An ignition coil is used on a vehicle,in order to transform the batteries low voltage to the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs, which are what ignite the fuel/air mixture. Ignition coils have an internal resistor or an external resistor to limit the current flowing into the coil from the car's 12 volt supply. The wires used to connect the ignition coil to the distributor or the distributor to the spark plugs are called spark plug wires. These spark plug wires differ from other wires because they are specially made to carry the excess voltage that is created for the spark plugs. The ignition coil system replaced the magneto ignition system,which was used in early vehicles because it was not reliant on the engines speed to produce the high voltage needed for start-up.
The ignition coil is made up of a few basic components which are the laminated iron core and two coils of copper wire. The iron core does not form a closed circuit all the time which means that the energy is stored in the magnetic field of the core to be used by the spark plugs as they need it. As the engine is started, the circuit closes, which means that the spark plugs get the energy. As the circuit re-opens, the iron core is recharged,therefore, there is optimal energy for the next start-up. The amount of spark needed to ignite the fuel/air mixture will varies,however,it is recommended that between 30 and 70 millijoules are delivered in each spark. Ignition coils are typically can shaped, which allows the coils can to be fully insulated while inside the can. The material used inside the can to insulate the coils is normally oil, asphalt, and sometimes epoxy. A bracket is typically used on the ignition coil,which allows it to be mounted on the frame of the vehicle.
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