SA 200 no spark
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Thread: SA 200 no spark

  1. #1
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    SA 200 no spark

    Hey guys i picked up another SA 200 the other day i believe its a 64. Guy i bought it from got it from his uncle when he passed but couldnt tell me much more besides it was sitting for a few years. After bringing it home i got a new battery and some cables and went to cranking after no luck i started looking into the magneto. Doesnt seem to be getting any spark what so ever. I went down to napa and bought a new condenser and points but only changed the condenser out. Still no luck. I took the cap off and grounded the coil against the housing with a screw driver as i cranked it and had no spark. Is this a sign of a bad coil? Also after replacing the cables and cleaning most of the connections around the starter and putting a fresh battery the motor will turn over but only about 4 or 5 revolutions and then it sounds like a motor with a dead battery. Battery is only 2 days old and i have a battery charger on it when trying to start it. Could this be a starter issue? or possible stuck valves? My plan is to completely go through and replace everything but i want to make sure it runs and welds before hand. I am pretty new to magnetos but have a good mechanical background any input is appreciated

  2. #2
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Why didn't you change the points. If it has been sitting for several years my guess is the points have crusted over and not making contact. At the very least you should clean the old points with some 220 or 320 grit sand paper and see if you get fire.

    The cranking issue may just be due to a dirty starter armature commutator, worn brushes or dried up lube in the end bushings. Sounds as though it's pulling too many amps OR your new battery's CCA rating is too low for the unit.
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  3. #3
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    BEST first step on a sitting machine has always been checking for mouse nests.
    Might save you from converting the welder end to scrap when it starts.

  4. #4
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    I didn't have a feeler gauge handy at the time. I changed the condenser and tried getting spark out of the coil which i could not. At that point i figured if the coil isn't sparking it was bad but maybe my understanding of magneto's is off. The battery is 585 CCA which i used in my last machine with no issue. I will take the starter apart and check it out.

  5. #5
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil5 View Post
    BEST first step on a sitting machine has always been checking for mouse nests.
    Might save you from converting the welder end to scrap when it starts.
    Thanks already been done

  6. #6
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by Texfan91 View Post
    I didn't have a feeler gauge handy at the time.
    Understood. Eyeball it if needed unless you're just not sure about what .015" looks like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Texfan91 View Post
    I changed the condenser and tried getting spark out of the coil which i could not. At that point i figured if the coil isn't sparking it was bad but maybe my understanding of magneto's is off.
    The points need to be making contact when closed and if not due to crusting then the armature/coil function "thinks" the points are open all the time and nothing will happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Texfan91 View Post
    The battery is 585 CCA which i used in my last machine with no issue. I will take the starter apart and check it out.
    That's sufficient. I've had starters with dirt armature commutators and bone dry end bushings act as you've described. Worth a look.
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  7. #7
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Probably not the issue, but since you mentioned that you have already changed out the condenser I wanted to let you know that I have purchased a brand new condenser before that was bad from the start. If you don't have a feeler gauge for the points a matchbook cover will work. Also new set of plug wires including the coil wire might be a good idea.

  8. #8
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    Understood. Eyeball it if needed unless you're just not sure about what .015" looks like.
    I will tomorrow i have a feeler gauge now.

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    The points need to be making contact when closed and if not due to crusting then the armature/coil function "thinks" the points are open all the time and nothing will happen.
    Once i change the new points out if i am still getting no spark whats my next step to troubleshoot. Should i order a coil?

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    That's sufficient. I've had starters with dirt armature commutators and bone dry end bushings act as you've described. Worth a look.
    If this is the case are they salvageable with cleaning and greasing or is it time to order a new one? Really appreciate the help thanks again

  9. #9
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by gnewby View Post
    Probably not the issue, but since you mentioned that you have already changed out the condenser I wanted to let you know that I have purchased a brand new condenser before that was bad from the start. If you don't have a feeler gauge for the points a matchbook cover will work. Also new set of plug wires including the coil wire might be a good idea.
    I have a feeler gauge now so no worries. I had purchased new plugs and wires but once i realized i wasn't getting any spark out of the magneto i didnt get to changing the wires out. Plan for tomorrow is change the points, look into the starter, make up the new spark plug wires, troubleshoot the mag, and hope to get it running. thanks again

  10. #10
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    A cheap ohm's meter can be very helpful when trouble shooting. Before condemning the coil you need to make sure you are getting voltage to the coil and as Duane said you need to make sure your points are gaped properly and opening and closing. You could use the ohm's meter to check for voltage to the coil, and checking from lead connection to lead connection at it would tell you if the points are opening and closing, also checking voltage at your points, and checking ohms on your coil wire.

    I would suggest on your starter to take it off of the engine and take it to most any auto parts store that can test it. It sounds to me as it is dragging and pulling too much juice. They might be able to sell you a kit for the starter if needed or a rebuilt starter.

  11. #11
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Watch this video on working on a magneto:

    Learned this the hard way: for Magneto you will need non-resistor sparkplugs like champion D-16 and metal core sparkplug wires. The local auto parts store guy will sub resistor type sparkplugs and fiber core wires.
    Last edited by guajilloweld03; 11-12-2018 at 12:05 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    That guy don't look like Dr Duane.
    Dr Duane would never wipe his hands on his pants either.

    Other than that it's a handy video

  13. #13
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by gnewby View Post
    Before condemning the coil you need to make sure you are getting voltage to the coil . . .

    You could use the ohm's meter to check for voltage to the coil, and checking from lead connection to lead connection at it would tell you if the points are opening and closing, also checking voltage at your points, and checking ohms on your coil wire.
    CAREFUL!! Do NOT apply voltage to a mag coil. A magneto generates it's own voltage and the stud on the side of the mag is grounded to kill the engine. Apply voltage to this "kill" stud and you'll be buying a new $50+ coil likely frying the points and condenser in the process.
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  14. #14
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    CAREFUL!! Do NOT apply voltage to a mag coil. A magneto generates it's own voltage and the stud on the side of the mag is grounded to kill the engine. Apply voltage to this "kill" stud and you'll be buying a new $50+ coil likely frying the points and condenser in the process.
    Whoops sorry about what I said earlier, old age syndrome must have kicked in and I was thinking of a distributor when I mentioned earlier about checking for voltage at the coil, please disregard what I mentioned.

  15. #15
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil5 View Post
    That guy don't look like Dr Duane.
    Dr Duane would never wipe his hands on his pants either.
    Absolutely not. I use the belly part of my shirt 'cause it's closer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil5 View Post
    Other than that it's a handy video
    A good video but a couple things:
    1) 1-2 wraps of the impulse spring per F-M
    2) Prevent static electricity? The felt is hold the cam lube.
    3) Point gap is critical to the armature-to-magnet timing and has a direct effect on spark intensity. Far more important than the final position of the mag once installed and properly timed to the engine.
    4) Where's the anti-seize on the coil set screws so the next poor soul can get them out 20 years from now? Might be me!


    OK, four things.
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  16. #16
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    So i quick update i went ahead and set the points to .015 and still had no spark atleast that i could see. I checked continuity on the coil wire to the copper pin in the front on the coil and had no continuity. Is it possible i have spark to the points and just cant see it or will the spark be big enough its obvious? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  17. #17
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    I trust you made sure the points block was at the peak of the armature cam and not at the base. If at the base, the points will never close as they need to the mag won't spark (if all else is good).

    If working correctly you will definitely be able to see the spark. This was done with the impulse coupler pawl stop pin removed to allow free spinning of the unit.

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  18. #18
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Duane, what's your experience on the need to replace magnets in the FM units due to loss of magnetism?

  19. #19
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Although I have a NOS magnetic rotor on the shelf for the F-M mags found on the Continentals I have not had to replace one to date. The F-M service manual shows a re-magnetizing device for the rotor should that ever be necessary and I've heard of guys having to have a mag shop do theirs.
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  20. #20
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    I trust you made sure the points block was at the peak of the armature cam and not at the base. If at the base, the points will never close as they need to the mag won't spark (if all else is good).
    First off I want to thank you duane for taking your time out and helping me. Secondly I want to apologize as I am new to these machines and not quite sure what you mean by armature cam. When I changed the points the top rotor had an a and c printed on it I made sure that was facing down towards the bottom metal rotor. The flat part of the bottom rotor shaft was facing down also. I hooked up all the wires and set the points to .015. Then used a screwdriver just like the video showed and had no spark. I did use a multimeter to check continuity on the coil and it showed it was bad.

  21. #21
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Actually I misspoke. It's rotor cam and the cam is the part the points rubbing block rides against to open them. When setting the points gap one needs to make sure the rubbing block is on the high point of the rotor cam. In the case of the mags used on the SA Continental there are 2 high spots that you can set the rubbing block to before adjusting the points gap of .015".

    If the above is in fact the way you set the points then you've either got a bad coil or another issue such as a grounded lead in the mag. Unfortunately, as for testing mag coils, from the F-M Magneto Service Practices:

    "Conclusive coil tests can be made only through the use of reliable commercial coil tester. Simple circuit tests are of little value. It should also be noted that commercial battery ignition coil testers should not be used to test magneto coils unless provision is made for inserting a series resistor in the primary circuit in order to reduce the current to a suitable value."

    The manual goes on to point out other factors that go into testing a mag coil with the proper tester but key issue I want to pass on is "Simple circuit tests are of little value." per the F-M manual.

    That being said, somewhere in this or another F-M publication it suggests that changing out a suspect coil or condenser with a known good piece in the absence of the proper test equipment may be necessary to confirm a defective component.
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  22. #22
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    Well good news. I went ahead and pulled the magneto and replaced the coil, reset the points and got spark. Got everything back together installed and the welder actually ran for the first time today. I did have an issue with it not wanting to high idle when i tried to weld but i think the carb linkages need to be adjusted. That will be done at a later date as now that it runs and welds it will be stripped down and painted. Duane i really want to thank you again

  23. #23
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    Re: SA 200 no spark

    That's great news. Glad you got it running and welding!
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