Ignition Coil Spark Technology
Ignition coil technology can be split into two fundamental operating principles: ‘single spark technology’ and ‘dual spark technology’.
Single Spark Technology
Single spark ignition coils only release one high voltage pulse via one high voltage output. The classic form of an ignition coil with single spark technology is the distributor ignition coil. This type of ignition coil always releases its ignition energy to the mechanical ignition distributor, which controls distribution to the relevant spark plug in accordance with the firing order.
Today, single spark technology is more popular for automotive manufacturers, but in the form of pencil coils. With this type, each ignition coil supplies only one cylinder.
Double Spark Technology
Dual spark ignition coils have multiple high voltage outputs which supply two spark plugs with ignition energy simultaneously.
When applied to the classic firing order of a four cylinder engine, cylinders (1 and 4) and cylinders (2 and 3) each receives high voltage pulses simultaneously. But due to the different timing, only one of these cylinders is on the power stroke, during which the air-fuel mixture is ignited. The other cylinder is on the exhaust stroke, where another spark is triggered in order to complete the electrical circuit, but this extinguishes with no effect. For this reason, it is known as a ‘wasted spark’.