CAPACITIVE DISCHARGE IGNITION SYSTEM
Engineering (LSE) is a pioneer in the design and production of
ignition systems for experimental aircraft.
years of research and development have been invested in producing
the Plasma CDI (Capacitive Discharge Ignition) systems. The Plasma
CDI is completely solid-state, intended for high-performance home
built aircraft. Light Speed Engineering currently offers three
Capacitive Discharge Ignition Systems: the PLASMA
II CDI, the PLASMA II PLUS CDI, and the PLASMA III CDI.
Plasma CDI systems were instrumental in providing error free service
on several around the world flights, including Mike Melville's, Dick
Rutan's, and Jon
Light Speed Engineering's
Speed Engineering is well known for its world record
setting flight efficiency and consistent racing
victories. The Plasma CDI plays a significant part
in the success of many racers and sport pilots who
put reliability and performance on top of their
Proven to be the
best the industry has to offer, the following list
notes several unique features of the LSE Plasma CDI
systems that are not available in any other aircraft
installation with built in timing light on
the sensor module and prefabricated
adjustable crank sensor assembly on direct
crank sensor systems.
Spark: >130 mJ spark energy @ 0 - 3500
firing accuracy, cycle to cycle and cylinder
input voltage range: 5V - 35V
current consumption: 4-cyl: 0.4A, idle -
6-cyl: 0.4A, idle - 1.9A, cruise
weight: CDI Ignition module: Plasma III- 1.7
lbs, Plasma II & II Plus- 1.1 lbs
Dual Output Mini Ignition coils: 5 oz. each
"noise" makes it Storm Scope
shunt resistance (fires wet and fouled
Key Switch Starting available on Plasma III
and Plasma II Plus
logic (no microprocessor) for maximum
On dual LSE Plasma III or II Plus CDI
installations, the control module
automatically shifts the timing curve as
needed when only one system is operating.
Starting (Armstrong Starter):
Unlike other electronic ignition systems,
aircraft equipped with the LSE Plasma CDI
may be hand-propped.
*Builder must supply mag drive gear from non-impulse
mag for Hall effect modules.
*Choice of crankshaft position sensor: Hall Effect
Module, installed in place of magneto,
or Direct Crank Sensor assembly. Systems
equipped with the Hall Effect Module are $120
more expensive than the direct crank sensor
*All 6-cylinder systems use direct crank sensor
ignition (EI) has been used on automobiles for over
twenty-five years, yet the aircraft industry has been
unresponsive in adopting any form of EI technology,
and letting go of the nearly 100 year old magneto.
ignition offers four distinct advantages over a magneto based
The first is
reliability. Electronic systems have
no moving parts and can be expected to operate much longer,
requiring less attention and maintenance than mechanical systems.
capacitor discharge ignition systems produce a much larger and
hotter spark compared to a magneto - up to 40,000 volts versus a
maximum of 17,000 volts from the magneto. The more powerful spark
allows a larger gap, which improves hot and cold starts as well as
power and fuel efficiency.
and possibly the biggest asset to electronic ignition systems, is
that the electronics permit automatic spark timing optimized to RPM,
manifold pressure and altitude conditions. The combination of these
features maximizes fuel economy and power, ultimately allowing the
Plasma CDI ignition system to pay for itself through lower operating
the components for electronic systems are all mass produced, giving
electronic ignition a distinct cost advantage over replacement parts
EFFECT MODULE TRIGGER ASSEMBLY
4-cyl Lycoming engines are capable of using either the
Hall Effect Module mounted in place of the magneto (pictured above) or the direct crank sensor
assembly for crankshaft position information. 6-cyl systems use
the direct crank sensor assembly exclusively. Further
information on the direct crank sensor triggering mechanism may be
found on the Crank Sensor page.