Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Chainsaw Ignition System

 The chainsaw ignition system is responsible for generating the high-voltage spark that ignites the fuel-air mixture in the engine's combustion chamber. This spark initiates the combustion process, driving the piston and creating the power necessary for the engine to operate. The ignition system plays a crucial role in the overall performance and starting of the chainsaw. Here's a general overview of how the ignition system of a chainsaw works:

ignition coil from a chainsaw ignition system

Ignition Coil:
The ignition coil is a primary component of the ignition system. It consists of two coils of wire, the primary coil and the secondary coil, wrapped around an iron core. The primary coil is connected to the engine's power source (usually the magneto or flywheel) and is responsible for storing and amplifying electrical energy.

chainsaw ignition system flywheel

The flywheel is a rotating component attached to the crankshaft of the engine. It contains a permanent magnet or magnets that generate a magnetic field as the flywheel spins. This changing magnetic field induces a voltage in the primary coil of the ignition coil.

Trigger Mechanism: The trigger mechanism, often referred to as the "points" or "contact breaker," controls the timing of the ignition spark. In older chainsaw models, the trigger mechanism consists of a set of mechanical contacts that open and close as the flywheel rotates. In modern chainsaws, electronic ignition systems (CDI - Capacitor Discharge Ignition or digital systems) have largely replaced mechanical points.

Condenser/Capacitor (Optional): In older ignition systems, a condenser (also known as a capacitor) is used to suppress arcing and prolong the life of the points. It stores excess energy from the primary coil and releases it when the points open, aiding in spark generation.

spark plug from a chainsaw ignition system

Spark Plug:
The spark plug is connected to the secondary coil of the ignition coil. When the ignition system is activated, the high voltage generated in the secondary coil is sent to the spark plug. The spark plug's electrode gap creates a spark that ignites the compressed fuel-air mixture in the engine's combustion chamber.

spark plug wire from a chainsaw ignition system

Spark Plug Wire:
The spark plug wire connects the ignition coil to the spark plug. It carries the high voltage from the coil to the spark plug.

Kill Switch: The chainsaw is equipped with a kill switch, also known as an on/off switch, that allows the operator to stop the engine by interrupting the flow of electricity to the ignition system. This is an important safety feature.

Operation of the Ignition System In Chainsaws 

The operation of a chainsaw ignition system involves the following steps:

As the flywheel rotates, it generates a changing magnetic field that induces a current in the primary coil of the ignition coil.

The primary coil stores and amplifies this current.

The trigger mechanism (points or electronic component) determines the timing of the spark by controlling when the primary circuit is interrupted.

When the primary circuit is interrupted, the stored energy in the primary coil is rapidly released to the secondary coil.

The secondary coil amplifies the voltage even further, sending a high-voltage pulse to the spark plug.

The spark plug generates a spark across its electrodes, igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine's combustion chamber.

Obviously, the chainsaw ignition system is a critical system of a chainsaw's operation, ensuring reliable starting, smooth operation, and efficient power delivery.

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