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Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal?
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John Moxon Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:04 am    Post subject: Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal? Reply with quote

I think most people who are into Vintage Speed stuff will know The Judson Magneto. Well OK the name is a bit of a misnomer as it's not a true magneto...just a transistorised coil.

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It went on Sale in early 1963 and you can find the patent on Google Patents (submitted in 1963 and granted in 1966):
http://www.google.com/patents?id=U0ptAAAAEBAJ&...mp;f=false

Recently I found a reference on an Internet forum to it being cited as a fraud in the 1970s and last week someone else emailed me to tell me he remembered...I quote:
Quote:
The Judson magneto was reviewed by consumer reports in the early 70's and found to be a fraud.
Those components on the heatsink are not connected to anything. It is just a stock coil in fancy dress. Not sure if you knew that or not.


I have an open mind on this but I do find it hard to believe this would have been the case from the start of manufacture. I have an early NOS version on my Ghia and whilst it works well I wouldn't say the performance is noticeably enhanced. Not being an electrician I'm not keen to pull the thing apart to have a look inside...I can identify a wire and a fuse but that's about my limit.

So do any of you older guys remember anything about this supposed scam...nobody has shown me any written evidence from the '70s to back up these accusations.
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adding useless stuff is nothing new. In the 70s i worked at a place that put watch movements into watches for department stores. The movements were marked 18 and 21 jewel but most were just fragments embedded in the case and were not part of the actual movement.

Still looks cool even if it doesn't help.... kinda like bright colored fancy ignition wires when standard Bosch silicone wire are just fine.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wondering if they ran into production problems and just took the easy option. However it does irritate when people say, "I remember" and then don't back it up with any real detail.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've run the Judson magneto I have since it's a 6 volt unit and my car is 12 volts, so I have no opinion on it's performance or lack there of.

Like i said.. still looks cool.

Wasn't the SEEDEE the electronic part that could be added to an existing coil?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenn wrote:
I've run the Judson magneto I have since it's a 6 volt unit and my car is 12 volts, so I have no opinion on it's performance or lack there of.

Like i said.. still looks cool.

Wasn't the SEEDEE the electronic part that could be added to an existing coil?

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I wasn't getting at you Glenn...I was speaking generally of people who know someone who had heard somewhere that something or other wasn't what it was supposed to be. Laughing

Yes the Judson Magneto is not voltage specific, it works on either 6 or 12 volt, the only variation was negative or positive ground.

The See/Dee is as you say, the top half electronics of the Magneto and used in tandem with your existing coil.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody got access to a CT scanner?
You can Xray one, and see if the guts are hooked up, without destroying it.

Friend of mine is a Radiology Tech, and a Ham Radio operator. One of his mobile antenna loading coils went open with a broken wire. But the thing was potted.
He Xrayed it, found the break, made a small incision, and soldered the break.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm...having a look at the patent drawings it shouldn't take too much to get the top off. Maybe I'll give it a try tomorrow and take some pictures of the internals.

Thinking logically about dating the Magnetos, the wide labels have "Patent Pending" on them which, as the patent was granted in July 1966, suggests they are 1963-1966. The small label Magnetos carry "Patented" indicating post July 1966 manufacture.

As I say I would think it unlikely the company would make these early Magnetos with a scam in mind. It doesn't make sense to go through the lengthy patent process including testing, sending units to motoring magazines for appraisal, risking early exposure as a scam.

Intriguing all the same.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenn wrote:
Adding useless stuff is nothing new. In the 70s i worked at a place that put watch movements into watches for department stores. The movements were marked 18 and 21 jewel but most were just fragments embedded in the case and were not part of the actual movement.

Yikes! That sounds like outright fraud. "caveat emptor".
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal? Reply with quote

John Moxon wrote:
I think most people who are into Vintage Speed stuff will know The Judson Magneto. Well OK the name is a bit of a misnomer as it's not a true magneto...just a transistorised coil.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It went on Sale in early 1963 and you can find the patent on Google Patents (submitted in 1963 and granted in 1966):
http://www.google.com/patents?id=U0ptAAAAEBAJ&...mp;f=false

Recently I found a reference on an Internet forum to it being cited as a fraud in the 1970s and last week someone else emailed me to tell me he remembered...I quote:
Quote:
The Judson magneto was reviewed by consumer reports in the early 70's and found to be a fraud.
Those components on the heatsink are not connected to anything. It is just a stock coil in fancy dress. Not sure if you knew that or not.


I have an open mind on this but I do find it hard to believe this would have been the case from the start of manufacture. I have an early NOS version on my Ghia and whilst it works well I wouldn't say the performance is noticeably enhanced. Not being an electrician I'm not keen to pull the thing apart to have a look inside...I can identify a wire and a fuse but that's about my limit.

So do any of you older guys remember anything about this supposed scam...nobody has shown me any written evidence from the '70s to back up these accusations.


I ran across your post right after I read a 1975 newspaper story about a man, Robert E. Thurman, who helped expose the magneto hoax. He bought a Judson Electronic Magneto for $45 whoelsale in 1974 (it sold for $60 retail). It burned out his ignition points and did not improve his gas mileage. He measured the current in the system and found the points getting 3.5 amperes instead of the normal .02. Figuring the magneto was defective, he exchanged it for a new one and installed it on his car. This time he checked the point current before running the car, and it was still 3.5 amps. He melted tar from the inside of the magneto in order to examine its working parts. It was basically an inductive ignition coil with a fancy looking transister (the black knob) that was "not even being used except as a come-on," Thurman said.

His documentation arrived at the Pennsylvania A.G.'s General Bureau of Consumer Protection along with a pile of similar well-documented letters from around the country. The bureau investigated and brought action against Judson, charging that the Magneto and See/Dee were only ignition coils and not designed to increase gas mileage. Judson agreed to a consent order and promised to refund money to consumers who wrote within four months. It also promised not to advertise that any automotive product it makes will save gas, decrease emissions or cut engine maintenance costs unless these claims are supported by tests by a qualified independent laboratory.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome info

I'm been scammed!!!! Very Happy

William
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me too!!!

And I had my coil flown in from the States Smile

I guess the 4 months have gone now..have to make a wall decor of my own! Very Happy

Wonder if the supercharger even worked? Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gt78 wrote:
Me too!!!

And I had my coil flown in from the States Smile

I guess the 4 months have gone now..have to make a wall decor of my own! Very Happy

Wonder if the supercharger even worked? Very Happy


They both work...Magneto and Supercharger...so what's the problem? As has already stated...a hot coil in a fancy suit. There are hundreds still running on cars 35 years after the last on left the Judson workshop.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal? Reply with quote

Folks, I'm new to this forum, but I have an interest in ignition systems. The Judson magneto was not a hoax. It may have only been a minor improvement over the stock system, but it was not a hoax. I have a book that explains its operation and shows the circuit. The purpose of the Judson magneto other than looking cool, was to take the inductive load off the points so they didn't burn, and let a transistor in series with the points do the actual switching. So, despite the points handling all of the current just like the transistor in series with it, they were only used as the trigger. Since the transistor removed the high voltage inductive kick from the points, and the addition of a very large capacitor to prevent any residual burning, points would last a long time. A couple of zener diodes were also incorporated to protect the transistor and I assume that the device with the 'siamese twin' logo on the top of the transistor is a pair of zener diodes incorporated into that heat sunk unit. The Judson is unlike the 'transistor switch' ignitions of the time which kept points current low and only used them as a trigger in parallel with the transistors driving their bases. In the Judson, the points drive the transistor base and are also in series with it. The transistor on the Judson turns the current to the coil primary off very quickly as soon as the points start to open. This should make starting easier with a Judson as the coil primary current collapses more quickly at low engine speed than it can with slow opening points. The coil has a very large turns ratio of 350:1. It's an odd set up, but I have to admit that it does look cool. Fred
Zelma wrote:
John Moxon wrote:
I think most people who are into Vintage Speed stuff will know The Judson Magneto. Well OK the name is a bit of a misnomer as it's not a true magneto...just a transistorised coil.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It went on Sale in early 1963 and you can find the patent on Google Patents (submitted in 1963 and granted in 1966):
http://www.google.com/patents?id=U0ptAAAAEBAJ&...mp;f=false

Recently I found a reference on an Internet forum to it being cited as a fraud in the 1970s and last week someone else emailed me to tell me he remembered...I quote:
Quote:
The Judson magneto was reviewed by consumer reports in the early 70's and found to be a fraud.
Those components on the heatsink are not connected to anything. It is just a stock coil in fancy dress. Not sure if you knew that or not.


I have an open mind on this but I do find it hard to believe this would have been the case from the start of manufacture. I have an early NOS version on my Ghia and whilst it works well I wouldn't say the performance is noticeably enhanced. Not being an electrician I'm not keen to pull the thing apart to have a look inside...I can identify a wire and a fuse but that's about my limit.

So do any of you older guys remember anything about this supposed scam...nobody has shown me any written evidence from the '70s to back up these accusations.


I ran across your post right after I read a 1975 newspaper story about a man, Robert E. Thurman, who helped expose the magneto hoax. He bought a Judson Electronic Magneto for $45 whoelsale in 1974 (it sold for $60 retail). It burned out his ignition points and did not improve his gas mileage. He measured the current in the system and found the points getting 3.5 amperes instead of the normal .02. Figuring the magneto was defective, he exchanged it for a new one and installed it on his car. This time he checked the point current before running the car, and it was still 3.5 amps. He melted tar from the inside of the magneto in order to examine its working parts. It was basically an inductive ignition coil with a fancy looking transister (the black knob) that was "not even being used except as a come-on," Thurman said.

His documentation arrived at the Pennsylvania A.G.'s General Bureau of Consumer Protection along with a pile of similar well-documented letters from around the country. The bureau investigated and brought action against Judson, charging that the Magneto and See/Dee were only ignition coils and not designed to increase gas mileage. Judson agreed to a consent order and promised to refund money to consumers who wrote within four months. It also promised not to advertise that any automotive product it makes will save gas, decrease emissions or cut engine maintenance costs unless these claims are supported by tests by a qualified independent laboratory.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal? Reply with quote

I just came across a Judson Magneto in a parts haul and am thinking of using it on one of my 36hp vehicles. Does anyone know what the wiring is supposed to look like?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: Judson Magneto - Scam or the real deal? Reply with quote

Braukuche wrote:
I just came across a Judson Magneto in a parts haul and am thinking of using it on one of my 36hp vehicles. Does anyone know what the wiring is supposed to look like?


http://vwjudsonregister.tripod.com/magneto_installation_page.htm
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello there... the above installation instructions suggest there is no difference between the a 12v and a 6v unit....

Is this the case... can they be used on the different voltages???
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the Judson Magneto can be used on 6 or 12 volt...no difference in the unit. However if using on 12 volt you should fit a balance resistor. The Ballast number given by Judson is obsolete, but your local electrical parts supplier should be able to cross reference it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone had any problems with the Judson coil breaking down when hot? I may have an issue with mine or do they just work or not and not be intermittant?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject: Judson Magneto Reply with quote

I used a judson Magneto (probably one of the first)on my Austin Healey 100-6.

The big Healey had broken rings on the some of the pistons and continually caused the spark plugs to foul and make the car miss. And yes, I did keep increasing the 'heat range' of my spark plugs finally using a very hot burning NGK Platinum plug, but it was still not enough.

Once I added the Judson Magneto, and a new aftermarket electric fuel pump the car ran without any major plug foul outs. The combination all contributed to the plugs firing hot enough to keep the plugs clean enough to eliminate the missing.

I wasn't too concerned about the engine rebuild, since I had already purchased a spare engine. But, in this case the Judson Magneto helped me.
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