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#1 637Yeoman OFFLINE  

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Posted March 29, 2017 - 09:00 PM

The topic for today is spark testers, and what ones you should use, and what ones to avoid.

So I've found that there are three basic styles, 

First one:

image_20533.jpg

 

The basic theory on this one is that if your coil can light up a led bulb, it should run the motor, this is false. The way this is designed, any amount of voltage will light up the bulb, which will not necessarily make the motor run. while you can light the bulb, and have a running motor, there is also chance that your spark isn't strong enough under compression.

And the second:

185000.jpg

This is a totally different design than the last, in this one, the gap is a certain distance, to simulate the effects that compression has, on the ease of making spark, as if you have a plug without compression, it sparks much easier, while under compression, it is much more difficult. So in theory, if it can make the distance, it has enough power to spark the plug under compression, as many of you know, you can spark the plug, and still not run.

And the third one:

download.jpg

 

This one is not much different than using just a spark plug, but it is designed for ease of use.

The way this one works is, you attach the wire to the plug, as normal, then you attach the clip to the block of the engine, to ground it. so it is the same basic concept as using just a spark plug to check for spark, but instead of having it rest on the engine, it will now stay in place.

 

So what one to pick?

The answer is number two. 

I have personal experience with this tester, and it has never failed me. It has what all the other testers lack, and that is simulated compression. While you may have luck with these testers, i suggest steering away from 1 and 3, as they will just waste your money.

 

So what do you use?

 

Keep 'em cranking, 

Luke

 

 

 

 

*WARNING*

Not everything in here is true, i have read some false information, check below for correct info.

Now im not one to point fingers, but, thanks wikipedia hehe

Thanks for the correction, DougT


Edited by 637Yeoman, March 29, 2017 - 09:51 PM.

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#2 DougT ONLINE  

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Posted March 29, 2017 - 09:21 PM

Number 1 is an inline tester. you hook it between the wire and the plug with the plug installed and check it while cranking. The voltage has to be able to go to ground for the tester to light. You could still have a shorted plug that might skew your readings but for the most part it will work good.

 

The second and third one are basically the same. It's hard to see from the picture but that plug has an enlarged gap that does the same thing as number 2.

 

There is another style that is kind of a cross between 2 and 3. It has an adjustable gap that can be varied to test the strength of the spark.

 

You can do the same thing as 2,3, or 4 with a #2 Philips screwdriver in the end of the wire and set the handle on the head. If the spark can jump from the shaft to the head, you're good. You can also modify a plug by cutting the ground electrode off or opening the gap to 3/16-1/4 inch.


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#3 637Yeoman OFFLINE  

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Posted March 29, 2017 - 09:46 PM

Number 1 is an inline tester. you hook it between the wire and the plug with the plug installed and check it while cranking. The voltage has to be able to go to ground for the tester to light. You could still have a shorted plug that might skew your readings but for the most part it will work good.

 

The second and third one are basically the same. It's hard to see from the picture but that plug has an enlarged gap that does the same thing as number 2.

 

There is another style that is kind of a cross between 2 and 3. It has an adjustable gap that can be varied to test the strength of the spark.

 

You can do the same thing as 2,3, or 4 with a #2 Philips screwdriver in the end of the wire and set the handle on the head. If the spark can jump from the shaft to the head, you're good. You can also modify a plug by cutting the ground electrode off or opening the gap to 3/16-1/4 inch.

Never thought about that, and i thought there might be something up with the third one, it looked a little different, thanks for enlightening me


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#4 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 04:26 AM

I have used all 3 designs you have displayed.

I like the 1st one best, #3 is my 2nd choice and #2 last...but that is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to it!


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#5 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 05:31 AM

I have the 'other style' Doug talks about. Seems to work okay.


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#6 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 05:55 AM

I have about 7 different types for small engines and older cars. The ones that most apply to this conversation are both B&S sold tools. The first is similar to number 2 and the second one is designed so that it can recreate the spark under a camber pressure. It has a small pump that up pump up the pressure for an accurate test. I'll try to dig it out and post a pic later. Good Luck, Rick

 

 

These are some of the testers that I have. Several of the cheap, the B&S pump up, the pencil like one just needs to be laid against the sparkplug wire to indicate the sparks.

 

SD531223.JPG


Edited by boyscout862, March 30, 2017 - 03:55 PM.

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#7 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 06:36 AM

Here's mine. It's a Lisle 50850.

ScreenShot119.jpg

 

 


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#8 UncleWillie OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 07:00 AM

My dad had a wonderful spark tester. He would call me over and say,"Hold this screwdriver." Based on how high I jumped he knew how good the spark was.


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#9 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 07:18 AM

Style #1 tester is convenient to see if the spark is "missing" or "cutting-out" while the engine is running.  ....It is easy to hook up in series with the plug wire and plug.

 

Style # 3 tester is quick, convenient, and accurate.  ...If the spark is not strong enough to jump the oversize gap, the ignition system is weak.

 

The most unusual spark tester I've seen was named Eric Bloehm.  ...He worked for us back in the 1970's, and I'll never forget him. :rolling:  ...He would hold the plug lead while turning the flywheel by hand.  ....If the muscle in his forearm near his elbow twitched, the spark was strong enough to start the engine.  ...If the muscle did not twitch, the engine would not run. :(

 

I saw him do this on B&S, Tecumseh, Kohler, & Wisconsin magneto ignitions.  ....At first, I doubted him, but a (conventional) spark tester proved him right 100% of the time.  :worshippy1:


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#10 637Yeoman OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 07:47 AM

My dad had a wonderful spark tester. He would call me over and say,"Hold this screwdriver." Based on how high I jumped he knew how good the spark was.

Ive gotten my hand stuck on an old clinton motor before, it sure does hurt!


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#11 karel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 08:18 AM

I have the #1 from Hf, Or I'll use any unsuspecting sucker that's standing next to me! And of course I have used myself.

Edited by karel, March 30, 2017 - 08:20 AM.

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#12 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 08:22 AM

Use caution if you are using style number 3 - there are some that are designed to work with conventional points and condenser systems and some that have extra resistance built in for use on HEI systems.  If you use one that is designed for HEI on a conventional system it may not jump the gap but the system may still be ok.


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#13 karel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 08:27 AM

Here's mine. It's a Lisle 50850.
attachicon.gifScreenShot119.jpg
[/quote 8.09 on ebay, free shipping,I like it. I bought it. thanks for showing it.


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#14 lrhredjb OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 09:02 AM

Back in the early 60's I remember the airbase I was stationed at had an auto hobby shop. There was a machine there that would blast the deposits off of your plugs and then test them under compression. There was a viewing window where you could watch the spark and you could adjust the air pressure to simulate higher compression. I recall seeing a number of plugs fail to spark reliably under compression.


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#15 hamman OFFLINE  

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Posted March 30, 2017 - 09:46 AM

I have used all three of those shown. I like the first best. Currently it is the only one I have. I have been able to tell by the color and brightness of the spark if I have a weak coil or points problem. My dad taught me a long time ago how to judge this. He was a HVAC tech long before they were techs. (LOL) He worked on oil burners and could tell by the color of the spark if a transformer was weak or or ok. He also had a gauge / tool that would let him dial up the voltage of the spark to tell if it was enough to ignite the oil coming from the nozzle  or distributor. He adapted this to use on small engines and was able to diagnose coil problems. Somewhere along the line we lost that tool and I bought my first spark tester then. Just may take on it and I like the other responses and look forward to more. Thanks.                                                                                                                                                                              Roger


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