® Electrical deception

Forums consistently promote Dyna and other points replacement ignition systems, touting them as both maintenance eliminating and performance enhancing. At best, this is very misleading. While it can be argued Dyna ignitions and their kind do eliminate the need for regular adjustment, beyond that the promise of reduction in maintenance effort is a phantom. First, in some applications, a Dyna ignition requires just as much work to install as the stock points system, due to defects in the product that demand very creative modification so that the stock advance curve is maintained. In addition, Dyna's individual pickups usually themselves require timing, unexpectedly considering its electronic nature, also adding to the work of installation. Thirdly, while further adjustment once properly installed is unnecessary, properly set up points systems also last at least 10,000 miles with no adjustment, thereby making an electronic ignition's benefit in regard to maintenance of much less value; in fact, basically nil. And how cheaply the Dyna module is made! Really, an aluminum backing plate?

The points replacement systems that simply add transistors to the points to reduce the current the contact points must carry, retaining the points and presumably lengthening their life, is a very noble and clever idea. But more than anything it's an answer to a question no one has ever asked. Please take note: There is no high-current fault in Honda point ignition; no wear, performance or durability deficit due to current. Any claim to this effect is a fallacy. Mechanics familiar with Honda points systems have been increasing their current load (through the use of aftermarket coils) ever since their emergence and have never experienced consequences, either in points life or electrical loading/battery charging terms. Due to their very high quality, it's hard to hurt OEM Honda points, and while exhibiting a quite humble output by today's standards, Honda SOHC four charging systems are more than adequate and able, even strong, on properly-maintained bikes. Arguments to the contrary are ill-informed, specious, and unnecessarily disallusioning to the unwary.

Charging system parts that are original factory, in good health, correctly adjusted (where possible), joined by dutifully-maintained connectors, and used reasonably-- that is, in keeping with their design context-- work just as well in 2022 as they did in 1969. They function quite well, quite adequately. It seems a popular pastime for forums to proclaim the contrary, warning that any change from the factory electrical specification will reduce the system's ability to charge the battery. This is so egregious a position as to merit the harshest possible sanction. Whatever their motivation-- and it boggles even speculating-- the forum "experts" who are proponents of this argument are doing the vintage Honda community a significant disservice.

As is typical on forums, there is silence regarding proper maintenance of these systems, while there is far too much noise depicting them as inadequate. If that does not give one a clue as to the credibility of these forum "experts" I don't know what does.

Further reading:
The 95/50 rule

Last updated January 2022
Email me
© 1996-2022 Mike Nixon