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Programmable Ignition System Mk2 - An Electronics Kit!


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Dear friends,

An electronics magazine caught my eye one day in work - in particular an article on a programmable ignition kit. I started to read it and discovered it continued through two more issues. I eventually photocopied all three articles to study in more detail at home. Anyway, I ended up sending off for the kit which arrived a couple of week later from Australia. It includes all the components, including a substantial aluminium case and even some solder, and the cherry on the cake is the PIC chip (Peripheral Interface Controller), which performs all the calculations. It comes pre-programmed with memory for three ignition 'maps': two 11x11 maps which you can switch between while you are driving and a 15x15 map. It can be adapted to take input from a variety of signals: hall effect, reluctor, points Etc.

Has anyone else had any experience with such a device?


My plan is to do away with / ignore the bob-weight and vacuum advance mechanisms in the distributor, using it only to distribute the spark to the four cylinders, and to provide a trigger for this new-fangled electronics module. The new module will feed into the existing ignition amplifier, providing very accurate and rapidly-adapted ignition sparks.

If anyone is interested I will gladly send more details, or even updates if you are as enthusiastic as I am.

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Hi Woolly,

Here are the 'Specifications' as stated in the magazine (take your pick Everyday practical Electronics September to November 2009 (British) or Silicon-chip March to May 2007(Australian):


  • Timing adjustment resolution: 0.5 degrees resolution advance and retard.
  • Timing adjustment range: plus or minus 60 degrees for 12-cylinder engines, plus or minus 90 degrees for 8-cylinder engines, plus or minus 120 degrees for 6 cylinder engines, plus or minus 127 degrees for less than 6 cylinders. Using less than 75% of the limit is recommended to prevent timing "drop-out" with sudden Rpm changes.
  • Timing adjustment accuracy (above low RPM setting): .2% for a 2-cylinder 4-stroke. 0.3% for a 6-cylinder 4-stroke, 0.4% for an 8-cylinder 4-stroke (note: 0.3%is equivalent to 0.12% at 40 degrees advance or retard for a 6-cylinder engine).
  • Timing update: the update period is the time between successive firings.
  • Timing calculation period: 700 micro seconds maximum.
  • Timing jitter: plus or minus 5 micro seconds at 333Hz (5 microseconds is equivalent to 0.3 degrees for a 6-cylinder engine at 10,000 RPM).
  • Minimum input frequency: 0.6Hz (corresponds to 36 RPM for a 2-cylinder 4 stroke engine, 18 RPM for a 4 cylinder 4-stroke engine Etc).
  • Maximum input frequency: 700Hz (corresponds to 14,000 RPM for a 6-cylinder 4-stroke.
  • Cylinder settings: 1-12 cylinders for a 4-stroke engine and 1-6 for a 2-stroke engine.
  • Minimum RPM setting: 0-25,500 RPM in 100 RPM steps.
  • Maximum RPM setting: indirectly set by RPM/SITE -- 0-25,500 RPM in 100 RPM steps.
  • Minimum load setting: 0-255 in steps of 1(corresponds to 0-5V).
  • Maximum load setting: indirectly adjusted by changing loads per site (255 in steps of 1).
  • Debounce adjustment: 0.4ms or 2ms.
  • Dwell adjustment: 0-25.3ms in 0.2048ms steps (multiplied with voltage below 12V).
  • Dwell variation with supply: x1 for > 12V, x2 for 9-12V, x3 for 7.2-9V, x4 for <7.2V.
  • Firing edge selection: low or high.
  • Spark duration: 1ms.
  • Map setting: two 11x11 maps (MAP-alpha and MAP-beta) or single 15x15 map.
  • Knock input range: 0-5V (1-1.25V = no retard; 1.25-5V = progressive retard in 16 steps). 9 degrees at 3.75V, 12 degrees at 5V for 1 degree resolution; 4.5 degrees and 6 degrees respectively for 0.5 degree resolution.
  • Knock monitoring (required an additional knock circuit): monitored for the first 6ms after firing. This period is reduced at higher RPM with the start of dwell. Optional 4000 RPM 0r 6000 RPM sensing limit. Ignition retard activation (when enabled) is set for a minimum of 10 sparks with the onset of knocking.
  • Internal test oscillator: 4.88Hz.
  • Response to low RPM setting: 0-25,500 RPM in 100 RPM steps. Typically set at around 1000 to 2000 RPM.


I hope you can make something out from the above.


The PIC chip is the '16f88 E/P' and comes already programmed.

There is option to mount the MAP sensor (that's Manifold Absolute Pressure - not to be confused with all the other maps) on the main circuit-board.

The module is programmed or set-up via a good old RS232 cable.

A 'Hand Controller' is used to input the 'maps' (I just wonder whether its possible with a computer?). Other settings are introduced via a couple of 'jumpers'. The hand controller can be left attached and connected to the engine during driving to fine-tune the settings.

The ignition module is KC5442 and the hand controller is KC5386 from Jaycar Electronics: www.jaycar.com.au


The attached photos are: 1. the exterior of the ignition module, 2. the interior of it, 3. the exterior of the hand controller and 4. the interior of the hand controller.


I hope this helps, any more questions form anyone, don't hesitate to ask.






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No, I'm not convinced either. I wont be until Its build, installed, set-up and thoroughly tested. But its the finding out that's the fun bit, isn't it? And I don't mind sharing my experiences with fellow Robin Hood fans.

The kit cost £27.50, then there was about £5 postage on top of that.

Thanks for the Megajolt link.


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The price is very keen, does it fire a coil pack or just add control to the distributor which controls the standard Sierra wet coil?

The MAP sensor is to provide 3d mapping control and will need a good vacuum signal so if you run bike carbs or webers you will need to tap all the inlet runners, not just one

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Guest jasonmorris

When I looked on their website the ignition kit alone was £60 plus the hand control plus the coil driver. Think this lot comes to about £140 altogether. Or am I missing something? Is it better to stick with the tried and tested megajolt. I'll watch this one with interest.



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Seems to have been designed to delete the dizzys vacuum and mechanical control of ignition change with load and replace it with a tune-able electronic 3D map. Also has knock sensing abilities? No sign of idle control. Might be able to use a throttlepot for load as they are also basically 0 - 5V. I think you could do triggering from a cam mounted trigger wheel with four teeth to get accurate timing, cutting out on dizzy wear problems introducing timing variables.


Can't do wasted spark or coil packs and needs a dizzy still in place to distribute the HT to the correct plug. So if you have no distributor on your engine don't buy. On a carbed pinto it may well be as good as megajolt but with much cheapness.



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Apparently you can use it to modify an existing 'signal' (if that's the right term for the low voltage impulse from the dizzy/points) to the coil - if my interpretation of what you said as "add control to the distributor" is correct. Or you can disable the bob-weigths, vacuum advance Etc. and this module will fire the coil via an amplifier Etc. doijng all the calculations itself.


My carburettor is the standard Webber down-draught 32-36. I'm still toying with the idea of a separate MAP sensor or to fit the one in the module kit.

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