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Old Nov 17, 2009, 08:20 PM
If first you don't succeed...
Los Angeles, CA
Joined Oct 2009
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Glow Plug Igniter Fried my Glow Plug!

I bought a used glow plug igniter for a back up...this one has wires and alligator clips, unlike the wireless and chargeable one that I already have. I connected the alligator clips directly to my 12v 7Ah battery and inserted a glow plug into the igniter to test if it worked. The result was that the spark plug blew out immediately...a little poof of smoke and the glow plug was history. What happened? Should these wired igniters only be connected to a field box which can regulate the electricity, or is the ignitor bad? This never happened w/ my chargeable ignitor... Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 08:24 PM
What goes up, will come down
Mulciber126's Avatar
ATL, GA
Joined Jul 2009
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you should only plug the igniter in a field box where the watts are regulated.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 08:35 PM
If first you don't succeed...
Los Angeles, CA
Joined Oct 2009
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Oh well, at least the ignitor isn't bad...live and learn.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 09:08 PM
Bombs away! Err...landing
Ira NZ's Avatar
Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined Apr 2006
2,173 Posts
Haha, Yeah, glow plugs are only meant to be supplied with 1.2-1.5 volts. I'm surprised you didn't end up leaving a crater plugging it into 12 volts.
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Old Nov 17, 2009, 11:53 PM
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Joe'n Kody's Avatar
Yeppoon Queensland
Joined Oct 2009
242 Posts
I have one of those glow igniters that connect directly to a 12v battery, it can be either a car battery or a 12v gel cell. I use the gell cell as I also run my 12v starter to spin up my Super Tiger 45ASP. Check out the unit you bought. It should have a D.C. Amperes indicator panel on it plus a ROTARY KNOB. It's this knob that controls how many volts/amps goes to the plug. I'm not sure how the voltage works, it might be a very rapid electronic on/of switch that fires 12v into the plug or if it's a voltage reducer of some kind.
This is what you do. Turn the knob anti-clockwise until it stops. Switch on the unit. There should be two leads that plug into the panel where it reads "1.5v" and + and -. Remove the plug from the engine and connect the plug to the leads. There should not be any heating of the plug at this point. SLOWLY turn the KNOB clockwise and watch the plug coils/element. As you increase the rotation, the plug should begin to glow dull red. Increase the rotation untill the element is orange then STOP. Check the position of the needle on the Ampmeter. This is where you will set the amps when you start the engine. My panel is a "Ripmax Power Panel" and has never let me down.
NOTE:
Some plugs are 1.2 volt, some are 1.5 volt and some are 2 volt. Make sure you set the amps correctly for each glow plug or you will loose a few before you discover what is wrong. The best way to set the amps is to remove the plug and proceed as above. Don't try holding the plug in your fingers, it gets really hot very quickly.
If the unit you have is not a power panel, come back here and let me know what you actually have.
I would ignore any comments from those who live on a tiny island located far away to the South East of my own beautiful big Island.

Joe 'n Kody
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 01:00 AM
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Dana, Indiana
Joined Jan 2007
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Joe,
I don't think he was using a power panel, he hooked the glow plug leads directly to the 12V battery
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 04:48 AM
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Joe'n Kody's Avatar
Yeppoon Queensland
Joined Oct 2009
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WWolf
ooh, if he did that then it's no wonder it vaporised. Yet by the way he wrote about the incident it sounded like a proper power panel was being used. It is sad to see mistakes being so costly. My late buddy did use a power panel but didn't turn the amps down to zero to start. Two Cox heads later ....... $$$$$$

Joe
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 05:02 AM
Bombs away! Err...landing
Ira NZ's Avatar
Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe'n Kody View Post
It is sad to see mistakes being so costly.
Heh, on the scale of costly mistakes I don't think blowing a glow plug even shows up on it.
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 09:27 AM
If first you don't succeed...
Los Angeles, CA
Joined Oct 2009
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Whitewolf is correct, I connected the ignitor directly to the 12v, and presto the glow plug was no more. Not a costly mistake, I'm just glad I didn't buy a bum ignitor. By the way, you guys make this site what it is - a clearing house of RC information. Thanks for the quick feedback on this and my other truly newbie questions.
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 07:51 AM
What goes up, will come down
Mulciber126's Avatar
ATL, GA
Joined Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruintriton View Post
Whitewolf is correct, I connected the ignitor directly to the 12v, and presto the glow plug was no more. Not a costly mistake, I'm just glad I didn't buy a bum ignitor. By the way, you guys make this site what it is - a clearing house of RC information. Thanks for the quick feedback on this and my other truly newbie questions.
lol No problem....thats unfortunate that it happened, but really fortunate that it only cost you a glow plug. So keep your head up....and keep trucking :-D
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 12:29 PM
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USA, WA, Edmonds
Joined Aug 2008
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I think power panels supply 12 V to the glow plug but regulate the current. I tested it out one time with a DMM. Voltage was constant at 12 but the current went up to like 1 or 2 amps at the max i think.
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 02:52 AM
Bombs away! Err...landing
Ira NZ's Avatar
Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwalt822 View Post
I think power panels supply 12 V to the glow plug but regulate the current. I tested it out one time with a DMM. Voltage was constant at 12 but the current went up to like 1 or 2 amps at the max i think.
Interesting...I think the only ways it could do that is pulse width modulation, which would give a much lower average voltage for the average 1-2 amps current, but would have 12v peaks. Which your multimeter is only seeing the peaks?

If it was variable resistance your multimeter should be seeing a much lower voltage.
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 08:40 AM
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downunder's Avatar
Adelaide, South Australia
Joined Sep 2003
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Not being an electronics wiz, I believe they switch the 12 volts on and off for varying periods which presumably gives the buzzing sound you can hear from them. This would be Ira's pulse width modulation but I don't know the techo terms .
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 09:25 AM
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USA, WA, Edmonds
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I will hook it up again and see if I can measure a frequency. Im not sure if my DMM was set to peak or RMS but ill try it again.
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 10:50 AM
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Florida
Joined Aug 2004
4,099 Posts
Yes those power panels use pulse width modulation to control the glow plug average voltage. They typically put a full 12 volts on the plug for 1 millisecond then are off for about 9 to 12 milliseconds depending on where you have the pot set. If you have access to an oscilloscope, you can monitor this voltage very easily and see how it works.
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