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Ask Silicon Chip

Got a technical problem? Can't understand a piece of jargon or some technical principle? Drop us a line and we'll answer your question. Write to: Ask Silicon Chip, PO Box 139, Collaroy Beach, NSW 2097 or send an email to silicon@siliconchip.com.au

Ding deterrent
for car parks

Is there any chance of SILICON CHIP doing a project to help stop people dinging cars in car parks, maybe using those reversing sensors? Would it also be possible to film them? I’m asking because my partner has come home twice in two weeks with a cracked and dented bumper bar and rear quarter panel. (C. K., Laurieton, NSW).

• While it would be feasible for a car fitted with reversing sensors to give a warning alarm when other cars were approaching too closely, no doubt it would also react to pedestrians. It might stop dings but then its noise might also invite vandalism from passers-by.

Getting a video record would also be feasible but the camera and recorder in your car would need to run continuously or at least be triggered every time something came within sensor range.

Ignition system for a motorcycle engine

A few years back I built and fitted the High-Energy Ignition unit to my Subaru, basically to eliminate the need to keep tweaking the points for efficiency. It is still problem-free; if anything, your kits are underrated.

Next, I will be building a modified 725cc single-cylinder bike engine and would like your opinion about an ignition system, bearing in mind this engine may run methanol fuel and whether it is possible to use the digital pulse adjuster to power an injector for this project. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated. (A. J., Mt, Gambier, SA).

• Most motorcycles do not have any degree of ignition advance with RPM nor do they have engine load retard (vacuum advance). The Programmable Ignition System from the March, April & May 2007 issues would be ideal if you have room. If the bike has a CDI ignition you could use the May 2008 replacement CDI for motorcycles.

We do not think methanol would require a different spark treatment, except for timing changes.

The DPA (Digital Pulse Adjuster) can drive injectors but it is designed to be used in conjunction with a controlled injector system; the DPA introduces an extra injector that is in effect controlled by the main injector pulse width but with pulse width adjustments available. It is not a standalone injector drive system as it does not control injector pulse width in response to fuel requirements for the engine.

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