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Lucas magneto problems? NEW CHEAP solution to bad condensor

37498 Views 19 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Thunderbird
I don't do much endorsing of products, BUT this one has my full attention. To all you guys with Lucas magnetos with problems, get ready to see it fully functional for about $23 shipped, along with a little work in your garage.

If your bike runs poorly, backfires at all but idle, stalls out and won't start back when hot, then works again when cool. Your mag likely has a bad condensor. The condensor is in one of the end caps of the armature and is not very serviceable to the average Joe. If you're thinking of buying a generic automotive condensor at Auto Zone, don't. I have tried it. It works on the test bench, but not on the road. Not at all.

I saw this product while digging around on the interwebs, and had a crap mag with the above symptoms, and thought "What the heck, It's only $23, I'll try that". The guy I got it from (on e-bay) joined the jj and made one self-promoting post (up to now), and that's it. His user name is "skipsoldbikes". The little chip showed up today, and I got it installed tonight by the directions on the MFG's website: which does detail how to disconnect the original Lucas condensor (less than an hour of work).

I am here to tell you, this 50+ year old mag is performing like new, or at least freshly built. I did disassemble the whole thing, clean all tracks and brushes as well as cleaning and greasing the bearings. I will keep you guys posted here on this thread, on how long it works, as time goes on.

Here is a pic of the item that did the trick. Also know that I paid for this thing, it was not a gift or "demo" or anything of the sort. The cool part about this arrangement is, you can change out this condensor, if it fails, without disturbing the timing of the mag. I have not spoken or messaged the above mentioned member as of this writing, but I do hope he chimes in with any other relative info that may help other jj'ers keep their Brit machines in the breeze. He sells 7 different ready to go models plus a DIY board. This thing got my '55 back on the road for $23, instead of a $400 rebuild, and a three+ week wait. I hope this info helps.

Cheers, Dan.

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I recently installed one of these on a BT-H mag from the 50's. It was dead as a door, no spark at all. After putting the brightspark cap in, it produces a healthy spark when turned by hand, and on a test fixture ran for 5 min @ 2000 rpm without a single miss.
These are only user friendly if you have access to the condenser leads, if not you have to pull the slip ring which is very fragile, and if you are a gorilla with tools do not attempt it. Anyway I second how cool this product is.
^^^ Agreed!

On a K2F mag you can get to the condensor leads without pulling the slip ring. I have no idea how hard it is to get to the leads on other mags. On their website they have a step-by-step pictorial on how to perform the "condensor-ectomy" of the offending Lucas bit for the K2F series of mags.
cheers for the heads up.Interesting website.Good to see someone trying to demystify magnetos and not just use the knowledge as a cash cow!
If you are planning to buy one of these on eBay, the seller has the same user name there as here on the jj, "skipsoldbikes". I will be keeping a few in stock.
Cheers, Dan.
Hi Guys,
thanks for the nice comments!
I was in the same boat as most of you with a mag bike, my stable (currently) is a restored '57 Norton model 77, in the middle of assembling a '50 Norton model 7, and the next project is a '60 Norton Nomad desert racer. All my bikes have mags & I do nearly all of my own work & never understood all the mystery of magnetos, I mean how bloody complicated can they be Lucas made them :) !!

Then I ran across the Brightspark Easycaps website & was blown away, they "demystify" the mag & post all kinds of free info on their website. I was hooked! I called the owners in the UK & made arrangements to be a dealer here in America. I wont bore everyone with all the tech stuff here (its all on the website), but I can tell you there have been "0" failures on these !!!!! Despite the ramblings of "magnetoman" on the britbike forum (DR. Falco at the university of Arizona) these Easycaps are awesome & work every time, so dont let his comments affect you. I personally offer a money back guarantee on them in addition to the MFG. warranty. Normally it is cheaper to buy the easycaps from me that to buy them direct from England, unless you live in the EU.

But keep in mind, there are other things inside a mag that can go wrong in addition to the capacitor , it's not unusual that the coil will need rewound (expensive), misc. shorts, bad slip ring, bad bearings, end play not adjusted correctly, points issues, worn or defective brushes, weak magnet etc., etc.

An Easycap might not be the complete answer to your non-working mag, but considering the original Lucas condenser only had a 10 year shelf life, my guess you at least need a new capacitor.

I do not run a full time magneto repair shop, but I do repair mags as a sideline & have found most of the mags I see also have a weak magnet that I recharge with a HUGE vintage Bosch re-charging unit, purpose built for recharging mags & not only does it work great, but it kinda has that Frankenstien's workshop look to it.

I am not going to get rich selling Easycaps on ebay, in fact, on paper it is a loss when you figure in ebay fees, time to do the paperwork & shipping, etc. I just like old bikes, esp. Brit bikes. I hope that one day I can get a few old mags for earlu American bikes so I can get some easycaps made for them as well. Right now I have a few "universal" easycaps that can be cut to fit other allpications if you are handy in the garage, on the website we show one modified to fit a Villiers engine.

I am always happy to give free info & help to anyone who asks.

Thanks again !!!!!!!!
Skip Brolund AKA "skipsoldbikes"
Located near Cleveland Ohio
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I've had one in a customers bike now for several months and so far it's great.

I am about ready to classify the Easycap as an actual "Miracle Product"
freakin' awesome! that's what it's all about right there.
I've had one in a customers bike now for several months and so far it's great.

I am about ready to classify the Easycap as an actual "Miracle Product"
Agreed! Since I started this thread over 2 months (and several thousand miles) ago, the magneto on my '55 has not missed a beat.
Cheers, Dan.
Hi guys,
just an update on the Brightspark Easycaps.
I checked with the company owners & there are currently over 5,000 Easycaps sold & not a single in use failure yet :)

In my shop, I have installed over 100 of them myself.

If anyone here is planning on installing one, don't hesitate to shoot me an email, advice is still free :)

I have a substantial inventory of new & used Lucas mag & dynamo parts if anyone gets stuck.

Skip Brolund
looking at the armature of the Lucas mag got me to wondering. I have been working on a Robert Bosch ZEV mag that looks to almost share armature design and maybe even a few parts. any idea if the condenser will adapt into the Bosch?
here's a few pix of the Bosch mag parts. spinning points...

disassembled armature less coil and field laminations, bearings and slip ring. the coil, slip rings and bearings look the same as Lucas parts

the no good condenser...

I did locate some good replacements that work for now. the availability of new quality replacement parts would be a major plus for future replacement.
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If you contact BrightSpark, let us know what they say.
If you contact BrightSpark, let us know what they say.
I contacted Skip Brolund [email protected] as he is a vender for the Brightspark products. Skip is in Ohio and that's pretty close to where I live in Michigan. Skip was a very large help with parts and needed info. he runs a magneto repair shop that does more Lucas magnetos than most other brands. yet just the same, he has worked on every brand of mag known to any engine that burns gasoline. Skip sent me a C02 condenser as it looked to be what I thought would fit the easiest in this Robert Bosch ZEV magneto. with very minor fitting issues the C02 chip fit, minor file work on the chip mounting board and a slight die grinder shave on the points carrier it fit.

this mag made spark before and the engine did run on the test stand. the starter on the stand turns an engine pretty easy so it did fire and run. kick starting was a different story. I would dare say we kicked the engine over enough to warm it up and brake the rings in before it ever started. after rebuilding the mag with another nos condenser, coil and a magnet recharge, it didn't change things much. spin it fast enough and it would spark, kick starting was just not happening.

I'm very pleased to say with the BrightSpark chip condenser the mag will produce a hot spark with a half turn of the armature. with the mag installed the bike fired up and runs as it should (video when I get a chance)

the BrightSpark chip flat out works.
if your in the Ohio area (or not...) Skip is a supplier and also a full service magneto shop for Lucas and other brands.
you will not be sorry with the BrightSpark product or Skips services.
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Multiples of that solid-state condenser could replace other less-durable motorcycle capacitors in battery eliminators. The design also lends itself to mounting one or more on a heatsink if required. I've never skinned out an Electric Franks regulator (gotta love that casting) but a solid state capacitor could obviously fit inside that too.
Are there any specific advantages (besides size) to these "solid state" caps over the electrolytic ones?
Yes, the original condensers are buried inside the armature & require special tools to remove & reassemble. The Easycap mounts on the points plate for easy access.
The Easycap is a ceramic condenser, less susceptible to heat issues than the original.

Yes, the original condensers are buried inside the armature & require special tools to remove & reassemble. The Easycap mounts on the points plate for easy access.
The Easycap is a ceramic condenser, less susceptible to heat issues than the original.

trying to fit one to a BSA B32 Mag dyno at the mo' where you have to disassemble armature and bobbin to isolate the duff condenser, what I can say is if you need advice they are happy to help.
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