Why Use an Ignition Analyzer


The ignition coil plays an important role in a combustion engines, and is used to create a high intensity spark that is distributed to each piston chamber to create the much needed burn. Modern cars feature minute ignition coils called igniters on each piston port instead of having one coil serving all the piston thus a four cylinder engine will have four igniters while a V8 engine will have eight igniters.

A single Ignition coil or multiple igniters serve a similar purpose of creating a high intensity electrical spark that is necessary to burn the fuel / air mixture. A poorly or non functioning coil will lead to various types of faults with the main impact being a car failing to start. Other faults attributed to faulty coils include poor performance such as slow take off, lack of power and torque, jerking motions, poor fuel economy, gasoline odors and the car failing to start instantly. Long term operation of a motor vehicle displaying these effects will lead to cropping up of other problems such as battery drain, worn bushes, fouling of the spark plugs, blackish exhaust smoke and destruction of the knock sensors.

For a motor vehicle to perform and function well, it is necessary for the ignition system to be sound. The ignition circuit comprises the Ignition coil or igniter module, the leads or spark plug wires and the spark plugs with the coil playing the biggest role. Failure of the coil is attributed to mishandling, poor voltage supply, short circuiting, wrong ignition timing, low quality spark plugs, wrong engine timing and also normal wear and tear. The coil works in the same principal as a step up transformer where there is a primary circuit and a secondary circuit, the two circuitry steps up the car’s 12 or 24 DC volts to much higher voltages. Factors that are taken into consideration when diagnosing a faulty or a dead coil include the spark intensity, the voltage supply from the car battery, internal coil resistance and continuity of the current supply.

Proper diagnosing of a car ignition coil can be solved by using an ignition analyzer, reducing the need for trial and error, which more often than not leads to disasters, time wastage and also increased expenses.

Which ignition analyzer do we recommend?
The ease and simplicity of the GTC TA500 Smartach Ignition Analyzer with its wireless functionality makes it quite suitable for both a novice as well as the automotive professional, and is our best selling product. The kit will measure the coils resistance in ohms, the current in amps and also the voltage in volts (direct current) and match the information to the recommended specifications to see if the values are within specs.

The TA500 allows you to make quick diagnosis by comparing digital read-outs of the spark plug voltage and spark burn time between cylinders on engines using Coil on Plug, Coil near Plug, conventional distributor/ignition coil, DIS (Distributor-less) or waste spark and magneto technologies.

You can view more specific information about the GTC TA500 Smartach Ignition Analyzer here.

Article by Jonathan Keller

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