How to Install an Electronic Ignition on a Triumph 650

Written by michelle schaefer
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How to Install an Electronic Ignition on a Triumph 650
(Old motorcycle image by veseliysyslik from Fotolia.com)

Installing an electronic ignition in a 650 Triumph is perhaps the single best improvement that can be made for engine performance. Replacing the outdated original equipment points and condensers with a modern, efficient electronic ignition system will result in easier starting, smoother acceleration and improved fuel economy and gives the advantage of never needing maintenance or adjustment. Upgrading to a modern, efficient electronic ignition system is a task that is well within the ability of the average home mechanic using simple tools and a little bit of care.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Electronic ignition kit
  • 2 6-volt coils
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 8 x 1.00 x 50mm bolt
  • Metric socket set
  • Wire cutter/crimper multitool

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Disconnect the battery earth cable or remove primary fuse.

  2. 2

    Remove gas tank or seat as required to gain access to ignition coils and condensers.

  3. 3

    Remove points cover and remove breaker plate using the 8 x 1.00 x 50mm bolt, disconnect and remove the condensers, breaker plate, auto advance mechanism and original ignition coils.

  4. 4

    Trace the two wires from the breaker plate to the coils, mark them for later reference. These wires are usually black and white and black and yellow.

  5. 5

    Install new 6-volt ignition coils. Label one of them as "coil 1" and the other as "coil 2". Use black wire supplied with ignition kit to jump the negative terminal of coil 1 to the positive terminal of coil 2.

  6. 6

    Use a red wire to connect the positive terminal of coil 1 to a solid grounding point such as the frame or battery on positive ground systems.

    Use a red wire connect the positive terminal of coil 1 to the power source from the ignition switch on negative ground systems.

  7. 7

    Find a good location near the coils to mount the ignition transistor box. Secure the ignition transistor box to prevent shifting or overheating during operation of the motorcycle.

  8. 8

    Connect the black wire from the transistor box to the negative terminal of coil 2.

  9. 9

    Connect the red wire from the transistor box to the positive terminal of coil 1. This is the same terminal the red wire was attached to in step 6.

  10. 10

    Connect the white wire from the transistor box to the negative hot wire from the ignition switch on positive ground systems.

    Connect the white wire from the transistor box to a solid grounding point such as the frame or battery on negative ground systems.

  11. 11

    Connect the black and yellow and the black and white wire from the ignition transistor box to the corresponding wires leading to the stator plate. These are the wires that were marked off in Step 4.

  12. 12

    Remove the timing cover inspection plate from the primary side of the engine and align the timing pointer to the full advance tick mark on the rotor.

  13. 13

    Install the new electronic ignition stator plate and line up the magnets on the stator until they line up with the timing holes. Carefully tighten down the stator while ensuring it remains in alignment.

  14. 14

    Connect the black and yellow and black and white wires from the stator plate to the corresponding wires from the coils.

  15. 15

    Reconnect battery terminal, replace fuel tank if removed and check all wiring connections. Securely wrap any loose wires.

  16. 16

    Start engine and set timing using a strobe light so the full advance timing marks align at 5,000rpm. Timing adjustment is done by rotating the stator plate. Tighten all screws when timing has been set and verified.

  17. 17

    Replace timing cover and contact breaker cover.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not try to remove the stator with anything other than the proper 8mm forcing bolt; serious damage to the crankshaft cone may result. Attempting to use pry bars or vice grips will only damage the motorcycle.
  • A digital multimeter is a great optional tool to verify power sources and to check wires for continuity. While not required for installing an electronic ignition on a Triumph, it can be a great help in diagnosing any problems that may arise.
  • Verify if the motorcycle has a positive or negative ground system. Hooking up an electronic ignition incorrectly will destroy the equipment. 1978 and earlier Triumphs have a positive ground system, 1979 and later use negative grounds.
  • Use caution when working around the battery. Keep away from sparks and open flames. Batteries maintain an electric charge even when disconnected, avoid contacting battery with metal objects.
  • Never throw away any parts that were removed from an old Triumph! Many parts are no longer made and can be very hard to find and quite valuable.

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