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Teaching Pts Remarks
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1. Intro. Every veh needs a starting sys. How good a
veh looks, how fast it runs, how much fuel eco it provides, all
this is imp. But the most imp thing is how easy a veh gets
started. For starting up of a veh some sys is req and that req
sys in automobiles is provided in the form of Ign sys.
The ignition sys supplies high-voltage current to spark
plugs to ignite air fuel mix in the combustion chambers. There
are many variations, but all gasoline-engine ignition sys draw
electric current from the bty, significantly increase the
currents voltage, and then deliver it to spark plugs.

2. Aim. To teach student about Ignition Sys with

emphasis on the latest dev in the tech.
Teaching Pts Remarks
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3. Seq. Fol will be the seq of study : -

a. Stage I
(1) Definition
(2) Purposes of ignition sys
(3) Types of ignition sys
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(4) Related terms
(5) Related principles
b. Stage II
(1) Components of ignition sys
(2) Ignition adv
(3) Types of ignition adv
c. Stage III
(1) Latest trends in ignition sys
d. Stage IV
(1) Defects
(2) Care and maint
e. Concl

4. Ignition Sys
It is the mech that ignites the fuel in an internal
-combustion engine
5. Purposes
a. To convert LT current into HT current.
b. To ignite the compressed air fuel mixture in the
cyl at proper time.
6. Types of Ignition Sys
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a. Self or Compression Ignition sys
b. Spark Ignition sys
(1) Magneto Ignition sys
(2) Bty and Coil ignition sys
(3) Transistorized Ignition sys
(4) Electronic Ignition sys
7. Related Terms
a. Ampere. This is the rate of electron
flow or current flow. One ampere is approx what
a hundred watt lt bulb will draw in a sec. There
are more than
6 billion electrons passing through a pt in a sec
in one ampere.
b. Voltage. The nature of electrons is that they
travel from a high conc area to a low conc area.
The potential difference b/w the two concs is
known as voltage. Higher the voltage, more is
the electron imbalance and more is the push on
the electrons.
c. LT. This is a low tension current. In this type
of current there is less of voltage in the cct and
more of amperage. In other words the pressure
is less in the cct and hence this type of current
has very little capacity of jumping air gaps.
d. HT. This stands for high tension current. This
type of current has more voltage and less of
amperage in the cct. In other words the
pushing force is very strong. HT cct has the
capacity of jumping air gaps.
e. Self Induction. Whenever an electric
current is passed through a conductor wire, a
magnetic fd is formed around it. Now the
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moment this current is sw off, this magnetic fd
collapses back into the wire, or in other words it
is absorbed into the wire. The result is that an
electric current is produced in the same wire for
a short time. This whole process is known as
Self Induction.
f. Mutual Induction. If a wire conductor is
placed in the magnetic fd of another wire and
current is sw on and off in this wire, this eff will
produce current in the wire placed in or near
the magnetic fd of the first wire. This process is
called Mutual Induction.
8. Related Principles
Principles of Electromagnetic Induction
a. When a conductor moves in a magnetic fd
or a magnetic fd moves around it, current
is induced.
b. Without mov of any member, no current is
c. A change in the dir of motion of conductor or
magnetic fd changes the dir of flow of current.
d. No current is induced if motion of conductor is
parallel to the lines of force.
e. A change in the polarity of magnetic fd changes
the dir of current.

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9. Components of Ignition Sys. Fol are the essential
components of an ignition sys:-
a. Bty. Btys are the source of sup of LT current
for the sys.

It is loc b/w

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the ignition sw and bty and shows the condition
of the bty.

c. Ignition Sw. This sw cons the sys and enables

the dvr to turn the sys on to run the engine, and
to turn it off to stop the engine. Most of the
modern vehs have ignition sw having four
(1) Off. In this posn complete elec eqpt is
sw off. Head lts and cabin lts are usually
not wired through ignition sw .
(2) Accessories. This posn turns on the
power of entire electrical sys except
(3) On. This posn turns on the entire
electrical sys incl the ignition sys.
(4) Start. This is a spring loaded posn which
energizes the starter solenoid to crank
the engine.

Ignition Resistance. It is usually in series

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with primary windings to regulate the primary
current. Sometimes the resistor is bypassed
(shortened) by the starter sw so that full bty
voltage goes across the primary windings
(higher current while starting the engine). The
resistor is temp compensated so that extreme
low temp will not lower its resistance and so
allow excessive primary current.

Teaching Pts Remarks
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e. Ignition Coil. The ignition coil is a pulse
transformer designed to step up primary
voltage of 12 V to 20,000 V. It is composed of
primary windings, sec windings and core of soft
iron. The primary windings are made up of

approx 200 turns of relatively hy wire (approx

no 18 gauge).The sec windings have as many
as 22,000 turns of fine copper wire (approx no
38 gauge).The usual const is to have the sec
windings wound around the soft iron core and
primary windings surround the sec. This coil
assy is placed in a steel case with a cap of
molded insulating materials that carries the
f. Ignition Distr. The ignition distr has
several jobs to do in the ignition sys:-
(1). It opens and closes the primary cct to
produce the magnetic built up and
collapse in the ignition coil.
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(2). The resultant high voltage surges are
produced at the rt time of ignition.
(3). It dir the high voltage surges to the spark

g. Ignition Condenser. Ignition condenser

performs fol functions :-
(1) It prevents an arc at the distr CPs when the
pts first open.
(2) The condenser provides places where
current can flow until the CPs are fully

Most condensers are const of two sheets of

very thin lead or aluminum foils separated
by the insulation and to eliminate the
possibility of moisture entering the
condenser the casing is sealed.

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(4) The Ignition condensers vary in capacity
from 15 to 25 microfarad.
h. Spark Plugs. The spark plugs consist of a
centre electrode, side electrode, insulator and
shell. The life of spark plug varies from 1,000 to
1,50,000 miles. Electrodes of the spark plug
must be const of material that is resistant to
heat, oxidation and burning. Nickel alloy is
used for electrodes, platinum although
expensive is some time used. The air is more
easily ionized near the hotter centre electrode.
The centre electrode is insulated from the rest
of the plug.

11. Ignition Adv. Spark occurs in the combustion

chamber at the proper time. At high speed, spark is req
earlier, so that the mixture gets ample time to burn. These
adv which are given to the spark are known as Ignition Adv.
Fol are the types of ignition adv:-
a. Initial Adv. The adv in spark (some degrees
before compression TDC) is kept by the maker
when the veh is mfr. This is known as Initial
b. Centrifugal Adv
(1) Arrangements have been made of
centrifugal wts in the distr housing.
(2) As the engine RPM inc, the centrifugal
force on the wts forces them to mov

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(3) This forces the toggles on the wts to mov
against the adv cam and adv cam is
pushed towards the spring tension.
(4) As the adv cam turns ahead, the cam lobe
opens and closes the contacts earlier in
the cycle which causes adv ignition
c. Vacuum Adv. The vacuum adv mech makes
use of the vacuum chamber connected to the
intake manifold and a vacuum diaphragm
linked to the breaker plate assy. It functions as
fol :-
(1) During partial throttle op, there is high
vacuum in the intake manifold. The high
vacuum draws in a lesser amount of air
fuel mixture.
(2) The vacuum line admits manifold vacuum to
the vacuum passage, thereby allowing
the atmospheric pressure to push the
diaphragm inwards compressing the
return spring.
(3) The diaphragm is connected to the breaker
plate which is designed to rotate freely for
a few degrees and moves ahead.
(4) Due to this mov of the breaker plate, the
contacts are opened and closed earlier in
the cycle adv the ignition timings.

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12. Latest Trends. Conventional sys have been upgraded

and nec amendments have been made to optimize the usage
and utility of the existing techs. A lot of research has also
taken place to altogether change the tech of ignition sys. Fol
are the improved faces of ignition sys.
a. Water Proof Ignition Sys The sys is
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designed to make the veh negotiate water obs
of low value. Even in very wet conditions the
sys can op normally. Salients are :-
(1) The distr and the ignition coil are sealed
in a water proof casing and are covered.
(2) Various leads used are enclosed in a
water tight conduit.
(3) The sys also caters for the ventilation of
the distr through pipes from air cleaner
and intake manifold. This helps in
preventing condensation.

b. Elec Ignition Sys. This sys is instl in most of

the modern vehs (Chevrolet 150R, ford 2.2 SL,
Acura and BMWs). Salients are:-
(1) In an elec ignition sys, the points are
replaced with a con module and the lobes
on the cam are replaced with a trigger

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(2) The trigger device uses a magnetic fd to
induce a small "trigger" voltage in the con
module to turn off the current to the coil.
As it passes, the module turns the current
back on.
(3) It is quite accurate in working. Another
advantage of an elec ignition sys is that it
can produce higher voltages, up to twice

the voltage a conventional.

c. Distributorless Ignition Sys

(1) In a distributorless ignition sys, the control
module and the triggering device are
replaced by a Crank Angle Sensor (CAS)
and an ignition control unit (ICU).
(2) The CAS has a plate that has 360 degree

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mark, four 90-degree marks and two 180-
degree marks. There is an infrared
sensor that "senses" these marks and
tells the ICU exactly where the crankshaft
is and the control unit turns off the current
to the coil at the precise instant the spark
is needed.
(3) Since the con unit can does so many
calculations per second and the CAS
doesn't have to be in the distributor,
manufacturers simply did away with the
distributor entirely. Now a separate coil is
provided for each spark plug. The control
unit signals each coil independently.
Since the CAS tells the con unit where
the crankshaft is at any given moment.

ignition con unit stores basic timing data

and when the signal from the CAS stops,
it will go into a "Fail Safe" mode and use
the basic data to continue engine op. In

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most cases the fail-safe mode will limit
speed and engine rpm to protect the
engine and in addn to this, Malfunction
Indicator Light (MIL) alerts the driver
that there is a problem.
d. Plasma Coils. These coils are specially
designed for inc spark current that allows
higher boost pressure without misfire and a
more complete fuel burn. Fol are certain other
char of these coils:-
(1) 100 % amp of the spark than normal
(2) Produces 400% stronger spark ideal for
very high RPM.
(3) Vehs performance is inc by 5 to 7 Horse
(4) It confirms 8 to 10 % mileage improvements.

e. i-DSI
(1) Introduced by Honda in, May 2001.
(2) Each combustion chamber is equipped
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with two spark plugs.
(3) These spark plugs are activated at
different order depending upon engine
RPM and load.
(4) It accelerates flame propagation in
combustion chamber.
(5) Thus, achieving rapid comb of air fuel
mix and obtaining high output with min
amount of gasoline.
f. Las er

Ignition Sys
(1) Laser ignition is the process of starting
combustion by the stimulus of a laser

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light source.
(2) Laser ignition is an alternative method
for igniting compressed gaseous mixture
of fuel and air. The method is based
on laser devices that produce short but
powerful flashes regardless of the
pressure in the combustion chamber. An
alternative solution to standard spark
plug is the use of pulsed laser, focused
to create plasma, representing the laser
ignition. Although the tech is not prac in
use but Ford is planning to instl it in its
latest cars. Mazda RX-9 has also been
reported of using the same tech in its
rotary engine.
(3) Reasons for Lasr Ignition Sys
(a) Due to increased ignition coil
energy, spark plug service life is
very low for gasoline and natural
gas engines
(b) Ignition sites of spark plug ignition
are fixed within the combustion
(4) Combustion chamber window
(a) Core component of laser ignition
(b) Burning free effect occurs
(c) Singular window test show that
optical window can be used
efficiently for 1000hrs
(5) Advantages of Laser Ignition
(a) Arbitrary positioning of the

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ignition plasma within combustion
(b) Absence of spark
(c) No disturbance of the flow-field
(d) Absence of erosion effects
(e) Precise ignition timing
(f) Simpler regulation of the ignition
(g) Significant reduction in fuel

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14. Defects
a. Weak Spark
(1) Weak bty.
(2) Loose connections.
(3) More CB pt gap.
(4) Weak magnetic fd.
b. Engine Will not start
(1) Weak bty.
(2) Excessive moisture on HT wire and
spark plugs.
(3) Cracked distr cap.
(4) Faulty coil.
(5) Faulty condenser.
(6) Coil to distr HT lead not in place.
(7) Loose connections or broken wire in LT
(8) Faulty CB pts.
c. Hard Starting
(1) Faulty or improperly gaped plugs.
(2) Faulty or improperly adjusted CB pts.
(3) Loose connection in primary cct.
(4) Defective HT cables.
(5) Low capacity condenser.
(6) Faulty distr cap or rotor.
d. Engine Misfires
(1) Dirty or worn spark plugs.
(2) Damaged insulation on HT wires.
(3) HT wires disconnected.
(4) HT wires incorrectly routed to plugs.
(5) Defective distr cap.
(6) Poor cyl compression CB pts incorrectly

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e. Spark Plug Insulator |damaged
(1) Heat.
(2) Cold.
(3) Sudden temp changes.
(4) Vibration.
(5) Physical shocks.
(6) Chemical corrosion.
f. Engine misfires
(1) Dirty or worn spark plugs.
(2) Damaged insulation on HT wires.
(3) HT wires disconnected.
(4) HT wires incorrectly routed to plugs.
(5) Defective distr cap.
(6) Weak cb pts spring.
15. Care and Maint
a. Bty terminals must be clean and mineral jelly
should be applied on them.
b. Bty, distr mtgs and all connections of the
system must be tight.
c. All LT and HT leads must be properly insulated
and should be saved from oil and grease.
d. Lub of the distr cam and sleeve must be done
at the proper time.
e. CB pt gap must be correct.
f. Ignition timings must be correct.

16. Concl. In last pd, weve studied about the ignition

sys. It is imperative for us to know all the sys of our vehs in
general and ignition Sys in particular because we would not
like to damage the costly eqpt due to our own negligence.

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This acquisition of knowledge will not only result in better
handling but also in inc life, durability and reliability of this
sensitive mechanism.