Lotus Elan

Strange boxes

PostPost by: seniorchristo » Sun May 24, 2020 6:24 pm

67A8A5C8-57C2-4DF3-9403-930419B1E015.jpeg and
Transpo box
3FA285BC-82D1-4F19-83F5-73F391C75C4A.jpeg and
Ignition box innards
5EF0E335-7AA3-4D75-B510-EE36C71068F1.jpeg and
Ribbed ignition box
I’ve owned my Elan for about 6 years now and have sorted out most of the mechanical issues. Electrically speaking my car is a nightmare butchered beyond my comprehension but I must say most everything works well. I would like to rewire the car so I can understand what is what. The radiator has been moved forward and the starter solenoid and some other electrical boxes are mounted on a panel.
I would like to know what the two electrical boxes are. The one box is an aluminum ribbed enclosure with (6) wires going to and from various ignition components. The other box marked “transpo” has (4) wires going to who knows where. None of the color coded wires aligns with the factory schematic.
Is anyone familiar with these two boxes?
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PostPost by: HCA » Sun May 24, 2020 6:38 pm

It is an electronic ignition module - quite an old one, I’d say.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sun May 24, 2020 6:45 pm

Possibly an after market external voltage regulator made by Transpo Electronics, now owned by a larger company. https://alternatorparts.com/transpo-com ... ation.html

It's a slow day waiting for epoxy to set up. :lol:
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PostPost by: USA64 » Mon May 25, 2020 12:01 am

Wow Bud, that was pay-dirt! I have to add I never seem to be waiting for epoxy to set up; more like frantically trying to finish!
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: Bud English » Mon May 25, 2020 12:15 am

When you add the filler powder to West Systems epoxy it seems to take forever compared to the same epoxy without it. I wish I could say it was a Lotus project, but it wasn't. :roll:
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Mon May 25, 2020 10:14 am

HCA wrote:It is an electronic ignition module - quite an old one, I’d say.


Yep, a 'capacitive discharge' electronic ignition module. Capacitors don't age well, and they don't like heat. If reliability of your car is on your list of requirements, I would show the module the door.

I would second the analysis of the Transpo box, its probably a regulator. Do you have an after market alternator fitted? If so, this could be its external regulator.

Frankly, given that many an Elan has been lost to an electrical fire, I would be tempted to rip the whole lot out, tidy everything up with new connectors and fittings, and as a last resort consider a new loom.
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon May 25, 2020 10:37 am

+1 on capacitor discharge system, usually they use a special high voltage coil to match. So if you decide to move to a newer arrangement buy all matching components.
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Mon May 25, 2020 1:03 pm

It is my plan to replace everything including the wiring harness. I would like to understand how this all works because I want to enjoy the car for a while before I rip the electrics out. Since the car uses a standard points and coil ignition system, what does the CD unit add to mix?
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon May 25, 2020 2:07 pm

Main advantage of the CD ignition is to maintain a ‘strong’ spark as RPM increases.
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PostPost by: elansprint » Mon May 25, 2020 6:38 pm

A capacitive discharge ignition uses a inverter to step up to an high voltage probably around 400V which charges the 600V capacitor you can see the points are the trigger to discharge the voltsge into the coil giving a very high spark plug voltage work very well as long as your insulation is good and the coil clean of oil and dirt
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Tue May 26, 2020 11:56 pm

Thanks for explaining Ian. :)
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed May 27, 2020 2:33 pm

Chris, talking about reliability..... I had found the same setup on a Europa I rescued after sitting decades. I hooked up a battery and the motor started right up! So there must be something good about it for a previous owner to install.
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