Ignition Coil Buzz Box

Here's a circuit to create a buzzcoil using a standard automotive ignition coil. A 556 dual timer is used to establish the frequency and duty cycle of the coil current. One of the timers is used as an oscillator to generate the 200 Hz rectangular waveform needed to control the (IRF740 MOSFET) while the second timer switches the oscillator on and off as the breaker points open and close (closed = on). The result is a steady stream of sparks from the ignition coil spaced about 5 milliseconds apart while the breaker points are closed.


Pin 8 and 12 are the threshold and trigger inputs of one timer which are driven by the breaker points and produce an inverted signal at the timer output (pin 9). When the points are closed to ground, pin 9 will be high and visa versa. The signal at pin 9 controls the reset line (pin 4) of the second timer and holds the output at pin 5 low while pin 4 is low and pins 8 and 12 are high (points open). The 15K and 4.7K resistors and 0.33uF capacitor are the timing components that establish the frequecy and duty cycle of the second timer which is about 4 milliseconds for the positive interval and 2 milliseconds for the negative. During the positive time interval, the MOSFET gates are held high which causes the ignition coil current to rise to about 4 amps. This equates to about 80 millijoules of energy in the coil which is released into the spark plug when the timer output (pin 5) moves to ground, turning off the MOSFET. A 12 volt zener diode is placed at the junction of the 10 and 27 ohm resistors to insure the MOSFET gate input never goes above 12 volts or lower than -0.7 volts. A 200 volt/5 watt zener is used at the MOSFET drain to limit the voltage to +200 and lengthen the spark duration. The circuit should operate reliably with a shorted plug, however operating the circuit with no load connected (plug wires fallen off, etc.) may cause a failure due to most of the power being absorbed by the zener. You can also use a transient voltage suppressor (TVS) such as the 1.5KE200A or 1.5KE300A in place of the zener. It's probably a better part, but hard to obtain.


Capacitor Discharge Ignition Circuit (CDI)

The CDI ignition circuit produces a spark from an ignition coil by discharging a capacitor across the primary of the coil. A 2uF capacitor is charged to about 340 volts and the discharge is controlled by an SCR. A Schmitt trigger oscillator (74C14) and MOSFET (IRF510) are used to drive the low voltage side of a small (120/12 volt) power transformer and a voltage doubler arrangement is used on the high voltage side to increase the capacitor voltage to about 340 volts. A similar Schmitt trigger oscillator is used to trigger the SCR about 4 times per second. The power supply is gated off during the discharge time so that the SCR will stop conducting and return to it's blocking state. The diode connected from the 3904 to pin 9 of the 74C14 causes the power supply oscillator to stop during discharge time. The circuit draws only about 200 milliamps from a 12 volt source and delivers almost twice the normal energy of a conventional ignition circuit. High voltage from the coil is about 10KV using a 3/8 inch spark gap at normal air temperature and pressure. Spark rate can be increased to possibly 10 Hertz without losing much spark intensity, but is limited by the low frequency power transformer and duty cycle of the oscillator. For faster spark rates, a higher frequency and lower impedance supply would be required. Note that the ignition coil is not grounded and presents a shock hazard on all of it's terminals. Use CAUTION when operating the circuit. An alternate method of connecting the coil is to ground the (-) terminal and relocate the capacitor between the cathode of the rectifier diode and the positive coil terminal. The SCR is then placed between ground and the +340 volt side of the capacitor. This reduces the shock hazard and is the usual configuration in automotive applications.