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Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick connect)

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  • Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick connect)

    I have a '78 evinrude 70 that I brought back to life after sitting for over 15 years. When I put it in the water for a test run I determined I had no spark on the top cylinder. After testing all other components and playing the coil and trigge
    r swap game I came to the conclusion the power pack is bad.

    I have a '81 evinrude 70 that i picked up as a parts motor to use the foot on my '78. It was running when water got to the lower cylinder and wiped the lower main bearing. The '81 uses the new style potted power pack with quick disconnects instead of the screw terminals. I tested the triggers, coils, and timer base following the instructions in the factory manual and CDI electronics' website. So I swapped the motor wiring harness, coils, timer base, stator, rectifier, terminal strip and flywheel (basically all electrical from the big red plug back other than the choke, starter, and starter solenoid). I now do not get a spark on any coils. Everything tests fine as far as resistance values and output when cranking, so it appears this setup also has a bad power pack.

    Either way I have to buy a power pack for either of the setups. I am wondering which of these two setups would be the one to go with. Is one more reliable than the other?

    The prices seem to be about the same for replacement power packs. One thing I prefer on the newer setup is the timer base's coil seem to be encapsulated in plastic or resin versus the open style of the older setup. I would also think the QD plugs would be less prone to corrosion, though my old 78 pack still looked factory new under the cover. The screw terminals do make it nice for trouble shooting by being able to switch coil and trigger wires around without cutting anything.

    Thanks for the input

  • #2
    Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

    anyone?

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    • #3
      Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

      No spark ?? Have you disconnected the black/yellow wire from the pack and see what happens ??

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      • #4
        Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

        I ran a 1976 75 hp for a number of years. More recently, a 92 70 hp engine. I don't think one ignition system was any more reliable/better than the other. I was very happy with the performance of both of them through the years.

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        • #5
          Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

          Originally posted by boobie View Post
          No spark ?? Have you disconnected the black/yellow wire from the pack and see what happens ??
          Yes, I disconnected and checked for +/- DC voltage - there was none, It went to ground with the key off and open loop with key on so that wire checked fine. (btw it ran the old power pack fine except for the lack of spark on one coil instead of all 3 coils)

          The other day I did the standard resistance readings on the coils, stator, triggers along with checking for short to ground and everything was in spec.
          I do not have a DVA to check the output when connected and disconnected like CDIelectronics' troubleshooting guide recommends. I do have a industrial scope meter though. So last night I set it to Peak to Peak (instead of RMS)and checked the voltage output of the stator and trigger coils. The stator gave 850V when disconnected and a little over 800 when connected so that checked good. The trigger coils would put out atleast 6.5v when disconnected but would fall below 2v when connected. According to the trouble shooting instructions, this points to a faulty power pack.

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          • #6
            Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

            Originally posted by emdsapmgr View Post
            I ran a 1976 75 hp for a number of years. More recently, a 92 70 hp engine. I don't thing one ignition system was any more reliable/better than the other. I was very happy with the performance of both of them through the years.
            Thanks, The 78 is the only one I have ever had that has the screw terminals and it never gave any problems while under regular use (78-94). My grandpa passed away in 94 and the boat has sat until now.

            My 78 115 and 79 140 both use the newer quick connect plug type power packs so that is what I am used to seeing under the cowling.

            I ended up comparing the price between the two systems and went with the newer style. I picked up a sierra replacement for $70 and it will be here Tuesday. The fact that that system is already installed on the motor also influenced my choice.

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            • #7
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              Re: Which Ignition system is better/more reliable PP3/CD3 (screw terminal/quick conne

              The Mag-Flash CD ignition with the screw-terminal power pack was introduced in 1972 and used to about 1976 or '77. the timing sensors under the flywheel were a weak point. The later style CD system is stronger and more reliable than the early one, plus it was used for many more years in 2 to 6 cylinder configurations.

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