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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 1:34 am 
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Kent is the inventor of the "breaker point ignition system". I am sure that others improved it along the way as it was very crude. The main reason Kent left the auto ignition parts manufacturing business in the late 1920s was because automobiles were then coming out with their own version of the Kent system and Kent was very busy with building radios! After all, in the late 20s Kent was the largest manufacturer of radios for a time.


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 1:39 am 
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Jimmy, That's great that you saw one even if it was 25 years ago. There must be a few survivors out there. I have no idea how many were made originally but have to think it wasn't a large number.

Thanks,
Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 1:41 am 
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From what I've seen Kent's system wasn't a "breaker" point system but rather a "maker"...


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 2:14 am 
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Jim,
Is this like the unisparker you have? Look at the 10th and 11th picture down. This is a 1910 Thomas automobile.

http://theoldmotor.com/?p=133731

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http://www.atwaterkentsrus.com


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 3:09 am 
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Location: Sandhills of Nebraska, 69170
I have a 16 page AK Ignition System Pamphlet I could try to scan and post somewhere or email if anyone is interested. Cover looks like this:

Lot of neat info in there. Diagrams, pictures, prices, etc...

Travis


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 3:43 am 
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LBF ARSR wrote:
I have a 16 page AK Ignition System Pamphlet I could try to scan and post somewhere
Hi Travis,

Email it to me and I'll post it on the Requests page.
I prefer high-resolution scans, at least 600 dpi.

Email address on the AK homepage.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2016 7:41 am 
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Location: Mpls, Minnesota
Lots of info on the AK systems here.
http://www.oldmarineengine.com/discus/m ... /2848.html

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sat 25, 2016 3:56 am 
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Excellent information at that site. Now we know exactly how the Unisparker worked, and we can say that it is entirely different from the Kettering system although some components look similar.

The key is what 35Z5 posted above, it is a "maker" points system as opposed to Kettering's "breaker" points system.

First a bit of background. A common type of auto ignition at the time consisted of a "timer," basically a low-voltage rotary switch operated by the engine camshaft, and a set of ignition coils, one for each cylinder. The coils were basically high-voltage generators, known formally as trembler coils and informally as buzz coils. When low voltage was applied, an internal buzzer interrupted the current allowing a transformer to step up the voltage to 10kV or so. As long as there was low voltage going in, high voltage would come out. This was the system used on the Ford Model T as well as many other cars.

So the Unisparker borrowed the timer idea, but only for a single pole. As the camshaft rotated, the timer contacts closed very briefly and generated a short pulse. The coil used with this system was very different from the one used on the Kettering system. The Unisparker coil was more like a pulse transformer, with a very high turns ratio. That's what gave it the ability to generate an extremely high voltage when energized not with a pulse but long enough to saturate, such as with the Start switch. But it normally didn't saturate because the points weren't closed long enough, indeed the very short dwell was the key to its very low power consumption. So it's spark energy was very low. Not a problem for early engines with very low cylinder pressures, but before long.......

So that's the problem the Kettering system solved. By using stored energy, the Kettering system produced a much higher-energy spark that had the current to ignite higher cylinder pressures. The key to energy storage was that the points did not create a short pulse, they remained closed (dwell) as absolutely long as possible. This allowed the coil to saturate. When the points opened, the large magnetic field in the coil suddenly collapsed, creating a nice high-energy spark. Now with the points closed most of the time it became important NOT to leave the ignition turned on with the engine not running lest the points burn out, the battery run down, or both.

The Unisparker system had the advantage of constant voltage regardless of engine RPM, whereas the Kettering system suffers declining voltage as RPM increases. This got to be a problem with large 8 (or more) cylinder engines running at high RPM, particularly with higher compression (higher cylinder pressures) that came after WW2. The energy from Kettering ignition became marginal, resulting in misfiring at high RPM unless everything was in perfect condition. Solutions included dual point sets or dual distributors to increase dwell, and eventually moving to a 12 volt system to allow faster rise time in the coil.

So we can see the importance of breaker points in Kettering ignition allowing for an energy-storage coil, which is how it is distinguished from the Unisparker.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sat 25, 2016 5:42 pm 
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David thank you for above post, clearly points out the advantages/flaws of both systems...

Still history proved Kettering's version to be superior as it was used until points systems were retired...


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sat 25, 2016 5:52 pm 
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35Z5 wrote:
Still history proved Kettering's version to be superior as it was used until points systems were retired.
That does not in any way invalidate Kent's claim of having invented the points/coil/distributor system.

Kettering subsequently improved on same.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 12:48 am 
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Jimmy,

Those pictures are great! That is the AK ignition system that I have. I have never seen it mounted in a car before. Thanks for getting the pictures, made my day. I also have the original instruction manual and another small green pamphlet (dealer sales copy?) for it.

Thanks,

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 2:03 am 
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Leigh wrote:
35Z5 wrote:
Still history proved Kettering's version to be superior as it was used until points systems were retired.
That does not in any way invalidate Kent's claim of having invented the points/coil/distributor system.

Kettering subsequently improved on same.

- Leigh

Leigh, please read my post again and understand. Atwater Kent invented "a" points/coil/distributor system, not "the" points/coil/distributor system. The contact points used by Kent were similar to and derived from the common timer, which made the circuit on contact. The contact points used by Kettering were breaker points, which were not what was invented by Kent. And when contact points are mentioned, breaker points are assumed. The Kent Unisparker system died out early. It was the Kettering breaker points system that dominated from 1928 to 1974.

Let's all agree that Charles Kettering invented the breaker points/coil/distributor system.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 2:07 am 
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dberman51 wrote:
Let's all agree that Charles Kettering invented the breaker points/coil/distributor system.
Well, David...

We can agree to disagree.

The two "revolutionary" aspects of Kent's design were the high-voltage distributor and automatic spark advance.

Those continued unchanged in the Kettering system. He did NOT invent them.

How the coil was energized is relatively minor.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 5:02 pm 
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Actualy, it makes all of the difference in the world.

At various times I have run a Unisparker, a Bosch distributor set up for the Kettering system, and the stock Trembler coil ignition on a Ford car. The Kettering ignition superior to the AK, even at the low speeds of the Model T engine. Oddly enough, when I had the factory trembler coils properly rebuilt and regulated and ran them with a rechargedlow tension magneto I found that the original system was superior to either "modern" replacement WHEN USED WITH A STOCK ENGINE AT TYPICAL MODEL T SPEEDS.

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 5:34 pm 
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I don't think the original question was who eventually had the best operating system, it was who FIRST invented a points/coil/distributor system.
Atwater Kent's Unisparker system had Reis'd pat number 12,273 with an issue date of Oct. 11, 1904.

I'm still waiting for any other that had an earlier date.

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Sun 26, 2016 6:11 pm 
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vitanola wrote:
The Kettering ignition superior to the AK...
That statement confirms the fact that Kent "invented" the system, and Kettering improved on it.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Mon 27, 2016 4:05 am 
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Well, they are different sysems. The high tension distribtor was not a Kent invention, it had been used with Bosch HT magnetos. Kent developed AN ignition system which incorporated a HT distributor (existing technology) a single-spark coil. The system's two chief features were its automatic centrifugal spark advance (borrowed from the Bosch HT magneto) and the single spark coil and point system. Kent's system was inexpensive, more reliable than many more expensive systems of the day, and it was easy to use. The Kettering system was a modification of the Kent system which used many of the same mechanisms but an entirely different method of generating the high-tension pulse. It was well suited to automobiles fitted with electric starting and lighting systems, for although it was much more reliable than any previous battery ignition system it used a rather heavy amount of current and was not suitable for operation from bry cels. The Unisparker, however, was vary sparing of current, and cound be powered for thhousands of miles with a set of four to six No. 6 cells.

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Mon 27, 2016 4:47 am 
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Location: Gavilan Hills, (Perris) CA
As previously stated...Mr. Kent's breaker point ignition found immediate success in Ford applications. It basically consisted of a distributor, single high voltage coil & single point set. It worked so well that many independent manufacturers quickly adopted the system.
Photo shows Atwater Kent Model CC distributor in my 1920 Paige-Detroit (rotor removed for better view). Kindly excuse the dirt.
Attachment:
1.jpg
1.jpg [ 13.38 KiB | Viewed 2748 times ]


What Kettering did was develop the first successful, reliable electric self starting system originally installed on 1912 Cadillacs & adopted to the remainder of the G.M. line in the next year or two.
The Delco system was built as a one unit starter, generator, ignition assembly all self contained. It has a single armature with 2 commutators with 2 sets of brushes (one for starter, one for generator) and an over riding clutch. All driven off of the water pump shaft. Many other makes also adopted the Delco system.
This unit is in my 1916 Buick (note modern coil & once again excuse the dirt).

Attachment:
2.jpg
2.jpg [ 52.38 KiB | Viewed 2748 times ]

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Last edited by diamondisk on Jun Mon 27, 2016 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Mon 27, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Hey, thank you for all the posts. Looks like I ignited some debate here!!! Exciter. Anybody gotz any Atwater Kent Radio photos to post??? Of the "Kent/Kettering" variety. Thank you again.

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 Post subject: Re: Atwater Kent Automotive Applications
PostPosted: Jun Mon 27, 2016 4:31 pm 
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According to legend, Henry Leland, the founder of Cadillac (and later Lincoln) engaged Charles Kettering to develop a reliable self starter.
Leland was prompted by the death of Byron Carter a friend & fellow engineer who was killed while hand cranking a lady's stalled Cadillac at Belle Island, Michigan.

Leland made a remark something like: "That's the last time one of my cars will kill somebody".

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