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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few months ago I finally received my Newtronic electronic ignition for my `69 CL350 that I ordered from http://www.motorcycle-ignition.com in Tasmania, Australia. I'd been on his wait list for just over a year. There are probably other vendors around the world that carry Newtronics but I wasn't in a big hurry. With shipping it was about $186 USD. Part number was H05. The unit is manufactured in the UK by a company called Autocar http://www.autocar-electrical.com/newtronic/

I have mixed feelings about the unit but so far I'm very pleased with the end result and the way the bike is running right now. It's much less expensive than the Bore-Tech unit going for $369 plus tax/shipping. For a street bike that isn't ridden too often I think it should work just fine. If I raced the bike or took it on long rides out on the highway, I probably would have sprung for the Bore Tech. I'll post back if anything happens to change my opinion. YMMV…

The unit required several modifications to get it to work. Some more minor than others. I suppose I could have complained and sent the unit back but I decided to put my mechanical aptitude to the test and get it to work.

First off, you have to find a spot for the switching unit. It's not particularly large but coming out of one side is a rather bulky cover for where the wires from the triggering unit attach. The instructions say to mount it on the air box behind the side cover but it's way too thick to go there. I had replaced my original rectifier with a much smaller one from Oregon Motorcycle Parts so decided the spot behind the battery box, next to the starter relay, was about the only place it could go. I cut off the tabs that held the old rectifier and welded a 3" x 4" piece of sheet metal along the bottom edge of the battery box. It is angled back so it doesn't quite touch the rear fender. A tight fit but it works!

Next was getting the triggering unit on in place of the points. The base plate for the original points has two areas on the edge cut away so it will slip past the lock nuts for the tappet adjusters and have room to move a little for timing adjustment. The Newtronics base plate does not. You can't just take the lock nuts off and put the new triggering unit in because it's a little proud of the surface and the lock nuts wouldn't clamp down evenly. So I did a lot of guesstimating where and how much to grind away and did it. There are also no little tabs for using a screwdriver to adjust the timing but that's not a big issue since (theoretically) you should just have to adjust it once and not mess with it again.

Then there's the timing rotor that spins and triggers the LED sensors. First off, the two lamp housings are warped inward. This caused two problems. If I would have just put everything on, as is, and started to crank the motor, the rotor probably would have sheared off at least one of the LED lights and really scraped against the inside edge of the housings or caught the edge and snapped off all together.

This timing rotor replaces the cam lobe and there are 2 pairs of "legs" that go over the tabs from the centrifugal weights to advance the timing. In order for the rotor to be more centered between the LED light and the sensor in the housings, I had the sand about 1/16 of an inch or so off the legs. And I also needed to file a little out from between the legs where the tabs from the weights go. This allowed the rotor to push in enough to clear the LED lights as it spins but I also needed to create a spacer to go under the 10mm bolt/washer at the end of the camshaft to prevent the rotor from moving back out. Done!

Next I had to scribe along the outer edge of the rotor blade to remove about 1.5mm of material so it wouldn't hit the inside edges of the lamp housings. Done! Now, I feel if the two housings were not warped, I probably would not have had to modify the rotor at all.

The rest of the install was just a matter of neatly routing wires and making sure they were hooked up properly.

Timing was super easy. You can turn the engine over by hand and as the rotor breaks the light beam, it turns on a red LED indicator light on top of the switching unit and your timing mark on the alternator should be lined up at that point. After I got the engine running, I checked timing with a strobe light and it was dead on and advancing as it should. You adjust the right side timing by moving the entire base plate and then adjust the left side by moving one of the lamp housings that has slotted holes. I didn't have to move either so I may have just gotten lucky!

After everything was put back together (I have a scrambler so this involved removing the exhaust as well) it fired right up. I will say that throughout letting it warm up and all my adjusting of the air/fuel mixture, synchronizing the carbs, and setting the idle speed...it always fired up as best it could and right away too. I also have new Dyna Coils on so this may have helped. And now that everything's adjusted, it's running better than it ever has. No hesitation and it settles into idle speed and stays at 1200 rpm from the time it starts to when it's warmed up.

I'll take it out tonight for a half hour ride around the mean streets of Seattle and see how it performs as I put it through the paces. If anyone here is in the Seattle area and wants to check it out, I'll have it in the Greenwood Car show this Saturday.
And if anyone has an interest in specific photos or has questions, let me know. The unit looks pretty much like the photo I've posted except that it has a metal plate instead of the yellow (phenolic??) plate shown.
 

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Wow !

Looks exactly like the one on my Bomber. It's good to read how you set the timing as I current have mine off in the process of rebuilding my engine.

ThX !
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here are the instruction sheets that may help as well when it comes time.
 

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Wow, great write-up Kenny, appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with the unit. I've been looking for a reasonably priced electronic unit for my CB350 but felt the Bore-tech was way overpriced. I got a Dyna for my KZ for only $129 so Bore-tech price seemed way too high to me. The Newtronic is much better priced.

Strange though that you had to do so much work to install it. Is this unit made specifically for the 350 or is it just a generic unit? My Dyna was made for the 650 and bolted right up with no modifications at all.

Sounds like, so far, its been running good. Keep us updated on how it performs long term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No problem! Glad to pass along my experiences when I can. I'm pretty new to motorcycle repair and am only really familiar with my 350.

The literature that came in the box lists a CB250 G5 (European) which is also a twin cylinder, four stroke. Their website also lists the CB250, CB250G5, and CB350T (also the CL models).

I think it's just poor planning and quality control. If they cut the notches for the tappet adjustment lock nuts to clear the base plate and did something about the lamp housings being a little warped, it would have popped right in without much fiddling.

Let's just hope the electronic components hold up. I'll post more info on how in runs over the long term when I get a few more miles on it!
 

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I purchased a Newtronics for my CB350 last year and had the same issue with the backing plate. As I wanted to ride I modified the backing plate with my grinder. As I had setup a Newtronics for an
XS 650 before, I placed it the same location - on the rear fender
under the seat and just in front of the fender stay - just enough room. I used tie wraps to secure it. It fired first time and my timing was set perfectly. I put about 3K miles on the bike last year with the Newtronics and its performance has been flawless.

As for the backing plate I did contact Newtronics and offered them the correct dimensions for the backing plate. They indicated that this shouldn't have been the case and sent me the correct backing plate.

This wasn't the case with the previous Newtronics for the XS650 fit perfectly - no mods. I'm going to give the Newtronics another shot for use on my Triumph.

Regards,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mine's still running great as well. I usually start it up over the winter months a few times and it always fires up with the first crank. It used to take a while to start with the points, especially if it had been sitting for a few months.
 

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Resurrecting an old thread .....

My unit is drawing somthing on the order of 0.5 amps more than my alternator puts out.
BTW....I have a Bomber.

Have you measured the current draw of just the electronic unit (black box) or are you having any battery charging issues ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't tested anything with a meter but the charging system seems fine. I did upgrade from the stock rectifier to a 42 amp from Oregon Motorcycle Parts http://www.oregonmotorcycleparts.com/

I never did any before or after measurements other than trying to judge if my headlights seemed brighter. I couldn't honestly tell much difference but maybe the more modern rectifier will take the extra draw of the electronic unit. But I'm not an electronic whiz!
 
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