Magneto Ignition

Table of Contents
 I. Introduction to Magneto Ignition Systems
 What are Magneto Ignition Systems?
 What are the different uses for the Systems?
 II. Different Types of Systems
 III. Summary
 IV. Review Questions

What are Magneto Ignition
 The purpose of an ignition system is to
provide sufficient electrical voltage to
discharge a spark plug at precisely the
right time to ignite highly compressed air-
fuel mixture.
 Magneto Ignition systems provide current
for ignition without any outside primary
source of electricity.
Different Uses
 The primary uses for Magneto Ignition
systems are in small gasoline powered
engines such as lawn mowers.
Different Types
 MBI – Mechanical Breaker Point Ignition
 CDI – Capacitive Discharge Ignition
 TCI – Transistor Controller Ignition
Mechanical Breaker Point Ignition
 One of the types of ignition systems, the
MBI system uses a Condenser to prevent
current from arcing across the breaker
point gap as the points open.
Advantages to MBI
 MBI does not require a primary source of
electricity in order to produce ignition in
the engine.
 Through the use of the Flywheel and the
condenser, a continuous current is
generated and can be easily broken for
stopping purposes by use of the
MBI in Use
Image courtesy of
Capacitive Discharge Ignition
 CDI is a solid state ignition system, it is one of the
newest ignition systems used today.
 CDI is breakerless and the moving mechanical parts are
replaced with electronic components.
 The only moving parts are the magnets attached to the
Advantages to CDI
 CDI is very easy to troubleshoot, by
turning the flywheel and watching the
sparkplug gap for a spark.
 CDI is compact and maintenance free
since the only moving parts are the
flywheel magnets.
CDI in Use
Image courtesy of
Transistor Controller Ignition
 As the Flywheel magnets rotate they pass by the
ignition coil in the system.
 The magnetic field of the magnets induce
current in the primary windings of the ignition
coil creating the charge for the spark.
Advantages to TCI
 As with CDI, the only moving parts are the
magnets on the flywheel.
 The timing of TCI is more precise with the
use of the Transistors.
 Does not use Mechanical Breaker
contacts, but utilizes semi-conductors
TCI in Use
 The primary purpose of the ignition system
is to provide sufficient voltage to discharge
a spark plug.
 The three types of Magneto Ignition
systems have advantages over the others
but have different uses for each.
 Small engines most prominently use
Magneto Ignition Systems for firing the
ignition of the engine.

Image courtesy of
Review Questions
 1. Name three components of a CDI
 2. What is the main purpose of the
 3. Which of the systems has the least
amount of maintenance?
 4. In the CDI system, what is the only
moving part?
Review Questions cont.
 5. What is the main purpose of an Ignition
 6. What does TCI stand for and what
makes it different from the rest?
 7. What is an advantage to using an MBI
 8. How can you troubleshoot a CDI
 Roth, Alfred C. Small Gas Engines.
Tinley Park: The Goodheart-Willcox
Company, Inc., 2004.