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Syssa engine advice?

Old 12-27-2019, 12:35 PM
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jjohns51
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Default Syssa engine advice?

Several years back, I bought an engine (used) that someone (first owner) had some difficulties with. As I understand it there is a bit of a historic thread on this (my) engine. I didnít realize this happened till after I purchased it. I discussed this with Todd and he happily and very quickly took it from me and did a very thorough going through. He sent it back to me right away, said she runs perfectly now, and almost immediately after, I was shut down from most all of my hobbies. Again, it has been several years, and I have recently been trying to get back into the hobby so I thought maybe Iíd send it in for a quick once over before trying to use it for the first time. Apparently this is clearly not going to happen. Would someone be interested in purchasing this from me? If not, and I try and give her a go, is it reasonable to expect that she may run? Or should I expect to change something out? Or is she just a pretty conversation piece? Any responses are appreciated. Thank you in advance. By the way, in case this helps, itís serial # is 0090799.

Old 12-28-2019, 06:39 PM
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If the engine is in good mechanical condition it should be fine to run and you could expect reasonable service from it. If you should ever need replacement parts .... we know that won't happen. If the engine has been stored in a reasonable environment, the ignition should still be OK and even if not, any standard CM-6 RCexl or RCXP ignition would work fine. The carb may or may not be OK after setting for several years and you should open and inspect it. Look for pliable diaphragms and if stiff, install a rebuild kit for about $10.00. You'll probably get more value from the engine by using it as they don't have much resale value these days.
Old 12-28-2019, 07:15 PM
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jjohns51
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Sounds like great advice, thank you truckracer. If I may, where would you suggest I attempt to buy the diaphragms if need be? Are they universal type diaphrams? Or should I expect them to be as unique as Syssa engine? Thanks very much in advance.
Old 12-28-2019, 08:09 PM
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Most Syssa engines used a Walbro WT-813A carb with the separate Syssa made choke plate. Some engines were put out with the WT-645 that has the normal integral choke plate. Either carb uses a Walbro K20-WAT kit. You can find them on Ebay or at most any good small engine repair shop. I always suggest a real Walbro kit rather than some off brand unless you have enough experience to know which other kits are good. In most cases, if the engine was only run a few times, the diaphragms will probably be OK but one never knows for sure without an inspection.Even if the diaphragms are OK, be sure the internal screen is clean and free flowing and that the metering needle is free to move. Needles tend to stick after a carb sets for a long period of time. If they move freely they are usually OK. Good luck with your project.
Old 12-29-2019, 07:02 AM
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Wow! This is exactly, and thoroughly was I was hoping for in a response. I genuinely appreciate your help. Thank you VERY much. A very happy new year to you kind Sir.
Old 12-29-2019, 09:37 AM
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Just me, but if I were faced with a carb rebuild, I'd be pretty tempted to get a whole new carb here. They aren't that expensive, and it would get rid of that SYSSA designed choke, which I didn't like when they were new!
Old 12-29-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
Just me, but if I were faced with a carb rebuild, I'd be pretty tempted to get a whole new carb here. They aren't that expensive, and it would get rid of that SYSSA designed choke, which I didn't like when they were new!
I tend to agree but in this case there is a good chance the carb is serviceable with little work and perhaps no parts. If I replaced the carb, I'd probably buy one of the low cost Walbro carbs sold for engines like the DLE30, 35, EME 35, etc. A DLE20 carb would also be a good choice and having a slightly smaller venturi size, it might throttle better than some of the others. The WT-813 as used on the original Syssa was not one of my favorites. Valley View RC and Mile High RC are two good places to go for a replacement carb.Tower is a good source for parts also and the DLE carbs are all Walbro and not clones these days.
Old 12-29-2019, 11:51 AM
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Another TWO valuable and appreciated inputs. Thanks very much hicks and racer. You guys are great!
Old 12-29-2019, 12:16 PM
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ahicks
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Yes, DLE carb my thought as well. Inexpensive and easy to get from quite a few sources.
Old 12-29-2019, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jjohns51 View Post
Another TWO valuable and appreciated inputs. Thanks very much hicks and racer. You guys are great!
I owned Syssa s/n 261 that I received on 11-19-09 after a 3 month waiting / promise period. There were some issues with these early engines including the carb, prop drive hubs shearing the key and mufflers coming loose. Most of these issues were resolved on later engines but by that time it seemed that Todd Syssa was wanting to get away from the engine business and the whole project (along with Todd) just sort of faded away. Sad as with a few improvements, it could have been a great little engine. I replaced mine with an early rear intake DLE30 that still serves me well to this day and it has a lot of flight time.
Old 12-29-2019, 05:57 PM
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That sounds like a real early number. I assumed mine was an early one, but clearly yours is smaller still. So is it safe to assume the “9’” signifies the year? And the remaining numbers (799), do they identify the all totaled number/built ever, or the 799th built that year? Also, mine appears to have the upgraded muffler, but should I expect to have possible issues with the hub shearing a key? It really is a shame that a product can get so far along as not only being designed, built, tested, put into production, and thriving with practically a mini cult of users, and somehow still not find a way to survive. The way I read even the most current comments, is, many many people even today would love to have one, if only it were still supported with the same customer service that I remember having experienced. It’s a real shame. Honestly, I really look forward to trying mine out. I’m just a lil worried that I’ll love it, and then if I experience a need I’m screwed, just like everyone else.
Old 12-29-2019, 06:27 PM
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I don't know the S/N sequence for the Syssa engines. Early on they all seemed to be in order from #1. I didn't see any relation to year of production though that could have changed after mine was made.

The Syssa engine had tremendous potential but it became the product of a self centered, though extremely talented person who seemed offended when anyone suggested improvements or changes of any kind. There isn't a product made that can't be improved but he didn't see it that way. Sad! I'm not sure the design was very well tested before it went into production. Had the product been allowed to mature, I think it would still be produced today.
Old 12-30-2019, 02:08 AM
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My engine always ran good, though the early muffler design sucked. There was nothing to keep it from collapsing causing the mounting screws to loosen. Second version of the muffler is what I feel caused the loss of interest on Todd's part, as it seemed that those were released about the same time Todd lost interest in the project. Making and shipping all those mufflers had to be expensive, putting the project in the red for sure.

Today, I view the engine as a quality made mistake. I feel for those stuck with them. If I still had one I would run it until it broke and move on. I doubt it will ever become a collector's item, but you never know with such things.
Old 01-25-2020, 06:27 PM
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I put one on my Coroplast LA Biplane and had two dead stick landings. I replaced it with a DLE-35ra which was easier for me to adjust.

I still have two of them. One needs new bearings which are available and easy to replace, but I'm lazy and don't need another engine right now. Both have the upgraded muffler. I would have sent them in to have them checked out and if needed reworked, but Todd seems to have gone AWOL. Todd was busy trying to get a government contract for his engines. That would have been where the big money was. I never found out what happened there.

I know that Red Rider was taking over repairs, but after putting the DLE on my plane I lost interest in the Syssa engines since I didn't need them anymore.

I gave Todd the fix to the muffler problem. I modified my first engine and never had a problem after that. He got the mod into production pretty fast.

I had six of them and wore out four them engines. I was getting two to four hundred hours on them before the bearings failed. When I say wore out, I ran the engines to destruction per Todd's instructions. He would send me another engine, or repair mine at no charge. The failures were always due to a bearing. I also went through several ignition modules, all under warranty. The oil I used made a slight difference, Stihl Ultra HP gave me the best life.

The key shearing problem was caused by a vendor who supplied the wrong material. I think all of the engines that had the bad keys were fixed. There were not that many in production at that time.

I've toyed with the idea of trying the A02 ignition module on one of them to see if it would make it less sensitive to quitting in the air. I'm a little worried about the radical timing curve on the A02 though. The A01 ignition modules may be hard to get before too long.
Old 01-26-2020, 02:11 PM
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I ran the engine with the A02 module, it seems to do okay, low end idle is good.
Old 01-26-2020, 08:51 PM
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The RCexl A-02 module by itself doesn't necessarily have the steep curve. Some specific ones supplied with certain engines have that steep curve but the generic ones seem quite normal. The RCXP / RCAME modules have a fairly steep curve but I like them very much. They seem to bring in the timing advance just about when you need it for a crisp throttle response while not screwing up the idle.
Old 01-27-2020, 02:01 AM
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Apologies for not contributing to the original topic, but I have an interest in the ignition curves. Does anyone have anymore information on what the ACTUAL curves look like between the AO1 and AO2 modules?
Sorry to the OP, if you want me to create a new thread, I would happily oblige.

Regards
Andy
Old 01-27-2020, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by cathurga View Post
Apologies for not contributing to the original topic, but I have an interest in the ignition curves. Does anyone have anymore information on what the ACTUAL curves look like between the AO1 and AO2 modules?
Sorry to the OP, if you want me to create a new thread, I would happily oblige.

Regards
Andy
Yes, I've done a lot of testing on the ignition modules over the years.

There are a lot of differences between the A01 and A02. They are not interchangeable on all engines. I found that some of the old 50cc engines that had the A01 modules will not run well with the A02 modules.

One change that was made that has caused some problems, when a 4.8 vdc ignition battery was used, is that when they increased the upper voltage limit, the lower limit was also increased. The new A02 modules may not work with voltages below 4.6 vdc.

It's interesting to note that, at low rpms, the A02 modules are firing after top dead center. When I first mapped out the ignition curve on the A02, I thought the module was defective. That's not normal for most engines, but it can eliminate some low idle problems.

Attached are my test results for two modules. Virtually every module I've tested, that produced a spark, over the years have followed these results very closely.
Attached Files

Last edited by Joystick TX; 01-27-2020 at 06:11 AM.
Old 01-27-2020, 02:32 PM
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I worked extensively with the RCexl A-02 ignition several years ago and published my findings then so no need to repeat here. A quick summary is feed them adequate voltage and couple with a known good sensor and they will work just fine. Most of the A-02 modules work poorly at voltages at the low end of the range printed on the module. They had some serious issues with sensors starting in late 2013 or so and for some time after that. I don't trust them to this day and prefer to just use the universal sensors from RC Extreme Power or other sources that provide them. When the above conditions are met, my findings didn't show the same curves shown in the previous post. However, when the bad sensors were used, the curve was almost exactly like the one posted for the A-02. Overall, RCexl ignitions are an excellent product.

These days though, I have one complaint about the product. Some of the ignitions are now coming with a very high voltage range and I can't properly power them with A123 batteries. I have planes flying with different ignitions than were provided with the engines just so I can maintain my existing power source preference.Not everyone wants to use LiPo or LiOn power sources.

Last edited by Truckracer; 01-27-2020 at 02:36 PM.
Old 01-27-2020, 11:00 PM
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Joystick, that is unbelieveable! Not doubting your claims/research, but that is probably the most counter-intuitive thing I have ever seen regarding an ignition curve! Retarding the timing at start or high idle is a common practice in many engine applications, but I dont think I have ever seen this in our applications. Its WEIRD. It could be that as per truckrcers findings, that the sensor was bombed, giving you those results?
The reason I raise my question is that I have an OSGF40 that is behaving weirdly. I dont have the original ignition module, and am trying to match a standard ignition to the engine, but cannot find an area of comfort to get this engine to run properly. I suspect that there are some carb issues that may be contributing to my frustration, but I have also heard that the ignition module was purpose built for this engine, and may have odd curves. In some forums, people have said that there is NO spark during low rpm, and requires a speedy starter in order to get the ignition to fire. Some say that OS didnt want people handstarting them in order to avoid injury, so they cut spark at hand starting speeds, yet I have seen videos of people handstarting them
The sensor is not placed where it could be set easiy at 28Deg BTDC so perhaps there is some truth in it. When using an NGH 38 ignition module, with sensor as close to 28Deg BTDC it runs, but battles a bit. I tried it at the stock sensor setting, and I got BIT...bad.It was firing after TDC and would rotate and smack the back of my fingers before I could get them out the way! At 28Deg BTDC my Align starter, with the throttle opened slightly, would NOT rotate the prop past the compression stroke!

Truckracer, would it be possible to share your published findings, or provide a link....if its public info?

To the OP, my apologies once again, I am going to find a suitable place to move the topic so that I dont derail any further...
Old 01-28-2020, 04:51 AM
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A couple of years ago Truckracer, CH Ignitions, a few others and I had a long discussion about the RCEXL sensors. Except for the odd ignition curve on the A02, we all agree on the issues with the RCEXL sensors, and I could be wrong on that.

Check out CH Ignitions Post #122 at Rcexl sensor problems

That post sums up a lot of the confusion about the sensor timing. The other pages in the thread covers some odd sensor problems.

A few years ago I saw the 'no spark below about 400 rpm' feature on lawn mower ignitions, I'm sure they did that to prevent lawsuits.

I have five of the DLE-35 engines and two of the Syssa engines and my results were always as shown in the chart that I posted. It is possible that all of the A02 sensors that I have tested, over 10 of them, have been bad and that's why they show that odd curve.

I do have one of the RC Extreme Power sensors now on a Syssa engine with an A01 module. I can put it on the A02 module to see what that looks like.

I've been fighting cancer for a couple of years and that has slowed me down a lot, but I'll dig out my ignition test equipment and repeat some of my tests to see what type of curves I get.
Old 01-28-2020, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cathurga View Post
Joystick, that is unbelieveable! Not doubting your claims/research, but that is probably the most counter-intuitive thing I have ever seen regarding an ignition curve! Retarding the timing at start or high idle is a common practice in many engine applications, but I dont think I have ever seen this in our applications. Its WEIRD. It could be that as per truckrcers findings, that the sensor was bombed, giving you those results?
The reason I raise my question is that I have an OSGF40 that is behaving weirdly. I dont have the original ignition module, and am trying to match a standard ignition to the engine, but cannot find an area of comfort to get this engine to run properly. I suspect that there are some carb issues that may be contributing to my frustration, but I have also heard that the ignition module was purpose built for this engine, and may have odd curves. In some forums, people have said that there is NO spark during low rpm, and requires a speedy starter in order to get the ignition to fire. Some say that OS didnt want people handstarting them in order to avoid injury, so they cut spark at hand starting speeds, yet I have seen videos of people handstarting them
The sensor is not placed where it could be set easiy at 28Deg BTDC so perhaps there is some truth in it. When using an NGH 38 ignition module, with sensor as close to 28Deg BTDC it runs, but battles a bit. I tried it at the stock sensor setting, and I got BIT...bad.It was firing after TDC and would rotate and smack the back of my fingers before I could get them out the way! At 28Deg BTDC my Align starter, with the throttle opened slightly, would NOT rotate the prop past the compression stroke!

Truckracer, would it be possible to share your published findings, or provide a link....if its public info?

To the OP, my apologies once again, I am going to find a suitable place to move the topic so that I dont derail any further...
First, good idea about moving some of this info to its own thread. These were and still are good discussions and too important to be hidden away in a thread where the info will never be seen.

Regarding OS ignitions, I have zero experience with these so would have no comment on them at all.

Regarding Joystick's findings and published curves. He is spot on and most everything I have read that he published about these ignitions has been accurate. That I found something different in some cases is meaningless as I tested different examples of ignitions with different sensors, etc. Had we had the opportunity to work together in the same place at the same time, I'm sure we would have found the same results from the units tested. I never published any curves as I didn't have enough data to publish a pretty curve of the various timing curves and only tested enough to confirm the sources of the problems and the parts of the curve I was interested in. When testing sensors, I had use of a scope from my old workplace but didn't think at the time to take a picture of the waveform. This had clearly confirmed the double spark or double trigger problem as the magnet passed by the sensor. I don't remember if it was Joystick or not but someone published that waveform image later on. I found and confirmed the problem in multiple cases and moved on. I no longer remember all the threads I participated in but they were in two or three different forums with RCU and FG being the most active. By the way and another point, on the A-02 ignition, the timing curve exhibits a bit of hysteresis as the curve is a bit different as the engine accelerates than when it decelerates, maintaining more advance at a given RPM during deceleration. This might account for why some engines have a hard time settling into a steady idle on throttle down.

Again, overall I was satisfied with the A-02 RCexl ignitions if they were fed adequate voltage and had a decent sensor that played well with that version of the ignition. If these two conditions were met, they didn't exhibit kickback during starting by firing too soon, they didn't have excessive retarding that made starting very difficult, they ran smooth and the advance curve was acceptable. Too little retard for starting or excessive retarding seems counter intuitive as you say but both conditions could and did happen if the necessary conditions weren't met. Regarding rough running, I'm sure many people have blamed this condition on carburetor problems when the problem was actually ignition related. Also interesting, most of these problems didn't exist with the A-01 ignition and most of the so called bad sensors that caused the serious double spark problems with the A-02 ignition would work just fine with the A-01. The A-01 ignition had a reputation for not liking higher voltages (It might overheat or exhibit shortened lift) so many people chose to run it at the lower end of its voltage rating. In complete contrast, the A-02 seems to run better with a voltage in the middle or higher end of its voltage rating. Strange stuff but interesting for people like me who like tracking this sort of thing.

Again, none of these comments are intended to bash any product in any way. I am an active user of these products. I recommend them and am thankful we have them to purchase.
Old 01-28-2020, 11:43 AM
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Regarding those who preferred the no longer available RCexl A-01 version ignition compared the A-02, you might like to try the RCXP / RCAME ignitions sold by RC Extreme Power. These trigger and act very much like the A-01 ignitions with some improvements. These have a noticeably hotter spark and at low speeds, they quickly trigger a double spark that seems to improve idle performance and smoothness. These are also a bit more compact in size with lighter weight for easier installation in tight areas. I've had several in use for a number of years now and all have been flawless. Good product that I recommend a lot.
Old 01-28-2020, 12:09 PM
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I dug out my ignition tester equipment. I'm pretty sure I never used a hall sensor to trigger the modules when I made the charts.

I have a sensor that I trigger with an electric motor, but it is hard to get the RPM stable with it.

I normally use the Valley View RCEXL tester to generate the pulses to fire the ignition module, I don't like having unknown items in my tests. I verified that the falling edge waveform from the tester was fast because if it is sloped, that also causes problems.

Someone else posted the double trigger waveform. I only had a couple of sensors that caused that.

I believe the low idle issue with the A02 module is caused by operation in the area on the timing chart where the timing jumps from a huge advance BTDC to after TDC. It is hard to chart that due to the jumping while getting the RPM adjusted.
Old 01-28-2020, 01:53 PM
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When I did the testing I used a cobbled together collection of parts. I used a very high quality Techtronics data scope that was connected to a known good (no double spark anyway) sensor. This was mounted to an old crankcase that had the rod, cylinder and piston removed. To that I attached a rather large timing degree wheel and the crank was turned by a conventional RC type starter controlled by an antique rheostat I robbed from a foam wing cutting bow. Spark was detected by a conventional automotive timing light connected to a section of unshielded plugwire / home built adapter. Crank speed was determined by calculating the rotatation speed between sensor pulses. I did this mostly because I didn't trust any tach I had where I did trust the timebase in the scope. My rotation speed wasn't stable below about 800 RPM or so but I wasn't concerned about that anyway because our engines don't run that slow. I made a list of pulse widths that corresponded to various RPMs, dialed the rheostat to that figure and noted the reading on the degree wheel then moved on to the next RPM setting. Crude but effective. Frankly, I doubt I could do the calculations for the crank speed these days. memory you know ........ I cobbled this setup together a couple of times but mostly to test the #4 ignition timing curve (or lack of curve) the second time.

I tested several ignition boxes and a bunch of sensors. It was noteworthy that the pulses from every sensor was just a little different than every other one. Sensors connected to A-01 ignitions exhibited a very clean waveform with a rapid rise and fall .... with a tiny bit of what looked like ringing just after turn on. When connected to an A-02 ignition, the waveform got ragged on rise with quite a bit of ringing just after full turn on. Kinda like there was some inductance and capacitance in the circuit. It was just after this ringing period where the bad sensors would trigger the first spark and of course trigger the desired spark as the sensor turned off as the magnet rotated under and away from the sensor. The RC Extreme Power sensors exhibited the cleanest waveform regardless of what ignition box was used. I felt I needed to use a real sensor for these tests as that was my area of first concern as I really hadn't had any problems with the A-02 box to that point. Other than poor starting with a double spark sensor, I have never had a problem with the A-02 ignition that I would relate to excessive retard. Certainly some reluctantly return to a normal low idle but never one where I thought the timing was excessively retarded.

Edit: One major thing about the RC Extreme sensors, they have a much larger sweet spot above the magnet. This means, compared to other sensors they turn on much sooner as the magnet rotates towards them and they stay on much longer after the magnet rotates under and away from them. So for any given RPM, the pulse width produced by the sensor will be longer with the RC Extreme sensor than many others. I don't know how this might affect the ignition itself and may account for differences in tests. Any differences I've seen have all been positive though.

Last edited by Truckracer; 01-28-2020 at 02:13 PM.

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