Piston Engine Propulsion


Ignition in a piston engine requires:

• Spark plugs
• Magneto
• Condensers
• Distributor
• Contact breakers electronic systems

.The assembly of the primary and secondary coils on a soft iron core is known as the armature. Magneto • The Rotating Armature Magneto . • In the rotating armature magneto this is mounted on a shaft driven from the engine and rotated between the poles of a permanent magnet. • As only two sparks are produced for each revolution of the armature. this type of magneto is normally used only on engines with up to six cylinders.

• Four sparks are produced for each revolution of the inductor shaft. mounted on a non-magnetic shaft driven from the engine. are used to guide the magnetic flux through the armature. making this type of magneto suitable .• The Rotating Magnet Magneto - The most usual type of rotating magnet magneto is the polar inductor magneto where the permanent magnets are actually stationary and soft iron inductors.

Magneto Operation Secondary Coil Windings Primary Windings Soft Iron Core Engine Driven Rotor and Magnets IGNITION SYSTEM .

. a magnetic field is produced that is transformed into high tension current through primary and secondary coil windings. • With the rotating shaft. gears located in the engine accessory case turn the magneto rotor shaft containing permanent magnets. • The high tension current is disturbed to the appropriate cylinder through a distributor block assembly and ignition cables. • When the aircraft engine rotates. • Typically.• The magneto is a completely self-contained ignition generating device. two magnetos are installed on each engine for redundancy.

the magneto produces relatively little voltage.• One of the primary limitations of magnetos is that. when the magnet inside a magneto turns at a slow speed. . the amount of current induced into the primary circuit increases and the magneto produces a higher voltage spark. as magneto speed increases. • In most cases. • However. the voltage generated at low magneto speeds is insufficient to fire a spark plug.

Principal - Coil Volt S N Windings Meter Each time the magnetic field ‘washes’ through wires An electrical current is produced Called an EMF – Electro Motive Force IGNITION SYSTEM – Faraday Law .

Magneto Operation EMF produced in the coil windings The magnetic field passes through soft iron core IGNITION SYSTEM .

No EMF produced in the coil windings No magnetic field in soft iron core IGNITION SYSTEM .

EMF produced in the coil windings again The magnetic field passes through soft iron core again IGNITION SYSTEM .

Rotor Arm Magneto Unit Spark Generation Condenser Power Generation Coil Distribution Contact Magneto Breaker Ignition Switch IGNITION SYSTEM – Magneto System .

Distributor Condenser Coil Secondary Windings Primary Ignition Windings Contact Switch Breaker Dynamo/ Alternator Battery IGNITION SYSTEM – Dynamo/Alternator System .

Distributor • The distributor basically distributes the ignition spark between cylinders. .

Typical Vacuum Advance Distributor Diaphragm Adjustable Vacuum Plate Chamber Cap ‘Points’ Body Inlet Pressure Cam Adjuster Centrifugal Advance Input Shaft Centrifugal Weights IGNITION SYSTEM – Distributor .

you should always follow the manufacturers instructions. but in all cases the magneto has to be stripped down to complete internal timing. Magneto Timing • There are two different timing requirements on most magnetos. . • Internal timing is necessary to make sure that the voltage is delivered to the proper contact in the distributor block at the correct time. Since internal timing procedures vary between different magnetos. internal timing and timing of the magneto to the engine.

the engine manufacturer can specify either synchronized or staggered ignition timing. • Different procedures are used for timing flange and base mounted magnetos. but in nearly all cases magnetos are timed to fire between 20 and 25 degrees before top dead centre.• When timing the two magnetos to an engine. . • As well as in the maintenance manuals the timing figures can be found on the engine data plates.

Engine Speed Sensing Unit Timing Timing Sensor Disc Control Unit Ignition Switch Coil Packs Alternator Battery IGNITION SYSTEM – Electronic Systems .

a spark will occur. . • All magnetos are therefore provided with an earthing wire. Ignition Switch • Whenever a magneto is rotated sufficiently to open the contact breaker points. • Since this switch is connected in parallel with the contact breaker. which is connected to the contact breaker end of the primary coil and through a suitable switch to earth. with the switch closed the effect of the opening and closing of the contact breaker is by-passed and no spark can occur.

. • Spark plugs transmit the short impulses of high voltage current from the ignition harness into the combustion chamber. • The construction and operation of a spark plug is simple in concept but the demands placed on this part of an ignition system are high. Spark Plugs • The end result in any ignition system is the spark plug that ignites the fuel/air mixture in a cylinder.

000 degrees or higher. with gas pressures as high as 2000psi. and the spark plug must be able to operate in temperatures of 3.• Each ignition event begins with a 20.000 volt spark that jumps the air gap between a spark plugs electrodes. .

Cap Connector Ceramic Body Hexagon Outer Casing Copper Sealing Gasket Securing Thread Gap Outer Electrode IGNITION SYSTEM – Spark Plug .

Cap Connector Ceramic Body Seal Hexagon Centre Electrode Outer Casing Change Spark Plugs Copper Sealing Gasket at specified times Securing Thread Make sure the correct These surfaces must be Outer Spark Plug is fitted kept clean Electrode IGNITION SYSTEM – Spark Plug .