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Ignition coil problems

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Ignition coil problems

Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:19 pm

I've wired up a car ignition coil according to the diagram found here: http://www.spudfiles.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1982&
The problem is that instead of arcing across the gap it just slowly drains the battery.
I'm using a 9v, because I haven't really heard anyone say how much juice these things need to function.
The capacitor is rated for 3300uf @ 35v.
Is the voltage or amperage to low or is it possible I have a dead coil? Could really use some advice :? .
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Unread postAuthor: Pete Zaria » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:57 pm

I've never tried to wire up an ignition coil as in that diagram.

However, I can tell you that a disposable camera flash circuit discharging through an automotive relay and ignition coil produces some huge, fat sparks. Might want to give that a try. You can go to most drug stores that have a photo developing counter and ask for a few used disposable cameras, "for a science project", and they'll usually hand them over. A relay costs $10 new, or probably free from a junkyard...

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Unread postAuthor: SpudBlaster15 » Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:10 pm

Instead of using a relay, one could simply wire the ignition coil in series with the flash bulb, and use the bulb as a switch. Charge the capacitor, then press the flash actuation button, and the current will discharge through your coil.
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:30 pm

Shouldn't I take the bulb out first?
Also, am I just trying to discharge the raw voltage from the capacitor into the coil or does it go though a transformer before it hits the flash bulb?

I currently have 5 flash boards laying around so I guess I can stand to do some trial and error :)
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Unread postAuthor: Pete Zaria » Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:10 pm

You're just using the board to charge the cap, and dumping the cap into the ignition coil. I've always used a relay, but SpudBlaster generally knows what he's talking about, so maybe try it both ways and see which works better? :)

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Unread postAuthor: SpudBlaster15 » Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 pm

You dont have to remove the flash bulb, just cut one of the two wires leading to it (not the white trigger wire), and wire the coil's positive and negative terminals to each exposed end of the cut wire.

_Fnord wrote:Also, am I just trying to discharge the raw voltage from the capacitor into the coil or does it go though a transformer before it hits the flash bulb?


The battery output (1.5 volts) goes through a step up transformer (stepped up to around 300 volts) before reaching the capacitor. When you press the flash button to fire, you discharge the stored electrical energy within the capacitor directly through the coil. The ignition coil, being inductive (meaning the primary and secondary coils are connected) not only steps this voltage up another 100 times, but also acts as a temporary energy storage unit, meaning electrical energy is momentarily stored in the coil itself prior to dischargring through the high voltage lead. As a result, the spark will be MUCH more powerful than it would be if you simply used a 100:1 step up transformer.
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:39 pm

Thanks for the help everyone, it turns out the coil was just bad. I just found and wired up a new coil with a 9volt and that gave me a small spark but at least I know what my problem is now.

and of course, I couldn't resist shocking myself a few times :)
9 volt dont have much kick, but tomorrow I'll wire up a flashboard for it (dont plan on shocking myself with it then).
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