A recent post got me thinking again about this. I know the original coil testing machines are really cool and make a very interesting item to have around. I even have one, but, honestly I do not use it to adjust my coils. While one can buy a hand cranked coil tester, they are not inexpensive. I can buy at least 3 strobo-spark machines for the price of most HCCTs out there and I like to use it far more than using the cranked tester. I feel I can do a more accurate fine tune with the strobo-spark. No connection with the maker, just a very satisfied user. I do like to use my HCCT to try spark plugs that I have refurbished.
Am I missing something? If I have both (and I do) why use the HCCT over the strobo-spark?
One thing, you can make adjustments to the coils while there in the HCCT where as you don't want to be tapping and prying on the coil while it's in the Strobo-spark. Then there's the "COOL" factor. But to be fair, both work fine.
As a side note. I can build 2-3 HCCT's for the cost of one strobo scope if I scrounge the field coil. It all depends on what you want to spend you money on.
I do agree that I would not part with $1000 for an original HCCT when the strobo scope can be had for 1/3 the cost. Just my opinion.
Erich, you're right. Cool and speed are only things that a period HCCT does better than the Strobo-Spark. But, I'm still not ready to retire my Allen Electric unit and I'll snatch up every good deal that I can on original testers.
Mark, I tap and pry with the Strobo all the time.
The HCCT is cool and is a great conversation starter. It is a great visual also when you are trying to explain the inner workings of a magneto. I hate to take my hogshead off to visually explain it to people at various events.
The Strobo keeps constant rpms, were as the HCCT keeps constant rpm only if you have the electric version or can crank the same everytime. When I adjust a dozen all at once my arm gets sore, pushing a button doesn't tire out my arm.
.....and not only could you buy three Strobo-Sparks for the price of one HCCT, you can also carry them!
You can take one on a tour too. But then you end up fixing other drivers' coils!
I was rebuilding coils with new points for about 10 years and testing them on a HCCT.
Then I bought a StroboSpark and was surprised to learn that the capacitors were always bad.
The HCCT does not test capacitors at all. The StroboSpark shows the capacitor size and leakage.
I naturally thought my Strobospark was defective, although nothing John Regan ever made has been found to be defective.
Talking with Coilman about my problem, he told me not to feel bad, just about all capacitors are defective.
I also learned that many repro coils have capacitors that are good, but only 20 % of the original size.
Now I use both testers. The HCCT for a rough adjustment and the StroboSpark for a final fine tuning.
For a shop that does many coils, the cost is a few pennies of overhead. For an individual, it's a good argument for changing over to a distributor.
and we're off !
Seriously, capacitor replacement is SOP for me. Even if I find a nice one (rare) that works as is I'll change the cap. Reliability plus a good selling point if that's your intention. I don't own a Strobo or HCCT. I'll have personal ones done for my use. If selling it's the buyer's problem/choice.
After thought: You're not missing any thing Eric. They both work. The Strobo actually seems to give a bit more info + it's cheaper and it takes up no space if that's a concern. I do coils as I find them so as a part timer if you will, I don't really need either.
The strobo-spark is built tough enough that you can indeed tap the vibrator with a mallet to adjust the coil current without hurting it. Owning a strobo-spark is kinda like owning a swimming pool. You will find out you have friends you didn't know you had that will stop by ha ha.
John, I am glad to hear the unit is tuff enough to do lower point adjustments with the coil in place, but I just was raised to never treat precision equipment like that. I just can't help but take them out to do the tap, tap, tapping.
As a side note, I take my coils out and check them about every 6 months (I drive it year round). They usually need a lite fine tune I find (I like them to all be equal, matching set). I like to keep my T running as well as I can and this no doubt helps.
I wonder how many T drivers out there got coils that were correctly rebuilt, precisely adjusted, installed, and have not been touched in years.......? One may be surprised at the amount of performance that has slowly drifted away.
My club has a strobospark and I made good use of it. When the cash became available, I got myself one. I look at it like I did the relatively high cost of a new radiator. It was spendy, but I never have to buy another and it pays dividends for the rest of my T driving days.
Brought to my attention was the care & upkeep of a HCCT.
The spark ring and pointer are subject to atmosphere conditions, so these parts must be cleaned and brightened before use. Not doing will give erroneous readings lending to inaccurate adjustments.