Faulty condensers (capacitors)

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Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

After listening to Fig at the last KKK camp out I did some research into automotive condensers. At the moment there is a plague of faulty condensers (the things that stop your points wearing out too quickly because of arcing) due to being manufactured in China,Korea,Japan etc with faulty electrolyte for about the last 15 to 20 years. As an electronic type here is some advice if you can use a soldering iron or screw in a connecting (chocolate) block. Many spares shops still have old Lucas, Ducelier, Ducati, Delco etc. Condensers left over from long ago, any car that used a coil similar to those found on combis and beetles will use a .22UF capacitor/condenser regardless of make of car or coil. The trick is to ground the outside of the condenser to the metalwork of your vw and then join the wire coming out of the centre of the Lucas etc. Condenser to the wire coming out of your distributor either with solder or a connecting block. The type of condenser to use has a single wire coming out of an insulating block in the centre of the device that goes to the points and an earth on the metal outside.unless physically or electrically damaged or heated above 105 degrees C for a long time a condenser should last 10 to 20 years, I am running some 30 year old Lucas, Tesla and Bosch ones. The Lucas one from a Ford Cortina has been running since this years KKK camp out in a 1600 twin port for about 10 000 kilometers without any problems or excessive points wear.

If this description confuses anyone let me know and I will post pictures.

References:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ ... capacitors
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19607554


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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by retrovan »

The problem with the new condensers is the way it is manufactured.

In the old days they used copper or brass disks inside the body to make contact from the coiled foil to the body and where even spot welded to the foil.
These days they rely on pressure to make contact, but with hot running engines, the body of the condenser heats up the air inside, and as it is sealed, it expands and contact is lost.

Thats why if you tap the body top and bottom, you get contact back for a few days and can normally make it back home.

You can fix any one of these condensers if you have the time and nimble fingers to open it, spot weld some wire onto the foil and solder it to the can and lead.

It will then last you as long as the old ones.

But thanks for your post , most interesting,

Herman
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

Ahh, the curse of the condenser retrovan!
You are correct, condensers are essentialy made of aluminium foil coiled up and immersed in an electrolytic solution. For the condenser to work one side of the foil must be conductive and the other an insulator. The insulator part of the foil is made by anodising one side of the foil yet the anodised part of the foil must be connected to the outside world and the only way to do this is by spot welding as just pressing against the foil wouldnt work. A bad spot weld will give exactly the symptoms you describe and may be " boer maak n plan" exactly as you describe to get you home. I just keep the last set of points and condenser spare in the kombi. The reason I prefer points ignition over transistorised is nobody has ever managed to resurrect a transistor at the side of the road by treating it as you described. Remember R200.00 transistors are devices placed in a circuit in order to protect R5.00 fuse :)
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by retrovan »

Just as a matter of interest, you can make the new condensers last longer if you do not bolt it to the side of the distributor, but fix a lead to the mounting hole and earth that to the body of the dizzy.

Then have the condenser float in mid air where it will get cooling.

As the aircooled engine will get to 120 Deg.C on load up hill, this is where the danger sits.

Keep it cool and it MAY last......

Herman
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

Perfectly correct sir!
Remote mounting is a good idea.
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by Haans »

So !.......mr Mudpig & Herman,,.......design us a condensor with a built in fan! ....teeny little nanofan 🙃😉😂😂😂. Don't tell the chinese !,
How far could a person move away from distrib ??,....me thinks if you move the cond to close to the fan intake,......cool air flow around there.
What say you?

Haans

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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

Remote mounting works just as well. Or just a high quality condenser :)
And as for transistorised ignitions their current switching capabilities drop off dramatically as temperature increases.

Ref:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2N3055
For a silicon power transistor.
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by retrovan »

Haans wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:15 am
.........design us a condensor with a built in fan! ....teeny little nanofan .........
:lol: :lol: :lol: What and take a job away from some poor Chines worker :shock:
Haans wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:15 am
How far could a person move away from distrib ??,..
Not far, best to take a stiff wire and make two loops , one on each end with approx. 50mm between them, and screw the condensor on one end and the other to the mounting point you just took the condensor off of.

The wire will cool before the heat gets to the condensor

Would be nice if you could still get a good condensor, but all are made by the .........

Herman
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1968 Fastback 2Lt.type4( Red)
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by John Alves »

The things we must do to keep our air-cooleds alive
IMG_1087.jpeg
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No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway.

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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

You are a scholar and a gentleman sir, there is obviously nothing new under the sun!
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

And that condenser certainly looks as if it is more air cooled than most!
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by Haans »

Mr Pig,...what am I supposed to be looking at this site ? Like the place but you need to point me in a direction please
Regards
Haans

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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by mudpig »

Sorry, my mistake, search for high temperature rated capacitors 22uf 125c+.
They are still being made, just not sold for cars.
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Re: Faulty condensers (capacitors)

Post by Haans »

sorry boet,....gave up just don't know what to look for,.......all look the same to me
Regards Haans

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