DS intermittent running problem, now wont even start...
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    Fellow Frogger! bleudanube's Avatar
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    Default DS intermittent running problem, now wont even start...

    I hope the electrical fraternity can help me:

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    last weekend my feshly restored DS ran ok, after 8months of resto... Went to the citroen meet without hiccups, but on the way back she stalled on me and backfired once. Waited for a few minutes, started again and she ran home without problems.

    so my first thought was: dirty fuel - install fuel filter again... Done that yesterday and went for a drive: stalled once, started again, went home.

    Today I made it just out of the driveway: car stalled, then bunny hopped, then ran ok for a kilometer or so, stalled... Just started again, then died a few more times, me just being able to crawl into the garage...

    I checked the usual things, but as I am not the electrical wizard, it may not be fuel supply after all. Here a few more pointers that may help diagnosing:

    - at first it struggled to start, now it wont start at all
    - starter motor turns over, but all the dash lights now dont work (even if I press the test button)
    - horn and internal lights work, headlights work, indicators and wipers dont
    - all fuses look ok
    - there is fuel at the carburetor, filters are clean
    - checked the points and distributor cap, all looks ok at face value
    - havent checked for spark as I just relaised the dash lights, etc dont work, so I thought I may have damaged something.... Before I carry on I thought I ask the forum...

    the part that worries me is that while I bunny hopped around the block the interior dash lights for break, hydraulics, etc worked... After a bit of tinkering with the coil and ballast, they dont work any more

    Mark suggested it may be the ignition cylinder? Could that affect partial electrics?

    a bit stumped, would anyone have any ideas where to start?

    Thanks in advance. Sven

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    COL
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    Hi Sven

    I'm not familiar with DS electrics but from your description it sounds like the ignition switch may be faulty.

    It is best to use a multimeter to test if there is 12v at the positive terminal of the coil, if no volts there try at the ignition switch to see if there is 12v at the terminal for ignition on the ignition switch.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Regards Col

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    Administrator GreenBlood's Avatar
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    Sven,
    As a starting point (unintended pun) have a close look at #2 Fuse Red sleeve 16amp
    It controls the components you have lost, the fuse may look OK but the spring contacts may be dirty. . .

    Cheers
    Chris
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Points gap if it isn't a 123 conversion, also condenser.

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    1000+ Posts daffyduck's Avatar
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    Is the fuel tank clean on this car? I have a remote camera that we shove down the filler necks all the time. Once you know? You know.

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    Fellow Frogger! Mort Subite's Avatar
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    Cant give opinion on why the dash lights no longer work, but the rest sounds like the ignition condenser. I've been caught twice, second time I knew exactly what the problem was...
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    UFO
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    One of the club sages, who used to teach auto trade, always says "if you think it's electrical it'll be carby/fuel and vice versa".
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    Default Another idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Subite View Post
    Cant give opinion on why the dash lights no longer work, but the rest sounds like the ignition condenser. I've been caught twice, second time I knew exactly what the problem was...
    In a similar vein my d had all the same symptoms except for the dash lights and the shuddering may have shaken a fuse loose. After trying everything we found that the rislan fuel line in the tank had actually shrunk with age. Even when the car was half full it would quite violently stutter to a stop. The occasional restart was possible on many occasions but I didn't get far. We ended up changing the entire line(after having replaced just about everything else) and now totally reliable. Only way to be sure is to fill tank. If problem goes away ....

    goog luck

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UFO View Post
    One of the club sages, who used to teach auto trade, always says "if you think it's electrical it'll be carby/fuel and vice versa".
    That's a great bit of advice. It keeps your mind focused on the investigation.

    As CHris points out, look very carefully at that fuse. It powers nothing that would affect the running of the ignition, but it will affect the components you describe as non-functioning. It could be the clips, or as I have seen, those tube style fuses blow- or even just crack from old age- inside the cap, where you can't see it.

    As Col points to, check the ignition switch. On the 70 and later cars, it's the blue sleeved wire at the switch which supplies the coil, and nothing else. Check and see if you're getting 12.7 or so (not running) at that wire. Much less than that indicates a high resistance, or a bad contact somewhere. Test it several times, wriggling the key side to side, up and down, in and out. If you get a 0.0 at any time, the need to replace the switch is apparent. Do you carry a lot of extraneous stuff on your ring?

    Ensure that the coil resistor is in place and hooked up: 12+ in one side, and you should get about 8.5-9V out to the coil +. This is important, because earlier coils were designed to run on 8.5 or so vilts. Much more than that continuously will fry them. You can skip this if you have a more modern coil with the internal resistor.
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    Hate to mention the word RATS , they do like nesting behind the instrument panel and chewing wires.

    while you are there check the white plug is plugged in properly.


    good luck............... no rats I hope

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotrodelectric View Post
    That's a great bit of advice. It keeps your mind focused on the investigation.

    As CHris points out, look very carefully at that fuse. It powers nothing that would affect the running of the ignition, but it will affect the components you describe as non-functioning. It could be the clips, or as I have seen, those tube style fuses blow- or even just crack from old age- inside the cap, where you can't see it.

    As Col points to, check the ignition switch. On the 70 and later cars, it's the blue sleeved wire at the switch which supplies the coil, and nothing else. Check and see if you're getting 12.7 or so (not running) at that wire. Much less than that indicates a high resistance, or a bad contact somewhere. Test it several times, wriggling the key side to side, up and down, in and out. If you get a 0.0 at any time, the need to replace the switch is apparent. Do you carry a lot of extraneous stuff on your ring?

    Ensure that the coil resistor is in place and hooked up: 12+ in one side, and you should get about 8.5-9V out to the coil +. This is important, because earlier coils were designed to run on 8.5 or so vilts. Much more than that continuously will fry them. You can skip this if you have a more modern coil with the internal resistor.
    Bill, I'm glad you have chimed in, I was about to write a reply but felt unqualified so this is more a comment for scrutiny by those more knowledgeable. . .

    I agree that Sven possibly has a few unrelated issues, possibly the fuse will address dash lights etc.

    The starting problem may as you suggest be related to the coil, I did have a brief chat to Sven when he first had starting a running trouble - he described the ballast as crumbling and I'm thinking now his starting trouble could be related.

    Doing a little research it appears cars from 1970 were fitted with a 'Ballast coil' but "coils ain't coils" and this is where you might help clarify.

    My reading as I understood it showed that a 'ballast coil' circuit would have a solenoid in the starter circuit, when the ignition is switched the solenoid is activated allowing full voltage to the starter and reduced 8-9 volts to the 1.5ohm coil - ample for ignition. Once starter switch is released the solenoid deactivates and the coil gets full 12v+ but courtesy of the ballast operates at 8-9v. . . but on the D there is no solenoid in the circuit. . . it has been suggested here. . .
    Citroën Car Club ? View topic - WHY A BALLAST COIL SYSTEM?

    I think Badabec is right. I've just spotted reference to this in one of my books. These particular ballast resistors are actually made of a semi-conductor material and is temperature dependant, has low resistance when cold so a greater voltage to the coil for starting, when warm has greater resistance so divides the voltage between the ballast and the coil. The coil primary is different to an ordinary coil for this to work. The idea is to split the natural heating of the coil so the coil runs at a lower temperature, giving longer life and better performance at high revs.
    Only Citroen.......
    . . .does any of this ring true, and more to the point if the coil on Sven's car has a failed ballast would/could this be the cause of his starting/ running problem?

    Cheers
    Chris
    74 D(very Special) >>Rejuvenation Thread<<
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

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    Further to the above, looking at this schematic, the coil has a direct connection to the instrument cluster #44 via the Yellow multiplug - is this another clue, maybe the symptoms are related?



    Cheers
    Chris
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    If the schematic is indicating everything within the dashed lies next to the number 26 is within the coil, then you can see the coil has internal ballast - not external.

    Isolating, then hotwiring the coil to test is one way to rule it in or out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    If the schematic is indicating everything within the dashed lines next to the number 26 is within the coil, then you can see the coil has internal ballast - not external.

    Isolating, then hotwiring the coil to test is one way to rule it in or out.

    Perhaps the schematic needs amending

    Citroen fitted Ballast coils after 1970, original Ducellier and Marchal were both external, non original replacement coils (through DS parts suppliers) also have an external ballast resistor.
    Ignition coil 12V with ballast resistor.

    I guess Sven needs to run some tests. . .

    Cheers
    Chris
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    It's OK to run a mechanical points coil slightly hot (ie; unballasted) for a short duration test.

    Or buy a Mopar style ballast resistor and keep it in the toolkit for emergencies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    It's OK to run a mechanical points coil slightly hot (ie; unballasted) for a short duration test.

    Or buy a Mopar style ballast resistor and keep it in the toolkit for emergencies.
    I guess that was part of my query, as I understand it a Ballast coil is 1.5ohms and operates on 8-9v. A non Ballast coil is 3ohms and operates on 12v. The D not having a solenoid switching the ballast at ignition switch would quickly overheat a ballast coil if the ballast were isolated and run on 12v.

    From the above post, the D requires a Ballast coil that operates/switches under differing heat conditions?
    I think Badabec is right. I've just spotted reference to this in one of my books. These particular ballast resistors are actually made of a semi-conductor material and is temperature dependant, has low resistance when cold so a greater voltage to the coil for starting, when warm has greater resistance so divides the voltage between the ballast and the coil. The coil primary is different to an ordinary coil for this to work. The idea is to split the natural heating of the coil so the coil runs at a lower temperature, giving longer life and better performance at high revs.
    Only Citroen.......
    With the D set-up there would be no problem running a standard 3ohm 12v coil without ballast resister, I've read the reason for the ballast style coil was to improve cold starts when oil is heavy, bearing cold etc. The battery is under load turning the starter and voltage to the coil will be down - hence a 1.5 ohm ballast coil only requiring 8-9v and still having the umph to provide spark. I believe this also gives longevity to the coil, condenser and points . . .

    I must state this is information I have gleaned and not informed by anything other than the interweb, so seeking input from those in the know and trusted.

    Learning as we go

    Cheers
    Chris
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Most of my exposure comes from Fords of the sixties, the ballast resistor was bypassed when the key was turned to "Start". Soon as the motor caught and you released the key, it reverted to the ballast resistor circuit. The ballast resistor was an infamous pink wire that plugged in behind the dash; a prankster could sneakily undo the connection...

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    Thanks for all the replies and comments. I am sure I can rule out rats...

    Will test the voltage in both coil/ballast of the (original I am sure) Ducellier coil and ignition on the weekend and check out the fuses closer, maybe one is buggered after all. The ballast got very hot (burnt myself on the sucker) after a lot of cranking...

    Fuel supply is ample. I removed the hose to the carbie and cranked the engine. Gulps out decent amounts, so I don't think that is part of the problem.

    I am not sure there is a connection from the coil to the multi plug.... The diagram shows 3 connection points plus the lead to the distributor cap, I only have two, one into the ballast which is then connected to the coil. Then the connection from the other coil top terminal to the points, that's it - from memory of course...

    Will advise what I find next weekend! Sven

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    Fellow Frogger! bleudanube's Avatar
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    Well, after picking up another coil from Chris and a condenser from super cheap auto, I worked my way through all the bits and pieces from the coil to the sparkplugs... Nothing made a difference: no spark.

    Cleaned the fuses again and the holder and the dash lights started working again... At least one problem solved I think...

    So I measured voltage again into the coil and it was showing zero this time.... Ok, onto the ignition barrel/key. Opened up the dash and checked the blue wire at the multi connector. This time 12v. Back to the coil/ballast - also now 12v. Cranked engine, saw spark! Put plug back in and engine started! Aha!!!

    Mucked around with the key, wiggled all cables and connectors, but couldn't replicate the loss of voltage. But at least all the components appear to be ok. The coil read 12v in and 8.5 out.

    It will need further monitoring, but I am starting to understand the system a bit more. Even though my ballast appears dodgy, it still seems to do its job... Still not 100% sure it is the ignition switch, but will keep a close eye on it.

    Further updates to follow. Thanks for the parts Chris, will return them asap.

    Sven
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    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    Hi Sven

    I'm not familiar with DS electrics but from your description it sounds like the ignition switch may be faulty.

    It is best to use a multimeter to test if there is 12v at the positive terminal of the coil, if no volts there try at the ignition switch to see if there is 12v at the terminal for ignition on the ignition switch.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by bleudanube View Post
    Well, after picking up another coil from Chris and a condenser from super cheap auto, I worked my way through all the bits and pieces from the coil to the sparkplugs... Nothing made a difference: no spark.

    Cleaned the fuses again and the holder and the dash lights started working again... At least one problem solved I think...

    So I measured voltage again into the coil and it was showing zero this time.... Ok, onto the ignition barrel/key. Opened up the dash and checked the blue wire at the multi connector. This time 12v. Back to the coil/ballast - also now 12v. Cranked engine, saw spark! Put plug back in and engine started! Aha!!!

    Mucked around with the key, wiggled all cables and connectors, but couldn't replicate the loss of voltage. But at least all the components appear to be ok. The coil read 12v in and 8.5 out.

    It will need further monitoring, but I am starting to understand the system a bit more. Even though my ballast appears dodgy, it still seems to do its job... Still not 100% sure it is the ignition switch, but will keep a close eye on it.

    Further updates to follow. Thanks for the parts Chris, will return them asap.

    Sven

    Sounds like Col gets the gold star

    looks like you have found the cause, just need make a permanent fix. No hurry for my bits and pieces Sven, maybe wait for a fine day and drive over in the D

    Cheers
    Chris
    74 D(very Special) >>Rejuvenation Thread<<
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    COL
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBlood View Post
    Sounds like Col gets the gold star

    looks like you have found the cause, just need make a permanent fix. No hurry for my bits and pieces Sven, maybe wait for a fine day and drive over in the D

    Cheers
    Chris
    I can't take any credit, Sven deserves all the credit for fixing it himself.

    All I did was give a few pointers, Like I tell apprentices you need power to make electrical things work so first thing to do is make sure you have it no matter piece of electrical apparatus it is.
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    Regards Col

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    1000+ Posts daffyduck's Avatar
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    Ballast resistors always feel less than substantial. To further your effort, I can tell you that I have seen some tremendously worn out ignition switch contacts on some of these cars. So do not be surprised if you get further along and discover that.

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBlood View Post
    Bill, I'm glad you have chimed in, I was about to write a reply but felt unqualified so this is more a comment for scrutiny by those more knowledgeable. . .

    I agree that Sven possibly has a few unrelated issues, possibly the fuse will address dash lights etc.

    The starting problem may as you suggest be related to the coil, I did have a brief chat to Sven when he first had starting a running trouble - he described the ballast as crumbling and I'm thinking now his starting trouble could be related.

    Doing a little research it appears cars from 1970 were fitted with a 'Ballast coil' but "coils ain't coils" and this is where you might help clarify.

    My reading as I understood it showed that a 'ballast coil' circuit would have a solenoid in the starter circuit, when the ignition is switched the solenoid is activated allowing full voltage to the starter and reduced 8-9 volts to the 1.5ohm coil - ample for ignition. Once starter switch is released the solenoid deactivates and the coil gets full 12v+ but courtesy of the ballast operates at 8-9v. . . but on the D there is no solenoid in the circuit. . . it has been suggested here. . .
    Citroën Car Club ? View topic - WHY A BALLAST COIL SYSTEM?



    . . .does any of this ring true, and more to the point if the coil on Sven's car has a failed ballast would/could this be the cause of his starting/ running problem?

    Cheers
    Chris

    Sorry, Chris. Meant to get back to you sooner on this. Let me put my bag of Cheetos down and try to answer you.

    It seems that Sven has narrowed the problem down. There is a possibility of a break in the black/blue sleeve wire out to the coil. The disintegration of ceramic or phenolic that makes up the base for the resistor itself won't cause a failure, although it can easily lead to the resistor itself breaking. Once they do break, you ain't fixing it. Buy a new one.

    By ballast coil, they almost certainly mean ballast resistor. The resistor wire is usually in a coil-like shape, but in this case, no- it isn't the same as an ignition coil. A few people have the original style resistor available, you can buy a generic one, or you can get a coil with the resistor built in.

    There are quite a few cars that follow your example of full voltage to the starter, and just enough to the coil to get things running. However, a D does not do that. The only solenoid in the circuit is either at the battery or on the starter. On the later cars (I think '72 and on) both the battery solenoid and the starter solenoid were used as a paired set. How it fired off depended on BVM/BVH/BVA. I suspect this was a cost cutting move, so they wouldn't have to carry 2 different starters any longer.

    As we've now seen, it doesn't take much to kill an ignition circuit. Sven would be well advised to go through the ignition circuit with a fine-toothed comb. That failure in the line leading to the coil happened once, it will surely happen again.
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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    I think the answer missing to Chris on that page you referenced is that a coil is designed to deliver it's best performance-v-long life at about 8-9 volts. Points will burn at higher voltages. That's the reason for the ballast. Hot or cold, doesn't matter- you should see 8-9 volts, with a resistance of about 1.5 ohms.I don't think he was looking at the diagram complete, because he kept mentioning just the ignition "in" wire. The diagram drew the ballast and output wire as a part of the coil- that'll toss you for a loop if you don't know how that should work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotrodelectric View Post
    I think the answer missing to Chris on that page you referenced is that a coil is designed to deliver it's best performance-v-long life at about 8-9 volts. Points will burn at higher voltages. That's the reason for the ballast. Hot or cold, doesn't matter- you should see 8-9 volts, with a resistance of about 1.5 ohms.I don't think he was looking at the diagram complete, because he kept mentioning just the ignition "in" wire. The diagram drew the ballast and output wire as a part of the coil- that'll toss you for a loop if you don't know how that should work.
    That answers my question nicely thanks Bill - so always 12v in and 8-9v out through 1.5 ohms giving around 48 watts independent of heat?

    Cheers
    Chris
    74 D(very Special) >>Rejuvenation Thread<<
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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