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View Results: Which is more reliable for Airheads ... electronic ignition or points?
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are super reliable. Leave it alone 19 32.76%
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are junk, replace with aftermarket electronic ignition 3 5.17%
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are junk, replace with beancan w/points 5 8.62%
BMW points & Condensers are reliable. leave it alone 27 46.55%
BMW points & Condensers are junk. replace with aftermarket electronic ignition 4 6.90%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:29 PM   #31
One Less Harley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
only time I set by feel is during an emergency when a feeler gauge is not available.

.

I was implying using a feeler gauge is set by feel, still lots of room for error. I was always off using a feeler gauge had better luck with a dwell meter. To get it exactly where it needed to be. Gap also changes as spark contact points wear???
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:34 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by senatorperkins View Post
not all of them.. some are crankshaft mounted, some have photo gate sensors, some have selectable curves...

but yeah, I'm wondering about why we hear about failures of stock and aftermarket ignitions regularly, when it seems like other vehicles, like lots of cars have no problems. could be they just don't care enough to report them. it's funny, I work on old mopeds all the time, and they do often have point problems, but this is another case where there are lots of stock and aftermarket electronic ignition problems as well... I always chalked it up to moped parts being made cheaply.
I meant hall effect sensors. What ignition uses photo gate sensors?
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:37 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershaft View Post
I meant hall effect sensors. What ignition uses photo gate sensors?
used to sell a ton of replacement electronic ignitions with optic sensor/triggers for British sports cars. this was 15+ years ago, so they've been around a day or two. Lucas was referred to as the prince of darkness. their electronics were junk.

back on topic... starting to wonder if all the electronic ignition failures on airheads are due from being located under front cover?

like it or not ... airheads has a higher than normal electronic ignition failures. this includes BMW and aftermarket electronic ignitions both. so failures cannot be tied to one particular brand.

naturally as a mechanic, you would probably like it ... as electronic ignition failure brings consistent business.

_cy_ screwed with this post 09-21-2012 at 09:02 PM
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:10 AM   #34
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Hi,

Regarding cars with electronic ignition systems not failing... err they DO! Not as frequently as the airheads due to temperatures being lower through water cooling. But they still do. The life time of an electronic component is effected by the temperature it experiences, the higher the temperature the sooner it will fail.


You can reduce your rate of failure by keeping the temperature down. In particular when you stop a motor the stored heat energy in it suddenly has not the cooling it had when running (by the air going past it when riding, or the water going around for those with liquid cooling). Say 5 minutes before you stop the motor .. back off on the speed (reduce its work level) and let it cool a little, does it the world of good. Works for all motors.

Now back to the topic - Reliable - electronic or points? Depends on what you mean by 'reliable'.

If that means time between when it was last worked on - then the electronic wins. Mechanical things ware requiring maintenance.

If that means fixing it beside the road then points wins. It wins because it is easier for most people to find out what is wrong and fix it.


If you want to have your cake and eat it, replace the electronic bits well before they fail with new ones.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:32 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by One Less Harley View Post
I was implying using a feeler gauge is set by feel, still lots of room for error. I was always off using a feeler gauge had better luck with a dwell meter. To get it exactly where it needed to be. Gap also changes as spark contact points wear???
good point .. feeler gauges are set by feel. flat forgot to add after setting points, static time then followed with timing light and checking dwell.

dwell usually checks out within correct range after setting points with a feeler gauge for me. it's one of the few times Snap-on dwell meter and timing light comes out. just about everything else I work on is running electronic ignition or diesel.


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Old 09-19-2012, 05:53 AM   #36
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Allison makes electronic Light triggers for many CARS, at one point they had problems too and may still. I bought a set for a TR6 and still use points. Also "upgraded" to an MSD ignition which uses the points as a trigger. This failed after less than 20,000 miles, so points are back on and easier to trouble shoot.

I still prefer the electronic ignition on the BMW though. Just set it an forget about it....unless it fails then it'll be upgraded to Mottorad Electric's version, which is repairable. Probably not much harder than replacing points.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:57 AM   #37
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see my avatar. You should get the point(s.)

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:18 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
used to sell a ton of replacement electronic ignitions with optic sensor/triggers for British sports cars. this was 15+ years ago, so they've been around a day or two. Lucas was referred to as the prince of darkness. their electronics were junk.

back on topic... starting to wonder if all the electronic ignition failures on airheads are due from being located under front cover?

like it or not ... airheads has a higher than normal electronic ignition failures. this includes BMW and aftermarket electronic ignitions both. so failures cannot be tied to one particular brand.

naturally as a mechanic, you would probably like it ... as electronic ignition failure brings consistent business.

by the way don't be so smug to think other folks don't also know how to work on electronic ignitions. got a full electronics lab at home and have been interested in circuit board design for quite some time. it's been while, but have done a boat load of surface mounted technology repair work on circuit boards using micro sized components.

Airheads have a higher than normal electronic ignition failures? Do you have any expereince with other brands?? It sure doesn't sound like it.

Electronic ignition failures bring constant business? Not in my business or any other BMW business I have worked at.

I am not being smug. I am trying to help. Your facts and figures here on ADVR are often just not so. Same with your failure analysis which is just guessing for all of us but your guessing shows a huge lack of experience. Be careful with that scope. Something about them seems to render their operator's minds incapable of fixing things without replacing entire setups versus fixing the problem. I have seen this work out numerous times in my days. It looks like maybe I am seeing it again. Again, I am just trying to help. IF the aftermarket cans have a much easier to replace hall effects sensor, it's going to be easier to replace a hall effects sensor on the side of the road than set up a set of points. In the odd chance that it ever needs replacing.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:57 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershaft View Post
Airheads have a higher than normal electronic ignition failures? Do you have any expereince with other brands?? It sure doesn't sound like it.

Electronic ignition failures bring constant business? Not in my business or any other BMW business I have worked at.

I am not being smug. I am trying to help. Your facts and figures here on ADVR are often just not so. Same with your failure analysis which is just guessing for all of us but your guessing shows a huge lack of experience. Be careful with that scope. Something about them seems to render their operator's minds incapable of fixing things without replacing entire setups versus fixing the problem. I have seen this work out numerous times in my days. It looks like maybe I am seeing it again. Again, I am just trying to help. IF the aftermarket cans have a much easier to replace hall effects sensor, it's going to be easier to replace a hall effects sensor on the side of the road than set up a set of points. In the odd chance that it ever needs replacing.
perhaps you should read the post before replying. plainly stated that I sold a ton of electronic ignitions. reflecting back in excess of 200+ units. out of that number sold, had less than 1-2 units actually fail. this included trouble shooting a butt-load of customers having problems that ended up something else.

then earlier posted a picture of my electronics lab, briefly noted experience with circuit board design/repairs using surface mounted tech using parts size of grains of rice.

now does this sound like I've got no experience with electronic ignitions?

evidently you've seen your fair share of airhead electronic ignition problems based on your statements of selling lots of beancans that turned out to be good.

my failure analysis is based on reports of Airhead ignition failures on Adv and multiple other places. when I see one or two report of failure of any kind. what I assume is they are isolated instances. how ever when I see multiple instances of documented failures over and over. then I've got to assume there is a problem.

right or wrong... it's my observation that there are more instances of reported electronic ignition failure on Airheads than any where else.

you may declare that all airhead electronic ignition are super reliable. but that doesn't change the fact that all sorts of folks had problems. some on side of the road in the middle of no-where ... like say Mongolia..

again... don't be so smug to think you are the only one that's capable of diagnosing electronic ignition issues. perhaps it's you that should be open to something new. since it's obvious from post above, you've never heard of electronic ignitions uses optical sensors. when in fact they've been around for quite sometime.

if I remember correctly, in another thread, you also thought there's a resistor built into a set of points. when in fact there is none..

don't get me wrong... totally respect your extensive Airhead experience. But NO one can know everything!

_cy_ screwed with this post 09-19-2012 at 02:34 PM
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:52 PM   #40
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Isn't there a quality control issue for replacement points now??? I seem to remember reading that somewhere. So that's a strike against point reliability, careful of your supplier. With points or anything mechanical or electronic failures happen.

Let's put the comparison in perspective here---Sure there are reports of electronic ignitions failing. But dang how old are the bikes now?? 20-30 plus years??? How many sets of points have been changed on a BMW with 100,000 miles??? How many bean cans have been replaced in the same 100,000 miles???

I for one will not replace a perfectly operating electronic ignition bean, in anticipation of it going out. Yes it will eventually fail but that could be tomorrow or two or three owners later....just like a set of points.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:28 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
perhaps you should read the post before replying. plainly stated that I sold a ton of electronic ignitions. reflecting back in excess of 200+ units. out of that number sold, had less than 1-2 units actually fail. this included trouble shooting a butt-load of customers having problems that ended up something else.

then earlier posted a picture of my electronics lab, briefly noted experience with circuit board design/repairs using surface mounted tech using parts size of grains of rice.

now does this sound like I've got no experience with electronic ignitions?

evidently you've seen your fair share of airhead electronic ignition problems based on your statements of selling lots of beancans that turned out to be good.

my failure analysis is based on reports of Airhead ignition failures on Adv and multiple other places. when I see one or two report of failure of any kind. what I assume is they are isolated instances. how ever when I see multiple instances of documented failures over and over. then I've got to assume there is a problem.

right or wrong... it's my observation that there are more instances of reported electronic ignition failure on Airheads than any where else.

you may declare that all airhead electronic ignition are super reliable. but that doesn't change the fact that all sorts of folks had problems. some on side of the road in the middle of no-where ... like say Mongolia..

again... don't be so smug to think you are the only one that's capable of diagnosing electronic ignition issues. perhaps it's you that should be open to something new. since it's obvious from post above, you've never heard of electronic ignitions uses optical sensors. when in fact they've been around for quite sometime.

if I remember correctly, in another thread, you also thought there's a resistor built into a set of points. when in fact there is none..

don't get me wrong... totally respect your extensive Airhead experience. But NO one can know everything!
Experience? I meant at repairing motorcycles. It still doesn't sound like you have very much.

It is hard to get a point across. My fair share of selling bean can problems that in fact were not a problem? And how is that a lot of expereince with bean can problems? Sorry but my point is just the opposite.

I know how you got your failure analysis. I have known many just like you. I couldn't tell you how many different stories that are basically the same regarding failure analysis. I have worked next to MANY a mechanic that see's a problem once, sometimes even twice, and then goes on about it like it happens all the time. They are the same type that strips threads on a semi regular basis and then blames everything but himself. It's almost as if you think the results of this pole matter? A properly conducted pole is iffy enough. It's great that you think airheads have more troubles but that doesn't make it a fact. I MAY declair that BMW airhead electronic ignitions are super reliable but in fact I NEVER have. I am quite confident in declairing that they are considerably more reliable than points but that isn't saying much.

I have never even remotely thought that I am the only one that can diagnose electronic ignition troubles. Open to something new?? Points are NOT new. Optical sensors? We are talking about BMW motorcycles and motorcycles in general. Why bring it up? Does any motorcylce use that tech?

You didn't perform the proper test on those points. Do you have a meg ohmer? A voltage drop would do just as well. Surely you have googled exactly what I was saying. I googled the topic after I wrote that and found exactly what I have been reading on the subject for over three decades.

Anyone that knows more than you isn't a know it all. That is unless you are one yourself. One thing is for sure! It makes learning a lot harder when you already know everything. It's just about impossible really. As for myself, I get corrected here on ADVR all the time and have graciously said a heart felt thank you numerous times over.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:14 PM   #42
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I have a 75/6 now 400.000 km needs adjustment almost every 3500 km still runs but not the way it should). Failures: some times...
Have had a R80 mono from 86. 200.000 km broken coil (old grey one they all crack) no further problems.
Now I ride a R80 mono from 93 with 390.000 km ( replaced the coil from new) never had a failure.
R100 mono from 91 with 230.000 km ( again a new coil to avoid failure of the old grey one) never failed
R100gs owned it for a few years. Never had an ignition problem with it. Just used it in the mud. Km's ??

Personally I do trust the electronic ignition. But I still bring spares on big trips.
I have seen plenty broken ones on other bikes. Maybe I was lucky !!
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:32 PM   #43
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Experience? I meant at repairing motorcycles. It still doesn't sound like you have very much.

It is hard to get a point across. My fair share of selling bean can problems that in fact were not a problem? And how is that a lot of expereince with bean can problems? Sorry but my point is just the opposite.

I know how you got your failure analysis. I have known many just like you. I couldn't tell you how many different stories that are basically the same regarding failure analysis. I have worked next to MANY a mechanic that see's a problem once, sometimes even twice, and then goes on about it like it happens all the time. They are the same type that strips threads on a semi regular basis and then blames everything but himself. It's almost as if you think the results of this pole matter? A properly conducted pole is iffy enough. It's great that you think airheads have more troubles but that doesn't make it a fact. I MAY declair that BMW airhead electronic ignitions are super reliable but in fact I NEVER have. I am quite confident in declairing that they are considerably more reliable than points but that isn't saying much.

I have never even remotely thought that I am the only one that can diagnose electronic ignition troubles. Open to something new?? Points are NOT new. Optical sensors? We are talking about BMW motorcycles and motorcycles in general. Why bring it up? Does any motorcylce use that tech?

You didn't perform the proper test on those points. Do you have a meg ohmer? A voltage drop would do just as well. Surely you have googled exactly what I was saying. I googled the topic after I wrote that and found exactly what I have been reading on the subject for over three decades.

Anyone that knows more than you isn't a know it all. That is unless you are one yourself. One thing is for sure! It makes learning a lot harder when you already know everything. It's just about impossible really. As for myself, I get corrected here on ADVR all the time and have graciously said a heart felt thank you numerous times over.
there ya go assuming crap again... how do you know how much experience I have wrenching motorcycles? and what kind of equipment I have? try looking in the mirror to see someone that's hard to get a point across ...

like a lot of items, you are dead wrong on me not having a megohmeter... got several .. fav is a Fluke 1520. just like you were dead wrong on me not knowing electronics, when in fact I've got a deep electronics background with the equipment to back it up.

check out my LiFePO4 battery testing thread on Adv
that drills in parameters of what makes lithium iron phosphate battery work or doesn't.

no matter how much you want to deny it ... folks having problems with their airhead electronic ignitions is not uncommon. in fact it's a fairly common topic that comes up on Adv.

and NO way BMW airhead electronic ignition are more reliable than points. now electronic ignitions in general on other motorcycles and cars ARE very reliable and are equally reliable as points.


_cy_ screwed with this post 09-20-2012 at 04:05 AM
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:55 PM   #44
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so what is the recommended inspection/replacement interval for points????

and what is the recommended inspection/replacement interval for electronic ignition????

just sayin'

points have a service life and are to be adjusted, inspected and replaced at certain intervals. Not so w/ electronic ignition, they will eventually fail and need to be replaced. Both can benefit from oiling of the advance weights. now what type of oil should one use for the weights, now that's important

Is one better than the other yes, but that depends who is being asked, and what he considers important. Do you minding constantly tinkering and periodic adjustment/ replacement or just replace when it fails???

This is like asking ,Are four cylinder bikes better than three cylinder bikes????
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:22 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by One Less Harley View Post
Isn't there a quality control issue for replacement points now??? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.
Regarding this question from a few post back, I thought I read the same thing. Seems it's BMW points that are questionable, correct? I need to buy a set of points for my recently acquired R75/6 and would prefer to buy a good set right away. I realize my comment/question is a bit off topic so if f someone has a brand/supplier to recommend you can PM me if you'd prefer.

Thanks.....back to the previously scheduled discussion/poll.

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