Condenser woes

So, in my 10+ years, I've never had to replace a condenser. I will admit, i'm fairly ignorant to their function, which will probably get me some sass in these responses, but i'm ready for it.

Basically, in the year or so I've been riding my current build, I've had to replace the condenser twice, and I'm curious, what is it that will make a condenser go bad, and what can I do to prolong the life of my new one?

I'm running one of those super simple "hardwired" treats stator plates for the e50. I'm not sure if my set up matters, but if it's needed: treats 70cc kit, 15mm bing clone carb + air filter, puch "black pipe."

thanks homies.

Re: Condenser woes

A quality condenser should last a very long time .

Here are a couple quotes I borrowed , to answer your question :

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Re: what makes a good condenser go bad? #9

B-racer Jeff Schlemmer

Shakopee, MN, USA USA

1950 Willys Jeep Pickup "Ratrod"

1971 MG MGB

2014 Dodge Charger

Oct 23, 2013 07:32 AM

Top Contributor

Joined 11 years ago

16,688 Posts

You want to see .18-.22mF in a condenser, AND a proper bleed-down rate, generally full bleed-down in roughly 5 minutes. If either of those specs is out of tolerance, the condenser will not function properly.

Most condenser failures are caused by poor grounding, which does not allow a condenser to bleed down properly. It holds part of its charge instead of fully discharging, therefor overheating. Worn breaker plate assemblies are a HUGE factor, with moderate to poor to nonexistent grounds. Using 40+ year old engine ground straps is yet another problem. Engine grounding is a game of volume, like a garden hose. If you pump voltage into your ignition, coolant temp and oil pressure sensors, etc... you need an equal flow of electrons out that ground strap. Internal corrosion (not visible) is a HUGE problem and everyone ignores it...

"

And :

"

Re: what makes a good condenser go bad? #10

george stringe

Frederick, USA USA

1960 MG MGA 1600

Oct 23, 2013 09:41 AM

Joined 5 years ago

29 Posts

The capacitor (condenser) has two functions: 1) it absorbs the back EMF from the magnetic field in the coil to minimize point contact burning and maximize point life; and 2) it forms a resonant circuit with the ignition coil transferring further energy to the secondary side until the energy is exhausted.

When the points open and the magnetic field collapses it also induces a current in the primary as well. It's not very much because there are only a few windings in the primary, but it's enough to jump a small air-gap, such as the one between the just-opening points in the distributor. That tiny spark is enough to erode metal away from the points and you'll 'burn' the points. It prevents the points from arcing and prevents coil insulation breakdown by limiting the rate of voltage rise at the points.

You are unlikely to do anything to cause a condenser failure. A condenser is made by taking two long aluminum foil ribbons and putting an insulator in between them and rolling it up and putting it in a can. One foil is hooked to the can and the other is connected to the wire coming out. The failure is typically either a mechanical failure of the connections inside the condenser or an electrical failure of the insulating material separating the two foils.

Sometimes they do not use an insulating paper or plastic material between the two foils, but use a layer of aluminum oxide coating on the foils. The oxide coating is a nonconductor and is much thinner than any paper or plastic insulator but it can electrically fail or punch through and short the foils when high voltage charge is applied to the two foils in the condenser.

Keeping a known good spare is a good policy.

"

Both those quotes from :

https://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?3,2501990

Re: Condenser woes

Probably Fred /

> viv v Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> So, in my 10+ years, I've never had to replace a condenser. I will

> admit, i'm fairly ignorant to their function, which will probably get me

> some sass in these responses, but i'm ready for it.

>

> Basically, in the year or so I've been riding my current build, I've had

> to replace the condenser twice, and I'm curious, what is it that will

> make a condenser go bad, and what can I do to prolong the life of my new

> one?

>

> I'm running one of those super simple "hardwired" treats stator plates

> for the e50. I'm not sure if my set up matters, but if it's needed:

> treats 70cc kit, 15mm bing clone carb + air filter, puch "black pipe."

>

> thanks homies.

My fleet of puchs are running the stock ignition/stator plates and have 38-40 years and like 14-24k mi on them.

I wouldn’t hit a dog in the ass with those aftermarket point stator plate set ups or cheep cdi setups.

The Bosch condenser that comes with stock puch ignition is very good, I’ve only had a few go bad after decades of use and then I wasn’t even sure if it was the condenser that was bad, I just change Stator plate to a different one to get spark sometimes.

Re: Condenser woes

The morini bikes', bosch and dansi are great too. Good quality. don-ohio

Re: Condenser woes

In most cases , I'd pay very close attention to the ground path .

As with any electrical connection , they should be shiny clean and scratch tight .

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