1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

I am fixing up my Maxi filially,

I am bringing my Maxi back to stock... I am doing this either to ride it some more or to sell it. I hate would hate to see my first bike go but there is no room in the garage.

I am having a issue with getting it running. I had a ZA50 2-speed in the bike and that ran great. Now I am putting the E50 back in. My one last issue is I am getting no spark. My points are fine I polished them and they are gaped to .017. I have tripple checked my wiring to the diagram I have in my service manual. I have also gone through the trubble shooting guide in the back of the book.

I whipped out my voltage meter and checked the continuity of everything. I also hooked up tester to the spark plug and cranked the motor over I got a reading or 10-12 V yet no spark.

This has me lost and I can not think of any other things to check. Hopefully someone out there had some solid input so I can get my Ped back on the streets where she belongs.


Chris Paz

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

Jason Luther /

did you try a new spark plug? if so test your condenser and coil.

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

make sure your tail light isn't burned out :P

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

Rayn Kozikowski /

sounds like a problem with the coil.

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

Thanks for the ideas guys I tried 2 known good spark plugs there was voltage 10-12v but no spark. Ill go check the tail light circuit right now. I read the other no spark posts and was interested in what a condenser was. My friend thought is had something to do with controlling the spark but was not sure.

So what is a condenser and How do I test it?

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

See Ya Moped Army /

Check your horn wires. If they aren't hooked up it won't spark.

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

Checked everything the manual asked me to

- tail light

- using a known good spark plug

- horn circuit is correct

- kill switch is functioning and in on position

- points cleaned and adjusted .017 @ TDC

- getting voltage at the spark plug 10-12v

- everything is correctly grounded

But no damn spark. There must be something I am missing.

Everything said has been great I have gone back and checked everything talked about so far hoping to find a mistake but no luck.

Any other ideas would be great... or some info on how a condenser works and how to test if it is still good.

Thanks again,


Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

An ignition condenser is a little metal can about 3/4 by 1-1/2 inches. A single black wire comes out one end.

Internally, a condenser (capacitor) is basically two electrically isolated metal plates. Like a battery, electrical energy is stored in the condenser. Unlike a battery, a condenser absorbs and releases energy very quickly.

The condenser's main job is to quickly absorb the ignition coil's stored energy. The faster the coil can unload it's electrical energy from its long, thin high-resistance wire coil, the faster the coil's magnetic field can collapse.. And the stronger is the resulting energy induced in the coil's other winding.. and the stronger is the spark at the spark plug.

Condensers can fail partly or completely. There's no easy way to check them, other than to check for the lack of continuity between the metal can and the black wire. (But a condenser can be bad with a low very breakdown voltage and still show no continuity.)

Swapping the existing one with a known good condenser is the most reliable, easiest and cheapest way to "test" one.

Ignition condensers are simple things. Their electrical rating (voltage and capacity) in all vehicle points-type ignition systems is very similar, and pretty much depends on physical size. Tolerance ratings for these cheap condensers is very wide, probably near 50% or 75%. So swapping similar sized condensers is plenty adequate when searching for a replacement..

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

Jason Luther /

voltage at the plug would indicate a bad condenser or ignition coil. you could hook up a spark plug to a car battery (i wouldnt recommend it) and it wont spark. it needs to have the energy stored up (in the condenser) and has to be boosted (in the coil). coils almost never go bad, and are easy to test with just a simple ohm meter. should be around 8000 ohms (i think).

Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves


I can see that you take an educated approach to these subjects, but I think that you have it slightly wrong with respect to exactly what the condenser does in the circuit. This is always an area of weak understanding, and I welcome your comments on my explanation.

The condenser has two main jobs, but I don't believe that its primary role is storing energy for the ignition coil. The primary role of the condenser is to prevent arcing at the breaker points, which would quickly erode and destroy them.

The condenser is connected in parallel with the points, which are normaly closed for most of the engine's rotation. While closed, the condenser is shorted out, and not capable of acquiring or storing any energy.

When the points open, the depleted condenser begins to charge to the voltage induced in the exciter coil, by the action of the rotating magnets. During this phase, the condenser looks like a short to the rising voltage waveform produced by the exciter. This phase lasts only briefly, but long enough for the points to seperate enough distance that the exciter coil voltage cannot jump the gap of the points.

This very brief time delay is one of the reasons that dynamic timing is always slightly different than static timing - static cannot account for the delay.

Once the condenser is fully charged, it looks like an open-circuit - at this time, the points are truly 'open' and the energy stored in the exciter coil starts transferring to the ignition coil. As the voltage across the exciter begins to fall, the condenser now begins to discharge its stored energy back into the circuit. In doing so, it increases the current through the ignition coil primary, setting up an even stronger field -

The field reaches its peak, the condenser depletes, and the field quickly collapses, inducing a high voltage in the secondary of the ignition coil. This voltage builds until it is high enough to jump the plug gap - and fire the plug.

So, in short, the condenser has a secondary role (two puns) in storing energy for the ignition coil. To me, the main role is still protecting the points from damage. I say this, as I've seen engines run with failed condensers (and a lot of arcing at the points) but I've never seen one run with a good condenser, and burned-out points.


Re: 1980 Puch's electrical is getting on my nerves

I think it's more a matter of how ones prefers to view it. Does the condenser prevent arcing across the points? Sure.. no argument there..

I'm gonna copy/paste rather than use my own words..


" Now, as the points open...... The only path for the voltage generated in the primary to dissipate through is the condenser across the points. (Known as back EMF, about 300 volts).

_Luckily this is just what condensers are good at is passing through rapidly rising or falling voltages_

The value of this condenser has a controlling factor on how quickly the coil can dissipate this energy in the primary, as the faster the collapses of the magnetic field, the greater the voltage generated. Some of the excess energy appears as the arc across the points as it looks for somewhere to go. If the value of the condenser is wrong or it is defective, it can lead to a very high voltage but brief spark, or insufficient voltage to create a spark....... "

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