The Different Types of Ignition Systems

Gasoline-fueled piston engines require an ignition source to set off the explosion that converts the chemical potential energy of the air-fuel mixture into thermal energy which the engine can convert into mechanical energy. Each type of ignition source has advantages and disadvantages (which we’ll get to soon), but all have the same basic objective, which is to efficiently set off a quick explosion that burns all the fuel in the cylinder. There are four ignition systems commonly used in 4-stroke, 2-stroke, and rotary engines, along with an oddball only used in small 2-strokes.