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Ignition Timer Schematic Circuit Diagram

This circuit is a tester for flywheel-based ignition systems in small airplane engines. Basically, the same ignition coils are also seen in other small combustion engines used in/on mopeds and lawn mowers — in brief, engines without a battery.

Ignition Timer Schematic Circuit Diagram

The part to be tested comprises a primary coil in parallel with the contact breaker. The timing of this contact breaker has to be adjusted correctly. Since the coil’s primary has a very low resistance it is difficult to determine whether the contact breaker is open or closed. However, you can determine that reliably with this circuit, using an LED and a beeper. The circuit is implemented twice because aviation engines (Cessna, Piper and similar) always have two ignitions in parallel to increase reliability. For two-cylinder engines, well the purpose is obvious.

The circuit consists of a 555 and a few transistors. The 555 supplies a square wave of about 3000 Hz. This signal goes to power transistors T1 and T2; these can supply quite a bit of power and are robust enough to withstand the voltage transients from the big coils. The test connection (K2 and K3 respectively) are connected in parallel with the contact breaker to be tested, which itself is in parallel with the ignition coil. The frequency of 3000 Hz is either short-circuited by the contact breaker or — if the points are open — is amplified somewhat by the resonance of the coil itself. This allows you to reliably detect the difference between a closed and open contact breaker, despite the low resistance of the coil, which is in parallel with it. When the contact breaker is open the amplified pulses will turn on T3 and T4 respectively so that the relevant LEDs turn on and the buzzer will sound.

The components are not critical but do use a sensitive type for the piezo buzzer. The power supply is 3 V (2 times AA or AAA batteries).


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