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Bystarters 101

 
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charlie55
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'06 Blur (Sold) '05 Honda Helix (Sold) '76 CB125S (Sold) '06 Honda Helix

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:33 pm    Post subject: Bystarters 101 Reply with quote

Introduction:

The purpose of this discussion is to provide a user-friendly tutorial on the topic of the bystarter, an essential and often misunderstood device on most conventionally-aspirated (carbureted) scooter engines. It is not applicable to engines equipped with fuel injection. The photographs and illustrations contained herein are intended to provide a generalized concept of bystarter architecture and function and, as such, do not depict any particular make/model. Additionally, most are not to scale.

Background:

Before getting into an explanation of what a bystarter is and how it works, it might be a good idea to present a little info about fuel and conventionally-aspirated (carbureted) internal combustion engines. A good starting point is what's called "stoichiometric air/fuel ratio". In layman's terms, this is the ratio of air-to-fuel at which the mixture burns the most efficiently. For gasoline this value is approximately 14.7 to 1, meaning 14.7 parts air to 1 part gasoline. Now, this is all well and good once the normal operating temperature of an engine has been achieved. However, things change when we're talking about a "cold" engine. In that scenario, a "richer" mixture is required, and can be achieved in one of two ways: restricting the volume of air, or increasing the volume of fuel.

The "less air" approach was traditionally used for automobiles and motorcycles. It involved decreasing ("choking") the flow of air through the carburetor by means of a movable plate called a choke (or butterfly) built into the intake side of the carburetor. Controlled either manually or automatically, this plate would be closed for cold starts and then opened as the engine warmed up. Most basic lawn and garden equipment such as mowers, weed trimmers, and chainsaws still use this approach, with the choke plate operated by a manual lever.

The "more fuel" approach is where the bystarter, in conjunction with an extra passage in the carburetor, comes in. Rather than decreasing airflow, the "enrichment circuit" formed by these two components automatically and temporarily increases the amount of available fuel.

Bystarters are also referred to as "auto-bystarters", "auto-chokes" and sometimes just simply "chokes". The latter two terms are dead wrong as the device doesn't achieve its intended purpose by "choking" anything, and the former two seem to be based upon bastardized or faulty English. So I'll use the term "enricher" from this point forward.

The Ins and Outs:

The simplest parts of the enrichment circuit are the inlet port and the outlet. These provide the endpoints for a flow of air to draw extra fuel into the engine. The following two photographs depict their typical appearance. The first photo also shows the typical location and appearance of the bystarter (enricher) itself. It is usually black, held in place by some sort of removable clamping bracket, and connected to a pair of wires.





"Cold" Engine Mode:

The following illustration depicts the major components of the enricher, namely:

- Heater
- Expandable Material
- Plunger
- Needle
- Jet



In "cold" engine mode, these components are in the following states:

- Once the engine has been started, alternating current from the stator starts flowing into the heater. How quickly the heater rises to its
highest temperature is a function of its resistance. For now, we'll assume that it is as cool as the ambient air surrounding it.

- The (thermally) expandable material below the heater is also initially the same temperature as the ambient air. At this temperature, it is in a contracted state.

- The plunger, which is spring-loaded to counteract the enlargement of the expandable material, is retracted.

- The needle, which is connected to the plunger via a shaft and spring mechanism, is also retracted.

- Due to the retracted state of the needle, the jet, which allows access to the fuel supply, is fully unblocked.

As the engine is started, the vacuum created by the intake stroke of the piston draws air through the outlet and inlet port. This flow of air, in turn, draws fuel up through the jet. Once the fuel enters the inlet port-to-outlet stream, it atomizes and forms a combustible mixture for use by the engine. This supply is in addition to the fuel/air mixture provide by the carburetor's normal idle circuit, and that's what the whole "enrichment" thing is about.

"Transitional" Mode:

In between the point where the engine is cold and the point where it is at normal operating temperature, the enricher "transitions" as the temperature of its heater rises. The expandable material responds to the change in temperature by gradually expanding and exerting downward force on the plunger. This force is transferred to the needle, gradually extending it such that it begins to block the jet and reduce the air flow/fuel supply in the enrichment circuit.

"Hot" Mode:

The following illustration depicts the state of the enricher components once the engine has achieved normal operating temperature:



- The heater, now fully warmed up, has caused the expandable material to achieve its maximum length.

- The expandable material now exerts maximum pressure on the plunger.

- The plunger transfers this force to the needle which is now fully extended.

- This results in the complete blockage of the jet, cutting off the supply of fuel and air through the enrichment circuit.

Failure Modes:

1. If there is a clog in the inlet port, the outlet, or both, no air can be drawn through the enrichment circuit. As a consequence, no additional air/fuel mixture can be supplied to the engine. This will result in a hard starting condition for a cold engine.

2. If there is a clog in the jet, or somewhere in the path leading to the jet, then only extra air will be supplied to the engine while the enricher is in "cold" mode. This will result in an even harder starting condition for a cold engine since it is not just being deprived of the additional air/fuel mixture, but is actually being supplied with a greater volume of (cold) air. This effectively "thins" out the mixture supplied by the normal idle circuit, making it even more difficult to get it to fire.

3. If a fault in the heater, expandable material, plunger, or needle causes the enricher to get "stuck" in "hot" mode (air/fuel flow totally blocked), the effect will essentially be the same as that described in the clogged inlet port/ clogged outlet scenario.

4. If a fault in the heater, expandable material, plunger, or needle causes the enricher to get "stuck" in "cold" mode (full air/fuel flow through the enrichment circuit), then the engine will be constantly running in a rich mixture state. While cold starts will be easily achieved, the maintenance of an over-rich mixture (long after the point where it is actually beneficial to starting) can lead to spark plug fouling, backfiring, and increased carbon deposits in the combustion chamber and on the valves.

Final Point:

In my opinion, and only my opinion, the primary shortcoming of the enricher is that it does not rely upon any feedback mechanism to determine when the engine is actually warm enough to run reliably without enrichment. Once the enricher itself has reached "hot" mode then, as far as it is concerned, the engine is good to go without any additional "help". Unfortunately, there may be rare times/circumstances when such is not the case.

In any case, there you are. If you have any questions, or have spotted any errors in my explanation, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll do my best to set the situation right.

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jrsjr
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:11 am    Post subject: Re: Bystarters 101 Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:

Final Point:

In my opinion, and only my opinion, the primary shortcoming of the enricher is that it does not rely upon any feedback mechanism to determine when the engine is actually warm enough to run reliably without enrichment. Once the enricher itself has reached "hot" mode then, as far as it is concerned, the engine is good to go without any additional "help". Unfortunately, there may be rae times/circumstances when such is not the case.

Very nice writeup! Thanks. It'll be great to have that in the archives. I think we should add that to the tech archives somewhere. I wish you'd do the same thing with photos for the brake rebuild you were alluding to in your "Speed Valve" thread.

P.S. There is a small typo in your "Final" para above. You dropped an "R" from the word "rare" making it "rae." It's a Rae Dawn Chong thing, I know, but I'm particular like that. Rolling Eyes Again, nice job.
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charlie55
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:26 am    Post subject: Re: Bystarters 101 Reply with quote

jrsjr wrote:
charlie55 wrote:

Final Point:

In my opinion, and only my opinion, the primary shortcoming of the enricher is that it does not rely upon any feedback mechanism to determine when the engine is actually warm enough to run reliably without enrichment. Once the enricher itself has reached "hot" mode then, as far as it is concerned, the engine is good to go without any additional "help". Unfortunately, there may be rae times/circumstances when such is not the case.

Very nice writeup! Thanks. It'll be great to have that in the archives. I think we should add that to the tech archives somewhere. I wish you'd do the same thing with photos for the brake rebuild you were alluding to in your "Speed Valve" thread.

P.S. There is a small typo in your "Final" para above. You dropped an "R" from the word "rare" making it "rae." It's a Rae Dawn Chong thing, I know, but I'm particular like that. Rolling Eyes Again, nice job.


Thanks, you're right and it's been corrected.

charlie55 - "Providing full employment for moderators emeriti since 2008."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic writeup. Thanks for taking the time.

And after I saw "Quest for Fire", I was hers forever.....
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: Bystarters 101 Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:

charlie55 - "Providing full employment for moderators emeriti since 2008."

ROFL I guess anything that keeps me off the streets is probably in the best interest of society.
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charlie55
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KrispyKreme wrote:
Fantastic writeup. Thanks for taking the time.

And after I saw "Quest for Fire", I was hers forever.....


I was Lauren Bacall's the first time I saw "To Have and Have Not".
I was Ingrid Bergman's the first time I saw "Casablanca".
I was Maureen O'Hara's the first time I saw "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
And, unfortunately, I was Cruella Deville's the first time I said, "I do".

Shoulda quit while I was ahead.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:
KrispyKreme wrote:
Fantastic writeup. Thanks for taking the time.

And after I saw "Quest for Fire", I was hers forever.....


I was Lauren Bacall's the first time I saw "To Have and Have Not".
I was Ingrid Bergman's the first time I saw "Casablanca".
I was Maureen O'Hara's the first time I saw "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
And, unfortunately, I was Cruella Deville's the first time I said, "I do".

Shoulda quit while I was ahead.



The male of our species never does this. It may be our demise. This is for you Charlie.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:53 am    Post subject: Re: Bystarters 101 Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:
Introduction:

The purpose of this discussion is to provide a user-friendly tutorial on the topic of the bystarter, an essential and often misunderstood device on most conventionally-aspirated (carbureted) scooter engines. It is not applicable to engines equipped with fuel injection. The photographs and illustrations contained herein are intended to provide a generalized concept of bystarter architecture and function and, as such, do not depict any particular make/model. Additionally, most are not to scale.


Nice write-up and thanks. Now I know why my '86 Honda Elite 150 didn't like to start in real cold weather but started nicely when it was warm outside.

Bill in Seattle
'09 150 Blackjack
'12 170i Italia
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya - when my Honda 150 is warm, but outside air is cold, throttle needs to be added at startup.

Tipping the scoot to the right and on the front wheel works sometimes. Don't ask me why.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a problem with a bystarter on a Hyosung. The check test listed in the service manual was kinda helpful (in Chinglish) but it turned out to be corrosion on the carb wall that was snagging the brass plunger thingy. We just put a manual choke on it. Works great now. You know when its on, and you know its off when you turn it off. Charlie55 should write for the service manuals. VERY useful info!
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charlie55
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sc00ter wrote:
We had a problem with a bystarter on a Hyosung. The check test listed in the service manual was kinda helpful (in Chinglish) but it turned out to be corrosion on the carb wall that was snagging the brass plunger thingy. We just put a manual choke on it. Works great now. You know when its on, and you know its off when you turn it off. Charlie55 should write for the service manuals. VERY useful info!


Thanks.

The Helix has been giving me problems since I got it, and I believe that it's the jet/fuel passage. The enricher's resistance is to spec, and I've bench tested it to see if it extends when connected to a 12V source - it does. I cleaned the carb over the winter, but the entire fuel path for the enricher is so incredibly narrow that it's hard to tell if it's just tiny, or if it's clogged. I rigged it up to an acetone drip for a few days, and flow is incredibly tiny still. The only thing that'll fit through it is a single strand of fine braided copper wire.

I was thinking of just cutting the Gordian knot and rigging up a butterfly plate on the carb, or in the intake plenum. Actually, I could probably just stuff a sock in the airbox opening on those hard-start mornings. Just gotta rememer to remove it before I roll.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:


I was Lauren Bacall's the first time I saw "To Have and Have Not".
I was Ingrid Bergman's the first time I saw "Casablanca".
I was Maureen O'Hara's the first time I saw "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
And, unfortunately, I was Cruella Deville's the first time I said, "I do".

Shoulda quit while I was ahead.


Great write up on the bystarter. Wish my S40 had one.

Not to hijack the thread, but it was Jacqueline Bisset in "The Deep" for me.
I was 13 and, oh man, she opened my eyes to the difference between "girl" and "woman"!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:
...the entire fuel path for the enricher is so incredibly narrow that it's hard to tell if it's just tiny, or if it's clogged. I rigged it up to an acetone drip for a few days, and flow is incredibly tiny still. The only thing that'll fit through it is a single strand of fine braided copper wire.

Is it possible that circuit was intended by design to be that restricted? Have you ever had a different Helix carb on the bench? It would be interesting to see if all Helix carbs are that way.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jrsjr wrote:
charlie55 wrote:
...the entire fuel path for the enricher is so incredibly narrow that it's hard to tell if it's just tiny, or if it's clogged. I rigged it up to an acetone drip for a few days, and flow is incredibly tiny still. The only thing that'll fit through it is a single strand of fine braided copper wire.

Is it possible that circuit was intended by design to be that restricted? Have you ever had a different Helix carb on the bench? It would be interesting to see if all Helix carbs are that way.


Good question, but I don't have a spare for comparison. It doesn't help that the end that sits in the bowl is one of those pressed-in brass fittings that can't be removed without destroying it. If it was removable, I could pull it and see if the passage was restricted. On the other end, the opening is at the bottom the the enricher "well" and at right angles to it. So there's no way to get an end-to-end view. I suspect that, while the openings are clear, the passage between them may have a load of accumulated cruft in it. And with such tiny openings, if there was a restriction and I could get it to break up, the residue would have to be small enough to be able to be blown out with compressed air.

As a side note, my '06 Blur had starting problems from day one. When I took the carb apart, I discovered that there was a separate chamber in the bowl for the fuel feed to the enricher, and evidently it was mis-cast as there was no opening from the chamber to the main reservoir in the bowl. As usual, Genuine was cool about the whole thing and sent me another bowl gratis. Everything worked perfectly thereafter.

Unfortunately, the words "Honda" and "gratis" are mutually-exclusive.

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charlie55
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update on the Helix's bystarter.....

Well, my hard starts did turn out to be the bystarter after all, and not a blocked passage in the enrichment circuit. I bit the bullet and purchased a new one (OEM, of course), and voila, no more problems.

The old one didn't show any obvious signs of failure, but a close inspection showed that the plunger, even when cold, extended about 1.5 millimeters more than the new one. It wasn't obvious until I compared the two side-by-side. I guess that the thermally-expandable goo inside the bystarter had hardened a bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DAMN! This one went for a walk in the woods...

One correction. I'm pretty (100%) sure that the outlet (on the downstream end of the carb) port highlighted is actually the port for the pilot (mixture) screw, one of the three passages from the pilot jet (the other two being the transition ports). The actual outlet from the enrichener (bystarter) is actually the big, angled port at the ca. 3:00 position. Disassemble one and spray it out and convince yourself. Same on larger motorcycle carbs.

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charlie55
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right. I've corrected the photo. Thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good, my Brother.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny scooter manufacturers don't trust riders to manipulate a manual enrichener. I'm not going to speculate or editorialize, just noting a curiosity...

No such deal on a carb'd motorcycle that I have ever seen, always manual. Early EFI was a mixed bag, all modern EFI have an IAC.

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charlie55
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Benzo Mike wrote:
Funny scooter manufacturers don't trust riders to manipulate a manual enrichener. I'm not going to speculate or editorialize, just noting a curiosity...

No such deal on a carb'd motorcycle that I have ever seen, always manual. Early EFI was a mixed bag, all modern EFI have an IAC.


I think it's a nod to the scooting majority. I'd venture to say that most scooter riders are not "into" doing anything other than turning the key, twisting the throttle and taking off. Hence CVTs, bystarters, etc. People like their conveniences and that's fine.

I'd have to say that the membership of this forum is, for the most part, an exception to that generalization in that a large segment enjoys wrenching, modding, and messing with stuff to see how badly it can be broken (er, improved). At the very least, the knowledge level here is much higher than in the general population. A manual choke/enricher wouldn't even raise an eyebrow (and would be welcome for some of us).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not the manufacturers, it's the eco-nazis.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tocsik wrote:
Great write up on the bystarter. Wish my S40 had one.

Actually, it does - just not auto. Like Charlie, I prefer the term enricher.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's not go down the road that these scooters are set up all sorts of weird to comply with EPA emissions. EPA noise, definitely. Emissions, not so much.

For starters, the 50's (actually 49's) are exempt. For the love of all things holy, they are legal 2-strokes (gasp) in California (gasp). For reference, 250CC grand prix bikes were banned form racing in CA on MotoGP weekend for years, on emissions grounds.

The 4-stroke Buddy's have exemption plates riveted on. They have no cat, are carbureted, and spew all sorts of bad stuff (HC, NOX, etc). Big, uncontrolled globs of fuel, no oxygen sensors, no feedback controls, etc. Sure, on a per-mile basis, they're not as bad as an old street rod or 60's muscle car. But compared to a modern PZEV, they are FILTHY.

Challenge - cold motor, in your garage, close the door, start it up and let it idle. Kick back and have a beer. See how long before you're chased out, eyes burning, reeking, raw fuel in your mucous membranes. Let's not even think about the monoxide.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A small correction - I went to the EPA certification reports and all of the 50cc scooters ARE actually tested for certification. Not sure what the actual emissions criteria are, but they certainly are tested.

Of interest to many here - Genuine has only submitted 4 models for 2015 model year certification. So you can pretty solidly infer what the product range is going to look like from that, I suppose.

Quoted HP are at the crank (not at the wheel).

Buddy 50 3.2 HP
Stella 125 Auto 9.1 HP
Buddy 170i 11.0 HP
Hooligan 170i 11.0 HP

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charlie helped me hunt down the auto bystarter issue on my helix.

I originally bought an OEM/STD carb, thinking, that bugger is 28 years old!

Turns out it was "OEMSTD" China carb. not bad, but not great either.

However, it turns out the auto bystarter on it worked just fine Razz.

Since 3 of the 4 bikes we have are carbed, this is a great write-up! much appreciated.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In California, they are tested. If I remember right, when the new Stellas came out they had to send them back to the factory because of a wrong sticker and having an adjustment screw for idle or mixture.
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