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From: Jim Lusk
Remote Name: 184.108.40.206
Date: May 29, 2003
The reason the ballast resistor smokes (or gets hot) when the ignition is turned on and the engine is not running is that the primary side of the coil (12v side) has very little resistance to DC. If the points are open you won't have a problem, but if they are closed you have almost a direct short with the ballast taking the heat, literally. This doesn't happen when the engine is running because the points open and close.