Variable electronic ignition - best options
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Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:07 am quote
Looking for some opinions from those that have used a conversion on their large frame.
- Performance
- Reliability
- General insights

Like the variable timing options - but nothing to compare it to. Perhaps overblown on a 150cc stock motor that sees ~6K max?

SIP - vespatronic
BGM - non variable? anyone try one of these?
Pinasco - flytech
Others?

Interested to know what kinda experiences you've had - strong opinions welcome.

Tks!

- CM
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:48 pm quote
I've had two Pinasco Flytech & am now running two of the SIP Performance (Variable Timing) Ignitions that they OEM'ed from Vape.

The Pinasco's tended to suffer CDI issues after about a year or so, and the replacement unit could only be ordered as a spare part from one site in Italy, so the shipping cost the the US was more than the cost of the part.

The Pinasco also stops retarding once RPM's hit 8,000. That sounds like it wouldn't be an issue for you, but on my motors, I was seeing close to 10,000 RPM's max, even if I didn't norrmaly ever rev them that high.

I would not recommend the Pinasco, as it required extending the stator plate holes to get the timing correct and was always problematic.

I replaced the Pinasco with one of the first SIP ignitions when they came out. I wrote a detailed summary of that on here. It's still going strong on a motor that pushes the limits of a 150 case.

I also put one on my Sprint that I rebuilt over the winter. It's also a strong runner and I've been pleased with it, too.

In both cases, I did a full DC conversion, and had no issues in either case.

I know that BigD has had some issues with his SIP igntion, specifically the DC conversion, on his Stella, but from a straight variable timing perspective, I think he's happy with it.
Hooked
50 N
Joined: 20 Dec 2015
Posts: 267
Location: North Aberdeenshire
Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:55 pm quote
Pinasco, Polini, Malossi and the Vespatronics all use the same basic components with their own stator plates and fans so I wouldn't expect either of those to be better than the next.

I like the look of the SIP Vape systems for future use so am interested in hearing of any issue with these. I'd only really be looking at AC variable systems.
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:16 pm quote
The SIP/Vape can be mix n' matched for AC or DC and fixed or variable timing igntion by swapping either the Regulator/Rectifier or the CDI, so it's got that going for it.

It is really designed for higher-revving motors like dirt bikes, to the variable timing continues to retard to at least something like 15,000 RPM's.

I can't comment on the AC unit, but on the DC unit, I've had good power output, even with some pretty beefy lighting, and the battery stays charged. I assume the power quality on the AC models would be at least as good.
Molto Verboso
Joined: 03 Nov 2011
Posts: 1173
Location: Racing Capital of the World
Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:47 pm quote
Juan Kerr wrote:
Pinasco, Polini, Malossi and the Vespatronics all use the same basic components with their own stator plates and fans so I wouldn't expect either of those to be better than the next.

I like the look of the SIP Vape systems for future use so am interested in hearing of any issue with these. I'd only really be looking at AC variable systems.
Thank you JK and you are 100% correct. Pinasco, Polini, Malossi, Vespateonic, and Evergreen all use the same components. CDI, Stator, and hub are the same.

I think each have some different bells and whistles. While I have a handful of Pinascoís and one Vespatronic on my personal bikes, no failures and itís been years. Customer bikes are still going strong.

I have no inputs on the Vape systems SIP sales.
Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3886
Location: Oceanside, CA
Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:40 pm quote
I only have experience with the Flytech. I had a mostly negative experience. Instructions are shit and indecipherable. I was missing some spade connectors, stator plate slots were not machined correctly so I made it right with a dremel and the special Pinasco flywheel holding tool is $40. I improvised by figuring it out, soldered my own connectors in, dremeling and finally jamming some rope in the cylinder until the correct tool came.

And now the positive System works and is still working (2 years)
Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:44 pm quote
Thanks.
Good stuff/ enlightening.

So mostly same electronics - different flywheels and colors.
Perhaps some quality of instructions and holding tool - or lack there of.

Curious on views:
- what's the value of the AC v DC
- some cheaper non variable options exist. How important/ aluable an upgrade is the variable in ur guy's view?
Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3886
Location: Oceanside, CA
Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:11 pm quote
Stronger AC outputs with a better regulator/rectifier is a nice benefit of the variable ignition setups. Less wires to do the same task.

DC is nice for LEDs. Never tried it but read up on some of Chandlers posts about DC conversion.

If youíre not sold on the full variable systems, you can always get a Kytronics smart booster. It has preset ignition curves so you get the variable system for cheaper.

If you donít want to deal with any of this, just buy a lightened flywheel. Acceleration is improved and you donít have to worry about upjetting or holing your piston.
Ossessionato
Joined: 26 Oct 2015
Posts: 2923

Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:47 pm quote
I currently have a few different scooters with variable ignitions...
-HHP CDI box on a Pinasco PX215.
-A 172 T5 with Vespatronic.
-Lammy BGM MRB RT225 with a Varitronic (exact same as a Vespatronic, except it fits the "other" Italian shopping bike).
-A second Varitronic that's still on the shelf waiting to go into the other Lammy.
-SIP VAPE on a stock P200.

-I don't have much time with the HHP box, so I can't say much about it.
-I love the Vespatronic on my T5!
-I love the Varitronic on my Lammy (so I bought a second one)!
-The variable SIP Vape really isn't needed on my stock 200. I bought it because I wanted a full wave DC conversion, and I figured that I might as well buy the version that had a variable timing. If I had to do it over again, I might try the static version instead.
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:11 am quote
Since it came up, I also have a Kytronik that I've run with a P200 ignition on and off. I've found it to be the worst kind of unreliable in that sometimes it would work flawlessly, other times, I'd have no spark at all, usually when I was in a hurry and needed that one kick start.

And, as MJ noted, I picked the DC because I was doing the full LED conversion and the electrical is really pretty straightforward. I run batteries on both of my DC bikes, and they stay charged better than the AC with a regulator/rectifier ever did. That may be a function of the lower LED draw than the DC conversion, but one of those LED's is 60w on lo beam and 90 on Hi Beams, so I'm not really saving that much, load-wise.

I can't speak to the Vespatronic, but have considered picking up one of the variable Ducati-compatible CDI's to try out with the P200 ignition if I ever get around to it.
bodgemaster
63 GL, 76 Super (x 2), 74 Primavera (x 2), 06 Fly 150
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 5653
Location: So Cal
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:02 am quote
Charlie, unless you absolutely canít live without variable timing and/or have a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, there isnít a real reason to go electronic. Electronic ignitions arenít inherently better or more reliable than points. They just make a spark in a different way. On an engine like yours, you wonít notice any performance difference. Iíve got two scoots with electronic ignition and three with points, and honestly, the points bikes have had fewer ignition issues.

That said, I am a fan of the KyTronic. I have one on my kitted smallie. On a revvy bike, variable advance smooths out the low end and lets you push the top end a bit.
Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:54 am quote
Quote:
Charlie, unless you absolutely canít live without variable timing and/or have a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, there isnít a real reason to go electronic.
SCG - that was largely what I was looking for. Thanks for weighing in.

Reason's i'm pondering conversion:
- reliability/power through full range
- output for lights/speedo/tach.

In the long run - the motor - at least as set up now - will not be my power plant. But I have a full summer - maybe more - of driving and want to optimize above - if real value in ignition upgrade is there.

Ironically - had just read Chandlerman's ~2012 post on misfiring (turned out to be frayed coil wire) then he was first to post his experiences here with elec. ignition - thanks Chandlerman!

Am trying to get mind fully around - battery no battery, AC v DC, electronic v points, variable v non variable. pros/cons.

It's part tuning, part reliability, part power output (about to mount a horn that will alert lexus driving AARP members reversing toward me in parking lots. May just create separate circuit for my needs.) SIP speedo receiving such varied electronic input looks to be struggling. Shuts off on idle - sometimes - doubles or halve's speed sometimes - randomly. Doesn't start after revs sometimes. kinda a pain...
bodgemaster
63 GL, 76 Super (x 2), 74 Primavera (x 2), 06 Fly 150
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 5653
Location: So Cal
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:50 am quote
Youíre on the right track in your thinking.

You need to separate out your lighting and electrical wants/needs from your ignition wants/needs.

IMO, depending on what you have now, the biggest benefit youíll realize from an electronic upgrade is brighter lights and more wattage for powering accessories. The current crop of electronic ignitions all come with more (and more powerful) lighting coils than what came from the factory 40 years ago. On the other hand, there are replacement coils and stators available for points bikes that will also generate substantially more output than the originals. So thatís another option.

As for AC vs DC, there are pros and cons to each and itís largely a matter of preference. AC is a good, simple source for lighting, but not so great for powering other electricals. I think youíll find DC is a better current source for peripherals like cameras, horns, chargers, etc.
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:23 pm quote
What SoCal said

For some reason, I seem to talk about the electrical systems on these beasts more than most. I don't think I know more, I just talk more. And I also buy stuff just to check it out more than most, I suspect.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 Super, 75 Super, PX project, LML off-roader and new to 2018, '66 Blue Badge Smallframe
Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 8058
Location: Victoria, Australia
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:48 pm quote
I had points on plenty of cars and if I never see a set of points again, it'll be too soon... I just don't even want to have to think about it!

So far, the Vape system is great. You can buy every part individually. You can swap from variable to static with a CDI swap. You can swap from AC to DC with a regulator swap. The flywheel isn't plastic. It's 80% of the price of the other IDM based electronic ignition systems.
Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:16 pm quote
Quote:
I just talk more. And I also buy stuff just to check it out more than most, I suspect.
taking one for the team - thanks for the input.
Quote:
I had points on plenty of cars and if I never see a set of points again, it'll be too soon
Felt same way with cars.

Looks like SIP is out of stock of VAPE kit until end of summer - wonder if they have the components separately. Will have to look.

Thanks all for varied opinions and input.

SoCalGuy - question - you mentioned upgrading traditional coil/points/condenser. Am unfamiliar with options. What have you used with success?
bodgemaster
63 GL, 76 Super (x 2), 74 Primavera (x 2), 06 Fly 150
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 5653
Location: So Cal
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:54 pm quote
Iíve used this 12v AC points stator flywheel from Scooterwest:

https://www.scooterwest.com/6-or-12-volt-flywheel-and-stator-w-points-single-wire-ac-fly12v.html

and this 12v DC battery stator from SIP:

https://www.sip-scootershop.com/en/products/stator+plate+sip+for+vespa+_97687000

Neither is anything fancy but theyíll get the ignition job done & provide plenty of lighting and honking power for your current set up.
Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:42 pm quote
Thanks all.

My takeaways:
- Non performance engine (stock 150) has limited benefit from variable timing.
- SIP engineer warns I could also mangle my piston if not careful with variable.
- Elec. ignition would give me significantly more watts of output - perhaps a bit more smoothness - but reliability and total failure is a new risk added. CDI's can be a bit suspect.
- Separation of lights/horn/ from running power might be a good thing - less important if I go CDI due to higher output.

Pondering two options:
- Since I have a sidecar hanging off the side, what if I mounted a battery there for lights and horn - that was easily swap/easy charge. $100.00 gets me two of above spec batteries - could keep one charged and one in the bike.
- 20 AH battery, 12V, 72W could power horn and lights. 35W headlamp and a few honks per day = about 8 hours run time. half that if I power tail light too.


Would give me:
- LED lighting = bright DC lights
- Horn
- Less demand on existing elec. system to power lights

Conversely:
- I could mount a vape system https://www.sip-scootershop.com/en/products/zundung+sip+performance+by_510061ra
- assume it would drive that horn at 110w claimed output.
- Not sure what my LED lighting options for AC would be?

Questions:
- Do I have to go DC with Vape to use LEDs?
- If I go swappable battery route instead - what's the favored/simplest plug and play LED's for my tail and head lights?
- Opinions?
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:59 pm quote
I agree that you have very limited benefit from variable timing on an otherwise stock bike. Maybe a little bit easier kick starting, but that's about it.

I don't like the swappable battery idea at all, though. it's like begging for failure. Even if you go AC, you can get a regulator/rectifier that has both AC and DC outputs, but unless you're going to keep an incandescent headlight, I don't see point.

If you want to run LED's, then just go for the DC regulator and get on with your life . You probably already have a balanced AC system, so it's a simple matter to bond the circuits together, swap the brake light switch, and you're golden.
Ossessionato
62 VBB1T Round Tail W/ leaner sidecar
Joined: 26 Jan 2019
Posts: 2036
Location: california
Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:40 am quote
Quote:
I don't like the swappable battery idea at all
Chandlerman - why don't you get off the fence and tell us what you really think?

:-)

Kidding aside - thanks for the viewpoint.

Lack of electrical wattage output is a short term issue for me.
However - it's not insignificant - as the side car draws additional power for lights.
This leaves system overtaxed currently.
Also air horn addition is a must have in this town.
Want to drive for a summer - but need to address.

I like the SIP Vape solution - but turns out it's out of stock until July.
Have rechargeable batteries unused in the garage...
Looks like I will likely go the swappable battery route for short term.

Leaves me with DC to drive sidecar lights & horn/ unload scoot system.
If battery dies - it will be just the side car that suffers.
Seems fairly low risk - and eventual conversion to full DC will require little change.

Opinions/experience with simple plug and play LED bulb solution for headlamp and or tailamps to give me some brightness but knock down watt draw?
Member
1964 VBB
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 27
Location: South Orange, NJ
Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:14 pm quote
Electronic ignition for '64 VBB
Hey all, I've started restoring a '64 VBB and have been told that an electronic ignition would be more reliable overall. I am unsure about what kit to use. I've been waiting for a restock of the kit below:
https://www.scooterworks.com/Tutti-Ricambi-Electronic-Ignition-Kit-LG-Frame-Vespa-2-Port-P14174.aspx?ItemId=14696

I am trying to keep as much of the vintage look as possible thus the coil example in the Tutti kit.

I've heard that the Vape kit needs modifications to the frame in order to mount the regulator. I'd love overall points of view. I feel like I am stuck in 'Analysis Paralysis'.
Thanks
Stoller
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:10 pm quote
I can't speak to having experience with that specific kit, but you're signing up for completely re-wiring the bike, plus you're going to need to install the regulator somewhere, so it's going to have the exact same amount of modification as the VAPE, it just has the bakelite styled CDI.

Points can be just as reliable as electronic ignition if you're not building a high-revving speed machine, which you're not with a stock-ish 2-port motor.

You'd be better off to buy a new points and condenser for $10, then learn how to set it up, which really isn't that hard. It'll give you the same reliability, plus you'll keep your original look & feel, even thought that includes things like dim headlights and the infamous "balanced AC" electrical.

Lastly, given that the motor and CDI live under the cowl, what's the big deal if they do or don't look period correct to anyone but another afficianado who's going to see the CDI for what it is anyway?
Member
1964 VBB
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 27
Location: South Orange, NJ
Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:31 pm quote
That makes perfect sense about the Bakelite coil. I havenít gotten a wiring harness yet so it would be a set up from scratch. Iíd enjoy brighter light and have done research and understand that set up isnít complicated. The original stator is shit, so if I stay with points Iíd replace the entire stator for like $100.

5E63CECC-C690-4F77-8358-A83DF8B3C52C.jpeg

Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:39 pm quote
If you're installing from scratch, then yeah, go with the 12V, but don't worry about getting a gimmicky ignition. Go with something well-known and stable like the VAPE or a small-cone flywheel and Ducati ignition. Install a 12V VBB harness. You can install the regulator inside the frame to keep it out of sight, and really get the best of both worlds.
Member
1964 VBB
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 27
Location: South Orange, NJ
Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:40 pm quote
Electronic ignition for '64 VBB
Thanks Chandlerman.

Makes perfect sense. Just to be certain, which kit am i looking at?

http://www.scootermercato.com/Scooter-Parts/Electronic-Ignition-Kits
Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3886
Location: Oceanside, CA
Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:41 pm quote
chandlerman wrote:
You can install the regulator inside the frame to keep it out of sight, and really get the best of both worlds.
Yep! The regulator we mounted with shoe goo discreetly (Thanks for the idea Qascooter).

I recently installed a Vape setup on a 63 VBB. Owner is absolutely over the moon with the stronger spark and ease of starting. Wondering why he didnít ditch the points sooner.
Member
1964 VBB
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 27
Location: South Orange, NJ
Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:59 pm quote
Electronic ignition for '64 VBB
Good to hear MJ. I'm looking between Scooter Mercato and Scooterspeed.

Would this be the wiring loom I'd need?
http://scooter-speed.com/vespa-wiring-loom-ac-electronic-bgm-pro-a4-9077011/
Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3886
Location: Oceanside, CA
Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:27 pm quote
Stollerscoot wrote:
Good to hear MJ. I'm looking between Scooter Mercato and Scooterspeed.

Would this be the wiring loom I'd need?
http://scooter-speed.com/vespa-wiring-loom-ac-electronic-bgm-pro-a4-9077011/
(Hey man please start a new thread so we can focus specifically on your setup)

I like both shops. Both owners are good guys.

That harness looks like it will work. You will also need the required rear brake switch, handlebar switch (pictured in that BGM harness, the CDI bracket and all bracket mounting hardware. (Down at the bottom of the list on the Mercato hardware).

With any harness youíll need some wiring/electrical knowledge.Are you comfortable soldering and reading a diagram?
Ossessionato
2015 GTS300, 1974 Primavera, 04 Ninja 250
Joined: 04 Apr 2013
Posts: 4589
Location: San Diego, CA
Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:56 am quote
I'll play devil's advocate - you can get that stator rewired by Scooterwest or Scooter Mercato and keep your bike as is for less money than you'll spend upgrading to electronic ignition. Those guys can get your old stator back to new condition and you'll have less work to do on the rest of the bike.
Member
1964 VBB
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 27
Location: South Orange, NJ
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:00 am quote
Look for the other thread
Hi SD John,
Thanks for the advice. Chandlerman and I (and others) have been discussing on my other thread:
Upgrading VBB ignition???
under the Not-So-Modern forum
Hooked
1958 Allstate Super Cruisaire 2005 70cc Yamaha Vino
Joined: 23 Aug 2020
Posts: 220
Location: Philadelphia
Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:26 pm quote
chandlerman wrote:
If you want to run LED's, then just go for the DC regulator and get on with your life . You probably already have a balanced AC system, so it's a simple matter to bond the circuits together, swap the brake light switch, and you're golden.
Question about this. I have the VAPE does this mean in order to run LED's and or the SIP speedo all I'd need is a DC regulator and nothing else? Or am I reading that wrong? I'd like to run LED's but have been wondering what I'd need to do that. If it's just as simple as a DC regulator then that is super good news.
Ossessionato
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella
Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3058
Location: Nashville
Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:41 pm quote
FridayMatinee wrote:
chandlerman wrote:
If you want to run LED's, then just go for the DC regulator and get on with your life . You probably already have a balanced AC system, so it's a simple matter to bond the circuits together, swap the brake light switch, and you're golden.
Question about this. I have the VAPE does this mean in order to run LED's and or the SIP speedo all I'd need is a DC regulator and nothing else? Or am I reading that wrong? I'd like to run LED's but have been wondering what I'd need to do that. If it's just as simple as a DC regulator then that is super good news.
It's not *quite* that simple, but it's close, with some variation based on your wiring harness and little things like whether or not there's a kill switch built into the fork lock (like a Stella). If you have the DC version of the VAPE (they make four variants for each crank cone: AC or DC and Fixed ("road") or Variable ("sport") timing.

If you have the DC version, you just need to make sure that you don't have any bonding of circuits or a common ground between the AC side (output from the stator to the Regulator/Rectifier) and DC Side (output from the regulator), and then you can bond all your various circuits at the regulator. The VAPE will put out plenty of juice to keep everything powered up, even if you run an absurdly power-hungry headlight like me on my Stella (80W on hi beam, but it's BRIGHT).
Addicted
PX 150
Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 530
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:12 am quote
Is the standard ignition AC. If so wouldnít one just go with an AC aftermarket variable or is there more involved?
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