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Ignition Systems

Important Terms

QuestionAnswer
Plug wires High voltage cables used for TV and radio suppression
Spark Plug The component where the spark occurs
Ignition Coil Primary The winding in which the magnetic field is produced
Switching device The component that turns the primary coil on and off
Cap and Rotor Components that deliver the high voltage to the correct spark plug
Capacitor/condenser It helps to rapidly collapse the primary magnetic field
Generator/alternator Supplies on-going power to the ignition system
Ignition Switch Gives the driver control of the ignition system
Battery Supplies initial power to the system
Ignition Coil secondary The winding in which the high voltage is produced
Dwell The amount of time primary coil current flows
Saturation time The time it takes for the primary coil to reach its maximum magnetic field
Heat range A rating for how well a spark plug removes heat from the combustion chamber to the water jackets
Spark plug insulator Made of porcelain, it is used to insulate the high voltage and to burn off deposits. It is key in determining the heat range of a plug
Plug gap The distance between the positive and ground electrode
Narrow Point gap This type of point gap increases dwell which could burn out the ignition coil
Hot plug This plug dissipates heat slowly and may cause mechanical damage if too far from its normal range
Cold plug This plug dissipates heat more quickly but can cause carbon fouling
Cold (Static) Timing The mechanical alignment of the crankshaft and camshaft for #1 cylinder at TDC on the compression stroke
Base timing The initial timing for an idling engine
Mechanical timing advance Timing is adjusted through Centrifugal force using weights versus spring tension based on engine RPM
Vacuum timing advance Timing is adjusted based on engine load using a vacuum diaphragm attached to the base plate
Magnetic pick up A triggering device using a magnet and pick up coil to generate an AC analog signal for the ICM
Optical/Photoelectric sensor A triggering device using an LED and photo-transistor to send a DC digital signal to the ICM
Hall Effect device A triggering device with an Integrated Circuit to create a DC Digital signal for the ICM
ICM Ignition Control Module that controls the on/off time of the primary coil based on various inputs.
Created by: jcoombes