I have an Allen HCCT that I bought from a garage owner back in 1967. I paid $16.00 for it and a bunch of NORS T parts. I have used it intermittently over the years, mostly as a conversation piece or to impress my grandson. I have used it occasionally to test/adjust coils. I recently dug it out of storage and mounted it on a stand. I am not sure if it is working properly. With no coil installed, I can only get the voltmeter to register about 3.5 volts when I crank it at a speed that seems just short of taking flight. With a known good coil installed (rebuilt by Ron and currently used in my T) the sparks start to fly when the voltmeter reads 2.5 to 3 volts and the ammeter shows about 1.3 amps while sparking. According to the instruction plate, I thought that I should be able to get 6 volts on the voltmeter. What are the suggestions for obtaining optimum performance from this tester. All comments are appreciated.
Your HCCT sounds about "normal" to me. Coils are current driven devices and need only to be supplied enough current to operate. Most HCCT's will begin to spark at a wee bit more than 2 volts. Stronger magnets and closer gap between the magnets and the coil cores will result in stronger sparks with even slower cranking. Crank it about 1 turn per second and it should display 16 sparks around the ring when the gap is set at 1/4" between pointer and spark ring.
What a gem! It's hard to find a nice original like that one. The meters often have broken glass.
It is a treasure. Very nice! Like John said, it might be time to charge the magnets. You can use any of the normal methods, after all it is a real Model T magneto.
You might want to check the space between the magnet pole pieces and the coil ring pole pieces.
You will have a very low voltage with any more than .025 inches clearance.
I go for .015 to .020 on the HCCT, as it is turning slower and if any of the pole pieces actually hit, you can identify and adjust that magnet.
The magnets can vary about .020 in thickness to mess up your numbers even more.
I pick one magnet pole piece as a reference and then crank it around to one coil pole piece at a time and measure the space in each case. Then make a chart with the numbers.
Then reverse the procedure and pick one coil ring pole piece and crank each magnet by it and measure the spacing in each case.
This will tell you if the alignment of the coil ring is as good as it gets.
While in the engine that spacing is supposed to be around .030, I know for a fact if it is .040, you will have a very useless Magneto.
That is because the first one I did, I thought it was important that those pieces did not touch and I did not know how critical the spacing was for a good Magneto.
I'll check the clearance. I know there are some shims between the hub and the flywheel so adjustment should be easy. If that doesn't improve the voltage, I might charge the magnets. I assume I can do it by hooking a voltage supply to the test terminals on the base. What is the proper voltage to use for recharging? 36v?. I may also at some time, clean the unit up and paint it. Looks like black was the original color
Listen to John Regan.
Your are getting ready to make a mess of a fine piece of equipment.
Give me a call and I will explain.
Not sure why you're so concerned with the voltage Dave. Your HCCT is working just fine. Use it and enjoy it.
Listen to RON, the worst thing you can do right now is "restore" that unit!!!
Thanks everyone for your great advice. I'll just clean it up, make sure the clearances are right and use it as is.
I have the same type unit and it produces good sparks at 2 1/2 volts.
It could be the coils being tested are just no good.
I never knew the internal coil capacitor was almost always bad, until I bought a StroboSpark tester and was about ready to send it back as being defective, when Coilman clued me in to the facts of life!
I cleaned the unit up a bit today, adjusted the clearance of the flywheel and tested a few old coils along with some known good ones, Everything seems to be working fine. Thanks everyone for saving me from a potentially disastrous "restoration". Just a few questions: I see a terminal on the base marked "horn". Is this for testing magneto type horns? What is the procedure for testing a spark plug in the cradle by the coil box? On the terminal marked ground there are two copper straps that aren't connected to anything but the terminal. What are they for?
You may find this thread useful:
The sparkplug test feature on a HCCT really doesn't provide any useful feedback Dave. It's nothing more than a sales gimmick since it doesn't test the plug under working conditions. You want to find a tester that fires the plug under pressure via an air compressor. Look for a little Champion tester that doesn't take up a lot of room in use or in storage. They're not expensive. Restored and mounted on the garage wall, it makes for vintage garage bling!
Anyone tried these "modern" spark plug testers?
https://www.amazon.com/High-voltage-Detector-Mst-880-Tester-Automotive/dp/B0117N C6T6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472827256&sr=8-1&keywords=High+Voltage+Spark+Plug+T ester