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The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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PackardV8
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The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by PackardV8 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:30 pm

There's a puff piece in this month's HRM about the "all-new" Hyperspark distributor which caused me to wander. It's just shaft with a trigger on top, without any centrifugal or vacuum advance with the Sniper EFI controller to vary the spark timing. Paying more, getting less.

Randomly, I had a conversation at PRI with one of the designers early on. I asked him, "Why use a distributor? The crank-trigger-coil-on-plug has been better and cheaper for thirty years now." His answer, "Hot rodding is not about what works best as much as it is about what is a drop in and what looks right. Why else do most pay extra to put a carburetor and distributor on their LS? The OEM unit vastly outperforms the aftermarket retrograde; out in the open, it just looks messy."

If you were building from scratch and wanted to use EFI-crank-trigger-coil-on-plug, who would you go to today? Back in the bad old days, I spent a lot of time and money on Electromotive. In fact, I've still got one or two on the shelf, but their software support never kept up.

For some, the Megasquirt has been the answer, but turnkey systems are few.

Actually, today's single 4-bbl intakes with the throttle body EFI probably don't give up that much top end to port injection, but it still sort of bothers me to spend all that money to get less than the best.

Your opinions and results may vary, but what are they?
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by midnightbluS10 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:53 pm

EFI Connection has been on top of this stuff the last few years, AFAIK. That's who I'd go to for anything GM, at least.

https://www.eficonnection.com/home/cate ... ignal-kits
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by BOOT » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:31 pm

What sells and what make best power is two diff things. Just the other day I was trying to explain to someone that part of the reason an ignition box is better is because it's off the engine so should be cooler(heat effects resistance) and they have a dedicated power and ground, among other features of course. My point was if he wanted to improve his oem parts performance it was possible.
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by hondo383 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:03 pm

A drop in distributor that has a crank position and drives the oil pump is easier to understand for alot hobbyists and that gets people to buy efi units. More than accurate for most crate engine type setups

I have had good luck with the holley hp and dominator. I always try to sell entry level people their terminator Tbi setup as it has the hp ecu which can be used for multi port setups, crank trigger sequential etc etc in the future

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by JCR » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:13 pm

SDS has an ignition only system. http://www.sdsefi.com/cpiauto.htm

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by andyf » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:42 pm

Not sure why you would call it a puff piece, it is just a story about how the Hyperspark distributor worked on a real engine. The Hyperspark distributor replaced a MSD pro billet distributor so the Hyperspark is actually cheaper. ($250 vs. $330) The MSD distributor is analog so the curve has to be set with springs and weights, and the MSD doesn't have vacuum advance. Also, the MSD ignition curve is fairly limited. You just have bushings and springs so there are mechanical limits to the shape of the curve that you can build. The Hyperspark distributor is digital and plugs into the Sniper so you get full timing control. The Hyperspark uses a timing map so you can build any shape of ignition curve that you need.

If you spend time with one of these systems you'll quickly understand that the Hyperspark setup is less money and more features. The combination of Sniper + Hyperspark gives you fuel injection, data logging, and ignition control. Inside that ignition control is stuff like start retard, high speed retard, vacuum advance, etc. The fuel injection gives you stuff like fast idle, automatic choke, high speed fuel lean out, cruise speed lean out, feedback loop monitored air/fuel ratio, etc. You also get thermostat control of fans and water pump, idle speed control including AC compensation, etc.

All of that comes for basically the same price as a good carb, distributor and MSD box. So after living with the Sniper + Hyperspark combo for roughly a year now I'd say that I can't think of a reason to use a carb and a billet type distributor on anything I drive anymore. I've sold all of my carbs and analog distributors. All of my hot rod projects have switched to EFI and computer controlled ignitions.
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by midnightbluS10 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:12 pm

Would this be similar/the same as the Vortec V6/V8 distributors that use a hall effect sensor in those? That's all there is in those distributors, correct? Been a couple of years since I've had one off, but afaik there's the black piece with the 'windows' in it and the sensor that it passes through to produce a signal.

Not that I'm trying to say it would work with the Holley system... I was just asking how similar the 2 parts are in the most basic form. Thanks.
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by NewbVetteGuy » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:03 am

midnightbluS10 wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:12 pm
Would this be similar/the same as the Vortec V6/V8 distributors that use a hall effect sensor in those? That's all there is in those distributors, correct? Been a couple of years since I've had one off, but afaik there's the black piece with the 'windows' in it and the sensor that it passes through to produce a signal.

Not that I'm trying to say it would work with the Holley system... I was just asking how similar the 2 parts are in the most basic form. Thanks.
The Vortec cam sync sensors only do cam sync duty (1x sync signal); the Hyperspark includes both cam sync and crank sync sensors (2x sync signal). [edit] I got confused with the hyperspark distributors and the older holley 2x distributors. The hyperspark appears to be a 1x signal, just like the old vortec distributors/ cam sync sensors.

A few of us are using Vortec cam sync sensors and separate crank sensors with Holley hp efi systems.


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Last edited by NewbVetteGuy on Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by NewbVetteGuy » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:48 am

With the Hypersparks now $250 it's really a pretty compelling price point for just computer-controlled ignition.

For Sequential multi-port injection, it's a tougher choice, IMHO.
The Holley Dual Sync distributors are $350.

A Vortec cam sync sensor is $135 https://www.eficonnection.com/home/prod ... bc-engines
Holley crank trigger wheel kit (58x wheel for LS-like accuracy): $200 If you're planning this for a new engine build you can order ATI balancers with the 58x wheel built right in and you won't have to space out any accessories, either...
Then the crank trigger hall effect sensor: $120
==$455 total. So for $105 more you can have far more accuracy on the crank position signal, anyway.

The Dual Sync distributors can drive your spark directly, though and with the Vortec cam sync sensor you've probably got the cost of LS coils (got LS3 gen truck coils for $125 on ebay) and the CoP/CnP harness (another $108).

I think if you're going to do sequential port injection and you plan on using CoP coils the crank trigger + vortec cam sync sensor makes sense. If you're looking to do sequential port injection without CoP coils the dual sync distributor is the best value. Throttle body injection only and the Hyperspark is just a super bargain, IMHO.



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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by cardo0 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:48 am

Most aftermarket EFI is designed to replace carbureted motors that don't have a ECM/PCM initially. If your car has computer controlled ignition and fueling you still need it to use all the rest of the cars controls, monitors and transmission. The aftermarket systems only get you halfway to controlling the rest of the car.
I like the EFI Connection purpose built systems for different GM ECM's/PCM's but your commetted to rewiring the entire computer - not an easy task for most of us and takes a huge amount of time that most would rather spend on wrenching on the mechanicals.

Please show me a plug and play to swap a BBC with EFI into my 4th gen camaro? Many EFI companies will take your money but leave you to do their research and development.

Shoot, by the time someone develops real plug and play EFI with user friendly tuning a novice can use we will all have self-driving electric cars. :)

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by Newold1 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:24 pm

What engine is this EFI-ECM system going on?
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by bobmc » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:24 pm

Chevy has a front cover with crank and cam position sensors that is used on the L31 crate engine. It's SBC only of course but a lot less expensive than aftermarket stuff. Are Megasquirt or other aftermarket ECU's compatible?

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by andyf » Fri May 10, 2019 6:44 pm

I helped tune a Mopar 508 inch big block today on the dyno. This is a big street engine with 10:1 compression, Trick Flow heads and a solid roller cam. It made 710 hp and 640 torque peak numbers. The engine has a Sniper 650 (rated to 650 hp) and the HyperSpark ignition system including coil, distributor and box. Engine started the first time and ran great. The Sniper and HyperSpark stuff was simple to install and worked great right out of the box. Full computer control for fuel and ignition maps as well as built in data logging. Seems like a killer deal to me.
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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by Schurkey » Sat May 11, 2019 12:27 am

bobmc wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:24 pm
Chevy has a front cover with a crank position sensor that is used on the L31 crate engine. It's SBC only of course but a lot less expensive than aftermarket stuff.
FIFY.

The cam position sensor is in the distributor.

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Re: The Holley Hyperspark distributor and reasons why

Post by Flo » Mon May 13, 2019 1:45 pm

I used the Megajolt in the past:
https://www.autosportlabs.com/product/m ... _ignition/

for stand-alone ignition it was a really nice deal!

I liked the idea, that it is based on OEM Ford parts from the 90s and has a "limp home mode".

In their forums are my CAD drawings for brackets to fit it to Mopar small block:
https://forum.autosportlabs.com/viewtop ... highlight=

one of the major advantages is fading though:
what were common FORD parts are becoming pretty rare due to time passing on. the 90s are almost 20 years ago....

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