Author Topic: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit  (Read 828 times)

Offline AshimotoK0

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Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« on: October 03, 2017, 10:51:02 AM »
Loaned my good mate RGP750 on here  my CX500 carbs and CDi to get his bike running properly. My carbs worked fine and member Woodside kindly donated Rich some spare carbs so he's sorted out now BUT I asked him to test my CDi ... and it was found to be duff. Hence my post on CX forum blah blah !

http://cx500forum.com/forum/technical-help-forum/89329-300-mile-only-bike-cdi-doesnt-work-another-bike.html#post824777

300 mile only bike CDi doesn't work on another bike
As posted on here when I started as a newbie earlier this year, I have a 305 mile only, 1982 UK registered, CX500B  which was left to rot in a damp shed presumably from 1982 because the DLVA records say it was last taxed in 1982. Everything about the bike, despite doubters on other forums, confirms the mileage (e.g. original fitment tyres with the moulding sprues still on the centre of the treads, oil colour like it came straight out of a new can etc, etc.). I am slowly gathering shiny parts for it with the aim to get it up and running but I have not attempted to run the engine yet. My friend in Kent recently had problems with a CX he just bought, so I sent him my carbs set and CDi to substitute, in order to identify the fault. My carbs were so clean inside that I didn't have the heart to put them in my ultrasonic cleaner. Anyway, he fitted my carbs and, without adjustment, his bike then ran perfectly with his own CDi. I therefore asked him to substitute and test my CDi but he said it didn't work, which surprised me a bit. Was there any changes to the later 1981-2 loom or CDi box which would explain this?

I appreciate that the later transistor assisted modules can be fitted but I would like to investigate why my CDi didn't work on his bike. I designed my own CDi for my Honda 400/4 in the late 70's as I am an Electronics engineer (ran OK for 20k miles until I sold it !) so I am well up on the technology, although picking out the encapsulation to investigate the cause of failure will be a bit tricky. However, if the unit is in fact duff then I have nothing to lose. Anyone got any tips or experience to share please? It is stamped TIA02-14 on the can with what looks like the Hitachi manufacturers logo.

Cheers for now .. Ashley

I did find this which is useful to some degree

http://www.cx500.50webs.com/



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Thanks for the replies. The CDi was tested on another bike but the same model as mine and that bike was fitted with the same CDi with the same part marking on the can. The 'test' bike ran fine with it's own CDi and ziltch with the one from mine.

I had a feeling of déjà vu here .. My mate bought a CB400N from a guy at work with less than 1k miles.... again left to rot in a damp shed. The carbs were horrid but after cleaning them, the bike ran OK for a week or so. Then the CDi failed.

Here is what I have done so far : Pics and write-up to follow.

I picked out quite a bit of the 'cheesy' type potting. I immediately noticed that the steel enclose was internally rusty on one side. I pick down as far as I could. Then I removed the black sleeving from the wiring and carefully pulled each individual wire through the grommet so that I could pick at the potting better around the fly-leads. I felt that by exerting force on the PCB this would possibly lead to grief as you have a large bonded area under the PCB. Drastic as it, is I slit the corners of the can with a 1mm cutting disc and folded the sides down, so that I could gradually peel the bottom ( normally top of the can) from the potting. This was interesting because there were several large voids in the potting between the PCB and the can. One was so bad that the bare underside of the PCB was exposed. When I designed potted 'gizmos' ( do you USA guys called them 'Hoo-dickeys'   ) I used to heat the module to around 45°C and pour a small amount of epoxy encapsulant into the potting box with its PCB in it . I then vacuumed it to remove entrapped air, filled up with potting and then re-vacced and cured. The Chinese sub-contract manufacturer we used, hated me for this (I went over there 5 times) but I was insistent that if we potted stuff it must be done properly. It got to the point that I made them mark the potting box with coloured marks to identify that the various stages of manufacture had be adhered to (no pun intended) . So shame on you Hitachi for such bad encapsulation. Can you image if the 'Price of Darkness' Lucas in the UK had done this ?

Anyway, I sat yapping to my mate Roger yesterday afternoon and at the same time picking away further at the encapsulant. Before I knew it I had the underside of the PCB fully exposed and most of the components revealed on the top side. Who is this guy ? I hear you all saying but I actually quite enjoyed it. Just the kind of thing you can do while the 'other half' is watching junky TV programmes. I was worried that some of metal-film resistors may have got damaged in the picking so I desoldered one end of each one so that I could make measurements, but so far so good they are all coming out as preferred 'E' series values and no duffers ...yet.This also enabled me to clean underneath them. I will replace every resistor as a matter of course with modern equivalents 'just in case'. There seem to be quite a few glass passivated , controlled avalanche diodes on there ....I already use the BYW56 diodes, which are similar and readily available. There are no electrolytic capacitors on there to 'dry'up with age. Most seem to be mylar/polyethelyne film. Again I will measure and probably replace these as they don't cost much. Nothing on that module isn't replaceable with modern components and everything is discrete, i.e. no IC's. Nowadays, something like this would have a custom programmed chip in it that, if found to be duff, you haven't a hope in hell of getting a new replacement for ( users of Ultrawave late edition and Sono-Swiss industrial ...mega expensive .. ultrasonic cleaners beware !)

So what now ? ... I will clean up the PCB, replace all of the passive devices and try to identify any 'duffers' in the process , that may have been the cause of failure and then make up some kind of 'off-the-bike' test setup for it, once I have convinced myself what makes it tick. Then I will rehouse it in a sealed box encapsulated in silicone oil, so that if it ever fails again I can just remove the PCB assembly, clean with a suitable solvent and fix without all of the fun of picking at potting ! The original PCB by the way is a good quality epoxy-glass material and has PTH (plated through holes) so no worries there.

Where I worked in the 1990's , we used to 'pot' electronics in epoxy/PU, when really a conformal coating would have sufficed. This was purely because the owner of the company was protective of anyone copying/repairing our designs even though they were patented and he insisted that everything was potted. He made us use the rock hard when cured, mineral filled, type of epoxy resin too, that was only removable by hot refluxing with THF or similar nasty aggressive solvents until it went 'cheesy' and could then be picked off. Invariably though, components would disintegrate beyond recognition in the process.

I will write all of this up and post with pics etc. Sorry if it's been covered already and thanks on the cracking advice so far. Any advice on an off the bike test setup gratefully received. First thing (after repair) will be to simulate the alternator and pulser outputs and hook up to a pair of Honda coils I have spare.

Cheers for now ... Ash

I did a similar write-up on fixing Honda ignition coils for another forum :- here

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x0a4fcpmrw...20fix.doc?dl=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qxWtR_m80Fc
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 01:26:58 PM by AshimotoK0 »
“Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music. Believe me, yeah. It’s a new dawn.” Grace Slick, Woodstock '69 .. In the year of the Sandcast.

Offline Johnwebley

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 11:11:20 AM »


 Ash,let me thank you for your posts,

 I am not clever enough to really understand them,but as long as you can strip,and repair the encapsulated coils and CDI units
 there is always hope to keep this lovely old bikes alive ,

 regards

  John
lifelong motorcycle rider,and fan

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 03:01:33 PM »
Damn Ash that's above my pay grade, I can understand some of it but not having any sort of electronic training most goes right over my head. Fair play for getting stuck in there.
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Offline AshimotoK0

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 05:44:13 PM »
Damn Ash that's above my pay grade, I can understand some of it but not having any sort of electronic training most goes right over my head. Fair play for getting stuck in there.

Says the man who back in the early Honda 4 years could work out plain bearing codes when all his colleagues couldn't ! ... that was a black art then Ken, so everyone on here has their own area of expertise. I just can't stand it when someone says 'can't be fixed mate'. Hopefully, once I have finished, it may end up as a simple procedure. Along the lines of "Sit watching your favourite soap omnibus and pick out all of the potting. Chances are components X Y or Z may be suspect, here is where to get a suitable replacement part to solder in " .  Don't know how RGP750 got on but he bought a replacement used Cdi for about £100 and it was duff  even though the seller guaranteed it was a good 'un and worked perfectly
“Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music. Believe me, yeah. It’s a new dawn.” Grace Slick, Woodstock '69 .. In the year of the Sandcast.

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 07:48:07 PM »
Never really thought the bearing selection was hard TBH, however getting Honda to admit it was difficult, they really didn't seem to want anyone to know the simple way when the hard way was so much more lucrative in labour terms.

I did teach myself how to calculate the resistor needed to light an LED with 14.5v feed, took me a few days but in the end I could work it out in my head for any voltage and for any colour LED, for as you know they have different voltage needs. I always wanted to figure out how to make my own circuit boards, can't be hard.
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Offline RGP750

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 08:21:39 PM »
Good luck Ash sorry to be the bearer of bad news .
I did get my money back from the CDI seller ,no argument at all so i recon he was taking a chance on it .
MOT on my CX this Friday so hopefully ride over the weekend.
1972 500/4
1973 CB175
1972 CB175
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1927 960cc Matchless 'v' twin
1969 750 K0

Offline K2-K6

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 09:19:56 PM »
Interesting to see what went wrong with this unit.

I'm ok working with electrical systems but internal knowledge of design and what the components do inside some of these parts is more of a mystery to me. I'll follow it in the hope of getting a more informed view of what happens inside and benefit from your skills.

I think I have to try and convert electronic capability into basic mechanical function to get my head round it. Something like the link fascinated me as his approach was to produce a mechanical component that mirrored an electronic design,  he views the two as doing the same thing.

http://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/f1/understanding-the-j-damper/#

Thanks for your in depth analysis Ash

Nigel.

Offline mike the bike

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 09:59:30 PM »
Quote
    . I always wanted to figure out how to make my own circuit boards, can't be hard. 

I've been making pcbs since I was a kid.  Let me know what you want done and I'll talk you through it.
Why did I get rid of that one

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 08:34:35 PM »
Wasn't any particular design Mike, I used to do LED conversions in the Astra Mk4 car. I started off just doing them for myself and ended up doing them almost commercially, I got so good at it my own dash had over 200 LEDs in it, there were 65 in the speedo alone. However because of the way I created them I was forced to use wire instead of PCBs and in some units a small PCB would have made the job so much easier, I know the principal of how they are made but needed someone to walk me through one just so I could grasp the finer details, I don't do the conversions anymore, I lost the impetus when my mother died and never seemed to want to do them again. 

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Offline AshimotoK0

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2017, 09:16:20 PM »
Well I am a fish out of water on that CX Forum with an alive and kicking 'Bitsa' (R.I.P.) type old sage who keeps having a pop at me telling me I am wasting my time. But you all know me ..such comments just spur me on. plus I keep getting PM's saying they are enjoying it and 5 'likes' ..so not a waste of effort at all !

Here is the CDi stripped down to the bare PCB and a circuit diagram taken from a Dutch site.

The background on the picture  is for a member on there 'Shep' who is a much respected bloke on there from Hull ... but Orcadian on here, another 'ull lad,  will appreciate it too ! Now need to order modern bits and rebuild it.

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« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 09:19:51 PM by AshimotoK0 »
“Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music. Believe me, yeah. It’s a new dawn.” Grace Slick, Woodstock '69 .. In the year of the Sandcast.

Offline Trigger

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2017, 09:35:52 PM »
As I have said before mate, if it can be built before, there is no reason why it can't be built again.
But, why do they go wrong in the first place? must be room for improvement  ;)

« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 12:03:31 AM by AshimotoK0 »

Offline mike the bike

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2017, 09:53:44 PM »
Replacing components with higher spec ones usually solve the problem.   
I've lost count of the number of touch lamps that knacker the triac when the bulb blows and I've had to solder a higher rated triac in.
Why did I get rid of that one

Offline Woodside

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2017, 10:03:56 PM »
im watching...very interested in the outcome..having one of these old armchairs the probability of a failiure is fairly high

Offline AshimotoK0

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2017, 12:04:06 AM »
As I have said before mate, if it can be built before, there is no reason why it can't be built again.
But, why do they go wrong in the first place? must be room for improvement  ;)

Well mine was never potted properly at manufacture so water had crept in and got exposed to the bare PCB.  What I didn't want to do is buy one second hand like RGP750 did for over 100 quid  only to find it doesn't work or may die soon after installation because the components are nearly 40 years old. Now that is hassle and wasted effort in  my book.
“Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music. Believe me, yeah. It’s a new dawn.” Grace Slick, Woodstock '69 .. In the year of the Sandcast.

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Anatomy of a CX500 Cdi unit
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2017, 02:56:51 AM »
You'll have to excuse my ignorance here Ash but the pic of the back of the PCB shows large areas where the solder has become unattached to copper underneath. This is where I never got making your own PCB, does the solder make the contact or does the copper make it as my understanding of the way you make your own PCB was that you acid etched the surface to expose the tracks you'd drawn on, but if that is correct the PCB must be entirely a plate of copper covered with a film, exposing the copper allows the solder to have something to attach to. If it's a plate of copper why doesn't everything just connect with each other?

Have I got that all wrong?
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