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Misc: Ignition RITA Ignition + Wiring Diagram

brian gains

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Black Shadow fitted with RITA twin coil ignition and AB 11 amplifier. Reached the end of my tether with the wiring and random will run won't run and 300m pushing up hills.
Does anyone have a sketch for basic negative earth wiring, ignition switch, horn, hi/lo front, rear light, stop lamp and ammeter.
I have wired bikes previously with a 1/4 of the wiring that has been crammed in the headlight of this one.
Thanks.
 

Bill Thomas

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VOC Member
Forget the bit about 12v !!!!!!!,
I had trouble with the front 6v from almost new ,
Faulty terminal, Lost all sparks, If it had been the rear one I think it would have gone onto one cylinder ?.
The small coils if pinched in the clamp can fail !,
But back on 2 x 6v now, Neg' earth,
If you get stuck on the road I only had a 12v coil in the tank bag, That got me home !.
 

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Normski

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VOC Member
Can I suggest you split up your problems into getting the ignition to work reliably and having a reliable wiring set up. They are interrelated but to deal with the not running for long first; if you feed the ignition directly from a fully charged and reliable battery you can see whether the intermittent running is caused by the ignition set up or the feed to the ignition.
I am assuming you’re running 2 six volt coils in series and the diagram below from a Morini 350 would be correct for this. If you’re running 2x 12v coils in parallel then this isn’t the right diagram.
In the top right hand corner is shown feed from ignition switch connected to +ve of first coil. If you feed this directly with a hot wire from the battery +ve and ensure the earth to the casing of the AB11 is good then you’ve bypassed your bikes wiring and you can see if the problem of not running for very long remains or not. Do not leave the hot wire connected for very long without the bike running!
F3A3AA28-BD5A-43C4-86CF-C14394D99BF8.png
 

Bill Thomas

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VOC Member
I agree Somer, I have had mine for years, But don't trust it and it uses a lot of power.
I had plans for a new "D" distributor, but the maker died,
So the Rita was the only thing around at the time.
When and if it packs up, I have an old "D" Distributor ready.
Cheers Bill.
 

Nigel Spaxman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I ran a Rita on my Vincent for a year and it worked great. Mine had a special amplifier with the advance needed for easy starting of the Vincent. They do use a lot of power though. I replaced all the connectors with Deutsch connectors because the plugs that came with the Rita were rusted. The Deutsh connectors are really high quality ones as used on fuel injection systems etc. I still use a Rita on my Norton. They are really good except for the connectors. Jack Cape sold me some of the Ritas I have. A lot were already marked NFG. I made a test rig and ran them. It was only connection problems on all of them. I have heard that if the plug leads fall off that can lead to failure. Maybe that can happen but it hasn't hurt mine. I had one of the pick ups crack on the Norton (to much vibration) so now I reinforce those with some JB Weld epoxy. Now I have a Dyna Ignition that was intended for a Harley. It uses less electricity but apart from that the bike runs about the same. I wanted to be able to use smaller coils. The Rita will wreck most coils.
 

BigEd

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
I fitted a Rita ignition system to an R75/6 BMW twin that I bought new in 1976. It performed well and was more or less maintenance-free. The only problem I had with it was due to a white plastic multi-point connector getting some water in it, easily solved by doing a bit of waterproofing.
 

brian gains

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
thanks for responses.
The issue does seem to be a bad connection but painfully of the intermittent type, i suspect a dry joint somewhere in the headlamp spaghetti morass.
Why was the machine wired for + earth, i'm sure it was wired using 4 wires where one would have done and using block connectors instead of spade connectors or torpedo connectors gives an idea of the mindset used.
The 'running' or 'not running' scenario is far better than the 'intermittent running' scenario which just spoils a ride from the outset.
On a positive note the rear head got re torqued as there was a slight mist, it appeared to be set at under 20lb/ft !! and that was never going to do it.
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Just had a read of my instructions, After reading Nigel about better starting,
And seen that the timing is done at maximum advance !!, I forgot that, Long time since I did it.

Nigel, Does it need more or less advance for starting ?, I would think more ?.
Thought I might have a play !,
My L/ning is not good at warm start, It used to be very good with T.T. Carb's,
It would fire before the kicker was right down !,
But then wetted plugs after about 20 miles, Always thought it was the Petrol ?,
Been running Concentrics for a long time, Mk1, But now Mk2 s.
 

ClassicBiker

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VOC Member
I can't say a thing bad about the RITA. I had one on the Shadow up until a couple of years ago when I fitted a new BTH that I bought on evilbay at a substantial discount. The reason I swapped is the amount of electricity it uses. The Alton could not keep up on an evening's ride. After about 45 minutes or even if I started out with a fully charged battery the turn signals would quit flashing. I would notice the headlamp dim noticeably at a stop. Which is all very strange as the same time I fitted it to the Shadow I also fitted one to my 500 Triumph. That one does not exhibit the same behavior. In fact on a second Triumph 500 I have I fitted one. It was only when they became unavailable that I started fitting the Boyer units.
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I can't say a thing bad about the RITA. I had one on the Shadow up until a couple of years ago when I fitted a new BTH that I bought on evilbay at a substantial discount. The reason I swapped is the amount of electricity it uses. The Alton could not keep up on an evening's ride. After about 45 minutes or even if I started out with a fully charged battery the turn signals would quit flashing. I would notice the headlamp dim noticeably at a stop. Which is all very strange as the same time I fitted it to the Shadow I also fitted one to my 500 Triumph. That one does not exhibit the same behavior. In fact on a second Triumph 500 I have I fitted one. It was only when they became unavailable that I started fitting the Boyer units.
Steven, I would have thought you over there would have a Mcdougleator,
Brother Ron bought 2 back from a visit to USA, I have had one on the L/ning for a long time now,
Nice bit of kit.
 

Nigel Spaxman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Just had a read of my instructions, After reading Nigel about better starting,
And seen that the timing is done at maximum advance !!, I forgot that, Long time since I did it.

Nigel, Does it need more or less advance for starting ?, I would think more ?.
Thought I might have a play !,
My L/ning is not good at warm start, It used to be very good with T.T. Carb's,
It would fire before the kicker was right down !,
But then wetted plugs after about 20 miles, Always thought it was the Petrol ?,
Been running Concentrics for a long time, Mk1, But now Mk2 s.
Bill The Vincent isnt' fussy about when the advance occurs I think full advance at about 3000 RPM is fine, but you want for starting a timing of about 4 degrees BTDC so really you need a total advance of about 30 degrees if you want to run 34 degrees full advance for example. I think a lot of the Rita boxes made for Nortons have a lot less advance than that, since the full advance timing on the Norton is only about 28 degrees and probably they don't need so little advance for starting either. You have to use the Lucas 6V coils. They are about the only ones that can take the heat from the high current of the Rita. The coils have power almost all the time.
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Nigel, I think I did it about 36 degrees, It was a long time ago,
So it might be already enough for starting,
It's never pinked and goes well enough !,
Starts first kick from hot and not bad from cold, It's just that warm, Seems to need flooding,
Not easy to do with Mk2 Concentrics, I don't like to use the chokes, Seems wrong,
Maybe I will get the hang of it this year :D .
Cheers Bill.
 

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