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Stromberg Power Booster Introduction
Want to go faster, further, cheaper?
A low-cost, easily fitted device that promises to boost the performance
of any spark-ignited engine.
"More or less!" - always an appealing catch-line no matter on
what product it is hung! In particular,
this phrase is well bandied about
in the motor accessory industry as various gadgets are enticingly dangled
before a free-spending
Many reports have been published on this line and summing them up they
vary from a cautiously
worded appraisal claiming the gadget in question does all it claims, through
to a forthright
condemnation. In most cases, time is the acid test. There will always
be a certain "here today, gone
tomorrow" knick-knackery in the industry but out of this a few really
excellent and durable products
Just one such "more-power-for-less-petrol" gadget that has stood
the test for more than 20 years is
the Stromberg high-frequency converter. The claims made for the device
- 20 percent increase in
performance, 10 to 15 percent saving in fuel consumption, fires oil-saturated
spark plugs, a lifetime
(yours, not the car's) guarantee - are extravagant in the extreme, you
However, before being conned with another "wonder" engine reviver
we approached several garages
and tune-up centres and they all agreed - it worked, and worked well.
We tried it out in a very senior
Volkswagen Variant pushing close on 200 000km and with an engine consuming
500ml of oil every
300km as it snaked around the country-side. The oil rings on one cylinder
were so bad that with the
standard ignition the spark plug completely broke down after 1500km and
had to be replaced.
The increase in performance was quite marked although it fell short of
the claimed 20 percent.
Petrol consumption showed a decided decrease in 100km. Prior to the speed
converter reduced the petrol bill by 14 percent and with the imposition
of the speed limits this has
further improved to 21 percent. The oil consumption got another 17 000km
behind it and that on
the same spark plugs. It is now more a question of topping up the petrol
and filling up with oil.
How It Works?
Under conditions of standard ignition, electricity is led into the spark
plug via the terminal at the top, down
through a porcelain-encased conductorto the "gap". All things
being equal, it will jump this giving off a single
spark as it does before earthing in the cylinder head. This single spark
is themotivating source that initiates
and maintains the smooth running of your engine.
From this it is clear that the whole operation is centred around that
one little spark plug. If this critical spark
can be improved so will the whole performance of the engine. Simple it
may seem on the surface of it - just
increase the gap and the voltage and, with the fatter spark you will enjoymore
complete combustion with
correspondingly more power and economy.
To do this you will need a more elaborate, and consequently, a more expensive
coil. The result, in a very
short space of time, will be burnt and pitted points, a breakdown of the
plug insulation, overloading of the
condenser and electrical discharges around the distributor or through
Should there be an accumulation of moisture or even an oily film across
the business end of a plug, it can
lead to a partial discharge, thus short-circuiting the whole object of
a higher voltage system. These are
the reasons why there has been little or no change in ignition systems
over the past quarter of a century.
This then is where the high frequency converter comes into play. To illustrate
the working of the converter
let us assume the duration of a plug sparkis one second from start to
finish with standard ignition. With the
aid of the converter there will be half a dozen sparks over the same period.
The net result is almost complete combustion which consequently means
more power for the same
quantity of fuel burnt, which in turn is going to amount to improved petrol
consumption. All this is gained
by simply altering the frequency of your original spark. It is a case
of "if the first flash doesn't explode the
mixture the second one will". The rest of the sparks are used to
mop up any left-overs that sneaked past
the first two igniters.
"That's all very well" says the belt-and-braces type watching
a most convincing demonstration, "but what's
it going to do to my engine?"
Quite apart from the fact that the manufacturer guarantees the device
in no way harms an engine, what,
now we know how it works, can it do?
The coil feeds the converter the designed amount of electricity which
it merely converts to a high frequency
stream of current. There is no change of voltage or cylinder-head temperature.
Besides, with 20 years of
acceptance and use to back it up, you can rest assured it would have long
since vanished off the market if
it failed to do all that was claimed or actually harmed the engine in
The converter is simply screwed into the high-tension lead running from
the coil to the distributor just as
you would install a radio suppressor. It can be used on any six or 12-volt
car, truck, tractor or stationary
engine using a conventional ignition system. The fact that your tractor
uses power paraffin makes no
The only question remaining unanswered is why so simple and effective
a device has not yet become
standard equipment? No doubt with the petrol position as it is, such petrol-conserving
devices will really
be appreciated for their worth.
· Experiment and certification