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MSD - The new Programmable Digital-7 Ignition Control:

The best ignition just got BETTER

This article will deal with the installation of MSD's all-new Programmable Digital-7 Ignition Control in my '67 Dodge Dart that runs on a 10.90 index in IHRA and NHRA as well as bracket races around the Midwest. How a simple bracket car ended up with an ignition system thought to be reserved for Professional classes like Pro Stock or Pro Mod is why MSD is the leader in ignition system innovations.

A call to MSD's main man, Joe Pando, to get some answers about the RPM controls on my old reliable MSD 7AL ended up with me receiving the new Programmable Digital-7 Plus Ignition Control via the UPS truck. We discussed what Super Class and Bracket racers needed from an ignition and what features they would benefit from. When I started naming off the accessories I had plugged into my 7-AL Joe said the Digital-7 would solve my problems.

Before. The MSD-7 with all necessary boxes, MSD 7AL timing computer, 2 RPM switched two-step adjustments, rpm controllers, and noise filter - all neatly held in place with racer tape.

This is the list of what I had plugged into my MSD 7AL:

  1. Timing Control to allow for 20 degrees retard on Start.
  2. Two-Step for start line RPM and Over Rev RPM control.
  3. Adjustable RPM control to plug into Low Side of Two-Step.
  4. RPM Activated Switch for C0-2 shifter control.
  5. Adjustable RPM control switch to control shift RPM.
  6. RPM Activated Switch for Shift Light.
  7. Adjustable RPM control to adjust shift light RPM.
  8. MSD Noise Filter on 12 volt and ground wire.

After I named all the accessories I had installed on my car, Joe probably had to pick himself up off the floor. What in the world is a bracket car doing with all that stuff plugged in? He asked if I knew about the Digital-7 features and my reply was a simple "No". Joe proceeded to tell me I could eliminate all the accessory boxes and the potential problems with that many wires and plug-in connections by switching to the programmable Digital-7 Plus Ignition Control.

He set me up with a complete Programmable Digital-7 Plus and the correct coil. It took me over two hours just to get my old stuff out of the car and mark the wires. When I opened the box of the MSD Programmable Digital-7 Plus I was a little intimidated at first when I noticed the computer discs attached. I got over that when I saw the rest of the contents. The control box is only slightly larger than the 7-AL with a bundle of color-coded wires out of one end. There is also a 9-pin computer cable plug-in to access the microprocessor and set up the ignition "program" that is right for your car. All necessary mounting hardware is included as are several adapter wires and connectors.

The Installation and Instruction Manual impressed me. It was easy to read and understand and broke down the function of every wire that came out of the Digital-7 Plus. I broke an old habit of mine of never reading instructions by sitting down for about 10 minutes and diving into the Digital-7 instruction manual. After that I was ready to start the installation.

After. Talk about a "cleaner" installation. Everything is inside the Digital 7. All necessary wires are included and instructions are easy to use and understand.

Mounting it was easy as it took only four holes in my mounting panel. I made sure the 12-volt supply wires and ground cables were the correct size and grounded correctly. I have learned several things over 25 years of racing but one of the most important lessons I learned in recent years was "how to correctly ground the electrical system of a race car." I never use the frame or the body panels as a ground source. I always run a ground cable from the battery to a convenient spot in the race car. Then run a ground wire to the engine block and frame. Run all ground wires to this cable or its attaching points and you will eliminate problems caused by erratic grounds and a lot of RF noise that can cause problems in race car electronics. The Digital-7 also has a LED indicator light that will warn you if the battery voltage is low or if the ICM (Individual Cylinder Management) is not functioning correctly.


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