6-Volt System Questions


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Can I use a modern timing light to test my engine if I have a 6-volt electrical system?

Reply from Dick:

The label on the timing light pertains ONLY to the power supply used to operate the light. If you power it from a separate 12 volt battery, it will work just fine on your 6 volt car. There will be three leads on the device: the red one goes to the + terminal of the 12 volt battery, the black one goes to the - terminal of the 12 volt battery, and the third one goes to the spark plug wire for #1 cylinder (the driver's side front). Your 55 is a positive ground car, so you may find that the timing light will work better if you add one additional wire from the + terminal of the car's 6 volt battery to the + terminal of the 12 volt battery. You can first try it without this wire, but if the light flash seems weak, then add the additional wire. You should take pains that there is no metal to metal contact from the timing light or the battery terminals to anything else. Other than grabbing the spark plug wire while the engine is running, there is no way you can get a jolt off the wires, so don't be timid about hooking it up. I have numerous 6 volt positive ground cars (55 Packard, 55 Hudson, 55 Studebaker etc, and I use my timing light this way all the time. 

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