This project took a lot longer than expected thanks to feature creep and extensive performance testing but the finished version is a true replacement for the venerable HCCT - including Magneto test function. It also sports some other distinct advantages like capacitor/condenser test and with weight of only 9.5 oz it is a lot more portable.
Ok, good luck, always good with new tools available for restorers
Can you explain for me who isn't very bright on electrical stuff if the ECCT can do anything a HCCT or the Strobo Spark from Fun Projects can't do, or if it can do it faster?
I checked the ecct homepage, but nothing new there - maybe it should be updated with a price? www.modeltecct.com
Congratulations Mike !!!
Mike I think you hit a home run with this one, once again. I'm sure you had to put a lot of engineering time and testing effort in to come up with a really useful and totally comprehensive coil testing product. It should sell itself when the word gets out.
As you know I was one of the early "testers". The combining of the coil box and the electronics package into one unit is a great idea.
Roger: One thing it can do that a HCCT can't is fit into a drawer in your workbench !! ;o)
Have you had the opportunity to do side by side tests with a traditional HCCT using good properly adjusted, good maladjusted, and bad (for the typical reasons)?
This is not to doubt your product in any way, just curious if side by side comparison testing was done and what results you may have found.
Email me the details Mike. Been waiting a long time
The ECCT operates very differently from the HCCT. The ECCT measures and displays the coil dwell time to fire which determines engine ignition timing variation and ultimate engine performance. The HCCT measures and displays the average RMS current which is proportional to coil dwell time to fire but merely an indicator of time to fire because coil current is influenced by many other variables including coil to coil inductance variations which I found could be rather significant. Simply put, that’s why you adjust ignition timing in modern cars for best performance and not “Currenting”.
The ECCT measures coil dwell time to fire from a relaxed, steady state or standby condition similar to when the timer is in between cylinders and the coil is waiting to fire. ECCT coil excitation is a rapid step change in voltage similar to what the magneto delivers to the coil when the timer comes on contact during normal engine operation. The HCCT, on the other hand, applies a continuous AC excitation voltage to the coil without ever permitting the coil to rest in between firings as the timer and ECCT do. The HCCT voltage amplitude is also abnormally weak during hand cranking compared with normal engine operation. The slowly cranked HCCT magneto output also rises uncharacteristically slow compared with normal engine operation. Not surprisingly, coil performance comparisons between ECCT versus professionally adjusted HCCT coils can yield very different results as documented in this VF article; http://www.modeltecct.com/uploads/ECCT_Intro.pdf In the end, what really matters is ignition performance on.
Qualitative A/B coil road test comparisons by ECCT Beta testers indicated the ECCT coil adjustment method is a viable and effective alternative but of course such testing was vulnerable to subjective interpretation. A complete Model T Data Acquisition System (TDAS) was designed, built and used to conduct A/B coil performance comparisons based on numerous road test runs with considerable effort to eliminate or minimize as many variables as possible between test runs. These efforts were also captured in another recent VF article; http://www.modeltecct.com/uploads/TDAS_V4.pdf. Much was learned through the development process and used to refine the ECCT to achieve the best possible Model T engine ignition performance with the least effort and specialized skill.
More detailed information about the ECCT will be available on the website soon. Thanks for the continued interest, support and patience.
Nice work Mike.
Can every Model T Ford coil be fit to and analyzed by the ECCT?
I hope so.
The reason I am asking is not to be critical. Rather, I have a need to test and adjust coils for Fords 1909 and older.
Congratulations, Mike! Nifty product. Do you provide a coil points adjusting hammer with it?
Drawing courtesy of I forgot who.
Congratulations Mike! I can't begin to imagine what might be your next project!
Will these be available directly from you? Glad your finally finished but developing products with the quality that you takes many hours and then there's the testing.
If you complain about this one you're nuts. Good Luck with it Mike.
You would have a problem adjusting coils on a HCCT, the HCCT as originally made only accepted the standard coils made in 1914 to 1927.
Early coils from several manufacturers had all terminals in slightly different positions compared to the later standard coil.
You may fabricate a holder for your early coil and wire accordingly to your HCCT, or tester of your choice.
Just remember, earlier coils did not have the cushion spring upper contact, the one addition of the cushion spring that insured a single spark with the most energy for good ignition.
Thank you for responding to my inquiry.
Beautiful work!! Please PM me with availability details.
Nice job Mike! Please email me with price and availability!
So what.kind of laptop are youse throwing in the deal Mike?
(The devil made me do it!)
Great news, this looks like a must for my little Model T workshop.
I notice in the instructions that the software runs on a PC. I use Macs, will the ECCT work with a Mac?
Does the ECCT need a laptop or computer in order to work? Can it be used stand alone on a tour?
Thanks for the kind comments and questions. The ECCT does operate stand alone and can be used in the field operating from 12V battery.
Hooking up to a PC provides numerical values of test parameters and graphical displays of the test data. The software also provides additional features like the ability to change the number of sparks fired and firing rate. The software only operates on the Windows platform at present.
Any idea when it might be available?
Dave, Just waiting on a few remaining components scheduled to arrive next week and have to update the instruction manual. Hope to have some available by the end of the month.
More details about the ECCT have been added on the website: http://www.modeltecct.com/Features.html
Can someone discuss the differences between the ECCT and the StroboSpark, particularly in regards to how each one is testing the coils, what each is measuring etc.
It seems to me that the capacitance and capacitor leak tests are the same. After that, I can't tell if they're using the same types of analyses or not.
Are there any advantages of the base model ECCT (i.e. no computer hookup or magneto tester options) vs. the Strobo?
Is the "bench test" option also $149? I didn't see a price for that.
My gosh! It would be cheaper to install a distributor and use common tune-up tools to tune your engine. At over $700 for the "package", this sure is a good argument for going with a distributor.
It's obviously priced well out of the reach for most of us hobbyists. I suspect marketing will be targeting repair shops.
The ECCT tests coils based on dwell time to fire; that is, the time required to spark measured from the instant the coil was requested to spark by the Timer. Adjusting each coil for the same dwell time to fire eliminates ignition timing variation due to coil to coil timing differences.
Other methods of coil adjustment rely on measuring the average RMS current as an indirect indicator of dwell time to fire but coil current may be influenced by other factors which can vary coil to coil; primary inductance for example, which can skew the actual firing time for the same current reading. Detecting coil point adjustment issues that cause timing irregularities like arcing can be difficult to detect by monitoring the average RMS current depending upon the quality and characteristics of the Ammeter movement. The ability to read the meter and interpret the associated nuisances requires knowledge and experience.
Historically, coil points were adjusted based on average RMS current and not dwell time to fire because 100 years ago Ammeters were available to measure current but Oscilloscopes or other equipment to accurately measure firing time were not. Today, modern electronics makes it possible to accurately measure coil dwell time to fire and display the results without the need to know how to set up and operate complicated test equipment. The ECCT enables anyone to adjust coil point for the exact same dwell time to fire. Push the test button, read the dwell time to fire, adjust coil points as necessary so all 4 coils have the same dwell time to fire. In short: Engine performance depends upon ignition Timing Not ignition Currenting.
Can it detect double sparks that can cause misfire?
I read the instructions for using the ECCT unit, and according to what I read, will detect multiple sparking & help you adjust for the single strong spark. The computer interface hook-up is optional for you if you so desire.
So, no one seems to be saying it directly.
The *Strobospark* (not HCCT) measures average RMS current, right?
And, Mike, your term "dwell time to fire" is the same thing that Fun Projects calls "ramp to fire" in the Strobospark written instructions. Is that correct? (see http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/CT-1%20%2860Hz%20Version%29.pdf )
Priced at $299.95, the ECCT is the least expensive coil adjustment tool available to accurately set up Model T coil units to perform at least as well as coils adjusted on the venerable HCCT by a skilled professional .
Considering the ECCT also can test the internal capacitor and costs less than 1/3 the cost of an HCCT, it is far more affordable to the hobbyist than the popular HCCT. The cost of adding optional magneto test capability is comparable with other quality magneto test instruments. The optional Advanced Features Software adds features and test capability presently unavailable on any other coil test equipment at any price. The combined introductory package of ECCT and all options ($499.95) is less than ½ the cost of the HCCT with far more features, capability, easier to store and transport without risk of a hernia.
You forgot that the other units can "bench test" coils--The usual place for setting coils. When you add all the options to the ECCT, it looks like the cost sours to over $700 if each option is $149. How many people will pull the plugs and crawl into a T to test the coils? Most folks set coils at the bench where testing and adjusting is more convenient and accessible. You can't do that with the ECCT unless you buy more "options". What's the use of having the software if you can't test coils outside of the car?
From the instructions:
Coil units can be tested on the work bench with the optional ECCT Coil Test Fixture and AC
And I can get a Dwell Meter for less than $25!
Congratulations Mike on getting the ECCT available. I think the price is quite reasonable and like the ability to add options depending on one's budget and needs. If I can rebuild and tune up my present set of coils using the ECCT rather then send them in for rebuilding, that would pay for a good portion of the cost. Should be a great tool for a lot of us, considering how important the coils are.
Ken, My apologies. The ECCT instructions presently on the website pertains to the original 2 piece Beta version of the ECCT. The ECCT has since evolved into a single unit specifically designed for bench testing. The concept of in-car test has been abandoned partially due to the inconveniences you cited. I am in the process of updating the ECCT instructions now and will post them as soon as available.
Just to clarify the confusion over pricing:
"Priced at $299.95, the ECCT is the least expensive coil adjustment tool available to accurately set up Model T coil units to perform at least as well as coils adjusted on the venerable HCCT by a skilled professional."
If one builds a HCCT from scrap T parts and uses a used field coil it can be done for a little over $100. I know many were even built for less if they got a meter cheap enough.
Not everyone needs to own the tools to adjust coils. Join a local chapter and I promise somebody already has them. Anyone in the chapter I belong to is welcome to use mine, just bring the beer to stock the fridge.
I have a question for you. You have said a few times something like, "In short: Engine performance depends upon ignition Timing Not ignition Currenting." Do you have anything to back that up? It seems that your own test showed no real difference between coils set on a HCCT (with no test for timing) and coils set on the ECCT.
On the surface it sounds like having the exact same timing on all cylinders would be a good thing and your ECCT is supposed to set the timing +/- one degree. I have never seen anything that would support a claim that +/- 5° or 10° or even 20° really makes any difference. Of course at some point a timing variation will make a difference in performance but it seems that the HCCT does set the timing close enough so it is not an issue. Remember, on the mag, timing takes steps of 22.5° with no really adverse effects.
It sounds like setting coils with the ECCT is a viable option to the Strobospark or HCCT but I have seen nothing to support a claim that it is better because of the timing feature.
I believe it is fairly well accepted in the automotive industry that engine performance depends upon ignition timing, not the average RMS current flowing in the primary winding of the ignition coil. There is a correlation of course between the two which permits the average RMS current to be successfully used as an indicator for the adjustment of coils. My contention is, why use current an indicator of coil ignition timing today when you can easily measure and display exact coil ignition timing; Duh!
Regarding your comment " I have never seen anything that would support a claim that +/- 5° or 10° or even 20° really makes any difference." Really? I thought it also was fairly well accepted that a Model T engine operating on 6V battery will perform inferior to the same engine operating on 12V battery. The reason has been identified to be the additional coil dwell time to fire resulting from lower voltage operation on 6V (Yes, coil operating voltage does matter).
Typical dwell time to fire on 12V = 0.002s
Typical dwell time to fire on 6V = 0.0035s
The extra 0.00015s equates to an ignition timing delay (retard) of 18 degrees with the engine operating at 2000 RPM which does make a very significant difference in engine performance at the top end as many have experienced and reported on this forum. This fact was confirmed and numerically documented in the TDAS test data also included in the same article you cited.
Excellent points Gary. Hey, just imagine if one mined their own iron and copper ore they could forge their own magnets and extrude their own wire too.
Although I do find it a bit rude to imply the scores of folks who opted to shell out $1000 to $1500 for the venerable HCCT got duped. The HCCT does have historical value too.
Mike, is your term "dwell time to fire" the same thing that Fun Projects calls "ramp to fire" in the Strobospark written instructions? (see http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/CT-1%20%2860Hz%20Version%29.pdf )
I was not implying that folks who spent $1000 on an original got dupped. I was only pointing out that a lot of folks have built HCCT's for less than $300.
When I made mine and sketched up drawings to allow others to build their own I knew there were a lot of T guys out there with the leftover parts and the ability to make one.
In the end, it replicates the factory testers in performance as both use the Ford flywheel and field coil.
Lastly, I wasn't trying to imply that your tester wasn't worth what you're selling them for either. I was really trying to push the idea of folks joining a local chapter. Getting help with coils is only one benefit. I have to say, every chapter should have some sort of accurate coil tester such as yours, the strobe spark, or an HCCT (factory type or home made). Our chapter has 5 HCCT's and one strobo spark within 90 miles of me that I know of. I'm guessing there are others I don't know about.
If we had nothing, yours would be worthy of consideration. Not sure why my comment irritated you. There won't be another.
The detailed rationalization of your comment suggests your pondering aboutmy response is unfounded.
The term coil dwell time to fire is synonymous with coil ramp time to fire.
I built my electronic tester knowing that I'd never get a HCCT, given their excessive price and rarity in Australia. Nor was I ever likely to acquire the parts to build one.
As I have an electronics engineering background it was just logical and easier, to go the electronic route. I was also really looking to set for equal dwell time. Although working on similar principles to Mike's tester, mine requires a CRO and an electronics background to use and interpret, so it isn't suitable for most Model T owners.
Having experienced the results of electronic testing, and knowing all the coils I set up have the same dwell time, I wouldn't do it any other way.
Mike's tester looks like excellent value for what you get, and anyway by restoring a few sets of coils for others, it would soon pay for itself. I hope it's a successful product.
Thanks, Mike, for the RTF and dwell time explanation. Always good to know that things mean what I think they mean ;)
In Mike's Beta Tester webpage, there was a report by one of the testers that (hope I'm remembering it right) the ECCT adjusted coils seemed to pull better up hills. Did any of the other beta testers notice that too?
And thanks, Mike, for all the hard work. This is cool stuff.
Mike thanks for your work. Looks like another great product that gives one more option to Model T guys.
I think some may be confusing the cylinder to cylinder timing variation with the distinct different firing points when running on magneto. Yes, the magneto fires in 22.5 degree increments, but all four cylinders increase or decrease by the 22.5 degree change accordingly. You do not (Or at least should not) have one cylinder firing at say 30 deg BTDC and another firing at 52.5 or 7.5 deg BTDC. With an off centered timer, I'm sure it is possible, but the driver would immediately recognize the rough running and find 'the sweet spot' where all 4 are on the correct peak. We should not confuse this with the variation in spark timing from one cylinder to the next caused by variation in coil reaction time from one coil to the next.
BTW, I know it is not 30 deg BTDC. I just don't recall off hand what it really is, so I picked a round number for my example.
Jim, a few more comments regarding the impact of ignition timing on Model T engine performance described in my VF article: "Model T Data Acquisition System" Volume 49, Number 3 May/June 2014, page2 38-42, Referring to figure 9 on page 42, engine speed (purple trace) and vehicle speed (green trace) start to deviate significantly from coil operation on 12V or Magneto at just 1200 RPM. At that engine speed, the ignition delay (retard) due to the 0.0015s longer coil dwell time to fire of coils operating on 6V is just 10.8 degrees. Also note that engine and vehicle speed perform nearly identical operating on 12V battery compared with magneto.
I respectfully disagree with your statement "Remember, on the mag, timing takes steps of 22.5° with no really adverse effects." My experience is that retarding the spark lever so ignition occurs using an earlier magneto pulse (occurs 22.5 degrees earlier) makes a huge difference in engine performance.
I also mentioned in the article a day to day difference in performance despite similar operating conditions and pondered the root cause. I later found that my wood coil box was a contributing ignition variable due to internal arcing. I subsequently replaced the coil box wood with custom made Delrin plastic material this past summer to eliminate that variable. Will investigate the timer variables this summer and plan to conduct further performance testing using the TDAS to see if ECCT adjusted coils using the equal dwell time to fire method is superior to HCCT adjusted coils.
Mike, how does the software output on a PC compare to the signal displayed on an oscilloscope? Is there an easy way to hook up a scope to the ECCT? Perhaps you could consider a cheaper, barebones setup (kit?) with only the coil holder and primary driver circuit for those of us with an oscilloscope and cap tester.
I'll have to look at your published test again. Hall is correct, we are talking about timing variations from cylinder to cylinder and not really simple timing. I'm assuming that every time you say timing that you are really mean timing variation from cylinder to cylinder.
I agree the discussion has drifted. Cylinder to cylinder ignition timing variation is the parameter intended to be minimized by adjusting each coil for the same dwell time to fire.
There are several variables associated with a Model T engine that could contribute to cylinder to cylinder ignition timing variation. Coil point adjustment is one of the variables and may not be the limiting factor on my car. Looking forward to more testing when the weather finally warms up now that I have eliminated my coil box variables.
Mike, will you be wholesaling these to the Model T vendors to sell?
The new front panel labels have arrived. Made of durable polycarbonate and printed from the back they are designed to last.
The Magneto test scale has also been added; similar to the familiar St. Louis Magneto Tester scale since the ECCT magneto test is also based on the magnetic field strength of the magneto.
I thought the Model T was a simple machine. People used to repair them with nothing in the middle of nowhere. Today it's alot different with all this fancy expensive equipment.
There were and are many things an owner can do. However, coil adjustment has always been something best left to someone with proper equipment. Nothing new about that.
I would say that 6 out of 10 Ts running today have mis-adjusted coils in them. They still run and drive , but not to their full potential.
Well, you are right; the Model T IS a simple machine and it always will be. And you are also correct that folks would fix them in the most remote regions with their trusty bailing wire, a rock and a sharp stick.
The Model T's simplicity is it's biggest claim to fame; that, and it's durability and low cost of purchase and upkeep. I think that the simplicity and the Model T's ability to run "half decent" even when it is extremely worn and about ready to fall apart, lead to conflicting ideologies regarding what to expect in Model T performance.
When I was first introduced to Model Ts in 1967, I/we were thrilled just to get it to start and be able to drive it around town. A trip to a show twenty miles away was a Big Deal. Hard starting, mediocre performance, and questionable reliability were pretty much accepted as part of the "old car" experience. For a while we thought that this was as good as it gets, but in doing research and meeting more T drivers we realised that Repairs were needed and more importantly that Precision mattered.
The concept of precision repairs, accuracy and attention to tolerances, along with the associated equipment has been around since KR Wilson and Stevens. Those developers and others were trying to make available for use all of the potential that the Ford engineers and designed into Lizzie. Mike Kossor and others are trying to help all of us enjoy all of the goodness that at times is still hidden in the Model T and which is eager to be released.
My two cents worth. Bill
Ken, The ECCT Instruction Manual has been revised and uploaded to the website. http://www.modeltecct.com/uploads/ECCT_Instructions_V6.pdf
It contains a lot of information and lots of photos to acquaint folks new to coil adjusting to the basic procedure.
Would welcome any feedback regarding content or typos. Thanks!
Thanks for the updated current final draft of the instruction manual. A lot of information indeed, and simplified to use with your ECCT. Someday I'll stop by and try out your new diagnostic tool....... I'm still calibrating on a HCCT. Happy St. Patrick's Day !!
Mike, will you be wholesaling these to the Model T vendors to sell?
Thanks for the feedback Bob. Possibly Mike, all depends upon acceptance and demand. Just interested in placing the first lot in loving garages right now, with folks willing to thoroughly try all the features and comment on results.