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HomeTips & GuidesIgnition Amplifier: How the Ignition Amplifier Works

Ignition Amplifier: How the Ignition Amplifier Works

What is the primary role of an ignition amplifier? Starting a car is as simple as inserting the key on the ignition switch and turning it on. 

But there is a more complex process that happens in the background. 

Among the critical electronic components that facilitate car starting is the ignition amplifier. 

What are the functions of this ignition module component? How does it work? 

By the end of this article, we’ll provide insights into these queries and more. 

Buckle up, and let’s get started. 

Table of Contents

What is the Ignition Amplifier?

It is a critical part of the ignition system, acting primarily as the electronic control unit. 

As per its name, the role of this setup is to amplify an electronic pulse responsible for car starting. 

Therefore, it features numerous electronic components. 

To locate your car’s ignition amplifier, check the engine bay. Let’s see the role it plays in the car process starting below. 

How Does the Ignition Amplifier Work?

A Car Ignition Switch. 

A Car Ignition Switch. 

Two main parts of the ignition module work in tandem with the ignition amplifier. 

When you turn on the ignition, the car pulse generator (Hall effect generator) creates electrical pulses. 

But the voltage signals are relatively too weak to run the switching transistor. It is where the ignition amplifier comes in handy. 

The component senses the trigger pulse and amplifies it to levels that would spark the switching transition to action. 

It switches on the ignition coil, creating a magnetic field. 

Next, the switching transistor switches off the magnetic field, causing the formation of a secondary spark. 

This spark ignites the air-fuel mixture, causing combustion, and the engine starts running. 

Thus, by playing the role of an intermediary signal booster, the ignition amplifier is key in the overall car starting process. 

Note that coil overheating is highly possible in this setup. Hence, the typical design is that of a safety circuit to curtail these dangers. 

It happens with the primary circuit switching off after the ignition goes on, yet the engine is yet to start. 

Lastly, the other protective measure of the ignition amp is its constant energy-limiting circuitry. 

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ignition Amplifier

Starting a Car. 

Starting a Car. 

Here are the tell-tale signs that your ignition amplifier is about to stop working. 

The Car Doesn’t Start.

Earlier, we emphasized the cardinal role of the ignition amplifier in the car starting process. 

It is responsible for boosting the signal that sparks the car into action. Hence, if faulty, it will not catalyze the car’s start. 

Engine Misfiring/ Loss of Power

A dip in the engine performance is one of the symptoms of a failing ignition amplifier. 

A bad ignition amplifier will not create a spark strong enough to facilitate prompt engine starting. 

So the car experiences issues such as misfires and engine power loss. 

Also, if there is a significant decline in fuel efficiency, the issue could be the amplifier. 

Finally, when the ignition amplifier entirely fails, the engine will stall. 

Check Engine Light Goes On

The check engine light will switch on when there’s a problem with the ignition circuit. But a warning by this indicator is quite generic. So further scrutiny is necessary to unearth the root cause of the signal. 

How to Test the Ignition Amplifier Module?

Ignition Switch Repair. 

Ignition Switch Repair. 

Take the following measures to test whether your ignition amplifier is working. 

  1. First, uninstall the spark plug from the module. Next, using a multimeter/voltmeter, test the supply voltage between the live terminal and the earth. Ideally, if the system works at peak levels, you should obtain a voltage equal to the battery voltage. 
  2. Also, you should check for open circuits between the several terminals of the system. Here are the terminals to test: 
  • Ignition coil terminal 1 & ignition module terminal 16
  • Ignition coil terminal 15 & ignition switch
  1. Thirdly, using an oscilloscope confirms that the switching module’s working mechanism is okay. 

How Can You Replace It?

A Car Ignition Switch. 

A Car Ignition Switch. 

Below are the steps to replace the ignition amplifier: 

  • Unplug the battery’s negative terminal. 
  • Next, find where the ignition amplifiers are located and unplug their connectors.
  • Remove it from the aluminum plate using a wrench and replace it with another amplifier. 
  • Finally, apply the thermal transfer paste on the amplifier’s backside. This step is imperative in facilitating the amplifier’s well-being when the chambers are overheated. 

Summary

A car’s signal pulse is so weak that it would never start without a boost. 

But manufacturers worked around this to develop an amplifying device that ensures an enhanced signal. 

When it is fully functional, everything about car starting is a breeze. 

But we’ve also given you tips to apply when diagnosing an ignition amplifiers failure. 

Finally, you can also test if it’s in good shape and replace it via the straightforward steps highlighted above. 

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