Smart Plugs Ignition System?

Dan Cordon cord4530 at
Fri Feb 13 19:42:53 EST 2004

> My question exactly, what would be the point of implementing an product like 
> this in an otherwise stock (or mostly) CIS3 car vs. going with a proper, full 
> control engine management system?
> Javad

I agree with Javad too. Even though I work with these on a regular 
basis, they don't offer any significant advantage over sparkplugs in a 
regular engine. Factor in the initial cost and replacements, and there's 
no way I'd recommend them for a daily driver application.

However, running the Aqueous Ethanol we've run compression ratios up to 
17.5:1 and seen some huge increases in power and net efficiency. Last I 
checked, no where in the nation was selling 'Aquanol' at the pumps 
though. And those mods wouldn't be kind to even race/av. gas.

The company has been looking at experimental aircraft a lot. Magnetos 
are prone to failure, and pilots don't like that so much. Once going, 
the only way to shut off the engine is to stop fuel. The ignition is 
self-sustaining, so you really can't have an ignition failure 
mid-flight. However, there's been durability issued with the electrical 
heater feed through (more or less resolved at this point), so once you 
turned off the engine, it only has a 95% chance of restarting next time. :o(

They are useful for small packaging though. Vehicles generally have 
plenty of space for an ignition system. But where special constraints 
are critical, they have a benefit there. They're also especially cool 
for igniting hard to burn fuels, but I don't see that application for 
general use vehicles at all.

As Brett pointed out, there's no discrete timing control. It was drilled 
in to me as a kid....."It's not the *how big* of the spark that matters 
most, it's the *when* of the spark that's important." With a good 
aftermarket EFI system (034, AEM, Motec.....) you've got far better 
chances for performance gains than you do from putting catalytic 
igniters in your engine.

While these will probably work fine on the NA NG engine, but I wouldn't 
consider it a bang for your buck at all.
Dan Cordon
Mechanical Engineer
University of Idaho - Engine Research Facility

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