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The alternative condenser update
#1388813 Fri Dec 18 2020 12:55 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,364
J
Jon G Offline OP
'Bolter
Edit by Rusty Rod: If you are interested in obtaining this item, please use either a private message or go to the swapmeet forum.
How/where do I buy the condensers? Thanks!
https://www.stovebolt.com/ubbthread...ew-advanced-design-condenser.html#UNREAD


A few weeks ago...maybe a couple of months...I began a thread about an alternative condenser. Some good and interesting comments were generated. In the time since that post, work has been ongoing. Attached are images to show the final design. The capacitor I selected has to date been tested by three people (in the distributor of their 235) and aside from a connection issue (which was my fault), it has worked without flaw. I've been told the engines start easily, run smoothly and run well. As you may recall, what I was hoping to offer was an improved alternative to the condensers available today. A modern and dependable solution for those still using points ignition (of which there are obviously many). I did no small amount of research this past summer only to learn no condensers are still made in the USA and haven't been for a while. I know some were made in South America for a few years, but today it seems all are made in China. What I suspect is those are made once every so often in large runs of several thousand by the same company and then distributed jobber-style or via Alibaba to companies who re-package under their own label.

What has been posted here and on other auto forums is that the capacitors available today fail at an alarming rate and some are dead right out of the box. Evidently some don't last longer than a few miles or a few hours. Others have told me theirs seems to work fine until the engine warms up and then the engine dies. One or two have told me their condenser died suddenly for no apparent reason leaving them stranded. This is all to be expected. A few people around here (certainly Jerry and Evan) know why this is the case. I don't see how some of the stuff I cut open could continuously conduct electricity at all, in fact. I believe an intermittent connection is the best they could provide. Today's capacitors are precise and long-lasting and they allow the user to enjoy a perfect connection.

As you see below, the unit is small, neat, easy to install and very straightforward. I tried several different approaches and several different orientations, but in the end Occam's Razor came into play and simplicity won. The capacitance is what your engine was designed to need, and your points should last longer as a result. This is rated for use up to 250+ degrees, rated for vibration and it should last for around 300,000 hours. We can discuss this topic and the particulars as long as anyone wishes, but please do not mention the words buy nor sell here. If you want to use those words, please go to the "for sale" section.

Attached Files
Condenser 1.JPG (17.85 KB, 458 downloads)
Condenser 2.JPG (14.48 KB, 453 downloads)
Last edited by Rusty Rod; Thu Dec 31 2020 04:03 PM.

Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388829 Fri Dec 18 2020 02:43 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 9,900
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Jon, it’s obvious you have done a ton of research and given a lot of thought to this project. I pose a couple of non electrical engineer questions. First will the units work on Chevy 6 volt systems? Will they work on GMC 6 volt positive ground? Just curious.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



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Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388830 Fri Dec 18 2020 02:54 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,586
H
'Bolter
Most capacitors (condensers) are not polarity specific, with the possible exception of electrolytic capacitors that definitely are not applicable here. They don't really care whether the input voltage is 6V or 12V, since they operate at the 100 volts or more that gets induced in the primary ignition circuit once the points break. Jon's condenser looks like it will do at least as well as, and probably better than the high quality American-made ones we used to install 50-something years ago. Those could be used on either 6V or 12V systems, positive or negative ground, also. The only reason for different part numbers was to accommodate different lengths of conductors, and mounting hardware, etc.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388837 Fri Dec 18 2020 03:41 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,175
Moderator - The Electrical Bay and Rocky Mountain Bolters
Jon G. This looks like a good deal. Is it possible for a person such as myself that is a little bit handy to build them? At any rate, I hope you will post them in the Swap Meet area. Or ebay.


Another quality post.


Real Trucks Rattle

HELP! The Paranoids are after me!
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388843 Fri Dec 18 2020 04:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,364
J
Jon G Offline OP
'Bolter
Jerry got the answer spot on about voltage, polarity, etc (as I knew he would). You may recall Jerry and I covered that aspect a few months ago when we discussed the mandatory requirements for any capacitor used in this application. And I did list them in the for sale area. I'm not going to pollute this section with very much "for sale" talk but this is a solution I'm offering essentially on a cost-plus basis and the "plus" is slim (meaning I'm only hoping to break even and make enough to pay for a pizza or two here). Yes, you can build it yourself but for $12 delivered with a tracking number...do you want to go to the trouble? The heavy lifting has already been done, in other words. The whole reason for this project was just to offer a solution to a known and widely documented problem with points ignition and a component part which has devolved in quality and dependability to a ridiculous low point.

I don't sell on eBay any longer. I did for quite a while, but I became the victim of so much copyright infringement, piracy, attempted identity theft, etc that I will never again sell anything reliant on intellectual property there...and some of the stuff I've written is housed in the Library of Congress for what it is worth. A large snake pit, that eBay.


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388848 Fri Dec 18 2020 06:01 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,803
C
'Bolter
Jon,
We got a couple of test platforms to try your units on; a 58 Chevy 283 12v negative ground and a Studebaker Lark 12v positive ground. My bet is the capacitors (condensers) work to perfection but since once they are run through the shop few get driven more than a thousand miles a year. Maybe sporadic use is a better test that daily driven ones. Both are a month from going out the door but will keep an update on them.


Evan
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388858 Fri Dec 18 2020 01:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,175
M
'Bolter
First the disclaimer. What follows has not been collaborated with Jon in any shape form or fashion. Just my observations and results.

Well, it's about time! He said with a grin. I'm one of lucky bata testers and could not be happier with this easy, simple upgrade . Just to support Jon's comments, the capacitor works! Installation takes 5 minutes or so, exactly like installing a standard condenser. The design is well thought out and the elegant simplicity makes you wonder "what took so long?".

After running Jon's upgrade for a few weeks I temporarily changed back to one of my standby glovebox condensers. Now this was immediately after filling up the almost empty gas tank with non-ethanol gas. Truck started running like crap. I didn't know if it was fuel or ignition. Turns out it was the (what I believe to be good) condenser. Back to the capacitor and all the low/high speed miss, slow start, disappeared.

After hundreds of miles and many dozens of almost instant starts I'll never go back to a standard old school condenser. Heck I may put the dual point distributor back in the 340 Duster and try one there as well. Hummmmm.

RonR


1951 3600 with Clark flatbed, T5, 4.10 rear
1970 340 Duster
1990 5.0 V8 Miata (1990 Mustang Gt Drivetrain)
1951 Farmall Super A



Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388877 Fri Dec 18 2020 03:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,364
J
Jon G Offline OP
'Bolter
Thanks much for the comments and the interest in this project. One thing I forgot to mention last night. The prototypes had been made using 3/4" brass, but yesterday the place where I bought it told me I could have 1 inch wide for the same price. This fit the width of the capacitors exactly, but I discovered I needed to trim the corner to miss the screw where the distributor floor was attached. So disregard the picture I posted before and expect them to look like the picture below.

Someone else asked if the swap was difficult. No, it isn't. Actually I've tried to make it as simple as possible and personally I think it is easier to install these than the old style. Just use a magnetic tipped screwdriver. Makes stabbing the screw and getting it started less of a pain. Below you can see the old style and the new style. You will notice the connector wire is a bit longer than the original one. During this study it occurred to me while the capacitor valued used between different makes/models may be the same, the distributors they go in may be different. So if you have a V8 or a different make of distributor (larger diameter), this should fit.

Attached Files
MVC-393F.JPG (15.07 KB, 381 downloads)
MVC-391F.JPG (28.3 KB, 388 downloads)
MVC-392F.JPG (38.69 KB, 389 downloads)

Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388878 Fri Dec 18 2020 04:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,586
H
'Bolter
Jon, here's a bit of hopefully constructive commentary from an old geezer who has installed a few thousand point/condenser sets. Do whatever is necessary to avoid the condenser lead rubbing the distributor housing, like maybe putting a couple of twists into it. The constant motion of the breaker plate caused by the vacuum advance on some applications can wear a hole in the insulation and short out the points. That's not an issue on the old stovebolt distributors because the breaker plate doesn't move- - - - -the whole housing does- - - -but on anything else it might cause problems.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: The alternative condenser update
Jon G #1388897 Fri Dec 18 2020 07:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,364
J
Jon G Offline OP
'Bolter
Thanks Jerry. I thought of that same thing the other day. Maybe a small twist tie or something like that if needed. I've been (up to this stage) pretty focused on the stovebolt type distributors...


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
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