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How does a magneto work on a vintage motorcycle?

A magneto is a type of electrical generator that is often used on vintage motorcycles to provide a reliable source of ignition spark. These self-contained units generate electricity by using a magnet and a coil of wire to create a high-voltage current, which is then used to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the engine's cylinders.

So, how does a magneto work on a vintage motorcycle? Here's a closer look at the principles behind this important component:

  1. A magnet is rotated within a coil of wire: The magneto consists of a magnet that is mounted on a rotating shaft, and a coil of wire that surrounds the magnet. As the magnet rotates within the coil, it creates a changing magnetic field that generates an electrical current in the wire.

  2. The current is stepped up by a transformer: The electrical current generated by the magneto is relatively low-voltage, so it is stepped up by a transformer to a much higher voltage. This high-voltage current is then used to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the engine's cylinders.

  3. The magneto is mounted on the engine: On a vintage motorcycle, the magneto is typically mounted directly on the engine, either on the crankshaft or on the side of the engine. This allows the magneto to be driven by the engine, ensuring that it is always turning and generating electricity.

  4. The magneto provides a reliable source of ignition spark: Because the magneto is self-contained and driven by the engine, it provides a reliable source of ignition spark even in the absence of a battery or other external power source. This is especially useful on vintage motorcycles, which may not have the electrical systems found on modern bikes.

Overall, the magneto is a key component of the ignition system on a vintage motorcycle. By using a magnet and a coil of wire to generate a high-voltage current.