Reviewing the basics of internal combustion helps us to understand how a car ignition system works. A car engine is like a big pump whereby air and gas are pumped in whereas the exhaust is being pumped out. There is always a bye product due to the excess energy that is being sent to both the wheels and exhaust, which exits through the car's tailpipe. A car's engine combines air and fuel to add a spark which ignites the air and fuel mixture, causing an explosion, which is referred to as ignition.
An ignition system is a group of components working in pairs to create an ignition. The ignition system contains the following essential elements such as an ignition coil, a distributor, spark plugs, a rotor, a distributor cap and plug wires. However, older systems uses points and condenser system in the distributor while current systems are known to use an engine control unit, which controls sparks and the ignition timing. It is always advisable to take the entire system piece by piece and discuss it in detail to be able to understand such systems and determining what they entail.
An ignition coil is the first component that takes the weak battery power and transforms it into a spark which is powerful enough to ignite the fuel vapor. Also, there are two coils which are on top of each other known as windings. They are differentiated as primary and secondary windings, whereby, the main winding gathers enough power to create a spark and the secondary winding which sends the spark to the distributor. The ignition coil has three main contacts, but if it has an external plug, the contacts will be on the inner side of the case. The coil wire goes to the large and obvious contacts located in the middle of the ignition coil, and the coil wire is used to link the ignition coil to the distributor cap usually. The other contact is a 12V wire connecting to an active power source, and finally, the third and last contact is used to send information to the remaining parts of the vehicle such as the tachometer.
The distributor, on the other hand, receives the powerful spark and sends it out specifically to the spark plugs. A coil wire is then used to link the distributor to the ignition coil. A distributor is known as a precise spinner because it spins resulting in the distribution of the spark to each and every spark plug at the correct time. The rotor, however, is always connected directly to the shaft of the distributor, which is the mechanism that distributes these sparks. Since the rotor is attached to the distributor, it also spins and makes contact with many points that corresponds to the number of cylinders a car engine has. It then sends the spark to a point in the plug wire which is located on the other end of the engine. Nowadays, modern distributors notoriously use some electric assistance which can alter the ignition's timing altogether.
Spark plugs and spark wires in the ignition system are used to transport the spark to the spark plug. Without these two, the strong spark can not be spun to the right outlet. The distributor cap has contact points on it that connect to a plug wire that helps to take the spark to the spark plugs, which are of course screwed into the head of the cylinder. Located at the top of the cylinder is the end of a spark plug, which, actually is where the action happens. When the intake valve lets out just the right amount of both fuel vapor and air in the cylinder, it will create a hot blue spark which will, in turn, ignites the mixture causing combustion. This process is repeated a couple of a thousand times per minute to cause a successful burning.
Finally, the ignition module which is a computer system which ensures that the ignition points are set to some particular gap to create the right amount of spark while the condenser keeps on regulating the sparks. Old systems also known as points and condenser systems, relied on its mechanics to time the spark at approximately the right time by the help of a distributor.