ignition modules

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Old 02-21-03, 01:21 PM
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ignition modules

What is the purpose of an ignition module? All those little boxes that everyone talks about that hook up to the ignition system on the kohlers and the kawasakis are ignition modules? How do you troubleshoot them? I know nothing about them so can someone please help me. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-21-03, 06:22 PM
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Hello Mower17!

Most of those boxes are ignition related modules. They do different things though...like the kohlers use a spark advance module (SAM). Kawasaki uses an igniter. As hard as I have tried, I have not been able to find a way to test them with an ohmmeter or any other kind of equipment. Kawasaki and Kohler both tell you to make sure everything else with the ignition system is good, then if so, replace the module. I don't like that either. I like to be able to see the readings so that I know for sure that it's bad before replacing it.

What are you having trouble with? Or was it a general question?
 
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Old 02-21-03, 06:52 PM
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thanks dor the info. I was just curious. The electrical system isn't my strongest field. My dad does own a craftsman garden tractor with a kohler magnum 18.5 hp. I have looked over the electrical system on it and got lost. I am used to the simple briggs engines. I also much prefer to be able to check things with a meter to know for sure it is bad or good. I remember helping my grampa fix an old murray. I thought the coil was bad but checked it to briggs specs, 2500 to 5000 ohms it works. Well it checked out fine but it never had spark so we changed it anyway and sure enough it was the coil.

So how do these modules do their job? Is the kohlers system just for cold starting? How does the kawasaki system ignite the spark? Do any of these modules perfore the same task an a solid state ignition?

Thanks for taking the time to help a learning student out.
 
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Old 02-21-03, 07:20 PM
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How do they work? Well, after getting nowhere with Kohler dealer support techs and the kawasaki dealer...I had to figure as well as I could how they work on my own. I can't believe the companies' own techs don't know how they work! The igniter, as far as I can tell, basically acts as a solid state replacement for the points. It collapses the field generated in the coil windings by the magnet passing the armature legs to create the spark.

The SAM on a kohler, like your dad's, has several wires coming out of it. As far as I can tell, this is how it works: Four of the wires go to the coils, 2 to each coil. 1 of each pair is a trigger/kill wire to the coil. It is like the wire that goes to a set of points. If you intermittently ground it at the right time, it collapses the field and creates the spark. If you ground it and keep it grounded, the field can never generate, so it doesn't spark and kills the engine. The other is a signal/reference wire that sends a signal to the module. The signal is generated by the passing of the magnet on the flywheel. The sam uses this signal to determine the RPM and the position of the crankshaft of the engine. At low RPM, the module can adjust the timing to aid starting, probably through a capacitor or resistor. Once RPMs are reached, the module stops advancing the timing, it goes to the default setting, and then the module just uses the reference wire to determine when to ground the trigger/kill wire on the coil using the signal from the reference wire.

This is the best I can figure, and may not be 100% accurate, but noone else seems to know so I had to sit down with these things and figure them out for myself as well as I could.

I think that is the hardest small engine question I could be asked! LOL I hope I helped!
 
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Old 02-21-03, 07:37 PM
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Yes you sure did help. You cleared up a lot of questions I have been having. Thank you soooooo much.
 
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Old 02-21-03, 07:43 PM
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Anytime!
 
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