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Technical New "Big Brass Condensers" now available

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tubman, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I was 16 in 1958, the first piece of "Speed equipment" I bought for my '51 Ford V8 was a dual point conversion setup. Because the second set of points took the space where the stock condenser was, the kit came with a "Big Brass Condenser" that mounted on the outside of the distributor. It didn't have the visual impact of a set of finned heads or a dual carb setup, but you could open the hood and there was something there to look at and impress your buddies.

    Ever since then, I've had a real liking for these "Big Brass Condensers", and even managed to obtain a couple over the years. Lately though, they have been increasingly difficult to find and quite expensive. Well, if you can't buy 'em, why not make your own? I have spent the last summer working with my neighbor, who is an electrical engineer, to do just that. I think we have come up with a unit that looks good, and more importantly, is quite a bit more reliable than what is currently available. We have extensively tested them, both on the road and in the shop. High temperature, vibration, and transient high voltage feedback seem to be the enemy of regular condensers, and we have addressed all three factors. These condensers are rated at 330 nano farads up to 630 Volts, and are good for up to 247 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of our initial units failed because of overheating problems, so we have stepped up to the highest temperature rating we could find. We have tested them in my powder coating oven at 300 degrees for 3 days and have not had any failures. I am currently running them on my cars with conventional ignition.

    Some of the components had to be purchased in quantity and I have a lot of time invested in this project. Therefore, I would like the opportunity to share these with members of the rodding community, and perhaps get a little of my initial investment back. If anyone is interested, please PM me, as I currently have an extra ten units that I would sell. I am asking $6o each, plus shipping. The only variance from the old time units is that the bottom of these are made to be removable, allowing the capacitor inside to be replaced, in the unlikely event one should fail.

    Here are a couple of pictures of the unit, as well as one installed on the converted SBC distributor in my '51 Merc engine.
    2016-09-16 14.20.35.jpg 2016-09-16 13.55.34.jpg 2016-09-16 16.30.18.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  2. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 3,260

    elgringo71
    Member

    Thanks for posting them here. It's cool to see them improved and reproduced
     
  3. Pretty nice, and a product worth investing in. Conversation started.
     

  4. Katuna
    Joined: Feb 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,823

    Katuna
    Member
    from Clovis,Ca.

    Awesome! Is that the same cond that the Mallory distributors used?


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    Boden likes this.
  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It kinda looks like one and is functionally the same, but it is dimensionally a little bit different, is of a different construction, and uses a different type of capacitor that should be more stable than the old Mallory condensers.
     
    RonaldR and Max Gearhead like this.
  6. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 3,008

    Corn Fed
    Member

    Looks good. Finding those old "Trash Can" condensers at swap meets can be tough. This is a great alternative. Is the diameter the same so the wide Mallory strap can be used?
     
  7. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The diameter of my unit is 1.00" while I measured an old one at 1.055", so it will probably work. I'll go to my shop in a little while and actually try one. I'll let you know later today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  8. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Anyone know how to test an original?
     
  9. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,069

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

  10. Thanks Petejoe,good info.
     
  11. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    "Corn fed", I tried one of my condensers with a Mallory 2 screw strap. Mine is a little smaller, but it seemed to fit. If I were to use one, I'd put a lump of solder on the case or use a piece of shim stock to make sure I had a good electrical connection. Here are a couple of pictures with one of mine and an original Mallory on a Mallory "Flattop".
    2016-09-18 14.42.56.jpg 2016-09-18 15.01.28.jpg
     
  12. I don't got a pic but we have one of the originals here and it is takin a lickin and still tickin. I would buy another for any points car that I have. The are a fuckin Timex.
     
  13. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,074

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Capacitors are properly checked at full rated voltage, a DVOM will not do this. 200+ volts DC. They might test OK until they reach normal operating temperature as well.
     
  14. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My neighbor who is the electrical brains on this has a real capacitor tester. Also, we have run them for multiple hours at temps between room temperature and 300 degrees. In addition, these are rated at up to 630 volts. Believe me, we don't want to make just another "pretty face"; we want these to be the most reliable units available.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
    town sedan, kidcampbell71 and Truck64 like this.
  15. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Guys, All of my originals are spoken for. Because of the positive response, I just ordered enough material to make another 30, which should be ready over the next several weeks. Thanks for the support.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  16. Positive shout out to tubman for making these. I received mine in the mail today and I'm a happy camper.
    Thanks again.
     
  17. I’d be interested in a empty one for looks since I plan on running electronic ignition all though I can’t imagine it’s to hard to find a bad one and use it as a power post for the ignition
     
  18. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I could certainly make you one, but the problem is that these are all hand made and quite labor intensive. The last step in making these is actually inserting the capacitor and sealing them up. You would only save the approximately $7 for the capacitor itself and a small amount of labor. Because the great majority of the work has already been done, I'd still have to get $60 for a "dummy" unit.

    I have an alternative however. In my research for this project, I have accumulated several original Mallory condensers with split cases. They test out as marginally good (they all are over .4 micro-farads), but I wouldn't trust them in actual service. The splits are pretty evident, but could be concealed by mounting the unit with the split towards the distributor. I could sell you one of these for $30.
     
    kidcampbell71 and 52plybizcoupe like this.
  19. Vidar Haugen
    Joined: Jan 22, 2018
    Posts: 1

    Vidar Haugen

    Hi
    Yess. i need one of these this is much easier than ebay :)

    Regards Vidar
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  20. GTS225
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,199

    GTS225
    Member

    Vidar; In case you didn't notice, the original post was in '16, and the latest was '18, (besides yours). Can't say you'll get much response.

    Roger
     
  21. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Vidar, I'll send you a PM.
     
  22. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,587

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Well Lockett split response . Very :cool: and kudos Mr. Tubman for all your efforts .
     
  23. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,110

    Beanscoot
    Member

    "Can't say you'll get much response."

    Well of course he will! This is the Hamb, after all.
     
  24. C73A5D68-224B-483E-913D-358C5A82C5C6.jpeg Isn’t this beautiful !

    Tommy
     
  25. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I should probably update a couple of things. First of all the price is now $50 to Alliance members vs $60 to the general public. Second, these are now made with .22 micro-farad capacitors rather than .33 micro-farad units because it is a better match with modern coils. Just about every condenser available since the original Mallory's and front-mount Fords are in the low .20 micro-farad range. We have also upgraded the appearance since my initial posts. The top rim is now more "rounded" and the bottoms are a smoother fit. Check Tommy's picture vs. the original and I think you will see what I mean.
     
    ottoman and town sedan like this.
  26. curt vesely
    Joined: Dec 19, 2017
    Posts: 8

    curt vesely

    I would like to buy 2 of your condensers. Do you have a web sight? Do you take credit cards? I'm at azbolt@cox.net. Thank you Curt...
     
  27. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Curt,

    I sent you a regular email. Thanks for your interest in these.

    Denny (Tubman)
     
  28. Boden
    Joined: Oct 10, 2018
    Posts: 747

    Boden

    Charge it on the battery and touch the post and body with ur fingers


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  29. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,851

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Some high-end multi-meters have a condenser test position (my partner in this has one; he was an EE). They will tell you what the capacitance is at any given time. However, condensers are kinda like coils; just because they test good cold doesn't mean that they will function properly when heated up and/or run a while.

    If you don't want the experience "Boden"'s method provides, you can do a preliminary test if you have an analog multi-meter. Set the meter to read in the high ohms range, somewhere above 10k and 1m ohms. Touch the meter leads to the corresponding leads on the condenser, red to positive and black to negative. The meter should start at zero and then moving slowly toward infinity.
     
    town sedan and egads like this.

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