Troubleshooting an Electronic Ignition System
Troubleshooting an Electronic Ignition System is relatively simple. The first step is to check the continuity of the pick-up coil, using a DC volt/ohm meter. If the wires are connected, you should see a resistance of 150 to 900 ohm across the leads. If you have trouble finding a connection, try flexing the wiring to determine if there is a break in the wiring.
The ignition system consists of two main circuits. The primary circuit receives low-voltage direct current from batteries and runs through the distributor breaker points. This current is then induced in the ignition coil, creating a magnetic field. This electrical pulse is then transmitted to the distributor points and to the spark plug through a high-tension cable. The spark plug then fires due to the voltage difference between the spark plug tip and the ground electrode.
The electronic ignition control module is the center of the ignition system. It performs the same function as the conventional contact breaker point, and regulates the dwell time and ignition advance. The ignition control module is a pulse-type transformer that controls the performance of the ignition coil. The distributor controls the flow of current, and the distributor makes sure that a spark occurs at each spark plug.
In a conventional ignition system, the spark plug is the primary source of energy, and it must be able to ignite the fuel-air mixture. The spark plug must be able to fire at the proper time and place during the compression stroke in order to achieve combustion. The ignition system must also deliver the voltage to the correct cylinder and be delivered often enough to produce combustion.
Compared to a conventional ignition system, an electronic ignition system has fewer mechanical parts. This makes it more reliable and efficient. It generates a high-voltage spark with consistent timing, resulting in fewer engine misfires and lower emissions. However, the distributor is subject to wear, which means a higher cost for repairs. Moreover, it can also lead to sluggish acceleration.
An electronic ignition system typically replaces one magneto in an airplane. However, there are systems that replace both. The Electroair and SureFly systems both replace one magneto. Electroair’s Mike Kobylik told AVWeb that if you replace one magneto with an electronic ignition system, you get 85% of the benefits of dual ignition systems. These systems, however, are expensive, and they wipe out an additional 15% efficiency.
The ignition system circuit is simple. When you turn the ignition key, a current flows through a copper coil. This copper winding loops over 100 times before exiting the ignition coil on the other side. The spark then ignites the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. This ignites the fuel, and combustion begins.
Another component of an electronic ignition system is the pickup coil. This is the part of the system that produces the high voltage needed by the spark plug. The pickup coil is controlled by an electronic control module.