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  #1   IP: 68.4.161.92
Old 08-23-2013, 03:27 PM
randoo randoo is offline
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electronic ignition

I have a 78Cat30 with Atomic 4. I am interested in improving the ignition system by converting to electronic ignition.

How can I identify the currently installed engine to determine the correct p/n electronic conversion kit?

thx
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  #2   IP: 99.124.190.130
Old 08-24-2013, 05:37 PM
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Al Schober Al Schober is offline
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Welcome to the forum! I'm surprised no one has answered yet.
Engines of 1978 vintage have the Delco-Remy distributor. Do you suspect someone installed an early engine in your boat? Late model engines have a thermostat housing on the top of the block (among other differences). A picture would be nice - we like pictures...
Best..
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  #3   IP: 24.152.131.153
Old 08-24-2013, 06:16 PM
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When considering this modification be sure to read the various threads discussing electronic ignition and its effect on coils. It's a great upgrade but it must be done right. There's a little more to it than plug and play.

Here are a few links to start. They're lengthy but important.
http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5748
http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7464

and the Cliff Notes version:
http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5845
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1977 Catalina 30
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prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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  #4   IP: 68.4.161.92
Old 08-24-2013, 10:45 PM
randoo randoo is offline
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thanks! I'll read the info and take some pix, appreciate your help, w/a
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  #5   IP: 174.58.84.3
Old 08-25-2013, 01:04 AM
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Why do you want EI? Are you having problems?
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  #6   IP: 107.0.6.243
Old 08-25-2013, 10:19 AM
hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
 
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I think I may have been one of the last holdouts for points type ignition on the Atomic 4. What made me switch to EI was the condition of the distributor cam lobes on all of my distributors. To my knowledge there is no aftermarket replacement for them.The problem is that as they age it becomes necessary to reduce the point gap to ridiculous levels to obtain the specified dwell. Many of the ignition troubleshooting problems we deal with here are rooted in members setting point gap specified figures and then getting lousy performance because the coil is not producing a sufficient spark. The smart play now is to go EI and deal with the coil issues as indicated by Neil. Of course, when Moyer Marine starts producing new distributor lobes the game will change.
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  #7   IP: 96.229.18.9
Old 08-25-2013, 10:46 AM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Thumbs up Go 4 it

Hanley, well said!

randoo, I converted to EI in '84 and have not had an ignition or spark related issue since. Note I had to fabricate an adaptor for my fist one, well worth the effort.

Dave Neptune
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  #8   IP: 174.58.84.3
Old 08-25-2013, 11:33 AM
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I am keeping the points.
they have run the engine since 1974, and since 1996 for me.
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  #9   IP: 107.0.6.242
Old 08-25-2013, 11:37 AM
hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
 
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by romantic comedy View Post
I am keeping the points.
they have run the engine since 1974, and since 1996 for me.
Not the same ones, I hope . But seriously, how often do you change them? What gap do you use? What dwell do you achieve?
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  #10   IP: 174.58.84.3
Old 08-25-2013, 11:52 AM
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I dont have a specific schedule for points change. Once a year, or every other year, probably. I use the ....i cant remember. what ever the setting is...25 I think. I was using a dwell meter till 2 years ago, when it died.

I will admit that my original coil is only putting out a poor spark. Yellow and anemic. It keep it running. I keep plenty of spare parts. It ran the ICW a while ago. 2 years ago I ran 30 hours to Key West.

After reading all those coil posts, i am paranoid now.
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  #11   IP: 107.0.6.243
Old 08-25-2013, 12:00 PM
hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
 
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I have been running a coil for 20 years. They don't "wear" out but they could rust away. If you are going to continue running points you should keep a good dwell meter on board and keep reducing point gap as required to achieve specified dwell. When I finally switched to EI I had a distributor set at .003" that would still achieve 31 - 34 degrees. But the point replacement nterval just kept getting shorter. I think I "milked" that distributor cam for about all I could.

Last edited by hanleyclifford; 08-25-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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  #12   IP: 108.48.212.65
Old 08-25-2013, 08:21 PM
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randoo...all good advice here..as you can see we are all passionate.

I have had good luck with EI on my '77 C-30, ever since I added a ballast resistor in front of the coil. I am sure that one of those threads Neil directed you to has the ignition resistance calculator.

I am currently running about 10.5 volts at my coil (+) post with a couple ohms of resistance (ballast resistors are cheap from NAPA or similar) in front of the coil.
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  #13   IP: 199.173.224.31
Old 08-26-2013, 09:55 AM
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I had terrible issues with my EI. This was before the ballast resistor issue was known and I went through coils at a rate of 2 a year sometimes I switched back to points and never an issue since.
EI negatives:
1. Can burn out coils.
2. Can burn up plug wires.
3. Can mask issues. The engine should start easily and run well with points.
4. Failure modes tend to be sudden and happen underway.
5. If the electronics fail you are hosed unless you have a spare unit or spare points.
EI positives:
1. If set up right maintenace should be minimal for many years.
2. Much less effected by moisture and dampness. More reliable starting when the engine itself is subject to water or condensing moisture.
3. Will fire fouled plugs (sometimes).
4. Once the timing is set there should be no need for routine access to the distributor.
5. Will fire a bigger gap.

Points negatives:
1. Will need routine yearly maintenance.
2. Subject to wear issues with the distributor.
3. Moisture can prevent the engine from starting.
4. Not as good with fouled plugs or large gaps.
5. If the engine has issues it may be quite hard to start.

Points postivies:
1. Failure modes are mainly with starting. Much less likely to die underway unless water gets dumped on the engine.
2. Less likely to burn up plug wires and coils.
3. Easy to troubleshoot.
4. Easy to repair with cheap spare parts.

IMHO and YMMV

I may go back to EI. My plan, if I do, is to use the ignitor as a trigger for an MSD unit. The MSD system, like most modern EI systems, sends a HV pulse to fire the coil as opposed to acting like electronic points. This results in less coil heating than a stock system, not more.
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