Keep the points?

Jan 3, 2006
Got an old 1970s generator running, looks like the biggest problem was the points weren't making contact. Filed up the points, checked the condenser, set the gap, and it fired up. Haven't decided whether to keep it as a spare or sell it, but are the points that unreliable? Don't see the need to replace it with an electronic ignition if it's working.
I would replace them with an electronic ignition if possible. Points are a main point of ignition failure and a maintenance item that can be avoided.
Keep It Simple Simon. If it ain't broke, you can't fix it. With electronic ignition, how do you check it? Or field fix it?
Points are fine, if used regularly. If they sit, they corrode and as you found don't work.

I went electronic on my generator. It was a simple coil swsp.
Points are fine, if used regularly. If they sit, they corrode and as you found don't work.

I went electronic on my generator. It was a simple coil swsp.
Being old, the condenser will dry out and fail too.
Points and associated consumable parts are fine but are maintenance items and you are at the mercy of the current parts quality for whatever you have. For a quirky old toy, I'd keep points. If I actually had to seriously use this then I would look towards a quality electronic ignition e.g. Pertronix, Crane, etc. Watch coil compatibility.
Most likely the point contacts corroded slightly and a no spark condition results. I have gotten so many old engines going just by running some emory cloth on the point contacts. I would keep them as a spare. If they were not badly burned, the condenser is ok. No need for an electronic ignition.
The points will last a very long time if you store the engine on its compression stroke. That's when the points are closed and they will not corrode and the engine will always produce a spark.
I like points. I like electronic as well. Perhaps keep a spare set on hand. Either way works.
I pulled all the MSD crap outta my 68 Vette and went back to stock.
You dressed the old points and she ran. Second life for old, filed down points.
If they die / burn it's partially because they're old. The dressed points might fail quickly.
I'd give the old tech one more chance with new parts. You'll be fixed in <1 hour for small money.
THEN see what an electronic retrofit would cost.
For a generator I'd upgrade it to electronic if it's not too much of a pain. If it's a Briggs engine, all you have to do is swap the coil with a newer style coil. Generators sit around a lot, and when you want to start it after forgetting about it for a while you don't want to have to mess with the points.
Only danger of electronic is sometimes a manufacturer obsoletes the parts. I have a perfectly good (otherwise) Stihl 032 chainsaw in the garage that killed the (obsolete) electronic ignition. If it had the old school points it would be an easy fix.
Breaker points work well and are usually cheaper than electronic. When installing new breaker points sometimes they don't close properly and only make contact on an edge, shortening their life.This can usually be corrected by bending the fixed contact support L to align as perfectly as possible. with the moving contact. Also lightly grease the cam and apply grease to the backside of the rubbing block.
I have always been an old school fan. I still have points in my 65 mustang, and I had to put new points in my lawn mower after nearly 40 years, and I use it EVERY summer. Well, not the summer I was in Vietnam. Points are generally not a troublesome item.