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Ignition Spark


Perfect Power Articles.


There are various systems for generating a spark and getting a spark to each cylinder.

A coil generates a spark. The coil is ‘charged’ up by a current, and when the current is removed the stored energy results in a spark. The coil can be charged by different systems. More of this later!

Once you have a spark, you need to get it to the spark plug on the correct cylinder.

Distributor: this is the traditional way. The distributor drive comes from the CAM shaft and rotates once for two crank turns. This system is seldom used anymore because of the electrical noise it generates and the inefficiency of the coils at high rpm.

Ways around the mechanical distributor are multiple coils. This means one coil for two cylinders (wasted spark) or one coil per cylinder. In both these cases the coil has more time to be charged as in the distributor. The XMS4 Stand Alone systems can be set for distributor, wasted spark or sequential ignition.

It is safe to say that distributors are out, excepting some special applications.

Then there is the spark generation. Traditionally a multitude of spark unit’s existed. But, advances in magnetics (who store the spark energy) have resulted in ever smaller and more powerful sparks units, which are mostly operated from 12V. The Coil On Plug (COP) system is one of most modern design. It has a built-in current driver and converts the drive signal to a spark. The XMS4 can operate these COP devices directly.

Multiple coils must be ‘driven’. That is to say the must convert the drive signal to a large current which is needed by the coil. The XMS4 outputs a signal, but the BLUEFIRE and MEGASPARK drivers can amplify the signal and interface to the coil.

If you have converted your engine to super or turbo charging, you require more spark punch, because the increased cylinder pressure requires more voltage before the spark jumps over the spark plug gap. This increased voltage (50%) can be produced by the MEGASPARK or BLUEFIRE units.