The transistor ignition, or "TI ignition," for short, was an early iteration of electronic ignition, essentially, a switch with no moving parts. Put simply, it improved upon previous standard ignitions, primarily offering increased power, promising faster cold‐weather starts, and helping both distributor points and spark plugs last longer. What TI ignitions do is make it possible to send stronger current through the ignition coil without burning said points, which would happen otherwise.
Most transistorized ignition systems have breaker points set into a control circuit; the coil itself interfaces with a power circuit. How they work is, when the points close, less than one amp of current conducts through the control circuit, the power circuit turns on, and many more amps conduct through the coil. When the points open, however, the control circuit opens, the power circuit deactivates, and the coil's magnetic field collapses. This induces high voltage in secondary windings, a charge that gets sent to the spark plugs, same as in a conventional ignition.
So, what does this mean? Because the ampere load on the points is minuscule, far less than the amps that generally pass through standard ignitions, the problem of point burning and pitting essentially disappears. As a result, they last a lot longer. Plus, as mentioned, an engine can start a little faster in cold weather because of it. Replacing spark plugs doesn't need to happen as often, either.
Considering installing a TI ignition in your vintage Chevrolet? Car or truck, be sure you install new points, clean or change out your spark plugs, and check all wiring and connections during the project. You can order what you need right here at our auto parts store.
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