How to charge an RC glow plug igniter

Written by howard altman
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How to charge an RC glow plug igniter
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Nitro-powered R/C engines use a glow plug to burn the fuel. The glow plug has a wire that will heat to red hot when as little as 1.2 volts of electricity are applied. A battery-powered glow plug igniter is used to supply the initial voltage. Once the engine is running, the igniter is removed and the heat from burning nitro keeps the plug lit. Most glow plug igniters are powered wiith rechargeable batteries that need to be charged before you go to the flying field or RC car track.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Battery charger
  • Glow plug igniter

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  1. 1

    Check the output voltage and amperage of the charger. If the output is too high it can damage the battery. The voltage should be between 1.2 and 1.6 volts. The amperage determines how quickly the battery will be charged.

  2. 2

    Plug the charger into the wall first, then attach the igniter to the charger. Glow plug igniter chargers have an end that looks like the top of a glow plug.

  3. 3

    Read the igniters manual, it will tell you how long to leave the igniter on the charger. If the battery is rated at 1000mA and the charger supplies 500mA then expect the charge time to be three hours.

  4. 4

    Check the igniter while it is being charged, the battery should get warm but never hot. Remove the igniter from the charger if the battery gets too hot to be handled comfortably.

  5. 5

    Recondition the battery from time to time to extend its life. Reconditioning involves charging and fully discharging the battery. Use a volt meter if possible to check that the battery is fully drained.

Tips and warnings

  • If your engine won't start or if it will not stay running it may be time to replace the glow plug.
  • Glow plugs come in different sizes. Check your owner's manual for the proper size plug.
  • Glow plugs get very hot, handle with care.
  • Keep body parts and clothing away from a spinning prop.

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