View Full Version : Dwell meter / Tach meter / Timing light

07-14-2007, 02:12 PM
I have an older dwell/tach meter and coming out of it are two wires. One is black and the other is red. I would like to set my Lark's idle rpm's. Where do these two clamps hook up to perform an accurate reading?

Also when using a timing light, I need to use spark plug #1. Do the black and red clamps go to the battery or another part of the engine?

07-14-2007, 04:31 PM
I have a dwell/tach meter with this kind of configuration. I'll assume you have the alligator clips on the wires. If I remember right,I use the terminals on the coil with + for positive(red wire) and - for negative(black wire). Just remember to set the tach/dwell meter for the correct number of cylinders on the meter. The timing light I use attaches to the terminals on the battery with the extra third wire going to(really between as it has a spring that fits on the top of the plug and underneath the boot) the #1 spark plug on the driver's side at the front of the engine.

1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
1950 Studebaker 2R5 with 170 turbocharged

07-14-2007, 05:26 PM
Usually Dwell/Tachs have a third (Green) wire to attach to the (-) dist. lead on the coil to pick up the information, the red (+) and black (-) wires with alligator clips on mine, go to the (+) and (-) battery terminals, it is also a 1966 era unit.

Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

07-14-2007, 06:41 PM
A Dwell/Tach meter should have two wires. The red wire is attached to the - terminal of the coil (the one that connects to the distributor). The black wire is attached to any ground. You can then read dwell or RPM depending on the position of the switch on the meter.

The timing light can have two or three leads. If it only has two, you would remove the ignition wire from the #1 plug and connect one lead of the light to the top of the plug and the other to the end of the ignition wire (with the aid of a metal adapter of some sort). The two-wire type goes in series with the plug.

The more common type (3 wire) will have a wire with a red clip and a wire with a black black clip which attach to the battery (red to + and black to -). The third wire is the high voltage cable (which is usually heavier) will connect to a spring-like adapter that is placed between the end of the plug wire and the spark plug. If you don't have this adapter, you may be able to slide the boot back on the wire far enough to expose the metal barrel that attaches to the plug. Attaching the high voltage lead to this barrel (while installed on the plug) will work. If the boot won't move, you can make an adapter from 1/4" copper tubing which is placed between the wire and the plug. Clipping the high voltage lead of the timing light to this adapter will work.

Jim Bradley
'64 Daytona HT "Rerun"

07-14-2007, 07:09 PM
My dwell meter has three wires, red and black wire to the battery, green wire to the coil post where the dist/coil wire feeds power to the points.