What is Ignition System?- Types, Parts, and Working

What is Ignition System?

An ignition system generates a spark or heats an electrode to a high temperature to ignite a fuel-air mixture in spark ignition internal combustion engines, oil-fired and gas-fired boilers, rocket engines, etc.

The broadest application for spark ignition IC engines is in gasoline road vehicles such as car and motorcycles.

Compression-ignition Diesel engines ignite the fuel-air mixture using the heat of compression and do not need a spark. They usually have glow plugs that preheat the combustion chamber to allow it to start in cold weather. Other engines may use a flame or heated tube for ignition. While this was common on very early engines, it is rare now.

The first electric spark ignition was probably Alessandro Volta’s toy electric pistol from the 1780s. Siegfried Marcus patented his “Electrical igniting device for gas engines” on 7 October 1884.

Types of Ignition System

This are the types of Ignition system:

  • Conventional Ignition System.
  • Distributorless Ignition Systems.
  • Electronic Ignition Systems.

1. Conventional Ignition System.

A vehicle ignition system is divided into two electrical circuits, the primary and the secondary.

The primary circuit carries low voltage. This circuit operates on battery power only and is controlled by the breakpoints and the ignition switch. When the ignition key is switched on, a low voltage current flows from the battery through the primary windings of the ignition coil, through the breakpoints and back to the battery. This flow of current causes a magnetic field to form around the coil.

The secondary circuit consists of the secondary windings in the coil, the high voltage line between the manifold and the coil (commonly referred to as coil wire) on external coil manifolds, the distributor cap, the distributor rotor, the spark plug leads, and the spark plugs.

As the engine rotates, the distributor shaft cam rotates until the high point of the cam causes the breakpoints to suddenly separate. Immediately when the points are open (disconnected), the flow of current through the primary windings of the ignition coil stops. This causes the magnetic field around the coil to collapse.

The capacitor absorbs the energy and prevents an arc between the points each time it is opened. This capacitor also helps with the rapid breakdown of the magnetic field.

2. Distributor less Ignition Systems

Distributor less ignition systems are based on a vehicle’s internal computer rather than a distributor. You have multiple ignition coils, either one coil per two spark plugs or one coil per spark plug.

The vehicle’s computer system uses engine sensors to regulate the electronic control module and instruct the ignition coils to ignite the spark plugs.

Very different from conventional and electronic – coils sit directly on the spark plugs, no spark plug cables, and the system is electronic.

The second type of ignition system is distributorless ignition. The spark plugs are fired directly from the coils. The spark plug control is controlled by an ignition module and the engine computer. The distributorless ignition system may have one coil per cylinder or one coil for each pair of cylinders.

There are several advantages of not having a dealer:

  • No timing adjustments.
  • No distributor cap and no rotor.
  • No moving parts to wear.
  • No distributor to accumulate moisture and cause start-up problems.
  • No distributor for driving, which results in less motor resistance.

3. What is Electronic Ignition System?

Electronic ignition system is the type of ignition system that uses electronic circuit, usually by transistors controlled by sensors to generate electronic pulses which in turn generate. Better spark that can even burn the lean mixture and provide better economy & lower emission.

In an internal combustion engine, combustion is a continuous cycle and occurs thousands of times in a minute, so an effective and accurate ignition source is required. The idea of spark ignition came from an electric toy gun that used an electric spark to ignite a mixture of hydrogen and air to shoot a cork.

The need for higher mileage, reduced emissions and greater reliability has led to the development of the electronic ignition system.

This system still has a distributor, but the breaker points have been replaced with a pickup coil, and there’s an electronic ignition control module.

Parts of Electronic Ignition System

The parts of the Electronic ignition system are:

  • Battery
  • Ignition Switch
  • Electronic Ignition Module
  • Ignition Coil
  • Armature
  • Distributor
  • Spark Plug
Electronic Ignition System

1. Battery

A rechargeable lead-acid battery is used to provide electrical energy for ignition in the cylinder. This battery is charged by a dynamo powered by the engine.

2. Ignition switch

One end of the battery is grounded and the other end (positive pole) is connected to the primary winding of the ignition coil via the ignition switch. This switch (key) is used to switch the ignition system on and off.

3. Electronic control module

The electronics module detects the signal generated by the pickup coil and stops the flow of current from the primary circuit. The timer circuit in the ignition module is switched on and the current flows back into the circuit when the voltage is not generated.

4. Armature

Contact breakpoints of the battery ignition system are replaced by an anchor. When the armature tooth comes in front of the pick-up coil, a voltage signal is generated. The electronics module detects the signal generated by the pickup coil and stops the flow of current from the primary circuit.

5. Ignition coil

The ignition coil is the source of the ignition energy. Its function is to increase the low voltage to high voltage to induce an electric spark in the spark plug.

An ignition coil consists of a magnetic soft iron core and two insulated conductive coils, known as the primary and secondary windings. The primary winding consists of 200 to 300 turns, both ends being connected to the external terminals.

The secondary winding consists of 21,000 turns with one end connected to the high voltage wire leading to the distributor and the other end connected to the primary coil.

6. Distributor

A distributor is provided in order to distribute the ignition pulses to individual spark plugs in the correct order in relation to the ignition order.

It consists of the rotor in the middle and the metal electrode on the circumference. These metal electrodes are directly connected to the spark plugs and are also known as the ignition harness.

The secondary winding of the ignition coil is connected to the rotor of this distributor, which is driven by the camshaft. As the rotor rotates, it passes the high voltage current to the ignition harness, which then fed those high voltage currents to the spark plugs.

7. Spark plugs

It is the output part of the entire ignition system that is responsible for generating sparks in the engine cylinder.

It consists of 2 electrodes, one of which is attached to the live high voltage wires and the other is earthed. The potential difference between these electrodes ionizes the gap between them and thus a spark is generated which ignites the combustible mixture.

Working of Electronic Ignition System

FAQs.

What is Ignition System?

An ignition system generates a spark or heats an electrode to a high temperature to ignite a fuel-air mixture in spark-ignition internal combustion engines, oil-fired and gas-fired boilers, rocket engines, etc.

What is meant by ignition system?

ignition system, in a gasoline engine, means employed for producing an electric spark to ignite the fuel-air mixture; the burning of this mixture in the cylinders produces the motive force.

What is the function of ignition system?

The purpose of the ignition system is to create an electric spark in the engine combustion chamber, at exactly the right time, which will ignite the mixture of petrol and air.

What are the 3 types of ignition systems?

There are three basic types of automotive ignition systems: distributor-based, distributor-less, and coil-on-plug (COP). Early ignition systems used fully mechanical distributors to deliver the spark at the right time.

What are the four types of ignition system?

Currently, we recognize four types of ignition systems used in most cars and trucks: conventional breaker-point ignitions, high energy (electronic) ignitions, distributor-less (waste spark) ignition, and coil-on-plug ignitions.

What does the ignition system consist of?

The ignition system consists of an ignition coil, distributor, distributor cap, rotor, plug wires, and spark plugs.

What are 2 classifications of ignition systems?

Depending on the electric energy supplied to the spark plug, the ignition system is divided into two main types. They are namely inductive ignition and capacitor discharge ignition (CDI). Both the ignition types perform the same operation, but the difference is a supply of electrical energy to the spark plug.

What is the function of ignition system?

The purpose of the ignition system is to create an electric spark in the engine combustion chamber, at exactly the right time, which will ignite the mixture of petrol and air.

What is Electronic Ignition System?

An electronic ignition system is the type of ignition system that uses an electronic circuit, usually by transistors controlled by sensors to generate electronic pulses which in turn generate. A better spark that can even burn the lean mixture and provide better economy & lower emission.

What are the types of Ignition System?

These are the types of Ignition systems:

  • Conventional Ignition System.
  • Distributor less Ignition Systems.
  • Electronic Ignition Systems.

What are the Parts of Electronic Ignition System?

The parts of the electronic ignition system are:

  • Battery
  • Ignition Switch
  • Electronic Ignition Module
  • Ignition Coil
  • Armature
  • Distributor
  • Spark Plug

What is the importance of ignition system?

Basically, the ignition system is what makes your car burn fuel into a small explosion at the exact moment it needs to create power. If done incorrectly, by time or not enough spark, power goes down and emissions get worse.

What is the function of ignition coil?

The ignition coil acts as a transformer. By means of two coils, one inside the other, the ignition coil transforms the electrical energy from the vehicle battery into high voltage, saves it briefly, and then emits it as a high voltage current pulse to the spark plug.

What is an ignition cycle?

Ignition Cycle means a driving cycle that begins with engine start, meets the engine start definition for at least two seconds plus or minus one second, and ends with engine shutoff.

What is an ignition module?

the ignition module is responsible for firing the spark plugs. each spark plug must fire at exactly the right time for the engine to run properly. the ignition module uses input from the crankshaft position sensor or camshaft position sensor to determine when to fire the spark plugs.

Which ignition system is mechanical?

Mechanical ignition systems are comprised primarily of the ignition switch, the ignition coil, spark plugs, and the distributor.

What are the types of ignition coil?

Ignition Coil Types

  • Conventional Ignition Coil.
  • Electronic Ignition Coil.
  • Distributor-less Ignition Coil (DIS)
  • Coil-on-Plug Ignition Coil (COP)

What is modern ignition system?

The ignition system’s primary purpose is to supply the spark to the engine for proper ignition of the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Today’s cars use an engine control module (ECM) to control ignition systems that use such designs as coil-on-plug to distribute the power to each individual cylinder.

What provides power for the ignition system?

While the battery and ignition coil provide the power, the distributor determines where that power goes and when. The distributor is like a traffic cop for electricity.

What is aircraft ignition system?

The aircraft ignition system produces a spark to burn up the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder. These systems are used to produce a spark and deliver it through an electrode of the spark plug in the aircraft engine cylinder. This enables the proper consumption of the fuel/air mixture inside the combustion chamber.

What is distributor cap and rotor?

Distributor caps and rotors are responsible for passing the voltage from the ignition coils to the engine’s cylinders in order to ignite the fuel-air mixture inside and power the engine. The coil connects directly to the rotor, and the rotor spins inside the distributor cap.

What is spark plug function?

Your spark plugs are what supply the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture, creating the explosion which makes your engine produce power. These small but simple plugs create an arc of electricity across two leads that are not touching, but close enough together that electricity can jump the gap between them.

How is the battery part of the ignition system?

A battery ignition system has a 6- or 12-volt battery charged by an engine-driven generator to supply electricity, an ignition coil to increase the voltage, a device to interrupt current from the coil, a distributor to direct current to the correct cylinder, and a spark plug projecting into each cylinder.

What was the first ignition system?

While this was common for very early engines it is now rare. The first electric spark ignition was probably Alessandro Volta’s toy electric pistol from the 1780s. Siegfried Marcus patented his “Electrical igniting device for gas engines” on 7 October 1884.

Who invented the car ignition system?

Biography of Charles Kettering, Inventor of the Electrical Ignition System. Charles Kettering with a model of his first electric self-starter at the Chicago World’s Fair. Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years.

What can cause ignition coil failure?

Excessive heat and vibration can cause the insulating material to break down and create internal coil failure. Worn secondary ignition components such as spark plugs or wires can cause a coil to work harder, require more voltage, and therefore significantly reduce the operating life of the coil.