Motorcycles, lawnmowers and aircraft use capacitive discharge ignitions. Motorcycles with CDI engines have an electronic ignition generating high voltage to power a spark plug in a short period of time. CDI technology replaces the point and condenser system previously used by motorcycle engines. Mechanics use the CDI box to assist with bike repair.
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There are two types of CDI engines. Motorcycles use an alternating current CDI engine. The ignition generates power by gathering alternator energy. A CDI unit consists of one trigger coil, one source coil and one ignition coil along with a black box.
The coils of a CDI motorcycle engine amplify voltage 100 to 1. A charge of 250 volts sent through a CDI engine module is amplified to 25,000 volts when the system coils output the charge. The charge is powerful but short-lived, lasting 10 to 12 microseconds.
CDI motorcycle engines require minimal maintenance due to a lack of moving parts. When problems are detected, mechanics use an ohm meter to measure power output. Mechanics state the CDI system provides a more accurate method of power output than the previous point and condenser motorcycle ignition system.
CDI motorcycle engines have a limited spark duration. Some motorcycle models experience a difficult cold start. Potential CDI engine problems, caused by intense engine heat, could cause a motorcycle engine to seize and fail. A failed CDI unit is very expensive to replace.
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