Reverse engineer Rick's CDI setup?

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
Guys & gals,

I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes, specifically Rick's. But because he is no longer making and selling the Mac CDI setup, and it seems he hasn't done so for a few years or so, I was hoping that someone who owns one would be kind enough to dissect it and post pictures of the components and how it is assembled, etc. My objective is simply to build one for me and to help others too,if I can. There seems to still be a lot of interest in that system, but no supply. I have no desire or intention to profit from Rick's design and work.

If Rick would do that, that would be great, and I would be deeply appreciative. I sent Rick a PM a few days ago, but it appears that he has not logged into this forum in about a year. But Rick, if you read this and are willing to tell me (us) how you made yours and what components you used, I will be happy to pay you for your effort. I'm not trying to get something for nothing, I'm just trying a last ditch effort to acquire that CDI ignition.

If Rick's CDI system requires lathe and/or milling working, that is no problem for me. I am a professional machinist and I have a lathe and milling machine in my home shop too.

I can make a pointless ignition system that requires a 12V battery, but I would prefer a system that doesn't require the added weight of a 12V battery.
 

Gyro28866

David McCutchen
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,897
Location
Dickson, Tn. USA
Aircraft
Benson B7m & B8m, Dominator II; Kolb Mark III Classic
Total Flight Time
750 combined FW & Gyro
After Rick stopped selling/building the CDI units. I did a little research. Rick was pretty slick naming his venture "Advanced Rotor Designs" and on the units the letters "ARD" are present. Actually if you will go to www.britcycle.com you will see they manufacture a cdi ignition for Triumph and BSA 2 cylinder engine motorcycles. The Gentleman that Rick was dealing with was the creator and he has passed a long time ago; seems like he was 96 when he died.
Rick did manufacture the mounting plates and re-machine the McCulloch magneto to accept the pickups.
I suspect that the source having issues for support and a Mac market that is drying up, caused him to stop trying to produce the CDI units.
 

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
Thanks David,

Looking at the magneto schematic in the Mcculloch, it looks like it may be a relatively easy thing to do. I'll check out the link that you posted. Thanks again. And if I do figure it out, or something comparable, I'll post it here for others.

Gil
 

skyguynca

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
Messages
1,099
Location
Acampo, CA
Aircraft
depends on what I have sold recently
Total Flight Time
5000+
last I heard they were not available anymore and did not know if they would be available ever again
 

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
Thanks j bird. I sent an email to britcycle. Hopefully they will reply with something helpful, though I am not holding my breath.

I'm not going to give up on this.
 

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
I'm not an electrical engineer, nor am I even close to one. But I can read, research, and comprehend. I'm getting closer.

Here is my understanding so far. I have a few pictures of his setup, but they aren't very good. If my thinking is flawed, please do not hesitate to correct me.

1. The original magneto in the Mac generates AC voltage.
2. The current is produced when the rotor spins inside the coils.
3. This AC voltage must go to a controller.
4. The controller (capacitor) steps up and stores the energy.
5. Pick-ups (triggers) signal the controller to release the energy to the ignition coils.
6. The ignition coils again step up the voltage and pass it to the spark plugs.
7. The energy arcs over the gap, and viola!, we have ignition.

It looks like Rick made his wiring harness nice and tidy buy using molex connectors like the ones found on pc atx power supplies. Looking at his setup there appear to be 5 wires inside the male molex connector.

I would guess them to be:
A. Hot wire from left coil.
B. Hot wire from right coil.
C. Positive wire from left pick-up (trigger).
D. Positive wire from right pick-up (trigger).
E. I'm not sure, would this last wire be a ground for the pickups?

Then he has a 5 wire female molex connector on the controller, self explanatory.

The controller has these wires:
A. 2 yellow wires. These will be connector to a SPDT switch to ground (kill switch).
B. Red wire to one ignition coil red (+).
C. Green wire to the other ignition coil green (+).
D. Two black wires to go to each coils black wire(-), respectively.

It is very possible that I have it wrong. I haven't looked inside my Mac's mag yet.

It also looks like he machined a bearing retainer that also provided a mounting location for the pick-ups.

It would really help if I could see one of his setups, or if someone would be kind enough to open their's and take a few pictures, and possibly get a few numbers/manufactures.

It's interesting that he would name his ARD, Advanced Rotor Designs. Looking at the Britcycle website shows some CDI Magnetos with the first part of the part number as ARD. I'm still waiting to hear back from Britcycle.

I'll keep digging,
Gil
 
Last edited:

Gyro28866

David McCutchen
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,897
Location
Dickson, Tn. USA
Aircraft
Benson B7m & B8m, Dominator II; Kolb Mark III Classic
Total Flight Time
750 combined FW & Gyro
I am not seeing any of the parts used by Rick on the Britcycle site now.
The parts I have, on the coils the letters "ARD" are raised and highly visible also in the top of the casing of the "blackbox" the letters "ARD" are raised. When you went to their site 15 years ago. These parts were listed and are the exact parts that Rick was using.
I think, when Rick redesigned the Mac Mag into a CDI pickup, the parts he was getting had the letters "ARD" on them and to help hide the parts from us, he used the "ARD" in his company name and then called it "Advanced Rotor Design". And most folks will assume the embossed letters on the parts stand for his company and not research any further.
 

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
I am not seeing any of the parts used by Rick on the Britcycle site now.
The parts I have, on the coils the letters "ARD" are raised and highly visible also in the top of the casing of the "blackbox" the letters "ARD" are raised. When you went to their site 15 years ago. These parts were listed and are the exact parts that Rick was using.
I think, when Rick redesigned the Mac Mag into a CDI pickup, the parts he was getting had the letters "ARD" on them and to help hide the parts from us, he used the "ARD" in his company name and then called it "Advanced Rotor Design". And most folks will assume the embossed letters on the parts stand for his company and not research any further.
David, I suspected the same thing, but me being a new guy around here, I didn't want to ruffle feathers with assumptions. But I think you hit it on the head. I figured that ARD came before Advancd Rotor Design. And thank you for your help. I'm still waiting to hear from britcycle.

I don't have a great deal of knowledge about ignitions, specifically about adapting one system to another. But I'm working on it. Thanks again for your help, I do appreciate it.

Gil
 

Loflyr

Newbie
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Richmond, KY
I have an idea.

The Mac's mag generates AC voltage. From what I see, all of the ignition modules that seem to be viable for this application require DC input. What if I used a Key West regulator/rectifier to get 14V of DC for input to the ignition module? I think then that I could probably use an off the shelf module and ignition coils. I would then only have to machine a bearing retainer plate that also provided a mount for the pick ups. I have a milling machine and lathe in my garage. The machining would not be an issue.

Do you guys think that the Key West unit will work? I have three powered parachutes and they all have blue head 582's with the Key West units. So, I have experience with them. I even have a couple of brand new ones in my garage. I think they provide 14.5 VDC @ 15A, of course that is with the 582's mag. The Mac's may not have enough current.

Does anyone know what the current output is of the Mac's mag?

Gil
 
Top