What Is Ignition System? – Types, Parts, Function, Diagram

Since in modern automobiles, new technologies have been introduced and it has been found that the use of sensors and electronic components gives more effective and accurate output than mechanical components, the Electronic Ignition System take place.

So today we are going to learn What is Electronic Ignition System? and also the types and parts of an Electronic Ignition System. And how Electronic Ignition System works and its advantages.

What is Ignition System?

What is Ignition System
What is Ignition System?

Electronic ignition uses electronic controls that replace electromechanical components used in previous-generation vehicles. It creates electrical impulses and supplies spark plugs to ignite the air-fuel mixture. Electronic ignition does not use electromechanical parts the same as older systems.

However, it uses an electronic switching device that sends electrical impulses to the spark plug and thereby ignites the fuel. Electronic ignition also can maintain the correct ignition timing. And at the same time, it gives a continuous production of high current.

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Components Of Ignition System



It is the powerhouse of the ignition system as it supplies the required energy to the ignition system, similar to a battery coil ignition system. The battery is a source of electrical power when the engine is stationary. It also supplies power from the generator when it is not turning fast to produce 12 volts.

Ignition Switch

The ignition system switch controls the on and off of the system in the same way as the battery coil ignition system. Typically mounted on the steering column or dashboard, the ignition switch regulates the flow of current between the battery and the ignition system. Moreover, the switch is responsible for controlling the overall operation of the ignition system.

Ignition Control Module or Control Unit Of Ignition System

The brain or programmed instruction given to the ignition system automatically monitors and controls the timing and intensity of the spark. Additionally, this device receives the voltage signal from the armature and turns the primary coil on and off. It can either be placed separately outside the distributor or within the electronic control unit box of the vehicle.


In the battery ignition system, the armature contact breaker points are substituted by an armature with a tooth (rotating part), a vacuum, and a reluctor with a pickup coil (voltage signal) to hold. The electronic module receives the voltage signal from the armature to form and break the circuit. Consequently, this determines the distributor’s time to deliver the spark plug accurately.

Ignition Coil

The battery ignition coil system utilizes an electronic ignition system to generate a high voltage in spark plugs, much like ignition coils do. The coil has a metal casing with two sets of insulated wire windings on the soft iron central core. The collapse of the magnetic field generated around the primary winding generates a flow of height in the secondary winding that goes through the distributor to the spark plug.

Ignition Distributor

The distributor is a device utilized to distribute current to the spark plug of a multi-cylinder engine.It directs the flow of high-intensity current from the coil through the rotor arm and subsequently distributes it to each spark plug.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs generate sparks inside the cylinder. The high current from the distributor passes through the central core of the spark plug, producing a spark as it connects the gap to the side electrode.

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Types Of Ignition System

But all these systems have their limitations. which is the oldest glowplug Ignition-Systems and is obsolete due to its many limitations.

Glow Plug Ignition System

Glow Plug Ignition System
Glow Plug Ignition System

The use of electrodes as an ignition source causes uncontrolled combustion in glow plug ignition systems. However, this problem was solved by introducing magneto ignition systems, which replaced electrodes with spark plugs. In contrast, the magneto ignition glow plug produces high exhaust emissions due to incomplete combustion.

Magneto Ignition System

Magneto Ignition System
Magneto Ignition System

The system was introduced as a solution to the limitations of the old ignition system, but it also has its own drawbacks. It relies on the engine speed, which can lead to starting issues when the engine is running at a low speed. Nevertheless, this problem was addressed with the introduction of the battery coil ignition system, where the battery serves as the primary energy source for the system. Consequently, this improved the starting performance of the engine.

Battery Ignition System

Battery Ignition System
Battery Ignition System

Despite its superior efficiency and accuracy, the latest system has some limitations that have been observed over time. However, it has been in use for a long time.

  • Less efficient with high-speed engines.
  • Being mechanical and electrically aware of contact breaker points requires high maintenance.

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Working Of ignition system

Conventional Ignition-Systems consist of two sets of primary and secondary circuit windings. The battery supplies 12 volts to the ignition coil through contact breaker points. It charges the primary windings and also magnetizes the core of the coil.

The second wind is not connected to the primary winding. Instead, one end of it is grounded, and the other end passes through numerous insulated cables in the distributor cap. Upon turning on the ignition switch, the current flows through the contact points to the ground (earth) via the primary winding.

The moving cam is attached to the distributor’s drive shaft which is driven by the engine. When the drive shaft rotates, it turns the cam. When the cam movable breaker pushes it to the hand, it lifts it from its seat. That’s why contact is broken. As soon as the contact is cut off, it makes a secondary turn with a high-voltage current of about 20,000 to 25,000 volts.

This high-voltage current flow then passes through the high-tension cable and reaches the top of the distributor cap. The distributor cap sits on the drive shaft of the distributor and moves towards the driveshaft. While doing so, they align with the high-tension cables associated with each spark plug.

Engineers designed the alignment of the driveshaft with the engine in such a way that at the end of the compression stroke of each cylinder, the lobe of the cam opened the contact point. The high voltage current then goes to the corresponding spark plug, which creates the spark.

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Application of Electronic Ignition System

Modern hypercars commonly use it. Furthermore, it is mainly utilizes in Audi, Mahindra XUV, KTM bikes, Ducati, and various other vehicles. Additionally, aircraft engines also use it.

Advantages Of Electronic Ignition System

  1. These are less care systems than others like battery ignition systems, glow plug ignition-systems and magneto ignition systems.
  2. Vehicles with these systems have a long life and are reliable.
  3. It increases the efficiency of the engine and it is also fuel efficient.
  4. Emissions are less than other mediums as the system is environment friendly.
  5. It is more accurate than the Magneto system.
  6. Electronic control units (ECUs) control it, and it does not have any moving parts.

Disadvantages Of Electronic Ignition System

The main drawback of electronic ignition is that this system is very expensive because vehicles with electronic Ignition-Systems are not affordable by everyone.

In this way, the electronic ignition-system is better in all respects than the distributor which operates mechanically. Its high level of accuracy helps in air-fuel mixing and complete ignition of the engine. Thus, it affects the good fuel economy and also in low emissions, it supports many systems using electronic control.

People Also Ask

Why an electronic ignition system?

So since in modern automobiles, new technologies have been introduced and it has been found that the use of sensors and electronic components gives more effective and accurate output than mechanical components,

Therefore, the use of sensors with an electronically controlled unit becomes necessary to meet the needs of modern high power in high-speed automobiles or hyper series of automobiles.

What is An Ignition System?

Electronic circuits typically operate the electronic ignition system, which utilizes transistors to produce electric pulses. Sensors control the transistors to create high-voltage sparks that can ignite difficult mixtures, resulting in good fuel economy and low emissions. Additionally, this system offers several advantages over traditional ignition systems.

What are the types of electronic ignition systems?

1. Glow Plug Ignition-System
2. Magneto Ignition-System
3. Electric Coil or Battery Ignition-System

What are the parts of ignition system?

1. Battery
2. Ignition Switch
3. Ignition Control Module
4. Armature
6. Ignition Distributor
7. Spark Plugs

What cylinder is ignition coil E?

Change according to vehicle. The P0355 code appears when the powertrain control module (ECM/PCM) experiences a problem with the cylinder #5 ignition coil or its circuit.

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