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Gadget Freak Case #235: Ignition Control Unit for Harley Davidson Panhead Engine
3/26/2013

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Edward Nauman designed an ignition control unit for the Harley Davidson Panhead Engine from the ground up.
Edward Nauman designed an ignition control unit for the Harley Davidson Panhead Engine from the ground up.

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A J
User Rank
Iron
Re: I've been in combat with a Harley Evo for years...
A J   1/28/2014 4:28:59 PM
NO RATINGS
I have a stock '57 Panhead and I am interested in your devise. Being totally incapable of assembling your ignition control unit; how much could be for a complete set up provided by you? My old trick right knee has this retiree seeking your help. forty7chief@yahoo.com

NAC
User Rank
Iron
Re: Awesome
NAC   1/15/2014 3:49:28 PM
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Check out KTM's 450SX motocross bike. Electric start.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Awesome
Cadman-LT   5/18/2013 12:29:59 AM
NO RATINGS
I already know it is probably a stupid question, but no one answered it. Why can't you have an electric start dirt bike? They have electric start mowers. I must be missing something. It sure would be nice to hit a button when you are stuck in a mud hole rather than trying to kick it. Been there done that...not fun!

wardljc
User Rank
Iron
Notorious Skunk
wardljc   4/30/2013 6:57:07 PM
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I continue to be amazed at the innovation and creativity that gets released when engineers retire from large corporations.  The fact you designed this as your own educational exercise is impressive.  Some companies are bringing back "engineering freetime".  A concept that most abandoned decades ago when MBAs could not measure its Earned Value each week.  Imagine what you could have done if you had your own creative time to develop your own ideas before you retired!  My hat is off to you, Ed, never stop creating.

enauman
User Rank
Iron
Re: I've been in combat with a Harley Evo for years...
enauman   4/12/2013 1:09:29 PM
NO RATINGS
To Iron:

Since you want to build one for yourself, send me your email address and I will send you the complete documentation.  I will be happy to assist you. have any questions you can email me at:

enauman@roadrunner.com

enauman
User Rank
Iron
Re: original ICU
enauman   4/12/2013 12:28:26 PM
NO RATINGS
To answer the question about the original advance mechanisim in the Panhead, it was a twist grip on the left hand side of the handlebar which the rider could vary as desired.  The epitomy of "tune by ear"...  :)

 

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Awesome
Cadman-LT   4/10/2013 1:36:13 PM
NO RATINGS
This might be a stupid question but...why don't they make dirt bikes with electric ignitions? Stuck in a mud hole, be easier to hit a start button than try to kick start it. I know there is a reason.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Awesome
Cadman-LT   4/10/2013 1:31:57 PM
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All I can say is awesome. Love the design and the materials...last forever. 

enauman
User Rank
Iron
Re: Ignition timing
enauman   4/2/2013 11:54:50 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for the comment.  This ICU is not an ECU as it does not close the control loop with engine parameters other than RPM.  It is strictly a mapped advance curve based on RPM.  I wrote a white paper on it and sent it to Design News but I'm not sure if they made it available.  If anyone wants a copy of it or any other documentation, email me and I will send it to you.  If you are really considering building one for yourself, I will be happy to help if I can. 

 

One of my main goals in doing this project was to educate myself a little further in the engineering aspects of the combustion engine.  It is a stepping stone for me to my next endeavor which is to build an ECU.  I plan on starting with a single cylinder 4 cycle engine that has an electric starter and an accessable ignition system that can be readily replaced.  I have laid out the data acquisition system with 23 parameters.  Next is building a small engine dyno for testing.  Once that is through I can start ressearching engines.  I plan on trying Microchips MCU's first, but I have a feeling it will require more processing horsepower especially when I move to more cylinders.  I will probably step up to Freescale's stuff.

Thanks again for the comments,

Ed

enauman@roadrunner.com

 

Rocker3360
User Rank
Iron
Re: original ICU
Rocker3360   4/1/2013 3:09:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes this ignition was a points style ignition. It could be converted to magneto if desired. Electronic is way better!

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