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markg2
03-02-2008, 02:51 PM
There's been a running full page ad in Scientific American for the referenced (pulstarplug.com) which, as opposed to the traditional spark plug, uses a pulse circuit.

This device is touted to increase torgue, horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Any current knowledge about this thing here?

Thanks,

Mark

D_E_Davis
03-02-2008, 03:01 PM
No one has posted here yet, on this. But, in skimming the web it appears that opinion is mixed. and that the gains are small if they exist at all.

Personally, at the quoted price of $25/plug I'd be tempted to try something cheaper.

Eric
03-02-2008, 04:53 PM
There's been a running full page ad in Scientific American for the referenced (pulstarplug.com) which, as opposed to the traditional spark plug, uses a pulse circuit.

This device is touted to increase torgue, horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Any current knowledge about this thing here?

Thanks,

Mark


I'm with Dennis on this; while there may be some slight improvement in combustion efficiency, I doubt it's enough to warrant the high price per plug. I've been following this stuff for many years now and I have yet to find a single case where something like a plug change (assuming you start with a good quality OEM piece as the baseline) produces anything more than a nominal - or negligible - benefit.

I'll stand corrected if there is data - hard facts, via an objective third party source - that shows a gain/improvement that justifies the much higher price of these things relative to OEM plugs....

chiph
03-03-2008, 03:35 PM
NGK regular plugs are $4 each. Just change them more often to get that "fresh car feeling"

Chip H.

grouch
03-04-2008, 01:12 AM
There's been a running full page ad in Scientific American for the referenced (pulstarplug.com) which, as opposed to the traditional spark plug, uses a pulse circuit.

This device is touted to increase torgue, horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Any current knowledge about this thing here?

Thanks,

Mark



Stuff like this pops up every now and then and then fades when all the suckers....er....people willing to try it find out it doesn't work. Things like the "Tornado" have been around since at least the 1920's and are cheap enough to make that if it really worked, the car companies would be all over it. I remember back in the 60's, my grandfather tried a plug in hotter coil you put in place of the coil wire on the coil and then the coil wire was plugged into it. Technically, it did do what it claimed. It said it made a hotter spark. However, my grandfather was a master tool and die maker and he kept his equipment tuned properly. It ended up burning a hole in the top of two piston heads.

Ken
03-04-2008, 01:57 PM
Stuff like this pops up every now and then and then fades when all the suckers....er....people willing to try it find out it doesn't work. Things like the "Tornado" have been around since at least the 1920's and are cheap enough to make that if it really worked, the car companies would be all over it. I remember back in the 60's, my grandfather tried a plug in hotter coil you put in place of the coil wire on the coil and then the coil wire was plugged into it. Technically, it did do what it claimed. It said it made a hotter spark. However, my grandfather was a master tool and die maker and he kept his equipment tuned properly. It ended up burning a hole in the top of two piston heads.


Sounds to me that the hotter spark gave better ignition resulting in a broader/faster flame front. I seem to remember that, back in the good old days when cars could be tuned without access to electronic wizardry and micro chips, when fitting a Piranha 'hot spark' system it was necessary to retard the ignition slightly to obviate detonation and holes in pistons. I still have one of the old Piranha units in my garage somewhere, if I ever get an old Mini Cooper ......... Then there was another system, can't remember the name, that effectively generated a plasma flame across the spark plug. I wonder whatever became of that? Rob may remember it.

Ken.

Eric
03-04-2008, 03:13 PM
Stuff like this pops up every now and then and then fades when all the suckers....er....people willing to try it find out it doesn't work. Things like the "Tornado" have been around since at least the 1920's and are cheap enough to make that if it really worked, the car companies would be all over it. I remember back in the 60's, my grandfather tried a plug in hotter coil you put in place of the coil wire on the coil and then the coil wire was plugged into it. Technically, it did do what it claimed. It said it made a hotter spark. However, my grandfather was a master tool and die maker and he kept his equipment tuned properly. It ended up burning a hole in the top of two piston heads.


Sounds to me that the hotter spark gave better ignition resulting in a broader/faster flame front. I seem to remember that, back in the good old days when cars could be tuned without access to electronic wizardry and micro chips, when fitting a Piranha 'hot spark' system it was necessary to retard the ignition slightly to obviate detonation and holes in pistons. I still have one of the old Piranha units in my garage somewhere, if I ever get an old Mini Cooper ......... Then there was another system, can't remember the name, that effectively generated a plasma flame across the spark plug. I wonder whatever became of that? Rob may remember it.

Ken.


These things may work - in the sense that they do deliver a hotter/brighter spark, etc. - but the real question is, does one gain a meaningful performance/efficiency improvement?

With an older vehicle (car or truck) that left the factory with a crude (by modern standards) ignition system, an upgrade can be well worth the money spent. For example, I replaced the OE points-style ignition and factory coils in my '76 Kz900 with a modern transistorized set-up and more powerful coils. I also use new-type NGK plugs with this rig. Major improvement in engine performance, esp. cold-starting and high-rpm power.

But with a modern car/bike that already has a high-output ignition system, I have yet to see an improvement that justifies the cost of replacing the OE system (or plugs) with these supposed wonder products...

Ken
03-04-2008, 04:45 PM
But with a modern car/bike that already has a high-output ignition system, I have yet to see an improvement that justifies the cost of replacing the OE system (or plugs) with these supposed wonder products...



Agreed. With a good, modified, ignition system (Piranha, CDI or similar) on an older car I would expect it to feel better, smoother, better pick-up. I would not expect to see any significant speed improvement. The same effect could often be obtained by running a slightly overvolted ignition coil. I used to run six volt coils, fitted with heat sinks, at eight to nine volts switching to twelve volts, via the ignition switch, just for starting. Eventually Vauxhall introduced a similar system on their cars.

It is the same with fuelling modifications. I could, for example, fit a Power Commander on my CBR6 and have the fuel ratio optimised across the board. I would expect to notice that the bike had better fuelling, was smoother in the mid-range and had lost the annoying stutter around the 5000 - 6000 rpm range. In short I would expect the bike to be more pleasant to ride. As to whether the bike would be any faster round Cadwell or anywhere else for that matter is a moot point.

From my experience these fuel/ignition mods make the vehicle smoother, easier and more pleasant to drive without significantly altering top end performance.

To gain significant performance then much more major changes are required, supercharging, supercharging, gas flowed heads, increased compression ratio, (or decreased in the case of supercharged/turbocharged) full flow exhaust systems, carb/fuel injection optimisation, weight reduction modifications and gearing changes - these changes may often, however, demand a change to a harder grade of spark plug type to cater for the increased heat characteristics of the modified engine - the plug on its own will rarely have a significant effect.

Ken.

Jim Rose
06-02-2008, 06:28 PM
For the 13 years that I worked a regular territory selling engine analyzers and training mechanics in their use, I ran across just about every type of scam product that could be made. Seems like what you can't see is the best and easiest to sell, and spark plugs and ignition systems fall into that category.
The biggest improvement in spark plugs happened in 1956 when Autolite came out with the first extended core plugs. Past that, the spark plug material that makes plugs last longer has been the only improvement. Without lead in the fuel to foul the plugs and the new ignition systems, we've just about hit the pinnacle of what you can do to a spark. MDS systems use multiple firings at low RPM --that improves the idle. Past that, if the plug fires and ignites the fuel/air mix and starts the flame front moving, there is not much more to do.
What do you call a "hotter" spark? One that is higher voltage or higher amperage? Let's face the facts, all you need is a spark that will start the flame front. Increasing the intensity does nothing more than make you feel good.
The real reason for the extremely high voltage ignition systems is that they will ionize a larger air gap and therefore give us the 100K spark plug. I am talking about pure stock run down the highway stuff-- just like the mfg designed it. Most of us don't race and even if we did, today's ignition systems would probably be adequate.
The most important things are that you use the proper heat range spark plug and make sure that the ignition timing is properly set to mfg specs. If you push the base timing, you will probably cause some engine damage because the old rule is that for each degree of over advance, you increase the spark plug tip temperature. You will, in short order, have enough heat to cause pre-ignition, detonation, and finally burn a hole in the piston.
Today's engines run at peak efficiency with stock parts. You'll have to spend more money that it's worth to make any noticeable improvements for normal driving situations.

DonTom
06-03-2008, 05:37 AM
"It said it made a hotter spark. However, my grandfather was a master tool and die maker and he kept his equipment tuned properly. It ended up burning a hole in the top of two piston heads."

A hotter plug should be used in a cooler engine. A cooler engine requires a hotter plug and vice versa. A hot plug in a hot engine can mean a hole in your pistons.

However. more voltage on the plug will give you a more efficient spark, not a hotter spark, and that's fine.

How "hot" or "cold" a plug is, is the measure of how long it takes heat to be removed from the tip of the plug. This is why a hot engine requires a cold plug and vice versa.

IMAO, it's always best to use the plug that the manufacturer of the engine says to use. They spend the big bucks to figure this stuff out and no after market company is likely to match it for anything even near normal driving conditions.

IMAO, there are countless items made for cars that do nothing but waste money. But some are even worse as they can damage your engine too.
-Don-