The subsidiary gap as a means for improving ignition

Gorton, W S

This report was prepared at the Bureau of Standards for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Additional or subsidiary gaps have frequently been used in jump-spark ignition systems, in order to cause the resumption of sparking in fouled spark plugs. The series gap, to which the greater part of this report is devoted, is a subsidiary gap in the connection between the high tension terminal of the plug and that of the magneto or coil. A brief account is given of the use of this gap up to the present time and also of the statements concerning it which have gained some currency, most of which are shown to be erroneous. The simple theory of the action of the series gap is discussed and a detailed account given of the effect upon the sparking ability of the plug produced by changes in the values of the electrical resistance of the fouling and of the capacities in parallel with the plug and with the magneto or coil. This report presents the results of an investigation into the utility, action, and design of the auxiliary spark gap as a means for insuring freedom from spark plug failure due to fouling, and also to enable the restarting of fouled plugs.

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