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How Does The Ignition System Work?

Think of the ignition system as the cars heartbeat. Its main job is to generate a voltage from the 12V battery and transfer that power to the spark the ignition plugs. This incredible process jump-starts the fuel air mixture in the engines combustion chambers. The true hero in this scenario is the coil, an electromagnetic device that ingeniously converts the low tension current from your cars battery into high tension current particularly when the contact breaker points open.

The High-Voltage Journey

Imagine the distributor cap as a conductors baton guiding the flow of electricity to fulfill its purpose. Made of conductive plastic the cap receives the current from the central electrode through the high tension lead directly from the core of the coil. Inside the cap there are electrodes or segments that are connected to the spark plugs.

Sitting on top of the shaft is a rotor arm which is linked to the electrodes using either a spring loaded brush or a metal spring on top of the distributor cap. The current enters through the cap and central electrodes smoothly travels to the center of the rotor arm via the brush. Then gets distributed to each plug soon as the rotor arm starts spinning.

When approaching a segment as if following timing with an engines rhythm, contact breaker points open up. Allow high tension current to surge through to reach its intended spark plug lead. These points act like a coordinated switch within built cams on that central shaft and a spring arm connected to movable contacts. They also control interruption and re-connection of 12V tension circuit with respect, to power supply going into coil.

The Exciting Finale of the Current Journey

When the distributors points open it causes the winding magnetic field to collapse which then generates a high tension current in the winding. This surge of electricity then travels to the spark plugs through the distributor cap.

In a 4 cylinder engine there are 4 cams that open and close the points four times during a rotation of the shafts. It is possible to adjust the position of these points and the distributors body in relation to the shaft.

This entire process affects the timing of the spark. The ignition setting can be precisely controlled allowing for synchronization with engine speed. As you turn on your engine and its speed fluctuates various adjustments occur in response to throttle opening.

Modern ignition systems often employ micro electronics to ensure optimal ignition timing. This technology ensures timing for engine speeds and load conditions showcasing both the elegance and intricacy of your cars ignition system.

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