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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Default Mallory ignition on Panhead: Some questions and personal observations

    Ive got a electronic ACCEL 556 e-ignition/distributor on my kick start only pan.

    Its been doing great until trying to fire it up yesterday: No spark

    So I checked EVERY wire path, etc, etc. No shorts, disconnections, full 13v at the distro, and at/to/from coil. Coil shows 4.0 ohms, and I'm am not sure of any other tests that can be done on the coil

    I'm thinking the ignition module in the distro is fried. So here are qustions, and some interesting observations....

    Questions: [/B]

    1. Any testing I can do at the distro so see if the ign module is fried?

    2. Any other coil tests I can do?

    3. Anyone else run into similiar Accel problems?

    4. On the net I am noticing that Mallory and ACCEL seem to be the same product, under the Holley name brand??

    5. Even more confusing is that I see that the ACCEL 556 that I have is discontinued, and the Mallory A605 replaced it. The replacement is named Mallory/Unilite. Whats up with the multiple names?

    6. My ACCEL 556 has no manufacturing labels or any markings on it at all (except for a decal number on the module itself, which has no cross referencing anywhere).

    Research shows the 556 were is 3 versions: One that has no external markings, and two others, one with MALLORY on the outside, the other with ACCEL on the outside. I mean, WTF?

    Observations:

    1. There are replacement ign modules available (about $65), but I cant find them for the ACCEL 556 (the one I have).
    The replacements I see are for the MALLORY A605 and appear to be an exact replacement. Im planning to call Holley today and ask if the A605 will work in my 556

    2. It appears that many of the ign modules for the A605 is for multiple applications, to include cone style motors.

    Any feedback or history on these damn things is appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Ok. Just found some older info.


    I tried to attach two docs:

    The one here is a pic of my distro (no external markings).

    The other is a trouble shooting guide (Im at my max at attachmnets right now, Ill try to post it later), with a pic of a 556 that has external markings: Whats great about that doc is it tells a trouble shooting guide for the 556, and also tells if it fails the tests, you get a A605 ign module replacement
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ACCEL 556.jpg  

  3. #3

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    I cant attach the actual TS doc due to size, but here is a cut/paste of the words

    TEST PROCEDURE FOR UNILITE® & E-SPARK®
    MOTORCYCLE IGNITIONS

    With the Module wired to the coil like it’s ready to run. Take the cap off and position the Module so you can
    see it. Turn the key on and test the voltage on the negative side of the coil, which is where the green wire
    attaches to the coil.

    To do this, the Red lead from the voltmeter will go to the
    Green wire on the coil. The Black wire from the voltmeter will
    go to ground. Set the voltmeter for 12 volts DC.
    With the ignition switch ON, you should have about 12 volts.

    Then take a plastic card or thick match book and place it in
    slot of the module to block the photo optics of the module
    (see pictures). The voltage should drop to 1-2 volts.
    Remember it’s an infrared LED, so you won’t see it.

    If the test results are as follows, the Module will need
    to be replaced:

    1. Voltage does not drop to 1-2 volts when optics blocked.
    2. Voltage always stays below 2 volts, blocked or not.
    3. Voltage drops, but stays above 2 volts, the higher
    above 2 volts, the weaker the spark.

    Possible causes are:
     Faulty charging system: stuck or shorted regulator,
    bad ground, dead cell or defective battery, defective
    statoror generator.
     Faulty ignition switch, direct shorts in electrical system.
     Faulty starting system: starter drag.
     Trying to start motor with battery charger hooked up.
     Non-suppression spark plug wires (copper or stainless solid core wires). Spark plug wires must be
    Spiral Coreor Graphite Core suppression wire.
     Welding on the Bike with Module still hooked up (unplug the white connector to the Module before
    welding).
     Improper coil, use 2-4 ohm coil (check installation instruction).
    If you must replace the module, replace it with Mallory/ACCEL part number A605.
    If after completing the test you still have questions, call 888-258-3835 M-F 8

  4. #4

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    Another intersting fact. Looks like the A605 ign module is also used in allot of Mallory and ACCEL Automotive distributors as well

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    Have you considered an original style, internal bar mounted advance, hell even stand alone lever on the bars would be pretty cool.

  6. #6

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    Did the trouble shooting test, and I have 13v all the time, so the module is shot

    Interesting note: In the troubleshooting guide (That wasnt included when I got the distro) is that stainless core spark plug wires can ruin the module, and guess what? Thats what I was running: Sure wish that was in the original instructions

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoomBuggy View Post
    Have you considered an original style, internal bar mounted advance, hell even stand alone lever on the bars would be pretty cool.
    The unit I have has an auto advance

  8. #8
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    gotcha

  9. #9
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    Excellent thread! I'd forgotten about them since the last GM points distributor I converted was in the 1980s but that's what those modules are for along with Unilite distribotors. I'd never seen one on an HD or knew they were used on conversion circuit breakers.

    They're cheap enough to carry a spare (I just checked) but prices vary so look around.

  10. #10

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    The modules are cheap, (60-80 bucks are so), but be warned.......There are allot of dif manufactorers that make them, but many are knock off, no names, which brings up another piont. These modules are very, very simple, and anyone can pretty much make them. Many online statements say Mallory and ACCEL have lost their Q/A, and many customers have experinced burned out modules.

    But why?

    Myself, I was runninng the wrong type of spark plug wires, one of the written TS reasons they burn out. Ill bet many folks get burned out modules caused by operator error.

    Who knows.

    Take a look at EBAY and Amazon. There are so many folks making these modules.......And do search for SS E carbs. There are a couple of companies making exact copies for like $180. Crazy.............

  11. #11
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    For how little is in a carb (compare the new S&S price to a new Holley 4BBL that's far more complex!) the S&S price is as stupidly high as the ChiCom price is low (though the ChiComs could actually make them to tolerance and not add to the cost).

    I wouldn't be surprised about declining QA since most old companies got bought out by suits long ago. Sucks for us customers tho.

  12. #12

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    Well, got a new module. It passes the trouble shooting tests. But STILL NO SPARK.

    So I tried bench testing to eliminate bad ign switch wring harness, etc.

    With power to the pos side of the coil and ign module wire removed from the neg side I can get a spark if I briefly touch the coil neg post with a ground wire

    But if I hook up the ign module wire, no spark (Even though it passed all of Mallories trouble shooting guide and tips). I have doubled my grounds with no improvement

    All this with a new coil, module and spark plugs

    Wits end here.........

    Unbeleivable

  13. #13

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    By bench testing do you mean you removed the coil from the bike and tested it on a bench? You said before on the bike there was 13 volts at the coil and no spark so you assumed it was the module.
    If it's on a bench then the only thing really different is the ground. I would check the ohms on the ground wire from the module to the battery. Should be a very low number. You also didn't talk about your plug wires. Did you use the ones from the bike on the bench test?

  14. #14

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    By bench testing do you mean you removed the coil from the bike and tested it on a bench? YES, BENCH tested Tested it on the bike as well

    You said before on the bike there was 13 volts at the coil and no spark so you assumed it was the module. YES The module IS fried. I tested it.

    If it's on a bench then the only thing really different is the ground. Not true. Units were tested with ground at the battery and work table (There is a video on You tube that I followed: I did get spark with a new module by bench testing, but not on the bike, even by trying different grounds on the bike

    I would check the ohms on the ground wire from the module to the battery. Should be a very low number. I did, 3-4 ohms

    You also didn't talk about your plug wires. I did mention it. I was running the wrong ones initially, but now I have the right ones, and used those during bench testing and back on the bike

    Did you use the ones from the bike on the bench test? YES

    BUT HERE IS AN UPDATE: I tried the new module (That worked on bench testing but not on the bike) with a NEW distributor base, and the new module: AND YES< I HAVE SPARK. Then I tried the old distro base with the new module: NO SPARK So I have isolated the prob to the distro base: I know, its wierd and it is NOT a ground issue ��But at leasts I have a spark now

  15. #15

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    Maybe the three wire plug is having issues.
    3-4 ohms sounds like a lot of resistance for the ground. I would normally expect less than 1/2 an ohm.
    I was testing the ground path from the alternator to the battery on my jeep the other day and it was .12.
    That's from the alternator housing through the mount, the block, the block ground strap, and about 7' of huge welding cable.

  16. #16

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    No 3 wire plug on my set up. I installed a complete new distro system (same kind), and it works fine with the same ground. I even tried my replacement module just for kicks in the new distro and it works as well> It seems as if the old distro base is the cause of the issue

    I know, I cant explain it

    Holley tech line says thats impossible and of course, the tech line doesnt really listen

    Heck, I guess Ill keep the old distro base and the good replcement module and see if it works on another build should one come up

  17. #17

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    Nothing's really impossible. Glad it's working. I've never had a lot of luck with tech lines, but maybe it's just me. I don't like unexplained things, that's why I was questioning
    /trying to be helpful. Every now and then it actually works...
    Maybe a panhead just isn't made to have something as advanced as that unit and you're being slapped down by the gods of harley!

  18. #18

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    VERY good points: I DONT LIKE UNEXPLAINED THINGS....... Thats me.

    But in addition, I like to share my probs and solutions.

    So lets talk solutions for a sec: How many people post thier problems, get many possible solutions, but then the OP never gives a final update?

    As a last input, I also rigged my bike by isolating all wiring on the bike so that the ignition system was rigged up exactly like the bench test.
    = Spark on bench testing, none while installed on the bike: It just doesnt make sense

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