Great tips with upgrading your ignition system

This Tech Tip, one of a series published by Foley Engines, presents new information about upgrading ignition systems.

The problem: Many Atomic 4 and other gas engine owners have complained to us about their old, points-style breaker ignition systems. The points wear, need adjustment, are prone to failure, bounce at high RPMs, and become wet and dirty. Changing points is difficult, especially while underway. The condenser, too, is problematic, and can’t be inspected visually for condition. When it fails, it fails with no easy-to-read fault code.

The Solution: Foley now has available a solid state ignition module that plugs into present Atomic 4 distributors. It gives the owner the convenience of an electronic ignition system while retaining the stock distributor. This Solid State upgrade makes dirty, damp, worn points a thing of the past because it is factory sealed with epoxy against moisture. The upgrade consists of cobalt magnets rotating on the distributor shaft, which trigger a Hall cell-switching module. Grease, oil or moisture does not degrade this integrated circuit trigger. This module delivers up to 45,000 volts and its timing is accurate to within .25 of a degree.

How to Install: This Solid State system is easy to install. Easier in fact, than changing points and the condenser. This upgrade simply plugs into your present distributor under its cap. It gives you the convenience of an electronic ignition system while retaining the stock distributor. There are no black boxes to install, no complicated wiring in the engine compartment, no changes to the tachometer, etc. Customers, in fact, tell us that it plugs into place in less than 30 minutes.

The Benefits: Because the Solid State system delivers much higher voltage, plug life at least doubles and they don’t carbon up after excessive idling while on mooring. Because the points are scrapped, the ignition timing is now stable over the full operating range with no moving parts to fail or bounce. The engine will give longer service between tune-ups, better fuel economy, and be safer to operate. This module when installed with a fresh set of ignition wires, a new carburetor (see Foley Tech Tip #24), and an electronic fuel pump will make your boating much safer and more reliable.