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issue: February 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Technology Report
High-Voltage Ignition Coils


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A new series of high-voltage coils from Perllo Technologies LLC and ECM Electronics Limited is said to offer oven, boiler, and furnace manufacturers a reliable, low-cost solution.

The new HV200 Series ignition coils feature a vacuum-sealed encapsulation method that is said to eliminate air pockets around the coils. According to Dan Weaver, ECM product manager, this increases the product’s reliability by 200 percent compared to other coils currently on the market.

“Our studies with customers in Europe showed us that the ignition circuit remains prone to failure in even the highest quality of equipment,” explains Mr. Weaver. “The culprit on the majority of the boards we were able to analyze was the ignition coil itself. We saw that several variables in circuit operation could lead to failure.”

Possible reasons for failure included ionized buildup on the spark electrode, poor isolation between coil windings, and missparking. According to Mr. Weaver, ionization build-up on the electrode and missparking caused the coil to be overstressed, and poor isolation within the coil soon became no isolation after several hours of continual performance. “We needed to address the problems we saw ‘at the source,’” he notes. “Building one coil to meet the stresses of life testing was no problem, the key was finding a way to do it time after time—and cost effectively.”

Using a compound polymer developed by ECM, Mr. Weaver says the company was able to design an encapsulation that performs as well as an equivalent glass encapsulated product while offering a more versatile, low-cost solution.

The plastic encapsulation also gives designers a lightweight coil, which Mr. Weaver says is a key factor when trying to improve shock and vibration performance of a circuit. “Although shock and vibration do not form part of the spec for many ignition systems, when developing the HV200 series, we were conscious that although very compact, the coil was likely to be one of the largest components on a printed circuit board. Our unique polymer encapsulation process offers excellent dielectric performance relative to its mass. This means the increased material density we achieve as part of our encapsulation process doesn’t negatively affect the product’s weight.”

 

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