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Q:

What is the function of the capacitor (condenser) in the ignition system?

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zephyr is wrong. What he is describing is the ignition coil which is an inductor. NOT a capacitor. First, to understand what the capacitor (condensor) does in the ignition system, it is necessary to understand how an ignition system works. Current goes through the primary circuit in an ignition coil and then to some sort of switching system breaks the connection when a cylinder's spark plug is meant to fire. The magnetic field that's in the ignition coil collapses and induces a high voltage into the secondary circuit of the ignition system, causing an arc in the spark plug and then firing the cylinder. The problem is that when the magnetic field collapses in the primary circuit, a short voltage spike is introduced to that circuit as well. The condensor/capacitor absorbs this voltage spike. In modern cars, this capacitor is no longer necessary. A diode is used instead. If no capacitor were attached to an older system which requires one, voltage (and thus current) can flow backwards ... more
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