1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion
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  1. #1
    Member dorion81's Avatar
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    1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Hi all

    Just wanted to put this up in case any other 400A owners land in the same boat as I did a few weeks back.

    Basically, one sunny afternoon after work my 78 hondamatic refused to start. After taking the plug out and seeing no spark, I checked everything I could think of (sidestand, neutral, kill switch etc) but to no avail.

    After getting it back home via pickup truck I did some tests on the CDI, the stator, and the coil as per instructions in the manual and found that my CDI was out of limit on a few. If you ever need to find a CDI for a 1978 CB400A let me tell you they are RARE!!!! After calling around everywhere i could, there was a dealership on the other side of Canada that could get one from japan for about 480$. Not wanting to spend that much i looked at ebay for some used ones. I only found 1 and that was 250 shipped.

    But after doing some research I found others who had gone the used part route and had dead on arrival parts. I was directed to CDIMAGICIAN and contacted him. He let me know that he does not make new CDIs for the 400A, but his new 400T CDIs will work as long I replace the stator and flywheel with 400T parts.

    So back to ebay I went and as most of you know, 400T parts are much easier to get a hold of then 400A parts!! I was able to pick up a stator and flywheel for 200 bucks plus the 100 for the CDI.

    Overall I spent 50 dollars more for 1 new part and 2 used, instead of trying my luck on a risky used part (apparently 400A CDIs are known to break down consistently).

    The installation was pretty simple, I had to buy a 10 dollar flywheel puller (bolt threaded for the flywheel that you screw in with an impact and it pulls the flywheel off the stator as it tightens). And just follow the manual.

    Few notes on the install:

    1) the screws holding the Fixed Pulser on the 400A are much shorter than that of the 400T so I had to swap out 2 of the crankcase cover screws to fit on the new 400T pulser.

    2) your colour scheme will be slightly different when joining the wires from the new 400T CDI to the old harness from the 400A. It's simple when you look at it, basically you just match up the wires from the CDI to the ones connecting the coil and stator.

    3) there are 4 fewer wires on the 400T CDI then there are on the 400A. Meaning you have to sacrifice the kickstand/neutral cutoffs (400A had safety cutoffs that shut down the engine if you put the kickstand down while in gear,. and also wouldn't let you start the bike if it wasn't in neutral). The wires left over from the "circuit board" near the rectifier (light blue and green/black) and the ones coming out of the kickstand switch (green/white and green/black) need to be taped up and tucked away. Same with left over wires coming out of the harness.

    Tried out everything and the bike now fires and idles fine. Will be finishing up the taping and taking it out for a test drive soon with new plugs. Will update then!!
    Give me reincarnation, or give me death. "Back From The Dead" by Spinal Tap
    1978 CB400A Cafe

  2. #2
    Super Moderator longdistancerider's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Good information and write up.
    Jim O'Brien
    1979 CM400T "road bike" modified for travelling
    1978 CB400T1 restored
    1972 CL350 survivor restoration

    SALE IS ACTIVE TILL 200 SHIRTS SOLD T-shirt sales supporting 66Sprint's Land Speed Record Build http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html

    http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html and http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/1-p...r-attempt.html
    Road Trip http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/11-...here-i-go.html or "where's Jim now?"
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  3. #3
    Senior Member steveo's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    why doesnt anyone make one with jumpers or dip switches for some configuration that can replace most oem cdi boxes?

    timing advance could be set up with a couple potentiometers... so could a rev limiter.. could be even better than a stocker

    isnt the operation of a cdi box kind of... generic? takes power, timing reference, fires a coil..
    --
    restored tuned n piped '84 CB450SC bondo rocket

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  5. #4
    Super Moderator longdistancerider's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by steveo
    why doesnt anyone make one with jumpers or dip switches for some configuration that can replace most oem cdi boxes?

    timing advance could be set up with a couple potentiometers... so could a rev limiter.. could be even better than a stocker

    isnt the operation of a cdi box kind of... generic? takes power, timing reference, fires a coil..
    I'll refer you to the FSM, section 18, page 4. The timing advance seems to be dependent on the condition of the charging system at that particular moment in time. Thats why you see a range spec for full advance, 4000 to 5350 rpm. Real precise timing, huh .
    I'm currently looking into a alternate ignition control system after talking with a bunch of CX500 owners. They've got a CDI unit that there are no replacements for, just used stuff. This is the website for the unit. http://www.ignitech.cz/english/aindex.htm Fully programable unit that replaces the CDI completely, just uses the base pickup coil. Downside of it is that it's battery powered so if you've got a dead battery you're screwed. I've been exchanging emails with them concerning this and what they offer and suggest.
    Jim O'Brien
    1979 CM400T "road bike" modified for travelling
    1978 CB400T1 restored
    1972 CL350 survivor restoration

    SALE IS ACTIVE TILL 200 SHIRTS SOLD T-shirt sales supporting 66Sprint's Land Speed Record Build http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html

    http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html and http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/1-p...r-attempt.html
    Road Trip http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/11-...here-i-go.html or "where's Jim now?"
    Member Map http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/dcMembermap.php

  6. #5
    Senior Member Woodstock's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by longdistancerider
    Quote Originally Posted by steveo
    why doesnt anyone make one with jumpers or dip switches for some configuration that can replace most oem cdi boxes?

    timing advance could be set up with a couple potentiometers... so could a rev limiter.. could be even better than a stocker

    isnt the operation of a cdi box kind of... generic? takes power, timing reference, fires a coil..
    I'll refer you to the FSM, section 18, page 4. The timing advance seems to be dependent on the condition of the charging system at that particular moment in time. Thats why you see a range spec for full advance, 4000 to 5350 rpm. Real precise timing, huh .
    I'm currently looking into a alternate ignition control system after talking with a bunch of CX500 owners. They've got a CDI unit that there are no replacements for, just used stuff. This is the website for the unit. http://www.ignitech.cz/english/aindex.htm Fully programable unit that replaces the CDI completely, just uses the base pickup coil. Downside of it is that it's battery powered so if you've got a dead battery you're screwed. I've been exchanging emails with them concerning this and what they offer and suggest.
    Whats the progress on this? Looks to me like the SPARKER TCIP4 is what we would need. What kind of pickup would we need? Do we need 2? Would this work with stock advance assembly as the pickup? I am very interested in this for my cb400a

  7. #6
    Super Moderator longdistancerider's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock
    Whats the progress on this? Looks to me like the SPARKER TCIP4 is what we would need. What kind of pickup would we need? Do we need 2? Would this work with a dyna S as the pickup? I am very interested in this for my cb400a
    I'm still making up my mind on doing this. Copy of last email from them:
    "Hello,
    OK - all is clear.
    Our offer :
    Unit DCCDIP2 with connector adapter. See to price list in enclosure for price.
    You will only have to connect one more wire from ignition to +12V key switched.
    Unit will preprogrammed fot this bike."

    I would suggest contacting them directly with all the info available. Since the A models use 2 base timing settings of 7.5 and 15 degrees. The units they supply are preprogammed and use factory type connectors other than the power lead. I don't know if the A has 2 primary pickups or 1 like the C/E/T models but for mine they use the stock pickup.
    Wiring diagram:
    http://www.cmsnl.com/classic-honda-fans ... CB400A.jpg
    One other difference I know is the A has a kickstand switch.
    Jim O'Brien
    1979 CM400T "road bike" modified for travelling
    1978 CB400T1 restored
    1972 CL350 survivor restoration

    SALE IS ACTIVE TILL 200 SHIRTS SOLD T-shirt sales supporting 66Sprint's Land Speed Record Build http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html

    http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html and http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/1-p...r-attempt.html
    Road Trip http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/11-...here-i-go.html or "where's Jim now?"
    Member Map http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/dcMembermap.php

  8. #7
    Senior Member Woodstock's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by longdistancerider
    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock
    Whats the progress on this? Looks to me like the SPARKER TCIP4 is what we would need. What kind of pickup would we need? Do we need 2? Would this work with a dyna S as the pickup? I am very interested in this for my cb400a
    I'm still making up my mind on doing this. Copy of last email from them:
    "Hello,
    OK - all is clear.
    Our offer :
    Unit DCCDIP2 with connector adapter. See to price list in enclosure for price.
    You will only have to connect one more wire from ignition to +12V key switched.
    Unit will preprogrammed fot this bike."

    I would suggest contacting them directly with all the info available. Since the A models use 2 base timing settings of 7.5 and 15 degrees. The units they supply are preprogammed and use factory type connectors other than the power lead. I don't know if the A has 2 primary pickups or 1 like the C/E/T models but for mine they use the stock pickup.
    Wiring diagram:
    http://www.cmsnl.com/classic-honda-fans ... CB400A.jpg
    One other difference I know is the A has a kickstand switch.
    Yes I was suprised they quoted you that model. I guess the cx500 has alot of differences. Heres the description at there site for the one I was thinking I would need.

    SPARKER TCIP4
    Inductive programmable ignition for motorbikes.


    SPARKER TCIP4 is so-called inductive ignition (battery, transistor, TCI) with revolution and TPS regulation of the advance. This type of ignition is used for most multi-cylinder road motorbikes. SPARKER TCIP4 ignition is prepared for many individual bike types. It can be assembled to practically any carburettor motorbike with stable dashboard voltage 12 V. CBR, CB, VF, GSX, VS, XTZ, TDM, FJ, XJ, LTD, ZX, EN … motorbikes can be mentioned as an example. If the sensor system of customer's bike does not comply with SPARKER TCI-P ignition, it can be adjust by means of special settings.
    Seeing CB in there made me think that it might be kindof easy. Also in the PDF manual they have a wiring diagram and it shows an input for a kickstand switch. I think I will contact them.

    Im pretty sure it only has one pickup

    Other nice things are that this unit can hook up to a trailtech vapor unit and completely do away with the stock dashboard/speedo.

    Can someone explain the pricing. I assume EUR is euros but what is VAT 20%?

    Ok so Ive been researching more and more on this and Im pretty sure I do need the SPARKER TCIP4. And heres why.
    Just about everything pre 1980 was TCI. If your bike has points and condensers It is not CDI but TCI. So for me the SPARKER TCIP4 should be the winner. Im going to give it a shot. I'll create a thread and keep everyone informed on it when I do. I'm going to get a dyna s igntion system also. So basically the whole igntion system should be somewhat modern.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator longdistancerider's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock

    Yes I was suprised they quoted you that model. I guess the cx500 has alot of differences. Heres the description at there site for the one I was thinking I would need.

    SPARKER TCIP4
    Inductive programmable ignition for motorbikes.


    SPARKER TCIP4 is so-called inductive ignition (battery, transistor, TCI) with revolution and TPS regulation of the advance. This type of ignition is used for most multi-cylinder road motorbikes. SPARKER TCIP4 ignition is prepared for many individual bike types. It can be assembled to practically any carburettor motorbike with stable dashboard voltage 12 V. CBR, CB, VF, GSX, VS, XTZ, TDM, FJ, XJ, LTD, ZX, EN … motorbikes can be mentioned as an example. If the sensor system of customer's bike does not comply with SPARKER TCI-P ignition, it can be adjust by means of special settings.
    Seeing CB in there made me think that it might be kindof easy. Also in the PDF manual they have a wiring diagram and it shows an input for a kickstand switch. I think I will contact them.

    Im pretty sure it only has one pickup

    Other nice things are that this unit can hook up to a trailtech vapor unit and completely do away with the stock dashboard/speedo.

    Can someone explain the pricing. I assume EUR is euros but what is VAT 20%?

    Ok so Ive been researching more and more on this and Im pretty sure I do need the SPARKER TCIP4. And heres why.
    Just about everything pre 1980 was TCI. If your bike has points and condensers It is not CDI but TCI. So for me the SPARKER TCIP4 should be the winner. Im going to give it a shot. I'll create a thread and keep everyone informed on it when I do. I'm going to get a dyna s igntion system also. So basically the whole igntion system should be somewhat modern.
    VAT= value added tax. That's applicable for the euro based countries. US orders don't have to contend with that.
    Yeah, moving the ignition into the 21st is probably a good thing. Contact them and they'll advise the best unit for your application.
    Alternative to the TrailTech Vapor is:http://www.kosonorthamerica.com/new/
    Jim O'Brien
    1979 CM400T "road bike" modified for travelling
    1978 CB400T1 restored
    1972 CL350 survivor restoration

    SALE IS ACTIVE TILL 200 SHIRTS SOLD T-shirt sales supporting 66Sprint's Land Speed Record Build http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html

    http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html and http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/1-p...r-attempt.html
    Road Trip http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/11-...here-i-go.html or "where's Jim now?"
    Member Map http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/dcMembermap.php

  10. #9
    Senior Member Woodstock's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Ive been in contact with them. They asked me for pictures of the connectors on the cdi. I dont quite understand why but I thought well a schematic would probably be more helpful. So I sent them a wiring schematic. They replied that they needed pictures of the connectors. Since I still have the cdi on the bike I did the best i could and sent them pictures of the connectors. I wasnt expecting anything plug and play from them so Im a little confused. I just want them to answer yes or no that thats the model I need and give me a price. Sometimes a company can be overly helpful. That being said they seem like good people.

  11. #10
    Super Moderator longdistancerider's Avatar
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    Re: 1978 CB400A Hondamatic No Spark Faulty CDI Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock
    Ive been in contact with them. They asked me for pictures of the connectors on the cdi. I dont quite understand why but I thought well a schematic would probably be more helpful. So I sent them a wiring schematic. They replied that they needed pictures of the connectors. Since I still have the cdi on the bike I did the best i could and sent them pictures of the connectors. I wasnt expecting anything plug and play from them so Im a little confused. I just want them to answer yes or no that thats the model I need and give me a price. Sometimes a company can be overly helpful. That being said they seem like good people.
    The reason for the actual connector pictures and wiring of them is so that they will be able to supply a complete plug-n-play unit where all you have to do is supply a IGN+ power wire. Once they have that they'll get back to you with what they feel is the best unit.
    PM me your email address and I'll send all the pictures I have and you can pick the ones that apply to your bike.
    Jim O'Brien
    1979 CM400T "road bike" modified for travelling
    1978 CB400T1 restored
    1972 CL350 survivor restoration

    SALE IS ACTIVE TILL 200 SHIRTS SOLD T-shirt sales supporting 66Sprint's Land Speed Record Build http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html

    http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/22-...d-attempt.html and http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/1-p...r-attempt.html
    Road Trip http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/11-...here-i-go.html or "where's Jim now?"
    Member Map http://www.hondatwins.net/forums/dcMembermap.php

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