I have several sets of points. Since I now know that I can't replace points on T coils without $500.00 worth of equipment, I have listed the points in the classifieds. I am offering to sell or to trade for known good, tested, and adjusted coil(s).
Why selling your point??
I made my tester myself, price was a little over $50.- and it is working very well.
Tell me more. I can always buy more points.
Tommy I sent you pm
Tommy just send you a mail.
You don't need $500 of equipment. I set my points on battery by ear and got them within 0.2 amp of correct 50% of the time.
1.1 to 1.5 half the time? Wow! Look out Montana 500.
kep, tell me more. Call me @ 828-726-7664. Much discussion on here might get us both crucified. I think two of the coils I'm running spark more at the points than the other two. Would you advise adjusting them, by ear? I would like to know how a properly adjusted coil sounds like. Do some coils spark more at the points than others, even if both are properly adjusted to 1.3? Is that a problem when adjusting by ear?
Also I have the opportunity to buy two coils that have new points and have been adjusted to the proper setting and can get them now. If I do should I swap them out for the two super sparkers and/or swap them and the five I now have around and see how it runs? I wish I knew someone local that could test the five that I have. I actually have five that the car will run on and three more that do nothing when I put them in the coil box. One or two that I have may be adjusted correctly. I would like for my newly rebuilt engine to run the best it will.
I guess just getting four coils that have been adjusted properly would solve the problem and end a lot of discussion , huh? I think about all the oldtimers in days gone by that adjusted by ear. Thanks.
Why would a discussion about how to make a low cost coil tester on here get someone crucified?
I think it's more the "tuning" by ear thing, Fred.
Yes,Fred.Any implication that less than perfection on a T may result in forum flagellation.
I meant yes,Gary.
4 properly adjusted coils may all sound different from each other. For multiple reasons, there is no one perfect pitch to determine a correctly adjusted coil.
Sparking (excessive) at the points is an indication of a bad capacitor, and if it still provides a spark to the plug, the timing of that spark will be late and erratic
Old timers not only tuned by ear, but they also bought and invented devices that were advertised and guaranteed to increase mileage sometimes by 100%...over 40 MPG. Not everything the old timers did really worked.
You say you want it to "run the best it will". Well, that means a MATCHED set of coils. Set to 1.3A as closely as possible if set with traditional test equipment, or set to identical fire rate (as close as possible) per Kossor method. Both the traditional method and the Kossor method are seeking the same results (equal time to fire), with the Kossor method using modern technology that was not available in the '20's. The key is to get ramp time and firing time as equal as possible in order to keep inter-cylinder timing equal. Coil tuning and timer centering over the cam shaft are the two areas that can affect this the most.
Cushion spring travel and tension on the cushion spring cannot be set properly by guess.
Many if not most of us have been in your exact position. In a vacuum, with no other "T" to drive, we think we have a great running car. Then we drive someone else's and are amazed at how well it performs, running rings around our own "great" car. In many instances, borrowing coils from that car transforms a good running car to a great running car.
Continue with tuning by ear if that is the path you end up encouraged to take. Just know that it will not result in a car that will "run the best it will"
Good luck and happy T'ing
What does double sparking sound like? jb
just like a single spark
only real way to tell it is occurring is to view it with an oscilloscope or crank coil tester.
Years ago, some thought it was desirable, in order to get complete combustion. We now know that it is undesirable relative to one nice fat, properly timed spark, versus having two weak sparks at different times (mSec) in the compression cycle...not knowing which one (if either) will ignite the fuel
In the days when I ran coils, I had no idea about hand crank testers, etc. Dad & I set the coils till the car ran well. Were they set properly? Almost certainly not. But, the car ran well, with no misses and we never gave it another thought. While I do not debate a single piece of advice given here, and state that, to my knowledge, it's all correct, I will also say that this topic can be way "over thought". Then again, that seat-of-the-pants ability that previous generations, (like my dad), had for such things is fading fast. We depend too much, (maybe), on technology, while we loose our intuitive skills.
If I were to run coils today, I would probably use a lot of the techniques and advice given here. Once you know the correct techniques, it's hard to ignore them, and we probably shouldn't.
Single spark: BUZZ
Double spark: BUZZ BUZZ
Just teasing. Scott has it right.
As I suspected, thanks. Maybe BUZZ vs buzz buzz? And if you cannot hear it you cannot fix it with that approach. I recall a Ford article that hinted or maybe directly stated that under certain conditions two weak sparks when crank starting were advantageous to one spark. I don't think many of us subscribe to that theory currently, even if Ford suggested it was ok. best, jb
Kep & Tommy
Please do not be offended by my comments, they are intended to help you understand how Model T Ford Ignition System and properly adjusted coil actually work.
Before dispensing opinions about Model T coil rebuilding and correct coil adjustment you should read the thousands of excellent posts on this forum written by knowledgeable individuals with specific knowledgeable of the subject matter.
What size ear should a fella use .... 3/8's or a 1/2 ??
I am certainly not against those who want a precisely built and tuned Model T.
But for my purposes, a seat-of-the-pants,take it easy have fun approach was my refuge from the real world.
My real world consisted for a time of buying $50,000 Service Bay Diagnostic Systems for my Ford Lincoln Mercury store.And other pressures those never having been in business can't appreciate.
The SBDS were a ripoff,but you either submitted, or good by franchise.
My point is,there are so many very serious things to worry about,life,health,financial survival, well fare of loved ones I find it difficult to get all wound up if my T would pop or fart a little due to coils not being adjusted within a gnat's ass tolerance.
I have to wonder what the ignorant farm boys in the 20's thru the early 50's did when they adjusted and repaired coils in their T's. A few may have had a tester but most didn't.
They adjusted them by ear and how the engine ran and went about their business.
I suppose with today's seemingly mandatory 12v battery and an electric starter, if the car starts and runs on any kind of coil, it's good to go.
On the other hand if it's 40 degrees out and all you have is the stem winder, you quickly begin to appreciate a coil that is tuned to a "gnat's ass tolerance".
I suppose it's all a matter of perspective and need.
They took them down to the corner garage and had them adjusted.
I have to admit, I cut corners on a lot of things and 99% of the time, I subscribe the same theory Jim Eviston mentions above, but I do not subscribe to it when it comes to coils. I just know better. I've seen the difference it makes. I bet the idea that you can set coils by ear or with a buzz box is the single biggest reason there's so many T's out there with distributors.
I am absolutely certain you are correct regarding distributors, and agree with you on your other points (no pun intended!) as well.
Scott,I've hand cranked some of my T's on mag when it was 20°,and less.So did every T owner in a cold climate.
Double sparking is actually an advantage for cold weather starting.
If you can set your coils by ear and are satisfied with the performance, you're all set! Enjoy driving your T as often as you can.
Another facet of the hobby that appeals to others including myself is trying to get the best performance possible from the original ignition system. Use of modern technology makes that goal lot easier to achieve and provides a great sense of accomplishment when you do. Pursuit of perfection is in itself part of the hobby that appeals to me. Another interest of mine is building vintage crystal radios with just a couple components (diode, capacitor, hand wound coil and headphone). NO battery or Power source is used. The challenge is how many weak stations and furthest station you can tune in and listen to simply by extracting the electromagnetic energy directly from the airwaves. The difference between zero or many stations is how well you design your antenna system and your had wound coil. That all requires attention to detail too but certainly will not ring everyone's bell either.
Regarding double sparking; I noticed it often does make a distinctly different sound when the coil is activated for a brief interval (0.004s) that's long enough for a single spark to occur. It sounds like Twick rather a Tick. Anyway, double sparking is another topic that fascinated me enough to study it in depth. Here's a link to a paper I wrote about the topic if you are interested: www.modeltecct.com/uploads/The_Double_Spark_Doctrine_Paradox_V5.pdf
Good luck with getting your car running to your satisfaction.
I started my T this afternoon and told my ear to adjust the coils.
Next I put my ear on the coil box and nothing changed.
Please tell me how I can get my ear to the adjust the coils.
Do I need to send it to a coil adjusting school, get a book, or send my ear to a coil adjusting expert?
Did I miss the point in this discussion?
You guys have turned the technical section of this Model T forum into the Twitter equivalent of a Millennial social media cesspool.
Count me out of this nonsense.
Mike,strangely enough,through the years building crystal sets and using other radio detectors such as hacksaw blades and razor blades has been a hobby of mine,too.
I also have a couple early build homebrews that are amazing.Spiderweb coils,beehive coils,and so forth.
The farm I grew up on had what is now the biggest hip roof barn left in that township.
With the weather conditions just right,we could listen to WOWO 1190,without a radio,in the barn.Apparently, the corrosion of the copper lightning rods and the excellent ground provided by the long copper ground rods were just the right combination to make a diode.The roof tin was the 'earphone diaphragm'.That,and we were less than a dozen crow fly miles from the 50kw transmitter. And,we were in the same ground conductivity area on the map.
It was faint,but if everybody shut up and the wind wasn't blowing we could listen to the grain and cattle prices.
Mike and Jim,
You bring back memories from many years ago.
I built a few radios in the 50s.
One was the razor blade radio.
The biggest projects were antennas.
One was from the back of the house across the back yard to a cherry tree and then to the barn.
Another was on the roof of our 3 story home.
There was a place in the attic of the addition where the peak extended above the main roof.
It had a small door so I could get on the main roof.
I remember crawling along the peak with a tight sphincter to attach a pole with one end of a wire antenna and then trying to turn around to return.
I then attached the other end to the addition peak and ran a lead wire to my second floor bedroom window.
I still have nightmares about crawling on the roof.
My dream was to get a multi band console radio.
One of those big floor models.
The closest I came was to get the radio and speaker without the cabinet that I put in a cardboard box when I was in college.
I couldn't put up a real antenna but it did a good job of receiving Boston AM stations.
If memory serves me correctly the plans to build a coil tester from an old coil box which my father built came from the MTFCA magazine many years ago, our T is stock and will do 50 miles an hour with the four coil that are set up in the old tester. You need an amp gauge an old coil box some wire and a battery all stuff a T man should have in his junk pile. Cheers Colin
Jim, Fred, I didn't mean to hijack the thread but really enjoyed reading both your experiences with crystal sets. Having knowledge and experience with spiderweb, beehive coils and tails of antenna launching indicates more than a passing interest. My favorite coil is the basket weave for its low inter-winding capacitance and high Q. Great stories and great to know others here share and enjoy some other common interests.
Colin, from your description, it sounds like what is commonly referred to as a "buzz" box coil tester. Good to verify the coil primary and secondary windings are good but can't discern the difference between single spark and the dreaded double spark which is known to result in poor engine performance. Search for "Buzz Box" and you will find plenty of threads on them.
Mike,I even went so far as to paint on a junky old T 'buckboard' I built 30+ years ago the following: "General Farm Handyman.Fences built and repaired.Glass cut and windows repaired.Field tile repaired. Radio antennas erected. Widow ladies a specialty".And I had tools and supplies, including old clay tile, to do these things loaded in the bed.I used rusty barbed wire on that one for plug wires.
I had a bunch of people ask me what anybody needed a radio antenna for.
Wasn't the razor blade radio actually called a foxhole radio?
That's some history Jim, especially Barn Roof radio. I've heard of such things happening but never had any direct experience. Great memories.
I believe you are correct Garnet, that's what I've heard radios with razor blade detectors called. Never made one but must be pretty tricky trying to tune in a station while finding a good rectifying junction with judicious placement on a select area of oxidization. Interesting stuff.
I have no idea why I remember this, but the mention of crystal sets takes me back to circa 1945. My folks and I were visiting their friends in Los Angeles. They had an older boy, about ten, who had to go to bed because he had school the next day. After he turned in I listened to his cigar box crystal set. I heard the Jan Garber band play Harbor Lights, and I've been partial to the song ever since. I can't tell you now whether I heard a live remote or a local record show, but I sure remember the song.
Haha this forum takes odd turns..
So anyway. How I adjusted my points before access to someones coil tester was... basically take the pile of rusty, pitted points and pick out the best ones. Wire brush them clean. Decide which ones had reasonable cushion spring movement (as opposed to no movement due to damage, excessive bending, or rust) and file them a tad to get them somewhat smooth.
Set them on the coils so they line up nicely. Lay the plug to test them with on the cylinder head, using an exposed wire, no insulation, and a wide plug gap (maybe 35 thou?). Insert the coil to be tested in the coil box, turn on ignition and use a wooden handle screwdriver to lure the spark from the exposed wire, adjusting the coil points until the spark was long and hot, normally a nice blue colour.
This was good enough to get my car on the road, of 14 coils done in one day, about 11 of them came up acceptable on a HCCT later with minimal to no adjustment. 3 of them just wouldn't spark reliably at the brake drum - rotating finger part of the tester.
Works well enough for me (you'd probably think i was a hillbilly or something, maybe you're right? But at least it got the car running on the road reliably, with coils spare)
Well,kept,that's the way I've always done it too.
And when friend Pete SNEP built a HCCT,I used it some just to check my work.
I built a DC tester decades ago to get the amp draw right.
But,some coils don't like to be set at 1.3 amps.
And for high speeds on battery,I would set them higher,say 2 or 2.5_amps.