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Hi there, I've just received the timing light made by "Rite Autotronics Corporation (RAC)" which I purchased on Ebay for $9.50. It's an old item, I guess made during '60-es, but never used. It has three cables as usual, two goes to the battery and the third "trigger" one goes to the spark plug cable. However, on that third cable there is no built in spark plug adapter which I expected to find there (to be inserted between the plug's cap and the plug), but only a highly insulated alligator clip. In the user manual it says I should add the spark plug adapter between the plug and the cap and then attach that clip "on the middle of the adapter".
However, that adapter is not included, so I was wondering is it actually just a piece of metal to provide the access for the third cable's clip to attach (without any resistors, capacitors or other electronic elements) as in that case I could easily improvise it or find some other place on the cable to attach the cable directly to it, or that adapter has some more roles besides providing access, like to reduce the high voltage or something? So, basically, is the "trigger" cable attached directly to the high voltage of spark plug or there is some advice in that adapter to reduce that voltage?

I sent the picture of unit, so if anyone ever had similar unit and knows how it works I would be thankful for any info!


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Still Learning
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Are you saying it has an induction clip or aligator clip. Most came with the induction clip. I didn't see a picture of the clip as I'm viewing from my phone on the road.
I just clamped it over the plug wire with the induction clip.
 

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We need a photo of the cables to be able to tell you how it works and if anything is missing.:stumped:

Most of those timing lights have a clamp to put over the cable, I have also long time ago had the kind you put between the spark plug and the spark plug cap.
 

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I don't have a digital camera so can't make a picture, these pictures are from Ebay....No induction clamp to put over the cable, only a simple alligator clip. It's an old unit (cca 40 years), I think that no timing light had inductive clips at the time.
@Gullvingen
The old one you owned probably had a built-in adapter at the end of the "trigger" cable so you just insert it between the plug and cap, right? I expected to find that on this one as well (it couldn't been seen on the Ebay pictures as you see) but it has a simple alligator clip instead and in the manual they say that there should be an adapter (maybe sold separately) to insert between the spark plug and its cap and then attach the alligator clip to that adapter.

I guess that its just a piece of spring which directly leads the high voltage to the trigger cable without any reducing (like on your old light) but I am still afraid to try attaching it directly on the ignition cable, for the case if that missing external adapter still had some other role (for example some built-in resistor to reduce the high voltage)? That's the main point, I'm afraid of burning the unit if that adapter was not just to provide the access....
The worst thing is that the RAC doesn't exist since '80es so no way to find some on line info about their items.
 

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The one I had many years ago had a coiled spring that fit over the plug and into the cable. Check with NAPA store they may have the adapter.
 

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So I guess no voltage reducers or something like that inside that adapter? Thanks chaps! I'll check NAPA and if I don't find it then I'll try to make one myself. The most important is that it goes directly to high voltage so I guess I don't have to worry about burning out the unit.
Thanks again!
 

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This may be what you have, the Xenon tube fires from a HT voltage but is not that bright, you may have to check timing in a darkened garage or at dusk.
 

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Exactly! That's the missing adapter I am talking about. So I guess it is just a piece of metal with appropriate connections for the plug and the wire, nothing else?
Thanks!
 

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That missing piece fits on to the spark plug so you can join the spark wire and your timing light.

Take a small piece of flat stock or even aluminum foil, roll into a tube shape to fit the spark plug and the spark wire, fit #1 plug to the roll, the wire to the roll and the alligator clip to a squashed section of the roll.

You will need new aluminum foil each time as you crush it, but it will still conduct.
 

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That older timing light, and I have had many, used just a common connection, try it just to the ignition wire without the plug attached, see how bright the tube is. The spark plug is kept in circuit to keep the engine running but if you have an 8, or 6 cylinder 1 cylinder not firing won't stop the engine but a 4 with only 3 firing can be a rel shaky mess.

Anything to join all 3 components should work that is conductive, an inductive material for this timing light won't do...but I am relying on memory. Experiment with it!
 

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OK! Actually, when using on my car (I have an old Russian off road Lada Niva with 4 cylinders) I can simply move the insulating boot on the end of the spark plug wire so I get the access to the place where the wire is attached to the spark plug and clip the light's trigger cable directly there (without detaching the wire from the spark plug). Somewhat more complicated task will be to use it on my Goldwing as there is no separable insulation boot but there I will try with an aluminum foil tube as you described.

Barring on mind that newer timing lights are triggered by the inductive clamps which produce far less voltage than the one which feeds the plug, I thought that maybe these older units which goes directly to the plug wire maybe also have some element in that adapter to reduce the voltage. However, if I understood you well, nothing like that exists, but the unlimited high voltage which feeds the spark plug goes directly to the timing light trigger cable.

Thanks a lot! :waving:
 

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Beautiful. I have one like that. A real collectors item. I would save it and get a later model "inductive" model to use. Mine is not that nice, I've had it for at least 35 years, and I do have an adaper that goes on the spark plug, and the spark plug wire and clamp from the light connect to it. It is NOT a voltage reducer of any kind. That light needs all the power it can get, and you will need to use it in a darkened place. I haven't used mine in a long time, I have 2 old cars, a '64 and a '72, both with points and coil ignition. But I have gotten to where I set the timing by ear. It needs to be advanced slightly over stock settings to run well with the low octane unleaded alcohol contaminated sludge they sell for $3.30 a gallon and call gas.


I just noticed there is a picture of a Pinto on the box, so it has to be at least '71. My '72 is a Pinto Squire station wagon.
 

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I had one like that too, Mine had a coil spring on the end that you had to keep away from metal after you attached it to the plug cap or the spark would jump. I think the Zenon tube went out on mine and i bought an induction type that is way easier to use. Pretty sure that i bought my RAC in the early 70's.
 

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Find an old plug wire. Strip the insulation off of the upper connector so you see the metal clip. Stick one end on your spark plug and the upper end into your plug wire. Sometimes you need to put a 1/4 inch bolt with the head cut off in to make a connection between the two wires. connect your timing light to the exposed metal.
 

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JerryH wrote:
....It needs to be advanced slightly over stock settings to run well with the low octane unleaded alcohol contaminated sludge they sell for $3.30 a gallon and call gas.
Can you believe that they sell the same unleaded p*ss water over here for approximately $7.3 a gallon while the average month salary is $500....and about 60% of the price is a tax which goes to the country. I call that a robbery. Until last year we at least had the old school high octane standard leaded gas. Since then it is prohibited. So most of us are forced to use LPG gas for our cars, which is probably even worse than new "eco-friendly" gasoline and ruins the engine far sooner but it costs 50% less....and being that it has lower flammability than the gasoline thus needing more time to ignite it is recommended adjust some earlier ignition timing when using LPG. I know some chaps over here who fitted LPG on their bikes....still my goldwing is too valuable for me to poison it with LPG.

I bought this light at Ebay from some woman who mostly sells old toys and such staff. Have no idea how this came to her hands. It is absolutely new, never been out of the box. I even got a warranty certificate and original user manual with it. Just that adapter was missing. It is surely at least 40 years old. Tommorow I will test it and let you chaps know how it works!

Thanks for all the info!
 

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Have fun testing that light! If you get shocked be sure not to slam that Russian Niva, I did more damage to a car's body when I got zapped, especially while holding a big wrench, big dent in the hood going up.
 

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ARKnapp wrote:
Have fun testing that light!  If you get shocked be sure not to slam that Russian Niva, I did more damage to a car's body when I got zapped, especially while holding a big wrench, big dent in the hood going up.
:ROFL::toast:
 

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INPUT:
Today I tested the timing light by lifting the insulating boot from #1 spark plug and clipping the trigger cable directly there. It works nice, it's pretty bright, I did that at 6PM outside at clear weather and there was a strong "move freezing" effect by the timing light, despite the daylight was present.

And ARKnapp, I passed without shocks so Niva still have intact body! :)

Thanks!
 
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