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Contents 1. The universal HT/LT/Spark
The manual is set out in sections (no numbered pages). current Hand-Held Ignition Tester
1. GENERAL DESCRIPTION & LEGEND (identifying components) The Hand-Held IgnitionMate Tester user to quickly zoom in on the area
displays visually, with great versatility, all where fault could be, simply by
2. BEFORE OPERATING IGNITIONMATE – Power requirements signals found in any ignition system in detecting current flow caused by fast
use in modern or classic vehicles, rising ignition pulses.
3. MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR IGNITIONMATE – operating including cars and motorcycles, Three separately calibrated HT scales
aeroplanes and outboard motors, (10,20,40kV) cover all possible
principals & tips on how to start using IgnitionMate. lawnmowers and garden tractors, conditions and ignition systems. Both
4. OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS - brushcutters, generators ….. positive and negative signals can be
4-1. SPARK & HT (kV) readings, ignition coil to sparkplug The specially designed high tension (HT) Three low tension (LT) scales
pick-up caliper captures HT voltage (10,40,400Vpk) allow AC peak voltage
4-2. SPARK current measurement, Primary & Secondary signals and ignition current in secondary measurements on ignition coil primary,
& primary of the ignition coil and exciter exciter coil, pick-up coil and sensor
4-3. LOW TENSION (Vpk) readings, primary circuits coil of a CDI system. circuitry and DC battery & charge
4-4. How to determine COIL VOLTAGE RESERVE system voltages.
Three different modes allow the user to
4-5. DC voltage measurements (battery & charging system) measure all signals on any ignition Simultaneous display of two signals
system. (HT & SPARK , HT & LT, SPARK & LT)
5. IGNITION SYSTEMS - The SPARK current mode allows the allow resolution of more complex faults,
such as the cause and effect of an
5-1. Capacitive discharge ignition – AC-CDI (Magneto CDI)
LEGEND erratic system that result in misfiring &
5-2. Capacitive discharge ignition – DC-CDI (Battery CDI) 1. External battery connection poor power delivery at high RPM.
2. LT (Vpk) voltage test lead ports Performance comparison of cylinders
5-3. Battery Coil Ignition – Transistor, breaker points 3. HT (high tension-kV) port on the same engine with calibrated
4. LEFT LED bar display SPARK current adjust and HT is made
5-4. Variations – Stick coil (coil on plug cap) & Dual output coil possible.
5. RIGHT LED bar display
6. TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURE – 6. Eight scale indicators
7. SPARK/kV selector for LEFT An adapter allows HT measurements
6-1. How to start – tips & suggestions display on integrated ‘stick’ coils.
8. HT (kV) polarity switch
6-2. Table of symptoms – Secondary (HT) side 9. HT (kV) pick-up ground. Powered by a rechargeable NiMH
10. Combination HT (kV) & SPARK Internal battery pack, with external
6-3. Zooming in with SPARK current (use SPARK scale ) power lead supplied for recharging and
current pick-up caliper
6-4. HT (kV) TEST, ignition secondary circuits 11. SPARK display sensitivity optional 12V battery power. Automatic
adjustor switch-off 5 minutes after cessation of
7. TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURE – primary circuits 12. SPARK current “zoom” input signals ensures 6 – 8 hour
13. Vpk & kV range selector for autonomy.
7-1. AC-CDI (Magneto CDI) RIGHT display
14. External 12V / NiMH battery A low battery light warns when to
7-2. DC-CDI (Battery CDI) recharge to avoid erroneous readings.
selector & reset switch
7-3. FTI (full transistor ignition) 15. Low battery indicator
16. Low Tension (Vpk) lead set The IgnitionMate is delivered in a soft
8. WEBSITES, PUBLICATIONS, TECMATE CONTACT & 17. External power / charge cord-set carry case that includes the
18. HT adapter mount for stick coils components listed below as well as this
PRODUCT WARRANTY DETAILS. manual and instructional DVD.
2. Before operating IgnitionMate - 3. Operating principals & making
Power requirements the most of your IgnitionMate
Powering the IgnitionMate from an The IgnitionMate measures peak typical engines in good running
CAUTION! external 12Vdc source (if the voltages & current of fast rising signals in condition that you normally service, you
internal NiMH battery pack is flat): ignition systems. will quickly develop a “feeling” for this
DO NOT connect the method.
IgnitionMate to a 100V / ATTENTION: POWERING THE
It is these peak voltages that are critical
to normal ignition system operation. The In the centre of the manual there is a
120V / 230V wall outlet. VEHICLE’S BATTERY OR A
IgnitionMate can quickly test the output of typical Serive Data sheet that can be
the ignition system and confirm if it is copied so that you may compile ignition
This could cause a GROUNDED DC SOURCE MAY
operating normally or if it should be data on your customers’ vehicles.
FATAL electric shock to CURRENT READINGS.
tested further. If you are troubleshooting
a poor driveability / engine power delivery This manual includes typical values
complaint the IgnitionMate can help you that can be expected on various
severely damage the A CHARGED & COMPLETELY
evaluate the ignition system as a ignition systems. NOTE: These are
possible cause of the symptom. typical values only. Some engines /
vehicles may be different.
WARNING! Some manufacturers may issue
The IgnitionMate will be databooks with typical “peak-voltage” View the IgnitionMate video (DVD may
The IgnitionMate has a rechargeable damaged if powered by a badly values that can be expected in their be included with the instrument) to
7,2V NiMH battery pack that allows ignition systems. familiarise yourself with the
cordless operation.
discharged vehicle battery in
After market data books such as IgnitionMate & peak voltage test
Autonomy is 6 – 8 hours. circuit with an activated starting published by Clymer, Haynes may also procedures or view or download an
Recharging internal NiMH battery / charging system, or, a provide typical ignition system values. MPEG video at
pack: charging system with a faulty
Recharge when necessary with an regulator. IMPORTANT: For Honda technicians:
external 12VDC source such as a well It should not be considered, however, as View the Full Cycle video program
charged 12V battery or regulated 12Vdc Automatic shut off & reset essential to have all the data before one “Ignition Troubleshooting – The Peak
power supply. can troubleshoot ignition systems. By Voltage Method” (order #S163x) to
When not actively measuring voltage
If the " BATT LOW” indicator lights up the measuring the various signals on a few familiarise yourself with the peak
signals the lgnitionMate shuts off
battery is flat and must be recharged. voltage test procedures.
automatically after 5 minutes to
conserve battery power. To restart it,
AccuMate Compact with 12Vdc
move the power switch to 12V (“0”),
powersupply selected is a suitable
then to NiMH (“1”) again.
recharging source.
Due to electromagnetic "noise" picked
Connection to a 12V lead-acid battery:
up by this sensitive instrument, there
Use the connection cable (#17-Sh.1)
may be a small signal displayed (4 or 5
supplied. Connect the red power lead, to
bars) even without input. This is normal
the positive (+) battery terminal and the
and has negligible influence on actual
black power lead to the battery negative
readings. In case your lgnitionMate
does not switch off automatically due to
this "noise" signal, move the spark
polarity switch to positive (+) to switch
off the lgnitionMate.
4-1. Operating instructions –SPARK & 4-2. Operating instructions –SPARK
HT (kV) readings, ignition coil to sparkplug current measurement, secondary & primary

Measuring secondary HT (kV) displayed. (10, 20kV). Adjusting SPARK current scale This may affect the displayed
voltage with theTest
START: ZOOMA Check other signal (a higher or false signal may
selector &
REMARK: As the HT (kV) voltage signals components be displayed).
Clamp the pick-up jaw onto the spark sensitivity knob
collected by the caliper are derived from B : go to section 6-4 / 6-5 / 6-6
plug lead near the spark plug. The spark
magnetic fields around the sparkplug
plug lead should be clean and dry. Reading
cable and coil, voltage signals may vary
NOTE : For models equipped with coil displayedSensitivity
slightly from cylinder to cylinder due to Replace ignition
on plug ignition systems install the HT knob
influence by adjacent sparkplug cables coil & start HT
adapter (#18-Sh.2) between the coil and Note firing voltage (Vs) at:
and other magnetic components. test again
the spark plug. Cranking speed
When comparing signals between ZOOM
Connect the pick-up ground wire clip (#9) Idle speed Unstable
cylinders it is essential that the caliper is Mid & high speed & selector
to a suitable ground point such as a
placed in the same position on every acceleration
metal body part. Unstable
cylinder’s sparkplug lead and as far away (see note 2) Replace stable at
Ground clip from other cables & magnetic sparkplug, check all speeds
components as possible. To start troubleshooting – Set ZOOM HT cable & cap &
selector to lowunstable Check
(left position) andcoil note plug firing
For example, place it where the cable Very Stable
primary voltage voltage again
enters the sparkplug cap and away from sensitivity/ intermittent
knob to1.
the coil. Too
• too small plug gap
Caliper on Simultaneous measurement of To measure / compare current
Remove between
sparkplug Low • fouled plug
cylinders - Set the sensitivity
cap &: note knob
(open to 10
plug lead secondary SPARK current & Too • HT lead insulation
and adjust thelow
ZOOM switch
circuit) until (Vo)
voltage a Where primary circuitry current could
defect (spark to ground)
HT (kV) voltage signal is displayed. Now Calculate
the be measured:
High • Too rich mi•ture
With SPARK selected for LEFT & kV for sensitivity knob untilvoltage Vo –
the signal Vs = Vr in
displays Ignition•coil Too
primary winding (input)
low compression
the RIGHT, current and HT (kV) voltage (section 4-4) current •– wires
the centre. Read off the value indicated Too advancedthe
to/from ignition
may be monitored simultaneously. by the knob pointer and note the position control module (ICM) to ignition coil.
The SPARK scale indicates actual of the ZOOM selector. E•citer or charge coil current - winding
current flow as well as the stability of NOTE: SPARK current • istoo big plug gap
influenced by is usually found in the stator – measure
‘spark’ across the sparkplug gap that Too high
engine speed, • HT When
fuel mi•ture. lead broken or current on the wire(s) to/from the ICM.
Switch on the IgnitionMate (#14). ignites the fuel. comparing signals betweenloose cylinders ChargingRepair
/ lighting coil from stator to
Select 40kV with the Vpk & kV range A stable SPARK & good HT (kV) signal • areMi•ture
ensure the conditions too lean
identical. regulator and
– measure
start HT current between
selector (#13) for RIGHT display. indicate a good system. fuel or carburettor the coil and
testthe diode bridge rectifier or
Crank the engine, and if it will start, set it A misfire will indicate as a sudden problem or air leak voltage regulator.
to an idle speed. reduction in SPARK signal. Measuring primary current
Determine the polarity of the signal by Unstable SPARK current may indicate a Any fast rising
MisfireAC current in a primary LowNOTE: Pulse coil / sensor –
ignition circuit
at highor ACRemove
part of the charge
sparkplug B :Current
go to is
alternatively selecting + and – on the HT lean or varying fuel/air mixture or poor usually too low for reliablesection 6-4
circuit (CDI) can be detected
speed cap &: noteand(open Check other
polarity switch (#8). The highest reading coil operation. measurement. / 6-5 / 6-6
displayed on the SPARKcircuit)current
(Vo) components
On multi-cylinder engines, be sure to Calculate reserve
TIP: A single coil firing only one plug is compare spark currents & voltages of voltage Vo – Vs = Vr OK
usually – (negative). Dual coils with a similar polarity to each other. If they are Clamp the caliper jaw onto the
(section 4-4)cable of Check or replace
single primary winding firing two not fairly similar check the spark plugs the circuit you want to measure. sparkplug, cap or
sparkplugs simultaneously (on the same and their gap settings. If these are O.K., HT lead, check
cylinder) will have a positive and negative and the difference in readings between DO NOTNormalconnect& stable
the ground clip firing voltage again
at all speeds Ignition system
output. cylinders of like polarity remains when measuring primary OK,current.
verify timing.
You may now select a kV scale that is significant, there may be a weakness
more appropriate for the signal being elsewhere in the ignition system.
4-3. Operating instructions –Low 4-4. Operating instructions – How
Tension (Vpk) readings - primary circuitry to determine coil voltage reserve
Measuring Low Tension (Vpk) There are three scales for Vpk & DC Measuring Voltage Reserve plug lead should be clean and dry. The
signals readings: clamp jaw must close completely
10Vpk-typically for pick up coils or The voltage (or ignition) reserve is the around the spark plug lead.
These are all the other signals found at extra voltage the coil can produce to fire
sensor circuitry and battery voltage NOTE : For models equipped with coil
and before the primary side of the ignition a worn spark plug (with an increased
during cranking. on plug ignition systems install the
coil. They should only be checked when gap) or fire the spark plug under full load
40Vpk-for pick up coil circuitry, accessory test lead between the coil
some abnormality is found in the high at high rpm.
measurement of DC voltages in ignition and the spark plug.
voltage side.
& charging circuitry. Position the pick-up away from other
See below a typical waveform at the The voltage (or ignition) reserve is
400Vpk- ignition coil primary & exciter coil wires to prevent picking up their
ignition coil primary during cranking / determined by measuring the difference
coil. voltage signals.
idling, as seen on an oscilloscope. between the voltage the coil is able to Connect the pick-up ground wire clip to
Peak Volts NOTE: The low tension (Vpk) scales of deliver when not connected to the plug the engine.
(Vpk) the IgnitionMate are polarity sensitive. and the firing voltage under normal Disconnect the spark plug cap from the
If no reading is seen at first, swap the running conditions. spark plug and position it away from
leads around. In general, the greater the reserve the any metal parts.
better. Switch on the IgnitionMate.
Where to measure? Select the 40kV scale.
Vo NOTE : Ignition coils with two spark
leads will have one negative and one
To effectively troubleshoot a fault and 35kV
positive polarity spark. See section 4-1
narrow down the cause, take voltage
to determine spark polarity.
(Vpk) readings at the extremities of the Vr
circuit and compare. For example, to WARNING : Never rev the engine
Average when testing coil output voltage.
determine if an ignition coil is receiving Vs
Volts the correct signal from the ICM, This test is hard on the coil and
measure as close as possible to the revving the engine can damage
ICM then at the ignition coil primary the coil during this test.
For ignition systems the peak voltage
connector pins and compare the
values are important. The IgnitionMate
readings. They should be very similar. Crank the engine, and if it will start
reads the highest voltage points of any
(multi cylinder engine), set it to an idle
voltage waveform.
In section 5 various ignition systems speed. Note the voltage reading (Vo).
In the case of direct current (DC)
are covered plus suggestions how to Switch off the engine and re-attach
signals, the IgnitionMate reads DC
use the IgnitionMate to troubleshoot. the sparkplug cap.
voltage on Vpk scales automatically. Vo = Open circuit voltage Crank the engine, and if it will start, set
Vs = Spark voltage it to an idle speed.
How to measure? Vr = Reserve voltage Record the voltage reading (Vs) and
Vr = Vo – Vs determine the reserve voltage (Vr).
Connect the black and red test leads to
the connectors of the same colour at the Measuring voltage reserve TIPS: If the Vo registers at the top of the
top of the IgnitionMate (# 2). Push either Connect the high voltage pick-up to the 40kV scale (i.e. 40kV or more) the coil
the alligator clips or the back probes onto top of the IgnitionMate, making sure the power is usually OK.
the ends of the leads. connection is secure by tightening the Factors that influence Vs & therefore Vr:
threaded collar nut. Vs higher, Vr lower - lean fuel mixture. –
Switch on the IgnitionMate (#14). Select
Vs lower, Vr higher - too small sparkplug
the appropriate scale with the selector Clamp the pick-up jaw onto the spark gap, rich fuel mixture, low compression
knob (#13) & read the voltage displayed. plug lead near the spark plug. The spark
4-5. Operating instructions – DC 5-1. Ignition Systems – Capacitive
measurements (battery & charging system) Discharge Ignition (CDI) : AC-CDI
10Vpk scale. Crank the engine. The Mainly found in mid- and small size motorcycles, outboards and stationary engines.
In electric start vehicles the battery & reading should not drop below 10V A condenser (capacitor) is charged at 300 – 400V and discharged through the
charging system form part of ignition during cranking. If it does then the primary winding of the ignition coil. At that time a high voltage is generated at the
system operation. A poor battery will battery is not charged sufficiently or it secondary side.
cause poor ignition performance. cannot deliver the required cranking The AC-CDI (or magneto CDI) condenser is charged by an exciter coil (charge coil).
power and may need to be replaced. NOTE: Some motorcycles (enduro etc.) have a battery for electric start purposes, but
The Vpk (Volts Peak) scales can be the ignition system is not dependent on the battery for power.
used to measure DC voltages of the Checking the charging system: The condenser, trigger circuit, diode and discharge switch (SCR / thyristor) are
lighting, battery & charging system. Select the 40Vpk scale and connect the usually combined into one single unit called the Ignition Control Module (ICM) or CDI
leads to the battery. Start the vehicle control module.
How to measure? and allow the engine to warm up. AC-CDI (Magneto CDI) : simplified layout
Adjust and hold the engine speed The main components are shown together with measurement positions for the
above 2000rpm. Check the voltage IgnitionMate.
Connect the black and red test leads to reading. It should measure 14 or 15V. kV = 10, 20, 40kV scales
the connectors of the same colour at the
SPARK = SPARK current scale
top of the IgnitionMate (# 2). Push either A lower voltage may indicate an under Vpk = 10, 40, 400 Vpk scales
the alligator clips or the back probes onto performing charging system that is not Typical readings
the ends of the leads. recharging your battery sufficiently. Secondary kV = at least 4kV when cranking & 10 to 16kV when running normally
Attach the black lead to ground or
Secondary & primary SPARK current = varies. A consistent & stable current is
negative pole of the battery. Attach the A higher voltage points to a fault in the important.
red lead to the positive pole of the charging system that may cause Primary coil voltage = 100Vpk when cranking, 150 to 300Vpk when running
battery. damage to the vehicle electrical system Pulse coil / sensor voltage = 0,7Vpk to 5Vpk during cranking & low RPM, growing
Switch on the IgnitionMate (#14). Select and overcharge the battery. to 20 – 30V at high RPM.
the appropriate scale with the selector Exciter / Charge coil = 100Vpk when cranking, 150 to 300Vpk when running
knob (#13) & read the voltage displayed.
NOTE: Some ignition systems may have lower exciter coil voltages.
E.G. Honda CR models have lower exciter coil voltages
Battery & charging system CR80 CR125 CR250 CR500
tests 52 V 50V 33V

Measuring battery voltage :Select the Exciter Don’t attach

ground clip for
40Vpk scale, connect the black test lead current SPARK current
to the battery negative and red test lead SPARK
to battery positive. Switch on the EXCITER / ICM
A reading of:
11V or less – indicates a discharged Attach caliper
Vpk ground clip to
battery. Charge first before continuing measure kV

with troubleshooting. Trigger Don’t attach

ground clip for
12V to 13V – indicates a charged battery. circuit

Performing a crank test: To determine if

the battery is able to deliver sufficient PULSE COIL
power during cranking without adversely / SENSOR
Primary Vpk

affecting ignition performance, select the

5-2. Ignition Systems – Capacitive 5-3. Ignition Systems – Battery
Discharge Ignition (CDI) : DC-CDI Coil ignition : transistor, breaker points
The battery coil ignition is used where powerful batteries are available : cars, mid to
Mainly found in mid- and small size electric start motorcycles, outboards and large sized motorcycles and marine engines. The power of the battery is used to
stationary engines. A condenser (capacitor) is charged at 300 – 400V and generate a high voltage in the ignition coil each time the primary coil current is
discharged through the primary winding of the ignition coil. At that time a high interrupted. Variations are :
voltage is generated at the secondary side. a) Breaker point (& condenser) ignition where the switch is opened mechanically.
In a DC-CDI (battery CDI) system the condenser is charged by a static converter In multi-cylinder vehicles the ‘points’ are usually incorporated in the distributor.
with power supplied by the battery. In modern cars the distributor ‘points’ have been replaced by transistor control.
The condenser, trigger circuit, converter and discharge switch (SCR / thyristor) are b) Transistor controlled ignition : The ignition control module incorporates a trigger
usually combined into one single unit called the Ignition Control Module (ICM) or CDI circuit and transistor switch that is opened & closed electronically.
control module. Battery power is supplied to the positive input of the ignition coil whilst the negative
DC-CDI (Battery CDI) : simplified layout input is switched to ground via the transistor. Current flows from the battery to
The main components are shown together with measurement positions for the ground creating a magnetic field in the ignition coil. The pulse sensor will send the
IgnitionMate. signal to switch the transistor off, current flow is interrupted and the collapsing
kV = 10, 20, 40kV scales magnetic field generates a high reverse voltage (100 to 300V) across the primary
SPARK = SPARK current scale winding. This voltage is magnified in the secondary winding (4 to 20kV) resulting in
Vpk = 10, 40, 400 Vpk scales the spark across the plug electrodes.
Typical readings Transistorized ignition: simplified layout
Secondary kV = at least 4kV when cranking & 10 to 16kV when running normally The main components are shown together with measurement positions for the
Secondary & primary SPARK current = varies. A consistent & stable current is IgnitionMate. (kV = 10, 20, 40kV scales; SPARK = SPARK current scale; Vpk = 10,
important. 40, 400 Vpk scales).
Primary coil voltage = 100Vpk when cranking, 150 to 300Vpk when running NOTE: In multi-cylinder powersport engines each cylinder will have an ignition coil
Pulse coil / sensor voltage = 0,7Vpk to 5Vpk during cranking & low RPM, growing and transistor control unit. On some modern fuel injected vehicles ignition and fuel
to 20 – 30V at high RPM. injection control are incorporated in a single control module.
Battery voltage = not less than 10V when cranking, 13 to 14,5V when running. Typical readings
Secondary kV = at least 4kV when cranking & 10 to 16kV when running normally
Secondary & primary SPARK current = A consistent & stable current is important.
Primary coil voltage = 100Vpk when cranking, 200 to 300Vpk when running
IGNITION COIL kV & SPARK Pulse coil / sensor voltage = 0,7Vpk to 5Vpk during cranking & low RPM, growing
to 20 – 30V at high RPM.
circuit Attach caliper
ground clip to
Battery voltage = not less than 10V when cranking, 13 to 14,5V when running.
measure kV

Trigger Don’t attach

circuit ground clip for Vpk
/ SENSOR Primary Vpk BATTERY ICM Attach caliper
Vpk ground clip to
measure kV
Primary Vpk

Vpk Primary
Don’t attach current
ground clip for
SPARK current
5-4. Ignition Systems –Variations - 6-1. Troubleshooting Procedure –
Stick coil (coil on plug cap) & Dual output coil How to start
Stick coil / Ignition Coil integrated with sparkplug cap
The ignition coil is in the sparkplug cap, supplying power directly to the plug and Preparation (ignition reserve) test.
eliminating the sparkplug cable. To measure secondary High tension voltage, How? See section 4-4.
separate the stickcoil from the plug and insert a stickcoil adapter mount (Section 1 - 1. Determine the ignition system type NOTE: As spark voltage is influenced
#18) between the plug and stickcoil. Fit the IgnitionMate caliper over the stickcoil from the vehicle manufacturer’s by many factors, the voltage reserve
adapter mount cable for High Tension (kV) &SPARK current measurements. documentation. See section 5 for a will decrease in some conditions.
general overview of different ignition The spark voltage rises with:
Caliper fitted over systems and expected values. ♦ Increased eng♦ne load / h♦gher rpm
stickcoil adapter 2. Gather data on what values you ♦ Retarded ♦gn♦t♦on t♦m♦ng
should expect to see. Use the ♦ Leaner m♦xture (fuel/a♦r)
3 stickcoil Service Data sheet (in the centre of ♦ More o♦l ♦n m♦xture (two stroke)
adapters fitted this manual) to record data that can ♦ B♦gger spark gap
to a 4 in line be used to troubleshoot ignition ♦ On mult♦-cyl♦nder eng♦nes w♦th two
motorcycle problems on similar vehicles in the plugs connected to each co♦l the
engine future. voltage on the pos♦t♦ve polar♦ty
3. Determine the symptoms of the fault. plug ♦s h♦gher than on the negat♦ve
E.G. Can the vehicle start, can it plug.
idle, does the engine misfire under See sect♦ons 6-2, 6-3 & 6-4 for further
load etc. ass♦stance w♦th secondary
Dual output coil (i.e. coil with two spark plugs) troubleshoot♦ng.
A dual output coil fires two spark plugs simultaneously. Some classic in-line 4 Troubleshooting
4. Test the pr♦mary c♦rcu♦t voltage
cylinder motorcycle engines are fitted with 2 dual coils. On modern hi performance
Recommendation: For electric start between the ♦gn♦t♦on control
engines a dual output coil fires two sparkplugs per cylinder for improved combustion.
vehicles, first check the battery and cable module (ICM) and the ♦gn♦t♦on co♦l.
The ignition coil delivers negative voltage to one sparkplug and positive voltage to
connections at the battery posts. The How? See sect♦on 4-3.
the other. If no reading is seen on the kV scales of the IgnitionMate, move the
battery & charging system affects ignition 5. Test the pulse generator co♦l
polarity switch to the opposite position.
system operation. See section 4-5 how to output. How? See sect♦on 4-3.
The primary supply is the same as for a standard coil firing a single sparkplug.
(-) negative perform DC voltage measurements & a If the pulse generator tests bad,
SPARK polarity Secondary
battery cranking test. d♦sconnect and retest separately.
– (neg) kV &
IGNITION COIL SPARK current 6. Test the power from the exc♦ter co♦l
General troubleshooting sequence: or battery. How? See sect♦ons 4-3
& 4-5.
Attach caliper
ground clip to 1. Start your ignition troubleshooting at If the exc♦ter co♦l tests bad,
measure kV
the spark plug. This is the “end of d♦sconnect and retest separately.
Don’t attach Secondary
ground clip for the line” for all ignition systems and
SPARK current
+ (pos) kV &
SPARK current
the easiest part to access on modern See sect♦ons 7-1, 7-2 or 7-3 for deta♦led
motorcycles, ATV’s and scooters. pr♦mary troubleshoot♦ng sequences.
(+) positive 2. Test the plug firing voltage & current.
polarity Attach caliper

Primary Vpk
ground clip to How? Section 4-1. 7-1 : AC-CDI / Magneto CDI
measure kV
See section 6-2 and 6-3 for more 7-2 : DC-CDI / Battery CDI
details. 7-3 : FTI : full trans♦stor ♦gn♦t♦on
3. Test the coil output to confirm
maximum voltage available by
performing a voltage reserve
6-2. Troubleshooting Procedure – 6-3. Troubleshooting Procedure –
Table of symptoms, secondary (HT) side Zooming in with SPARK current
NOTE: Cranking the engine is the minimum requirement for this test sequence.
NOTE: Voltage & current up to the primary winding of the ignition coil should be
normal to use this table.
START : set stable Measure ma•. coil OK Check for other
SPARK current current secondary voltage faults –e.g. fuel
Spark current Spark current Spark current parameters for (determine reserve voltage) supply
VERY LOW NORMAL VERY HIGH troubleshooting. (S4-4).
VERY HIGH OPEN CIRCUIT 1 HIGH 2 FOR SYSTEM 3 Check ignition coil Unstable Not OK / too low
Spark voltage CURRENT TOO ALL OK! HIGH PRIMARY secondary current
NORMAL LOW 4 VOLTAGE 5 SPARK current Go to HT test (S6.4) Check for break in
spark cable &
Spark voltage WEAK IGNITION VOLTAGE TOO SHORTED No current Voltage connection to coil.
VERY LOW SYSTEM 6 LOW 7 CIRCUIT 8 stable present Go to HT test (S6.4)
1. Current cannot flow : open circuit (no spark) current Measure secondary
cable interupted (break in cable) Check ignition coil voltage closest
cable not connected to plug cap or at coil primary current where spark cable No
(S 4-2) enters ignition coil Voltage Check ignition coil
2. Current flows, but with high energy
primary voltage
lean mixture No/unstable
spark plug gap too big current DC-CDI Verify all
break in cable or between cable and plug cap with spark still jumping across FTI connections No or
3. Current flows, but with too high energy AC-CDI (See *1) to low Voltage
High combustion pressure CDI / ICM Voltage normal
lean mixture unit, then go
Check e•citer / to Primary Replace ignition
spark plug gap too big Stable /
charge coil current Test for coil and START
break in cable or between cable and plug cap with spark still jumping across (see *2) unstable again.
spark jumping to ground : inside cable, from cable to ground or plug cap (S 4-2) current AC-CDI
4. Weak ignition system (insufficient reserve voltage) S7-2:
5. High current boost no current Voltage DC-CDI
booster system on secondary or primary? Normal S7-3: FTI
High DC voltage to primary of coil : unregulated charging system Disconnect
charge coil from
6. Low current & voltage
CDI unit and
low DC voltage from battery : charging system not operating measure charge NOTES:
low exciter coil voltage coil voltage *1) Connections to ICM or CDI unit include ignition primary coil,
damaged ignition coil : (partly) shorted secondary winding charge coil(s) in case of AC-CDI or battery in case of DC-CDI &
7. Spark plug gap too small, wet plug, carbon deposit on plug, mixture too rich No, low or FTI, pulse coil or sensor, “ kill-switch”and/or “ ignition switch”
8. Shorted circuit : in coil, between cable and cap and ground or damaged plug unstable neutral switch (there may be more switches / sensors affecting
voltage ICM operation). For AC-CDI check that “ kill-switch” and/or
“ ignition switch” is not shorted to ground / body.
Replace e•citer / *2) In some systems two charge coils are used : low speed & high
charge coil, verify speed coil. Check both coils.
coil resistance
and START again.
6-4. Troubleshooting Procedure – 7-1. Troubleshooting Procedure –
HT test – ignition secondary circuits Primary – AC-CDI (Magneto-CDI)

This test is common for all power sport ignition types. Typically in use on light machines with no or very small battery. The ignition is independent
Cranking the engine is the minimum requirement for this test. from the battery. The battery is primarily used to crank the engine.

START here if the tests in section Replace ignition

(A) START : Disconnect No reading or too low 6-3 & 6-4 were unsuccessful coil Return to
plug lead & measure coil Check primary TIP: Verify HT test
secondary voltage components, go to primary & S6-4
(Vo=open circuit voltage : S7-1 : AC-CDI Normal secondary coil
See S4-4) Too low or unstable S7-2 : DC-CDI Check primary coil resistance.
S7-3 : FTI voltage (S4-3)
High reading
(>20kV) To low or
Reconnect plug lead Calculate reserve Normal
and measure plug firing Normal & stable voltage (see S4.4) OK Disconnect the coil
voltage at from the CDI unit and Replace pulse coil
- Cranking speed connect resistor (*1) TIP: Verify by
- Idle speed Too big plug gap, HT instead & check checking coil
- Mid & high speed & cable broken or loose. After voltage across resistor resistance.
acceleration Mixture too lean : repair at cranking speed.
fuel or carburetor Still too
Too High problem or manifold air Too low or low or
leak unstable unstable

Check charge coil Check pulse coil Too low or Disconnect pulse
(exciter coil) output Normal output, connected unstable coil from CDI unit
Too small plug gap; After voltage, connected to to CDI unit (S4-3). and check output
Bridged or foul plug; repair the CDI unit. (*2) again
Too Low HT lead insulation
defect; Too rich mixture Too low or Normal
Poor power Too low compression; unstable Normal
delivery Wrong timing
Disconnect charge coil
Very unstable (*1) (exciter coil) from CDI Normal Replace CDI unit
Check coil primary Unstable unit and measure TIP: Before replacement,
Intermittent (*2) voltage charge coil voltage verify the connections (*1) Use 100 Ohm
once more to/from CDI unit & check resistor instead of
Stable if switches that inhibit ignition coil – the
Stable Too low or operation are not shorted internal capacitor
Replace sparkplug(s), unstable – “killswitch”; “ignition has to discharge,
check plug firing switch”, neutral switch. resistor replaces the
voltage again Ignition system Replace charge coil coil impedance.
= OK ! TIP: Verify by checking (*2) Some systems
Still Unstable coil resistance. have two charge
coils, low speed &
Replace ignition coil, high speed. Check
go back to (A) START Check ignition Return to HT test S6-4 both.
7-2. Troubleshooting Procedure – 7-3. Troubleshooting Procedure –
Primary – DC-CDI ( Battery CDI) Primary – FTI ( Full transistor ignition)

Typically used on big engines, using a powerful battery. Modern engines have an ICM –
Advanced CDI system requiring a battery instead of the charge coil (for easier starting). The ignition control unit that controls spark ignition to multiple cylinders. Fuel injected engines
battery is also used to crank the engine. may have a combination ignition & fuel injection control unit.

START here if the tests in section START here if the tests in section
6-3 & 6-4 were unsuccessful Replace ignition coil 6-3 & 6-4 were unsuccessful Replace ignition coil
TIP: Verify primary & TIP: Verify primary & Return to HT
secondary coil secondary coil test S6-4
Normal resistance. Normal resistance.
Check primary coil Check primary coil
voltage (S4-3) voltage (S4-3)
Light fluctuation
To low or Too low or can be noticed
unstable Return to HT unstable +/- 12V Replace pulse coil
Normal test S6-4 Replace pulse coil or sensor.
Disconnect the coil TIP: Verify by Disconnect the coil TIP: For pulse coil
from the CDI unit and checking coil from the transistor Normal Crank the - verify coil
connect resistor (*1) resistance. control unit / ICM . 12V-13V engine and resistance.
instead & check Measure voltage at unit monitor output
voltage across resistor Replace CDI unit output connection with voltage (*1)
at cranking speed. TIP: Before replacement, Still too ignition on, but engine Too low
verify the connections low or static. Stable reading or
Too low (*2) to/from CDI unit & check if unstable +/- 12V (battery Too high, unstable
or unstable switches that inhibit Low, less than 12V voltage) see (*1)
operation are not shorted –
Check the battery “killswitch”; “ignition switch”, Normal Disconnect Check battery voltage Check pulse coil Disconnect
voltage at the CDI unit neutral switch. pulse coil from at supply input of unit or sensor (*2) pulse coil or
TIP: Should be: CDI unit and TIP: Static: 12V-13V Normal output, connected sensor (*2)
cranking:10V or higher check output cranking:10V or higher to ICM (S4-3). Too low from ICM and
running: 12 to 14.5V Check pulse coil again running: 12 to 14.5V (crank engine for check output
Normal output, connected Too low or this check) unstable again
Too low to CDI unit (S4-3). unstable Too low
Normal Normal
Check the battery Check the voltage at
voltage at the battery the battery
Replace the transistor ignition
Too low Normal (12V+) (*1) Use a 100 Ohm resistor instead of ignition Too low Normal (12V+) unit / ICM (*3).
coil – the internal capacitor has to discharge,
Charge Bad power resistor replaces the coil impedance. Charge Bad power
& test line. Check : (*2) If the ignition system under test is not a & test line. Check : (*1) If the reading is much higher than
the Connections, DC-CDI system, but a transistor ignition, the the Connections, battery voltage, it is probably a DC-CDI
battery. wiring, fuse. voltage at this point will be 12V. Go to S7-3. battery. wiring, fuse. ignition, not a transistor ignition. Go to S7-2.
Check Switches that Check Switches that (*2) A ‘HALL’ sensor is used in place of a
vehicle inhibit vehicle inhibit pulse coil. The sensor will generate a pulse
charge operation - charge operation - when the magnet on the rotating engine
system. Ignition, kill, system. Ignition, kill, shaft passes by the sensor pickup position.
neutral etc. neutral etc. *3) Before replacing, check all switches /
sensors that may inhibit ignition operation.
Return to HT test S6-4 Return to HT test S6-4
8. Websites, Publications, TecMate
contact details, Warranty
Websites: Warranty: The warranty period for the
IgnitionMate – IgnitionMate is 24 months from date of
View or download: the video, vehicle purchase. This limited warranty
electrical diagrams with markers where becomes invalid if damage to the
to measure signals with IgnitionMate,use IgnitionMate results from failure to
the message board to to communicate follow instructions in this manual during
with other IgnitionMate owners about use of the instrument or recharging of
ignition problems. the internal batteries.
Repair manuals : This warranty specifically excludes publish manuals for replacement of cables or connectors
cars & motorcycles. that have suffered physical abuse or manuals for cars, corrosion. The excluded parts include
motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, cable & connectors of HT pick-up
personal watercraft, small engines caliper #10, cables and all connectors list manuals for of #16 & 17, as listed in Section 1.
motorcycles, ATVs, automotives, marine Repairs to the IgnitionMate will be
made free of charge during the 24
TecMate contact details & months’ period for defects in material
and workmanship.
territories covered: Misuse and abuse is not covered.
Transport costs are to be paid by the
TecMate (International) S.A., St.
Truidensesteenweg 252, 3300-Tienen,
This warranty is offered by the division
Belgium – Europe (West & East),
of TecMate that covers the territory in
United Kingdom, Japan, Asia,
which you reside.
Australia, New Zealand, South
America, Middle East & North Africa
How to facilitate a warranty claim
or out of warranty repair:
TecMate North America, Unit 22, 1100 Proof of purchase is required if a claim
Invicta Dr., Oakville, ON, L6H 2K9, under warranty is being considered.
Canada – Canada, United States of Contact the dealer or distributor from
America, Central America whom the product was originally purchased. If this is not possible, then
locate the national distributor on the
TecMate (South Africa), A6 Pinelands TecMate website or contact TecMate
Buss’ Park, Pinelands, 7405, Western for details.
Cape, South Africa – Sub Saharan Do not ship your product direct to
Africa, Indian Ocean Islands TecMate without our prior knowledge. We cannot accept responsibility if a
product is lost without being consulted
on where it should be sent and safest
way to send it.