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Converting from old to new – The Vespa ignition part 2

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After the first part on the ignition systems of Vespas “Lightning without Thunder – The Vespa Ignition system dealt with basic topics such as how they work and how to check or replace them, the following part will deal with the conversion from 6-volt ignitions to 12-volt ignitions. More precisely or technically correct, it is about a contactless ignition system that regulates the on-board voltage to 12 volts.

Many advantages without disadvantages

While in many areas of Vespas it is always a matter of weighing up whether to carry out a conversion or tuning measure, this decision is relatively simple with ignition systems. The only significant disadvantage is the comparatively higher price for ignition systems with 12-volt on-board voltage. As a conversion is often carried out due to a defective, factory-fitted 6-volt system, the only advantages are always the benefits.

The first noticeable difference is the considerably improved starting ability. The flywheel, in particular, is a major advantage. The fact that it is made from a single piece virtually eliminates imbalance and rough running. This reduces engine vibrations and minimizes wear on the crankshaft bearings. In addition, the lighter pole wheel can rotate faster around the crankshaft, which means the Vespa starts better. The resulting stronger ignition makes combustion of the air-fuel mixture easier, which makes the Vespa more durable.

Another well-known problem with old Vespas, albeit one that is easy to fix, is that the brightness of the light varies depending on how fast you are riding. With 12-volt ignitions, Vespa riders no longer have to worry about this either!

Regardless of whether the engine is cold, lukewarm or warm, the ignition works perfectly in all conditions and enables consistently bright illumination of the road and improved visibility in traffic.

Direct or alternating current? Both are possible!

The SIP-VAPE ignition is available in DC and AC versions, which makes it much easier to adapt to the different model series.

While older models are still equipped without batteries, from the PX series onwards a battery is sometimes fitted at the factory. However, as the majority of Vespas were delivered without a battery, the most common variant is the AC version for all models without a battery. Here, the alternating current generated by the alternator is merely limited and stabilized by a voltage regulator.

All mechanics who want to carry out an even bigger update should use the direct current (DC) version. This allows special components such as a digital speedometer and other digital consumers to be connected. This also results in a high charging current for the battery. When using the direct current variant, the current from the alternator is used entirely to charge the battery. From there, the vehicle electrical system is then supplied with stable, powerful voltage. Regardless of whether the engine is running or not.

However, a little caution is required when installing the DC variant in all PX models with combined ignition and steering lock. Basically, this applies to all models from the PX Lusso series onwards. These models with battery have DC and AC circuits installed in the on-board electrical system as standard.

High beam and low beam are supplied with alternating current, which is switched via an output on the ignition lock. On models equipped as standard with an ignition base plate with 5 cables, the original Piaggio regulator can still be retained. It is somewhat more complicated with models that are equipped with a standard ignition base plate with 7 cables. In this case, the on-board power supply and the regulator must be converted to the standard 5-wire version.


If you have any questions, the experts at SIP Scootershop in Landsberg am Lech are available by phone to provide the best possible advice for all conversions. As the ignition is available for all models, we recommend taking a look at the product page for more information and tips.

All in all, the SIP VAPE ignition series is probably the most reliable and highest quality available on the market today. Well-known problems are thus prevented and the otherwise susceptible pole wheel is practically eliminated as a source of error. The ignition spark is always reliably generated and there is always sufficient power available for the light. So nothing stands in the way of the next ride and the tiresome, unsuccessful attempts to start the engine in front of the next ice cream parlor are a thing of the past.

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