Stationary Engine List

EK Magnetos and Magnet Polarities


| September/October 2003



Stationary Engine

Portland fever is definitely in the air! Preparations for travel to the annual gathering are underway for engine enthusiasts from Australia, Holland, United Kingdom and of course across the U.S. For those of us on the Stationary Engine Mailing List, hosted by ATIS, the Antique Tractor Internet Service, it is a fantastic chance to meet all the folks we correspond with every day by e-mail.

It's a unique opportunity for List members, because instead of trying to describe problems and solutions with engines, we can show each other! And maybe, as we all look forward to seeing each other, that's why there hasn't been a lot of indepth discussion on the List for the past month. The questions raised have mostly been answered with a single e-mail or two, so there hasn't been much for me to pass on to the readers of GEM. - Helen

In the same way as people around the world tuck items away in the corners of engine sheds just because they look interesting and might be useful some day, I hoard old e-mails. The only query to the List I felt had the basis of a worthwhile subject was about an EK magneto. While the post in itself didn't provide a lot of information, it gave me the idea of searching through older e-mails in a bid to make up a definitive collection of magneto tips.

I have an EK magneto on an engine that appears to have been rebuilt. Everything inside looks new. The problem I have is a very weak spark - I can hardly feel it or see it with a spark tester. If I disconnect the wire and condenser from the inside and give it a few minutes and then reconnect, I get two good sparks and then it goes back to being weak. I have cleaned the points and tried a new condenser, but the results are the same. Any suggestions?

I've only touched on the subject of magnetos once before in these articles, and I assure you I have been most careful to use information only from those whom I consider to be the most knowledgeable in this area so that I can be confident of passing on the most reliable information.

The most suspect part of an original EK is the capacitor. They just don't last this long. If the magneto looks mechanically okay, the capacitor is the first part to consider. It's not possible to conclude a cap is good by testing it under conditions different from those in which it operates. Luckily, they're cheap enough so you can just put in a new one.