Smart Plugs Ignition System?

JShadzi at JShadzi at
Fri Feb 13 20:44:37 EST 2004

I'd like to address the issue of "need for engine management change" for a 
minute, since this topic has come up...

For all practical purposes, any engine management system that Audi has 
implemented (and most other Auto Industry OEM manufacturers for that matter) is more 
than sufficient for the intended application.  I can honestly say, as "Mr 
034efi himself", that there is no need for an engine management change from CIS 
if the intended application is more or less _stock_.

The advantage or need for an engine management change of any kind should 
serve a purpose.  If the stock system can run part throttle fuel near Stoich most 
of the time, provide near optimized ignition timing and spark power, and fuel 
sufficiently under WOT to make near max power, then there is no need to change 
the EMS (Engine Management System).

A system like 034efi comes into play when the configuration of the engine has 
changed to a point that the stock EMS can no longer meet the needs of the 
above paragraph (stoich, spark, fuel), then a change is required.  An 034efi 
system (or other systems for that matter), can do the above for your average 5 
cylinder from power levels of near 0 all the way up to power levels of thousands 
of HP, it is not limited, this is due to the fact that the system is tuneable, 
or adaptable to nearly any engine configuration desired.  CIS is not 
adaptable, and even Motronic and other systems are very difficult to configure and 
only by a handful of people globally.

So, if you have a EMS in a stock application vehicle, be wary of changing it, 
there really is no justification for it especially if it came out of Germany 
in the last 30 years.


In a message dated 2/13/2004 4:43:31 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
cord4530 at writes:
> My question exactly, what would be the point of implementing an product 
> this in an otherwise stock (or mostly) CIS3 car vs. going with a proper, 
> 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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