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Unread 11-08-2016, 12:00 PM   #1
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Default HEI Conversion Information

Though reliable, points-based ignition systems can be tough in that precise timing is critical for a good running engine. Worse, point gap is tough to maintain as the points themselves constantly wear thus changing the gap. Electronic ignitions solve these issues in that, as the spark provided by an electronic ignition last far longer than with points systems, timing is normally simple. Additionally, as “hall effect” magnets are used to trigger spark there is no point gap to maintain.

Any HD / Columbia cart can be converted from points to an electronic ignition by way of using an HEI (High Energy Ignition) module that was used in many 80s and 90s era cars. This same system can be used to replace failed Columbia ignition modules on later carts but you will have to acquire points, a points plate, and maybe a points cam to do so (depending on the factory cam end). Note that the points used in HEI conversions do not act as traditional points. They serve the same purpose as the “hall effect” magnets in electronic systems that trigger the longer spark. As such, point gap in an HEI system is not critical and, for the most part, they will wear much more slowly if at all.

Converting from points to the HEI is inexpensive and can be done for as cheap as $20 and up to $100 depending on the type of HEI module you choose. There are many different types of HEI modules available (normal use, racing capable, etc.) from many different manufactures. For the most part, if doing this conversion there are two components that you will need to add to your cart; the HEI module itself and some small circuitry that has to be soldered together. Attached are two documents that detail the HEI conversion; one speaks to the conversion in a general sense to include needed materials, the other is that applies this information to HD / Columbia carts.

Here is a link to more information:

HEI Conversion SUCCESS
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HEI Conversion.jpg (106.3 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Columbia - HD HEI.jpg (31.3 KB, 0 views)
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Unread 11-08-2016, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: HEI Conversion Information

Mods, can we make this a sticky but keep it open a bit for additional input?
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Unread 11-12-2016, 08:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: HEI Conversion Information

How about some details on how and where to find the parts?

Module just about any GM car from 75-80 will work. Best to stick with something common from the middle of the range like say a 1977 Chev C10 pickup with a 350 V8.

I think what most people would be interested in is finding the resistors and transistors. I deal with this stuff all the time so I understand them and know where to get em but to someone that knows nothing finding that stuff could be quite a challenge. Things like in this case the wattage of the resistor isn't critical, same with tolerance. Maybe put together some examples of different specs that would still work?
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Unread 11-13-2016, 07:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: HEI Conversion Information

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochlin View Post
Mods, can we make this a sticky but keep it open a bit for additional input?
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Unread 11-14-2016, 01:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: HEI Conversion Information

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Originally Posted by 73eldo View Post
How about some details on how and where to find the parts?
Yeah, that's a good call. Unfortunately, this was the first time I did anything with small circuitry so I might not be the best source of information. Maybe someone else will chime in. Then again, I suppose if I got it done even though I had no experience there might be something I can offer. I was intimidated by some of the vernacular used when describing the circuitry (ohms, watts, minimum gain, etc.) No need to worry about any of that stuff though. Keep reading.

Believe it or not, I was able to get every single needed item from Amazon. Don't be too worried about paying $3 to have them send you a 10 cent resistor. They sell all of this stuff in bulk with free shipping (no prime needed). I think I paid something like $7 for a bag of 100 resistors and another $7 for a bag of 100 transistors. I looked at it this way, plenty of spares for the inevitable screw ups. I simply searched for "2N2222 NPN Transistor" and got a lot of hits. Don't worry about the "minimum gain" talked about in the one diagram. Research shows that 2N2222 NPNs are are the same. I did the same search with "4.7 ohm 1/4 watt resistor" and again, a lot of hits.

Next, I got some small 2" x 2" circuit boards (Amazon has a ton of sizes available, get small ones, they all be trimmed with a razor blade though). I then got something called a circuit board "project box" which is a plastic box a to put everything in when done. These have pre-cut holes on the sides to allow the wiring out. Some silicon when done will make them weather tight. Again, both the circuit boards and the project boxes will come in bulk so you'll get a lot of them for cheap. Heck, while I was at it I even got a new soldering iron rather than using the ancient one I inherited from my dad. Again, this is not a ton of money. Not including the new soldering iron I spent all of about $25 in parts (to include a ton of spare pieces) and $30 for a decent quality HEI. Better, with all the spare parts I was able to solder a few of these together to have a little stash ready for future conversions.

Last thing, there are some "how to" videos online pertaining to soldering circuit boards and such. I watched a few of these to get a feel for what needs done. There isn't much to it.
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