsletter.

I ordered and received the Tri-Spark ignition and coils for my 850 Commando. What a huge difference it makes especially when I’m not getting any younger; kicks over first time, every time.

No more mucking around with points and timing, which is all great when you’re younger and new at it all but not now, I just want to enjoy it thanks.”

Glad to hear from you Phil and that we’ve helped make your riding more enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Triple Racing in Germany

This tidy Rob North T150 racer belongs to one of our German customers. He asked if we could make him a system with a unique advance curve based on his dyno tuning results for the dual plugged engine.
We said yes and not long after we sent it out the response came back that the engine starts and runs like never before.

Your Questions about Battery Charging Answered

Q: Steve in Chicago asks “if I use your regulator (VR-0001) can I do away with my battery”
A: We don't recommend using this part without a battery. The battery is required on road bikes to ensure the lights and horn are functional even if the engine cuts out. This is especially important at night. You can find out what is allowed in your area from the local road authorities. The VR-0001 is primarily designed to improve the reliability and accuracy of the battery charging by replacing the old Lucas Plate rectifier and Zener diode. Click to read more

Q: Alan in California asks if the voltage regulator is required when fitting our Classic Twin ignition system on a 650 Triumph.
A: The regulator is a recommended upgrade to the charging system but is not required to get the new ignition system operational.

Q: From Mike in the UK who has an off road bike that he wants to run without a battery.
A: We recommend our three phase high output alternator kit for this application since the regulator (VR-0003) has the capacitor needed for batteryless operation built it. The three phase alternator has plenty of low RPM output which makes for reliable starting and idling. Our three phase regulator is also available as a separate part. Click here to order

Q: After I ride the bike the battery seems to be low does this mean I have something wrong in the charging system?
A: This question comes up often and I always recommend checking the battery first before looking for other things. If the battery is nearly new check it anyway – it’s still the most likely cause of the trouble. If the battery checks out OK then you should see your local bike electrician to have the charging system checked.

High Output Alternator Kit

Great news for riders of older model Triumphs, BSAs or Nortons is the release of our new High Output Alternator Kits.

These kits are terrific and really do improve the charging systems on the old bikes dramatically. As always Steve has installed this kit on one of his bikes and says, “I put one on my T160 and noticed an improvement immediately.”

With the kit installed you can run both electronic ignition and a Halogen headlamp without worrying about battery charging. It includes a Lucas 3 phase alternator, 14 Amps output power and a Tri-Spark voltage regulator. It’s so easy to install Steve says he can confidently guarantee the fit! Just make sure you get the correct gap all the way around when you install the stator.

“The headlamp on my T160 stays bright even when the engine is idling which shows visually the excellent low RPM output of the 3 phase alternator,” Steve explains.

To order these kits click here

All British Rally 2011

Three years ago in 2008 we launched the 'Classic Twin' ignition system at the all British Rally in Campbells Creek Victoria.

This year we're back again at the new rally location in Newstead with more new products and promotions. We really enjoy this rally and love seeing our customers and their bikes. It's in it's 35rd year this time running from Friday the 8th of April to Sunday the 10th at the Newstead Racecourse in Newstead the event is sure to be a hit with motorcycling enthusiasts and visitors alike.

Now two weeks before the traditional Anzac day and Easter weekend and with expanded facilities, great local catering, extended pub hours and such a great site the organisers expect more than 1000 British bike enthusiasts.

Tri-Spark will be featuring 2 new products - Our High Output Alternator kit and a much asked for Magneto Replacement Kit. The latter may not be in full release mode but we will be displaying a prototype if not actual parts, and will definitely be taking orders.

Only British iron and tents are allowed on the main site but there is plenty of mixed camping around the track and the organisers confirm there will be the usual feast of exotica, entertainment, trophies and a great atmosphere.

Soaking up the unique "British only" atmosphere, catching up with old friends and making some new ones while viewing the huge range of veteran, vintage, classic and modern bikes will be fantastic as will seeing the latest industry and trade offerings.

Location Newstead Racecourse Newstead Victoria

Contact Michael Poynter 0427 315 212