When it comes to classic cars and hot rods, one of the most important systems to get right is the ignition system. And for many of these vehicles, a points ignition system is the go-to choice. But if you’re not familiar with how these systems work, figuring out how to wire them up can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the 12 volt points ignition wiring diagram, to help you get your classic car running smoothly.
What is Points Ignition?
Points ignition, also known as breaker point ignition, is a type of ignition system that was commonly used in cars up until the 1980s. It works by using a set of contact points to interrupt the flow of electricity to the ignition coil, which in turn produces a high-voltage spark that ignites the fuel mixture in the engine. While electronic ignition systems have largely replaced points ignition in modern cars, many classic car enthusiasts still prefer the reliability and simplicity of points ignition.
How do Points Ignition Systems Work?
At the heart of a points ignition system is the distributor, which is responsible for distributing the high-voltage spark to the correct spark plug at the right time. The distributor is driven by the engine’s camshaft, and contains a rotor that spins inside a cap that has contacts for each spark plug. The rotor is connected to a set of contact points, which open and close to interrupt the flow of current to the ignition coil. The opening of the points causes the magnetic field in the coil to collapse, which generates the high-voltage spark that is sent to the distributor cap and then on to the spark plug.
The points themselves are typically made of tungsten or platinum, and are mounted on a stationary base plate. A spring-loaded arm with a cam follower rides on the camshaft and makes contact with the cam lobe that opens and closes the points. When the points are closed, current flows from the battery to the coil, creating a magnetic field. When the points open, the magnetic field collapses, generating the high-voltage spark.
The 12 Volt Points Ignition Wiring Diagram
Now that you have a basic understanding of how points ignition systems work, let’s take a look at a typical 12 volt points ignition wiring diagram.
|Red||Power to ignition switch|
|Yellow||Ignition switch to coil positive|
The above table shows the wire colors and functions for a typical 12 volt points ignition system. The red wire provides power to the ignition switch, which is then sent to the coil positive terminal via the yellow wire. The black wire is the ground wire for the entire system, while the white and green wires are the distributor wires, which connect to the points and the spark plugs respectively.
Wiring Tips and Tricks
While the 12 volt points ignition wiring diagram is fairly straightforward, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when wiring up your system.
Firstly, make sure that all of your connections are clean and tight. Poor connections can cause all sorts of issues, from misfires to complete system failure. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean any corrosion or dirt off of your connections, and tighten them down securely with a wrench or pliers.
Secondly, make sure that your ground wire is properly connected. The ground is the foundation of your entire electrical system, and without a good ground, your system won’t work properly. Make sure that your ground wire is connected to a clean, bare metal surface on your vehicle, and use a star washer to ensure a good connection.
Finally, if you’re having trouble getting your points ignition system to work properly, check your timing. The timing of your ignition system is critical, and if it’s off even by a little bit, your engine won’t run properly. Use a timing light to verify that your timing is correct, and adjust it as necessary.
What is the difference between points ignition and electronic ignition?
The main difference between points ignition and electronic ignition is how the ignition coil is triggered. In a points ignition system, the coil is triggered by a set of mechanical contact points that open and close as the engine runs. In an electronic ignition system, the coil is triggered by an electronic control module that uses a signal from a crankshaft position sensor to determine when to fire the spark plugs. Electronic ignition systems are generally more reliable and require less maintenance than points ignition systems, but some classic car enthusiasts still prefer the simplicity and authenticity of points ignition.
How often do I need to change my points?
The lifespan of your points will depend on a number of factors, including how often you drive your vehicle and how well-maintained your ignition system is. In general, you can expect your points to last anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 miles before they need to be replaced. However, it’s a good idea to inspect your points periodically for signs of wear, such as pitting or burning, and replace them as necessary.
Can I use electronic ignition with my points-style distributor?
Yes, you can use an electronic ignition system with a points-style distributor. There are a number of aftermarket electronic ignition systems available that are designed to work with points-style distributors, such as the Pertronix Ignitor. These systems replace the mechanical points with an electronic module that triggers the coil, providing increased reliability and performance.
Can I convert my points ignition system to electronic ignition?
Yes, you can convert your points ignition system to electronic ignition. There are a number of aftermarket electronic ignition conversion kits available that are designed to work with a variety of vehicles and distributors. These kits typically replace the points and condenser with an electronic module that triggers the coil, providing increased reliability and performance. However, it’s important to note that electronic ignition conversion kits can be expensive, and may require some modification to your existing ignition system.