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TCI to points

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Alienation420, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    So, I have read a few threads about doing a conversion back to points, so I know it's possible. I am doing a ground up custom, and I have an 81 motor. I am wiring from scratch, so that's not an issue, and the reason for doing this, is that my donor motor never came with a TCI. Can someone give me some insight, and/or a list of parts I need, in order to make this happen? All I have to work with is the motor and carbs, I have nothing else.
     
  2. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend Top Contributor

    I would just pickup another TCI box. They still can be found on ebay.
     
  3. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    I read about pamco having an aftermarket one, but haven't found any info since 2015 about it, website is not working etc. Is there another source for brand new ignition box? Something about 40 year old electric components (and the price they are too)
     
  4. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend Top Contributor

    Pamco is done now. Nothing new for these now. All my bikes are still using stock original boxes. The parts inside of them can be replaced if you know someone with circuit board knowledge. I member on here even rebuilt his for a few bucks.
     
  5. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    Sounds good, and looks like that's really my only option. I don't have any circuit board knowledge, but I'm sure I can tackle some minor repairs once I read up on it. Thanks!
    I wanted points for the easier route, but sounding like cost of the parts will be about the same as getting a tci anyway.
     
  6. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    Newtronics makes an optical ignition unit. It works just fine. I had one installed on my bike but the rotor rubbed on the sensor and damaged it. I installed it wrong and didnt check for clearance. I ended up going back to original points. https://yambits.co.uk/xs400-newtronics-electronic-ignition-system-p-54310.html

    Points XS400s had a mechanical advance unit with a small cam that keys into the advance weights one-way. The TCI bikes have a fixed T-shaped rotor on the camshaft.

    I had the Pamco with E-advance and it fried on me when the mechanical regulator malfunctioned. This happened right as Pamco Pete went missing or whatever happened to the business... I do not know?? I put it in the box, went back to points.

    I do have a brand new Pamco ignition with a mechanical advance that I saw on EBay and had to buy it. I planned on reverse engineering the Pamco and researching better components but never got around to it. Electronics are not my strong suit and I dont really know how to read schematics though. It sits in the XS400 parts box waiting.

    The E-advance Pamco has a fixed rotor on the camshaft. The mechanical advance Pamco uses the original advance weight assembly and you just replace the roller cam with the Pamco piece. Just incase you happen to find loose parts on the web. Some advance boxes came as an aluminum case over a plastic one for better cooling.
     
  7. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    Thanks for that reply! From what I was reading on other threads, the Pamco E-advance was a direct replacement for a TCI, but I could have read wrong. It would be nice to find something that would replace the old ignition unit, but I know it's hard to find for the 400. Maybe I will just try my hand at rebuilding a factory TCI and hope for the best. Worst case scenario, is that I have to buy a new one.

    Just re read your post, and do you think the newtronic system could replace the TCI? I mean installing the new components to replace the rotor etc?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  8. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    The Pamco with E-advance (including the early mechanical advance and heavy duty versions) was intended as a upgrade for points ignitions. There would be no benefit to use a Pamco on a TCI bike unless the TCI failed or you have no ignition at all.

    The Newtronics is a complete ignition system replacement. Youll have to use ignition coils from a points bike and probably have to modify some of the main wire harness. I like the package of this system. Its very clean and simple.

    Working TCIs can still be found but the Newtronics is brand new and the company is reputable.

    Going with points may be the cheapest option but then youll have to deal with points. Electronic ignitions draw more power so youll have to watch battery size if you have E-start and want to use it. Its really up to you. Both points and electronic are simple and reliable in their own ways.
     
  9. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    Thank Mike! I DO NOT have an ignition at all, hence my search. I'm building this into a frame I had in my shop, so the wiring will be done from scratch as well. Any recommendations on coils? I have nothing but the motor and carb assembly to work with, everything else will be bought new.
     
  10. Alienation420

    Alienation420 XS400 Member

    Is there anyone else to chime in? Just wondering if my cheapest option is to do a points conversion? I'm trying to keep the wiring as basic as possible, and keep it simple and clean. I'm not scared of mechanics at all, so adjusting points etc doesn't bother me. Just want some real world knowledge from riders. Are points available new from an aftermarket supplier?

    Also, I'm wanting to not connect the starter motor, and run the kick start only. I know I need the battery to run lights etc, but want to keep that minimal as well. Maybe an antigravity 4 cell?
     

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