Last week I purchased an Allen Electric HCCT from Ron Patterson. I've always wanted one and this one was available.
I got it home and after tinkering with it a little, this unit works and I think I could have used it as is. But.... I'm going to restore it as best as possible, so it works reliable and looks nice. I decided to work on this in a modular manner, that way I may not lose so many parts or forget how thing go together. I have started with the flywheel.
After removing the safety wire, grinding off the knobs of the brass retaining bolts and disassembling it, the cleaning began. As I removed the parts I labeled everything. I figure maybe when I put it back together I will not have too much trouble setting the air gap.
As I was cleaning the magnets I noticed that these magnets are different than the magnets in my 1926 Tudor. The '26 magnets are just flat bars, whereas these magnets have raised bosses where the magnet sits on either the flywheel, brass magnet support or the clamp plate.
You can also see that the clamp plates are not rectangular like my '26 ones are. The ends have a curve on them.
The interesting part of this HCCT is that I found an old advertisement from 1922. The ad says that the unit sells for $53.00 without the flywheel, magnets or magneto ring. So these extra parts are probably from a car that was older than the HCCT. This flywheel does not have a starter gear, which is an indication that it is older, but after cleaning the wheel I found a Dodge Bros. Detroit stamp on it.
Kind of neat. I'll post once in a while on the progress. I'm a slow worker and this probably will take most of the winter.
Looks like the flywheel on my early '17. For the most part these went away around that time unless I'm mistaken. Shipping the parts you listed saved on freight and the new owner could put on used parts from a junker or pull the necessary items from his stock room if he so desired.
I have a simple question how do you see it spark with out a spark ring? I have seen this style before and have wondered if something was missing or I just did not notice how this style works.
Congrats on the tester. That's the same style one that I use. I like the top mounted coil box and "floating" sparks. I also have one of the Ford Z tools, but the coil box location on it is cumbersome for adjusting the coil point tension. Switching to the Allen tester cut my coil point adjusting time in half. That makes a big difference when you typically do them in batches of 12 to 24.
According to Mark Cameron, Ford stopped using the Dodge Brothers as a supplier around June of '14, when they began producing their own cars. You do have the early style magnet clamps. Are the magnets 3/4" or 5/8" thick?
BTW, I think that you can still get the electrode pieces that you need from Bob Scherzer.
There is a slip ring behind the crank disc. It transfers high tension current to an insulated post with a conductor that in turn transmits the current to a brass 'knob' with a point on one side. This post comes through the hole at the 10 o clock position of the crank disc in the picture above. The knob slides on the insulated post to change the gap between the point and the outer edge of the crank disc. The spark jumps from the point on the brass knob to the outer surface of the crank disc.
I have a replacment insulated post. Ron supplied me with one. I have been spending the last few hours looking for my roll of 3m glass tape for the mag coils. I just did a ring a couple years ago. It was new at the time (60 yards). Rats! It's got to be here somewhere. Anyway, I have all the pieces that I need.
Mine was also missing the electrode. Here's what I did.
Here is a close up photo of an original Allen Electric spark gap for this type HCCT.
As the disc turns the 16 sparks have the appearance of levitating in mid air about one inch above the perimeter of the disc.
Ron the Coilman
Hal and Ron thanks for showing and explaining it to me. I have a good friend that has one and has never played with it yet. Joe
Does anyone actually have a photo of an orignal electrode?
That is the photo I posted!
Perhaps I do not understand your question.
Ron the Coilman
Very nice! I want one soon!!!
Bob Scherzer and I were talking and we are not sure the adjuster shown in my photo above is installed correctly. As shown the gap is 3/8 inch and it works fine, but it would make more sense if the sliding sleeve was installed with the pointer toward the disc. It works either way.
Ron the Coilman
Here is the electrode that Ron supplied me.
I do not have it adjusted quite right, it is a plastic tube with a wiper on the bottom and spark gap at the top.
Ron, I did not realize that was an original piece. My main interest was the other end of that piece. It appears the spark would just hop over to the disk and not climb the insulated post. The photo above is probably also an actual duplicate of the orignal then.
OK I am still at a loss on how this one works. I see the photo above of the replacement and Ron's photo or an original. I am working on a Friends Allen it has a home made wiper inserted in a plastic tube and that's it for right now.
Am I correct that the original has a button at the top that connected to the wiper and is inside insulated material. Then there is a metal tube that fits the outside that can be slid up and down to adjust the gap.
More photos of what I am working with;
That is a good start on a working unit. The spark has to travel up that tube on a wire and then hop back to the disk as it is rotated.
There has to be 16 sparks in one rotation for the coil to be properly functional.
My excellent bad example test coil produces 3 to 5 random sparks in one complete rotation.
This situation is why the HCCT is so important to the proper adjustment and opration of the coils.
John Regan's Strobo-Spark tester is the only acceptable substitute for a HCCT that can produce the same results.
Here's some more on how the Allen tester is constructed using the electrode for the spark jump.
In this picture you can see the movable knurled sleeve and at the bottom side of this sleeve is a small pointer from which the sparks jump to the base. I believe in Ron's picture the sleeve is install upside down. This would make the spark jump up to the center button and which wouldn't allow any adjustment of the spark gap since moving it up would only create another gap below the sleeve as well generating two sparks of equal distance as the single one had.
This is the slip ring in place on the tester which receives the high voltage from the coil and transfers it to the electrode's spring contacts and up the center to the top button of the insulated sleeve. In my pros I used delrin for the insulated sleeves.
In Ron's picture the original brass adjustment sleeve is smooth but I knurled mine to allow a better grip to make any spark gap adjustments easier.
In this rather blurred picture of a larger open shutter photo you should be able to see on the left two sparks jumping from the brass sleeve to the base disc. There would be 16 of these sparks in a full rotation. The spark gap can be changed by simply moving the sleeve up or down and this gap doesn't change as it rotates as can happen with an out of center adjustment as with a brass ring type tester. Bob
That is very helpful. The other HCCT with the pointers I understand this one with the description of the spark floating in air, well it had me mystified! Bob I sent you a PM. What color is that unit painted? I will be putting the one I am working on back together so I can take some before photos. I didn't have my camera at work with me yesterday but wanted to get started taking it apart to see it's workings. I will start a new thread as this one is getting long and I have a few other questions for the experts.
I have one of these exact testers. My spark electrode was erroded at the end in part but there was enough of it to let me see how it works. The spark voltage comes out of the coil's lower side terminal and is looking for a ground to spark to and the nearest place is where it will spark. The ring on mine that is shown as brass was made out of cast iron but brass will work fine. That ring must not be connected to ground and must be insulated from ground by a sheet of mica or phenolic behind it. It is electrically connected to the spark voltage of the coil but you must be careful of the wire routing to make sure the wire from the coil box side terminal does not get closer than 5/16" to ground. The spark voltage pickup on mine was the 2 legged device you see but the inner tube was made of red phenolic. The spark voltage pickup slides along the the ring surface and there is a wire connected to the 2 legged pickup that then travels up the center of the phenolic tube and is then soldered to the underside of a brass plug that is inserted into the end of the tube. The outer brass sleeve around that phenolic tube is prevented from moving up and down by the 2 machine screw clamp that holds the other brass sleeve and inner phenolic tube. The spark jumps from the end plug to the small pointer formed in the outer brass sleeve. This insures that the spark will jump on the front side of the tube/pointer so you can see it. The outer brass sleeve is grounded by being mechanically and electrically connected to the drum by the 2 machine screw clamp/strap holding it in place. The rotating drum, HCCT housings and hand crank assembly all are essentially "ground" that the spark wants to jump to. Set the gap between the end plug and the sleeve pointer to exactly 1/4" if you want to be a true tester and not something to just show sparks. A good coil will jump 1/4". A wider gap may be impressive but you run the risk of having a good coil go bad in your tester by arcing inside itself if it can't jump your too wide test gap. Narrower gap may allow a bad coil to look good since it allows an easier place of the spark to jump than inside the bad coil where it will ordinarily jump if presented with a 1/4" gap to jump.
I was going to start a new post but the experts are looking at this one, so here goes. Put every thing back together and made a jury rig for the spark gap. Turned the crank nothing. So I cleaned all the screws and contacts. Still nothing. Then I ran a jumper from the coil ring to the bottom terminal at the coil box. Nothing. Next disconnected the top wire, the one that would run to the timer and hooked up a jumper to ground. Got the coil to sing and a spark plug to spark! Ok we are getting somewhere. Still no spark at the gap. Re did the jury rigged spark gap with a piece of armature wire. Still no dancing spark! Took the spark plug off. WE GOT SPARK!
At this point I have by passed the meter.
On an Allen there are three test terminals; magneto, ground and horn. The way it was wired was the one wire that should go to ground (timer) was attached to terminal marked magneto (non-grounded) then through the choke to the meter and to the top terminal of the coil box. If that is correct routing let me know. The hot line from the coil ring was grounded to the frame through the terminal marked ground. I moved it over to the horn terminal and up to the coil box.
The meter as it was mounted had both studs grounded. I am thinking that one stud is grounded the other should be insulated.
Ok, that's a duh and I think I just answered my on question, un-ground the one stud, attach the wire that runs from the magneto terminal at the base, for in car magneto testing, through the choke to the meter then to the coil box. I then should have the correct circuit.
I am not going to do a full restoration, just a clean up re-paint and put back in service. Oh, good thing that this was not in a car. I have had to replace 6 or 7 screws that hold the retainer plates on the magnets. I have added more photos to my photo bucket so enjoy!
It looks like, just as in Model Ts, there are many subtle variations out there. My Allen HCCT was in rough, field-fresh condition when I bought it from Ron. The collar portion of my "sparker" was missing, but the rest seemed to be intact. Mine has a small electrode made from a strip of brass, that is held in place by the insulator. It allows the spark to jump from brass to brass. When I took it apart, I made note of the wiring and the position of the little parts. After I cleaned up the parts, I took a photo to remind myself where they went. I've included the photo of the parts and one that I took tonight to show how it looks, as assembled, with the new parts that I purchased from Bob Scherzer.
crazy question; what is glass tape?
I just finished restoring the exact unit for a friend of mine. Here are the before and after photos of the unit. I used a new electrode from Bob Scherzer, and the unit now works great. The meter was in bad shape so I learned how to make it work and look good. I put a new meter face on it so it looks fresh.
The Coil Doctor
Yeah, you have to remove the spark plug from the plug tester contacts in order for it to spark at the ring. The plug gap is so much smaller than the tester's gap, that it chooses that path and not the other.
Brett, how did you restore the name tag on your base? Did you purchase a new one or repaint it. Mine looks alot like your original. Here's mine
I have cleaned up and re assembled the flywheel. Have not set the magnet heights yet, I'm going to wait until I have re wound the mag ring.
With Ron's help by suppling me with an original instruction plate I had some reproduced when I was making my HCCTs. I never tried to have the smaller plates done. If interested PM me I also supply the drive screws used to mount the plate.
By removing the smaller plate you can place the instruction over where it was. Bob
I had a new ones made. It's not exactly what I wanted, but it was as close as I could fine at a reasonable price. I had 5 made. If your interested, call me offline.
The Coil Doctor