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Title:
ENGINE IGNITION TIMING AND POWER SUPPLY SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/183426
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An internal combustion engine for an aircraft includes a crankshaft configured to drive a driven element; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and including a visual indicator, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller. An ignition controller for an internal combustion engine includes a housing and a P-lead connection in electrical communication with both a battery of the aircraft and an ignition switch of the aircraft, the P-lead connection extending from the housing, the ignition controller configured to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from the battery of the aircraft via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also configured to selectively supply its own power.

Inventors:
HUNT, Jeffrey K. (2039 S. Broad Street, Mobile, Alabama, 36615, US)
Application Number:
US2019/023479
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 21, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CONTINENTAL MOTORS, INC. (2039 S. Broad Street, Mobile, Alabama, 36615, US)
International Classes:
F02B33/10; F02B75/00; F02B75/18; F02B75/24; F02C7/266
Foreign References:
US5083544A1992-01-28
US4454856A1984-06-19
US3883795A1975-05-13
US5170125A1992-12-08
US20090229569A12009-09-17
US20150075652A12015-03-19
US20130111914A12013-05-09
US6279519B12001-08-28
US20140041385A12014-02-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CZERWONKY, Bradford R. (1600 Parkwood Circle, Suite 200Atlanta, Georgia, 30339, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

That which is claimed is:

1. An internal combustion engine for an aircraft, the engine comprising:

a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller;

a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and

an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a visual indicator, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

2. The engine of claim 1 , wherein the ignition controller is an electronic engine

controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

3. The engine of claim 2, wherein the visual indicator is positioned on an outer surface of a body of the ignition controller.

4. The engine of claim 3, wherein the visual indicator is positioned on an axially outward facing surface of the outer surface of the ignition controller.

5. The engine of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of pistons and a plurality of

cylinders, each of the plurality of pistons configured to move within a corresponding cylinder of the plurality of cylinders.

6. The engine of claim 1 , wherein the visual indicator comprises a light-producing

device.

7. The engine of claim 6, wherein the light-producing device comprises a light-emitting diode (LED).

8. The engine of claim 1 , further comprising a coil pack, a plurality of fuel igniting

devices, and a sensor, the sensor being one of a manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor and a manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor, the ignition controller being in electrical communication with the coil pack, the coil pack being in electrical communication with the plurality of fuel igniting devices, the ignition controller configured to vary a timing of ignition of each of the fuel igniting devices of the engine based on an input signal from each of the MAP sensor and the MAT sensor.

9. An ignition controller for an internal combustion engine, the controller comprising: a body defining a mounting end and a free end; and an indicator positioned on an outer surface of the body, the indicator configured to produce a signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

10. The controller of claim 9, wherein the ignition controller is an electronic engine

controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

11. The controller of claim 10, wherein the permanent magnet generator comprises a drive shaft, a drive gear coupled to the drive shaft, and a timing gear in mechanical communication with the drive gear; the timing gear comprising a position magnet fixed with respect to the timing gear.

12. The controller of claim 9, further comprising a chip positioned inside the controller proximate to a position magnet of a timing gear of the controller, the chip in close enough proximity to the position magnet to detect the angular position of the timing gear.

13. The controller of claim 9, wherein the indicator is a visual indicator comprising a light- emitting diode (LED).

14. A method of timing an internal combustion engine of an aircraft, the method

comprising:

rotating a crankshaft of the engine to a predetermined angular position of the engine; rotating an ignition controller of the engine with respect to the engine; and

activating an indicator of the ignition controller when a drive shaft of the ignition

controller reaches a controller angular position corresponding to the predetermined angular position of the engine.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the ignition controller is an electronic engine

controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising attaching the ignition controller to the engine.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising securing the ignition controller to the

engine after the ignition controller reaches the controller angular position.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the predetermined angular position of the engine is a one of a full advance position and a top dead center position of a number one cylinder of the engine.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein the indicator is a visual indicator comprising a light- emitting diode (LED).

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the engine further comprises a coil pack, a plurality of fuel igniting devices, and a sensor, the sensor being one of a manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor and a manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor, the ignition controller being in electrical communication with the coil pack, the coil pack being in electrical communication with the plurality of fuel igniting devices, the method further comprising varying a timing of ignition of each of the fuel igniting devices of the engine with the ignition controller based on measurements by the MAP sensor and the MAT sensor.

21. An internal combustion engine for an aircraft, the engine comprising:

a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller;

a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and

an ignition system comprising an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and

comprising a P-lead connection, the ignition system able to switch electrical power from the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power.

22. The engine of claim 21 , wherein the ignition controller is an electronic engine

controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

23. The engine of claim 21 , wherein the P-lead connection extends from an end of the ignition controller.

24. An ignition controller for an internal combustion engine, the ignition controller

comprising:

a housing; and

a P-lead connection extending from the housing, the ignition controller configured to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from a battery of the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also configured to selectively supply its own power.

25. The ignition controller of claim 24, wherein the ignition controller is a permanent

magnet generator.

26. The ignition controller of claim 24, wherein the P-lead connection extends from an end of the ignition controller.

27. A method of using an ignition system in an internal combustion engine of an aircraft, the method comprising:

supplying power to an ignition controller of the system via a P-lead connection of the ignition controller as long as the P-lead voltage is higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut-off voltage of the ignition controller; and

supplying power to the ignition controller from the independent power supply of the ignition controller when the P-lead voltage is not higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut-off voltage of the ignition controller.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the ignition controller is an electronic engine

controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

29. A method of testing a pair of electronic engine controllers in an internal combustion engine of an aircraft, the method comprising:

grounding a P-lead connection of a first electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers while opening a P-lead connection to a second electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers;

checking for normal operation of the second electronic engine controller while the P- lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is open; grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller while opening the P-lead connection to the first electronic engine controller; and checking for normal operation of the first electronic engine controller while the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is open.

30. The method of claim 29, wherein grounding the P-lead connection of the first

electronic engine controller and grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is accomplished by activating a switch in a cockpit of the aircraft.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the switch comprises three settings: a first setting that connects to ground both of the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller and the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller, a second setting that initiates the steps of grounding the P-lead connection of a first electronic engine controller and checking for normal operation of the second electronic engine controller, and a third setting that initiates the steps of grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller and checking for normal operation of the first electronic engine controller.

32. The method of claim 31 , wherein the switch comprises four settings, the method

further comprising positioning the switch in a fourth setting to initiate joining in electrical communication with a battery of the engine each of the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller and the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller.

33. The method of claim 32, wherein the switch comprises five settings, the method

further comprising positioning the switch in a fifth setting to initiate joining in electrical communication with the battery of the engine the following: the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller, the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller, and a starter configured to start operation of the engine.

34. The method of claim 29, wherein each of the first electronic engine controller and the second electronic engine controller comprises a permanent magnet generator.

35. The method of claim 34, wherein the permanent magnet generator of each of the first electronic engine controller and the second electronic engine controller is a permanent magnet alternator configured to produce an alternating current.

36. The method of claim 29, further comprising:

turning the engine at a speed below a cut-on speed required to send current to any of a plurality of fuel igniting devices of the engine; rotating the engine to a one of a full advance and a top dead center position of a number one cylinder; and automatically activating an indicator of the electronic engine controller based on a rotation position of the electronic engine controller being synchronized with the one of the full advance and the top dead center position of a number one cylinder.

37. An ignition controller comprising:

a body configured to mount in place of a magneto on an internal combustion engine; and

a permanent magnet generator positioned within the body and configured to supply an independent source of power to the engine.

Description:
ENGINE IGNITION TIMING AND POWER SUPPLY SYSTEM

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/646,906, filed March 22, 2018, which is hereby specifically incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Field of Use

[0002] This disclosure relates to ignition systems for internal combustion engines. More specifically, this disclosure relates to systems for setting, adjusting, and error-checking the ignition system timing and powering of piston-powered aircraft engines.

Related Art

[0003] An engine such as an internal combustion engine generally comprises fuel igniting devices that deliver a spark at a particular moment in time matching when a piston and cylinder of the engine reach a certain point in a fuel-air mixture compression cycle. An ignition system as typically designed uses a standard magneto, which is a fairly simple electromechanical device not controlled by any computer program but rather by the position of the engine. A magneto, however, can be cumbersome to synchronize or time initially and can also result in inefficient energy usage due to the lack of input from the engine during operation. In addition, when a magneto fails there is generally no back-up power to keep the ignition system operational other than the back-up magneto, which can also fail.

SUMMARY

[0004] It is to be understood that this summary is not an extensive overview of the

disclosure. This summary is exemplary and not restrictive, and it is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of the disclosure nor delineate the scope thereof. The sole purpose of this summary is to explain and exemplify certain concepts of the disclosure as an introduction to the following complete and extensive detailed description.

[0005] In one aspect, disclosed is an internal combustion engine for an aircraft, the engine comprising: a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a visual indicator, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

[0006] In a further aspect, disclosed is an ignition controller for an internal combustion

engine, the controller comprising: a body defining a mounting end and a free end; and an indicator positioned on an outer surface of the body, the indicator configured to produce a signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

[0007] In yet another aspect, disclosed is a method of timing an internal combustion engine, the method comprising: rotating the crankshaft to a predetermined angular position of the engine; rotating an ignition controller of the engine with respect to the engine; and activating an indicator of the ignition controller when a drive shaft of the ignition controller reaches predetermined angular position of the ignition controller, the predetermined angular position of the ignition controller being a controller angular position

corresponding to the predetermined angular position of the engine.

[0008] In yet another aspect, disclosed is an internal combustion engine for an aircraft, the engine comprising: a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition system comprising an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a P-lead connection, the ignition system able to switch electrical power from the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power.

[0009] In yet another aspect, disclosed is an ignition controller for an internal combustion engine, the ignition controller comprising: a housing; and a P-lead connection extending from the housing, the ignition controller configured to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power.

[0010] In yet another aspect, disclosed is a method of using an ignition system in an internal combustion engine, the method comprising: supplying power to an ignition controller of the system via a P-lead connection of the ignition controller as long as the P-lead voltage is higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut-off voltage of the ignition controller; and automatically switching to the independent power supply of the ignition controller when the P-lead voltage is at or below the cut-off voltage.

[0011] In yet another aspect, disclosed is a method of testing a pair of electronic engine controllers in an internal combustion engine, the method comprising: grounding a P-lead connection of a first electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers while opening a P-lead connection to a second electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers; checking for normal operation of the second electronic engine controller while the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is open; grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller while opening the P-lead connection to the first electronic engine controller; and checking for normal operation of the first electronic engine controller while the P- lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P- lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is open.

[0012] Various implementations described in the present disclosure may comprise additional systems, methods, features, and advantages, which may not necessarily be expressly disclosed herein but will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following detailed description and accompanying drawings. It is intended that all such systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within the present disclosure and protected by the accompanying claims. The features and advantages of such implementations may be realized and obtained by means of the systems, methods, features particularly pointed out in the appended claims. These and other features will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of such exemplary implementations as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several aspects of the disclosure and together with the

description, serve to explain various principles of the disclosure. The drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. Corresponding features and components throughout the figures may be designated by matching reference characters for the sake of consistency and clarity.

[0014] Figure 1 is a top rear perspective view of an internal combustion engine for a small aircraft comprising an ignition system, the ignition system comprising a pair of electronic engine controllers (EECs), each of which can comprise a permanent magnet generator, and a pair of coil packs, all in accordance with one aspect of the current disclosure and with spark plug wires and other mechanical and electrical components removed.

[0015] Figure 2 is a front perspective view of the engine of Figure 1.

[0016] Figure 3 is a rear perspective view of an ignition system of the engine of Figure 1 comprising a pair of magnetos in substitution for the ignition system comprising the EECs in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0017] Figure 4 is a schematic of a wiring harness for the engine of Figure 1 , the wiring

harness connecting each of the pair of EECs and their respective permanent magnet generators to other components of the ignition system of the engine in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure. [0018] Figure 5 is a top rear perspective view of the engine of Figure 1 comprising wiring connecting a first EEC of the pair of EECs with a coil pack of the ignition system and connecting the first EEC with a pair of sensors measuring the manifold air temperature and manifold air pressure, respectively, in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0019] Figure 6 is a top rear perspective view of a one of the pair of EECs of the engine of Figure 1 , the EEC comprising a visual indicator and a P-lead connection.

[0020] Figure 7 is a side perspective view of the EEC of Figure 6.

[0021] Figure 8A is a side view of a mounting end of the EEC of Figure 6 in accordance with one aspect of the current disclosure.

[0022] Figure 8B is a side view of a mounting end of the EEC of Figure 6 in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0023] Figure 8C is a side view of a mounting end of the EEC of Figure 6 in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0024] Figure 9 is a sectional view of the EEC of Figure 6 taken along line 9-9 of Figure 6.

[0025] Figure 10 is a top front partially exploded perspective view of the EEC of Figure 6 exploded along an axis of a drive shaft of the EEC and with a rear cover and a connection port of the EEC removed.

[0026] Figure 11 is a perspective view of an angular position encoder or incremental rotary encoder, the incremental rotary encoder comprising a rotating drive shaft, a magnet secured to an end of the drive shaft, and a chip positioned proximate to the magnet in accordance with one aspect of the current disclosure.

[0027] Figure 12 is a rear perspective view of the EEC of Figure 10 showing, with a rear cover of the EEC removed, a timing gear positioned to be driven by a drive gear fixed to and configured to rotate with the drive shaft.

[0028] Figure 13 is a top perspective view of the timing gear of Figure 12.

[0029] Figure 14 is a top rear partially exploded perspective view of the EEC of Figure 10 showing a portion of the EEC exploded along the axis of the drive shaft and a portion of the EEC exploded along an axis of the connection port.

[0030] Figure 15 is a top front perspective view of the rear cover of the EEC of Figure 6.

[0031] Figure 16 is a top rear perspective view of the rear cover of Figure 15.

[0032] Figure 17 is a top front perspective view of the pair of coil packs of Figure 1.

[0033] Figure 18 is top perspective view of a coil pack in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure.

[0034] Figure 19 is a side front perspective view of an internal combustion engine for a small aircraft comprising an ignition system, the ignition system comprising a pair of magnetos, all in accordance with another aspect of the current disclosure. [0035] Figure 20 is a side view of the engine of Figure 19.

[0036] Figure 21 is a rear view of a portion of an intake manifold of the engine of Figure 1 defining a pair of ports configured to receive a corresponding pair of sensors for measuring properties of air inside the intake manifold at the ports.

[0037] Figure 22 is a top view of the intake manifold of Figure 21.

[0038] Figure 23 is a block diagram, which can be considered a schematic, of the engine of Figure 1 comprising the ignition system of Figure 1.

[0039] Figure 24 is a flowchart showing an algorithm for initial operation— such as during the initial setting of a rotational position of the EEC— of the angular position encoder of Figure 11 as incorporated into the engine of Figure 1.

[0040] Figure 25 is a flowchart showing an algorithm for ongoing operation of the angular position encoder of Figure 11 as incorporated into the engine of Figure 1.

[0041] Figure 26 is a pulse diagram corresponding to operation of the angular position

encoder of Figure 11 showing sequences of ON-OFF values— or pulses— for each of three values A, B, and I, where“A” corresponds to a first position count,“B” corresponds to a second position count offset from the first position count, and Ί” corresponds to an index count.

[0042] Figure 27 is a block diagram of the ignition system of Figure 1 comprising a multi function P-lead connection.

[0043] Figure 28 is an ignition switch configured to control the ignition system of Figure 1.

[0044] Figure 29 is a table showing the“P-lead input” for each of the first EEC and a second EEC of the pair of EECs of Figure 5 corresponding to LEFT and RIGHT EECs in each of five ignition switch positions.

[0045] Figure 30 is an electrical schematic showing the operation of the ignition switch in each of the ignition switch positions of Figure 29.

[0046] Figure 31 is an engine performance diagram for an engine such as the engine of Figure 1 in accordance with another aspect of the disclosure in which a magneto ignition system is used.

[0047] Figure 32 is a top perspective view of a three-dimensional chart representing an ignition timing map in which the timing varies with respect to a rotational speed of the engine— as represented by a first horizontal axis— and with respect to a load placed on the engine— as represented by a second horizontal axis.

[0048] Figure 33 is a flowchart describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition

system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a method of timing calculation and fault accommodation. [0049] Figure 34 is a pair of flowcharts describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1 ; and, more specifically, a first routine enabling ignition outputs and a second routine disabling the ignition outputs.

[0050] Figure 35 is a list of variables for use in describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1.

[0051] Figure 36 is a flowchart describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition

system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a timer routine comprising an analog to digital converter (ADC) routine, a linear interpolation routine, a sensor range check routine, and an ignition timing calculation routine.

[0052] Figure 37 is a flowchart describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition

system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, an interrupt architecture for the ignition system.

[0053] Figure 38 is an electrical schematic describing, at least in part, electrical

interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a charge circuit of the ignition system.

[0054] Figure 39 is an electrical schematic further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a P-lead and power supply circuit of the ignition system.

[0055] Figure 40 is an electrical schematic further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a power supply of the ignition system.

[0056] Figure 41 is an electrical schematic further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, the angular position encoder of the ignition system.

[0057] Figure 42 is an electrical schematic further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, an LED driver of the ignition system.

[0058] Figure 43 is a pair of electrical schematics further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a microcontroller of the ignition system and its power supply.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0059] The present disclosure can be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description, examples, drawings, and claims, and their previous and following description. However, before the present devices, systems, and/or methods are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the specific devices, systems, and/or methods disclosed unless otherwise specified, as such can, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0060] The following description is provided as an enabling teaching of the present devices, systems, and/or methods in their best, currently known aspect. To this end, those skilled in the relevant art will recognize and appreciate that many changes can be made to the various aspects described herein, while still obtaining the beneficial results of the present disclosure. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present disclosure can be obtained by selecting some of the features of the present disclosure without utilizing other features. Accordingly, those who work in the art will recognize that many modifications and adaptations to the present disclosure are possible and can even be desirable in certain circumstances and are a part of the present disclosure. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the present disclosure and not in limitation thereof.

[0061] As used throughout, the singular forms“a,”“an” and“the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a quantity of one of a particular element can comprise two or more such elements unless the context indicates otherwise. In addition, any of the elements described herein can be a first such element, a second such element, and so forth (e.g., a first widget and a second widget, even if only a“widget” is referenced).

[0062] Ranges can be expressed herein as from“about” one particular value, and/or to

“about” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another aspect comprises from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent“about” or “substantially,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another aspect. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint.

[0063] For purposes of the current disclosure, a material property or dimension measuring about X or substantially X on a particular measurement scale measures within a range between X plus an industry-standard upper tolerance for the specified measurement and X minus an industry-standard lower tolerance for the specified measurement. Because tolerances can vary between different materials, processes and between different models, the tolerance for a particular measurement of a particular component can fall within a range of tolerances.

[0064] As used herein, the terms“optional” or“optionally” mean that the subsequently

described event or circumstance may or may not occur, and that the description comprises instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not. [0065] The word“or” as used herein means any one member of a particular list and also comprises any combination of members of that list.

[0066] To simplify the description of various elements disclosed herein, the conventions of “left,”“right,”“front,”“rear,”“top,”“b ottom,”“upper,”“lower,”“inside,”“outside,” “inboard,” “outboard,”“horizontal,” and/or“vertical” may be referenced. Unless stated otherwise, “front” describes that end of the vehicle, engine, system, or component thereof nearest to or facing a forwardmost end the vehicle;“rear” is that end of the vehicle, engine, system, or component that is opposite or distal the front;“left” is that which is to the left of or facing left from a person sitting in the vehicle and facing towards the front; and“right” is that which is to the right of or facing right from that same person while sitting in the vehicle and facing towards the front.“Horizontal” or“horizontal orientation” describes that which is in a plane extending from left to right and aligned with the horizon.“Vertical” or “vertical orientation” describes that which is in a plane that is angled at 90 degrees to the horizontal.

[0067] In one aspect, an ignition controller for an engine and associated methods, systems, devices, and various apparatuses are disclosed herein. In one aspect, the ignition controller can comprise a visual indicator to assist in the timing of the engine or a P-lead connection to selectively supply, cut, or test various sources of power connected to the ignition controller.

[0068] A vehicle such as an aircraft (not shown) can comprise an internal combustion

engine (ICE) 100. As shown in Figure 1 , the engine 100 can be, for example and without limitation, a 4-stroke piston-powered gasoline engine comprising a crankcase 110, which can also be considered an engine block, and a crankshaft (not shown). The engine 100 can further comprise an ignition system 120. The engine 100 and the crankshaft specifically can be configured to drive driven elements such as a propeller (not shown), which can be considered separate from the engine, and components that can be considered part of the engine such as, for example and without limitation, a flywheel 105 and ignition controllers 130.

[0069] In some aspects, as shown in Figure 3, the ignition controller 130 can comprise a magneto. In other aspects, as shown in Figure 1 , the ignition controller 130 can be an electronic engine controller (EEC), which can comprise a permanent magnet generator (PMG) comprising a connection hub 380. The engine 100 can comprise a plurality of camshafts (not shown) to mechanically control fuel and air mixture delivery and exhaust removal into and from each of several combustion chambers (not shown) in the engine 100. Each of the camshafts can control such fuel and air delivery by opening and closing valves (not shown) providing access to the respective combustion chambers. As shown, the engine 100 can define a front end 102, which can be defined at least in part by the flywheel 105, and a rear end 103 disposed distal from the front end 102.

[0070] Each of the ignition controllers 130 of the ignition system 120 of the engine 100 can be coupled to a drive shaft (not shown) extending from the engine 100. A permanent magnet generator of a first ignition controller or EEC 130 of the pair of ignition controllers 130 can be driven by the first driveshaft, and a permanent magnet generator of a second ignition controller or EEC 130 of the pair of ignition controllers or EECs 130 can be driven by the second driveshaft. Each of the permanent magnet generator of the first EEC 130 and the permanent magnet generator of the second EEC 130 can be configured to generate AC power and then supply DC power to a first programmable controller 1400 (for example and without limitation, as shown and embodied in a control board 1410 of the first EEC 130 in Figure 14) and a second programmable controller 1400 (for example and without limitation, as embodied in the control board 1410 of the second EEC 130), each of which can be configured to direct energy to a plurality of fuel igniting devices 190. Each of the programmable controllers 1400 can be configured to apply a timing curve (or timing map, as will be described) to the plurality of fuel igniting devices 190 and deliver an electrical spark to each combustion chamber.

[0071] The engine 100 can further comprise a fuel system (not shown) for delivery of the fuel— directly or indirectly— to the combustion chamber; an electrical system (shown only partially in the form of the ignition system 120); and an air delivery system comprising an intake manifold.

[0072] In some aspects, the aircraft can be a small aircraft comprising a single engine 100.

In other aspects, the aircraft can comprise more than one engine 100. In some aspects, the aircraft can be a fixed wing aircraft configured to generate lift through upward pressure on an airfoil shape that makes up each fixed wing of the aircraft as the airfoil shape— together with the rest of the aircraft— is propelled through the air through by the aforementioned propeller at a sufficient speed to create such lift. In other aspects, the aircraft can be a rotary aircraft (not shown) comprising a horizontal rotor (not shown) configured to create such lift. In some aspects, the engine 100 can comprise a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. As will be described, the ignition system 120 disclosed herein can facilitate ignition timing or EEC synchronization in such a FADEC system without a need for separate tool.

[0073] Each of the crankshaft and the camshafts can be housed within the crankcase 110.

As shown, the engine 100 can comprise a plurality of cylinders 140 and a plurality of cylinder heads 150, each of which can be dedicated to a single cylinder 140 or to more than one cylinder 140. In some aspects, as shown, the engine 100 can comprise four cylinders 140 and four cylinder heads 150. In other aspects, the engine 100 can comprise more than four cylinders or less than four cylinders. For example and without limitation, to accommodate the ignition system shown at least in part in Figure 3, the engine 100 can comprise six cylinders 140 and as many cylinder heads 150.

[0074] As familiar to one of ordinary skill in the art, each cylinder head can comprise a

plurality of intake valves (not shown) and a plurality of exhaust valves (not shown) to allow, respectively, a fuel-air mixture to enter and an exhaust air mixture to exit the corresponding combustion chamber. Each of the valves can be moved in and out with a rod extending from the valve to the corresponding camshaft. Each set of valves can be covered with a valve cover 160. The fuel-air mixture can be brought into each

combustion chamber via the aforementioned intake air manifold and can be brought out of the combustion chamber via an exhaust air manifold 170. The ignition system 120 can comprise a pair of coil packs 180. Heat can be delivered to each combustion chamber via a spark produced by each of a plurality of fuel igniting devices 190. Each of the plurality of fuel igniting devices 190 can be a spark plug.

[0075] As shown in Figure 2, each of the coil packs 180 can be mounted on a coil bracket 280. In some aspects, either of the coil brackets 280 can be mounted to a“backbone” 212 of the engine 100, which can be defined by flanges defined by a connection joint between first and second halves of the crankcase 110. Each of the ignition controllers 130 can comprise the connection hub 380, which can extend radially outward from a body 610 of the ignition controller 130.

[0076] As shown in Figure 3, the ignition system 120 and specifically the ignition controllers 130 can comprise a pair of magnetos. As typically seen on an engine such as disclosed herein, wires 230 from each magneto can extend to each of the combustion chambers of the engine 100 via the corresponding fuel igniting device 190. As will be described, the pair of magnetos can be replaced with a pair of EECs 130 and associated components. While both a magneto and an EEC can, in a broad sense, be considered an ignition controller 130 in that each controls the timed ignition of the fuel-air mixture in each combustion chamber based on mechanical and/or electrical inputs, when comprising an EEC the ignition controller 130 can yield benefits such as, for example and without limitation, improved reliability due to the addition of a backup power source and due to additional manual and automatic monitoring and control of the ignition system 120 during start-up and also during operation of the engine 100 and also improved fuel efficiency, easy installation, reduced maintenance cost, and the elimination of an impulse coupling (not shown) typically used between the drive shaft 620 of the magneto and the engine 100.

[0077] As shown in Figure 4, a wiring harness 400 can connect each of the pair of ignition controllers 130 to other components of the ignition system 120 or the engine 100 such as through, for example and without limitation, the connection hub 380 (shown in Figure 1). More specifically, the wiring harness 400 can comprise a main connector 410 on a first end. Distal from the main connector 410, the wiring harness 400 can comprise a second connector 420 comprising a tachometer or engine speed sensor, a third connector 430 configured to connect to a connection 580— which can be an input— of the coil pack 180 (as shown in Figure 5), a fourth connector 440 for connecting to a manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor 504 (shown in Figure 5), and a fifth connector 450 for connecting to a manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor 505 (shown in Figure 5). Each of the MAP sensor 504 and the MAT sensor 505 can be positioned on a portion of the intake air manifold.

As shown, wiring 520,530,540,550, respectively, can connect each of the connectors 420,430,440,450 to the main connector 410.

[0078] As will be described below, based on a predetermined map for the engine 100, the timing (e.g., the timing advance in degrees before top dead center) can vary based on the rotational speed of the engine as well as the load of the engine as determined from the input from the MAP sensor 504 and the MAT sensor 505. In effect, this automatic adjustment of the timing can lead to more optimal operation of the engine 100.

[0079] As shown in Figure 5, wiring 530 can electrically connect the connection hub 380 of the ignition controller 130— such as embodied in a first EEC 130 of the pair of EECs 130— with a connection 580 of the coil pack 180— such as embodied in a first coil pack 180 of the ignition system 120. Also as shown, the wiring 540,550, respectively, can electrically connect the first EEC 130 with the sensors 504,505 measuring the manifold air pressure and manifold air temperature, respectively. Wiring 560 can electrically connect the first coil pack 180 with each of the fuel igniting devices 190 via a connection 590.

[0080] As shown in Figure 6, the EEC 130 can comprise a body 610 and a drive shaft 620.

The body 610 can be divided into a first portion 901 proximate to a front end or a mounting end 602 and a second portion 902 proximate to a free end 603. The body 610 can comprise a flange 605 and define an outer surface 611 , from which the connection hub 380 can extend. The drive shaft 620 can extend from and connect, directly or indirectly, to the crankshaft. In some aspects, the ignition controller 130, including when embodied as an EEC 130, can interface with the engine 100 as would the

aforementioned magneto (shown in Figure 3). The connection hub 380 can comprise a base 682, a port 684, a terminal 686, and fasteners 688 for securing the base 682, the port 684, and the terminal 686 to the body 610. The EEC 130 can further comprise the P-lead connection 650, which can extend from the rear end or free end 603 of the body 610. The EEC 130 can comprise a visual indicator 660, which can comprise a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) for producing light. A rear cover 670 of the body 610 can define the rear end or free end 603 and a rear end surface of the EEC 130.

[0081] As shown in Figures 7 and Figure 8A-8C, the drive shaft 620 of the ignition controller 130 can take any one of several different forms in order to mount to various forms of the engine 100 and can comprise a key 627 as shown. The key 627 can be, for example and without limitation, a Woodruff key.

[0082] Figure 9 shows a sectional view of the EEC 130, which can further comprise a first inner cavity 612 and a second inner cavity 614 defined by a front end or mounting end 910 and a rear end or free end 920 of the first portion 901 of the body 610. As shown, a drive gear 950 mounted and secured to a rear end or a second end 626 of the drive shaft 620 can engage a timing gear 960 mounted on a secondary shaft or a timing shaft 970 defining a timing shaft axis 971. The drive shaft 620 can define a front end 625, a rear end 626, and an axis 621. A generator portion of the EEC 130 can define a coil 930 through which the drive shaft 620 can rotate and generate current through the wiring thereof. The mounting end 910 can define a front end or first end 912 and a rear end or second end 913. The free end 920 can define a front end or first end 922 and a rear end or second end 923. The body 610 can define a seat 990 and a groove 980 proximate to the free end 920. As shown, the timing gear 960 can comprise a position magnet 1160, which can at least in part define an axially rearmost or outermost surface of the timing gear 960.

[0083] Figure 10 shows a top front partially exploded perspective view of the first portion 901 of the body 610 of the EEC 130 of Figure 6 exploded along the axis 621 of the drive shaft 620 of the EEC 130. As shown, the rear cover 670 and a connection hub 380 of the EEC 130 can be removed. The timing gear 960 can comprise a shoulder bearing 1060.

[0084] Figure 11 shows a perspective view of an angular position encoder 1100, which can comprise an incremental rotary encoder. The incremental rotary encoder can comprise the rotating drive shaft 620 (shown in a simplified form), a position magnet 1160, which can be secured to an end of the drive shaft 620 (or, in the case of the EEC 130 disclosed herein, can be embedded in the timing gear 960), and a chip 1110 positioned proximate to the position magnet 1160.

[0085] As shown in Figure 12, the timing gear 960 can be positioned to be driven by the drive gear 950, which can be fixed to and configured to rotate with the drive shaft 620. Standoffs 1480 can fix other components inside the inner cavity 614 of the body 610 away from the gears 950,960. The inner cavity 614 can define an end wall 615. As shown, the drive gear 950 can define teeth 955 and the timing gear 960 can define teeth 965, which can be configured to engage the teeth 955 of the drive gear 950. A drive train 1210 of the EEC 130 can comprise each of the drive gear 950 and the timing gear 960. [0086] Again, as shown in Figure 13, the timing gear 960 can comprise the shoulder bearing 1060.

[0087] As shown in Figure 14, the programmable controller 1400 of the EEC 130 can

comprise the control board 1410. The EEC 130 can comprise an open-ended circular spring 1420 for securing or mechanically locking the rear cover 670 inside the groove 980 of the body 610. The standoffs 1480 can secure the control board 1410 to the inner cavity 614 of the body 610. The control board 1410 can comprise a connector 1450 and a charge capacitor 1460 and can be mounted to the body 610 with fasteners 1490. The rear cover 670 can seal the housing with an O-ring 1510 (shown in Figure 15). Alignment of the rear cover 670 and any associated components can be controlled by an alignment pin 1530 (shown in Figure 15). The spring 1420 can be a circular clip and can be formed from spring steel. The rear cover 670 can support the external annunciation light (the visual indicator 660). A protective lens 665 can cover the visual indicator 660. The rear cover 670 can provide pass through clearance for a #10 P-lead stud (shown in Figure 16) defining the P-lead connection 650. The stud can be insulated with a fiber shoulder washer positioned between a shoulder 655 (shown in Figure 16) of the stud (in which case the shoulder can have a hex shape) and set with the potting compound. An external surface 1611 (shown in Figure 16) of the rear cover 670 can be used for part marking of the mechanical configuration part number, revision, and serial number.

[0088] The control board 1410 can be mounted“above” or offset in an axial direction along the axis 621 from the timing gear 960 with the standoffs 1480 anchored to a center bearing support of a housing of the EEC 130, which can define the end wall 615 (shown in Figure 12) of the inner cavity 614 of the body 610. The control board 1410 can use a magnet field detection integrated circuit to detect timing gear angular position (absolute incremental encoder output). Two capacitors for the CDI (capacitor discharge ignition) process, which can be employed by the ignition system 120, including the

aforementioned charge capacitor 1460, can be located between the control board 1410 and the end wall 615. In some aspects, a data socket such as a Micro SD socket can be incorporated into the EEC 130 for data logging. A microcontroller of the control board 1410 can utilize an In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP) header for programming the microcontroller with the boot software after fabrication of the EEC 130. The control board 1410 can be coated with a conformal coating for protection. As shown, the EEC can further comprise the connectors 1482,1484.

[0089] As shown in Figure 15, a second portion 902 of the EEC 130 and, more specifically, a regulator-rectifier portion 1500 of the EEC 130 can comprise the rear cover 670 and a regulator-rectifier board 1550. The regulator-rectifier portion 1500 can comprise the O- ring 1510, a visual indicator lead wire 1520, the spring 1420, and the alignment pin 1530 for aligning the rear cover 670 with respect to the body 610. The regulator-rectifier board 1550 can comprise components for regulating and rectifying the voltage at the P-lead connection 650 including a transformer 1552 able to convert a system supply voltage to an elevated voltage of, for example and without limitation, 250 V, a rectifier capacitor 1554 for reducing variation in the power that can be transmitted via the P-lead connection 650 to the EEC 130, and a connector 1556 for connecting to the leads of the generator portion of the EEC 130. The aluminum housing and potting compound can provide a heat sink for the regulator-rectifier circuitry. The regulator-rectifier board 1550 can be potted into the cover with a potting compound such as, for example and without limitation, 3M® Scotch Weld DP-270.

[0090] As shown in Figure 16, the rear cover 670 of the EEC 130 can comprise a main body 1610 defining the external surface 1611 and a flange 1620 defining a first groove for receiving the O-ring 1510 and a second groove for receiving the spring 1420. In some aspects, the visual indicator 660 can extend around a perimeter of and end of an ignition device like the ignition controller or EEC 130, can comprise an LED, and can be configured to produce a signal at a predetermined angular position of the engine.

[0091] As shown in Figure 17, a coil pack assembly 1700 can comprise the pair of coil

packs 180 of Figure 1. Each coil pack 180 can be mounted to the coil bracket 280. Each coil bracket 280 can comprise a receiving portion 284 sized and positioned to support and secure the coil pack 180, a first mounting portion 282 extending from the receiving portion 284 and sized and positioned to mount the coil bracket 280 to a first portion of the crankcase 110, and a second mounting portion 286 extending from the receiving portion 284 and sized and positioned to mount the coil bracket 280 to a second portion of the crankcase 110. Each of the first mounting portion 282 and the second mounting portion 286 can be angled with respect to the receiving portion 284. As shown in Figure 1 , each of the coil packs 180 can comprise a plurality of female connectors for receiving the wiring 530,560 (shown in Figure 5). The coil pack 180 can comprise a coil body 1810.

[0092] As shown in Figure 18, the coil pack 180 can comprise a plurality of male connectors 1850, one connector for each fuel igniting device 190 joined to the ignition controller 130 by the coil pack 180. The coil pack can comprise the coil body 1810, which can be symmetrical about a centerline 1801. The coil body 1810 can comprise a first half 1810a and a second half 1810b substantially the same as the first half 1810a.

[0093] As shown in Figures 19 and 20, the aforementioned magnetos of the ignition system 120 can face in an opposite direction from that shown in Figures 1 and 3. As noted below, the EECs 130 can in any case be installed as a replacement for the magnetos. In either case, the ignition controllers 130 can engage with the crankshaft of the engine 100 via a gear train 1910 shown, which can transmit the rotation of the crankshaft to the drive shaft 620 (shown in Figure 6).

[0094] As shown in Figures 21 and 22, an intake air manifold portion 2100 of an intake air manifold of the engine 100 can define a pair of ports 2170,2180, which can be configured to receive a corresponding pair of sensors for measuring properties of air inside the intake air manifold at the ports 2170,2180. For example and without limitation, the manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor 504 can be mounted to a one of the ports 2170,2180 and the manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor 505 can be mounted to the other of the ports 2170,2180. In some aspects, the portion of the intake air manifold defining the ports 2170,2180 can also define a main portion 2110 and one or more connecting portions 2120 for inserting and removing the intake air manifold portion 2100. As shown, the port 2170 can be configured to receive the MAT sensor 505 and the port 2180 can be configured to receive the MAP sensor 504.

[0095] Figure 23 is a block diagram 2300 (which can be considered a schematic) of the engine 100 of Figure 1 comprising the ignition system 120 of Figure 1. The camshaft or a portion of the engine 100 can rotate at the camshaft speed and through a mechanical connection with the drive shaft 620 of the ignition controller 130 can rotate the drive shaft 620 (shown in Figure 6) of the ignition controller 130. For example and without limitation, an output of the gear train 1910 (shown in Figure 19) can become the“drive input” for the ignition controller 130 (e.g., via the drive shaft 620). The rotation of the drive shaft 620 can in turn rotate the gear train 1210 of the EEC 130 and, more specifically, the drive gear 950 and the timing gear 960 if the drive shaft 620 is not already turning at the desired speed. Then the angular position encoder 1100, a chip 1110 of which can be positioned proximate to the position magnet 1160 (as shown in Figure 11), can sense the rotation of the position magnet 1160, which as described above can be positioned in the timing gear 960. As will be described, the angular position encoder 1100 and, more generally, the control board 1410 (shown in Figure 14) can use data from the angular position encoder to selectively activate the visual indicator 660 of the EEC 130.

[0096] Figure 24 is a flowchart showing an algorithm, sequence, or process 2400 for initial operation (such as during the initial setting of a rotational position of the ignition controller) of the angular position encoder 1100 of Figure 11 as incorporated into the engine 100 of Figure 1. On start-up, the software in the control board 1410 (shown in Figure 14) can initialize each of an oscillator (an integrated RC or resistor-capacitor circuit), pin mapping, interrupts, an analog to digital converter, timers (1 ,2, 3, 4), a controller area network (CAN) bus, and a quadrature encoder interface (QEI), i.e. , the angular position encoder 1100. As shown, a main loop can control the visual indicator 660 (shown, e.g., in Figure 14). If the engine rotational speed is less than a cut-on value then the control board 1410 can check for the absolute angular position index and activate the visual indicator 660. If the engine speed is greater than the cut-on value, then the control board 1410 can disable the visual indicator 660.

[0097] Figure 25 is a flowchart showing a TMR1 algorithm, sequence, or process 2500 for ongoing operation of the angular position encoder 1100 of Figure 11 as incorporated into the engine 100 of Figure 1. Using the algorithm shown, the control board 1410 can determine the position of the engine 100 inside the combustion cycle. The engine rotational speed can be calculated directly from counts during Timer Ts period.

[0098] Figure 26 is a pulse diagram 2600 showing sequences of ON-OFF (or HI-LOW) values— or pulses— for each of three values A, B, and I, where“A” corresponds to a first position count, i.e. , an A value 2610,“B” corresponds to a second position count or a B value 2620 offset from the first position count, and Ί” corresponds to an index count or the index value 2630. The pulses indicated by the peaks of each sequence of A, B, and I values are generated during a QEI routine as the polarized magnet 1160 (shown in Figure 11 in simplified form and comprising north and south magnetic poles) rotates in close proximity to the chip 1110 (shown in Figure 11).

[0099] Again, to help set the ignition timing, each of the EECs 130 (shown in Figure 6) can include the visual indicator 660 (shown in Figure 6) encircling at least one end of a housing of the EEC 130. The visual indicator 660 can be activated within a particular angular range of engine angular positions (typically relative to either the number one piston TDC position or the full advance position of a number one cylinder of the plurality of cylinders 140) and can be visible from anywhere a technician may be positioned around the engine 100 (shown in Figure 1). The engine 100 will typically have a mark indicating TDC or full advance— it could be a mark on a pulley or other rotating component that is mechanically linked to the crankshaft. Such a mark can be viewed on the outside of the engine or on an internal portion of the engine 100 by looking through a hole in the crankcase 110 or cover and confirming, for example, the position at which the mark on the rotating part lines up with the stationary mark on the engine 100. As described elsewhere herein, the visual indicator 660 can be configured to activate upon the initial supply of power as a tool to show that the visual indicator 660 is operational. Each EEC 130 can also comprise an encoder for tracking the rotational speed and other characteristics of the EEC 130 and the engine 100 overall.

[00100] The ignition timing or synchronization operation can be accomplished after the engine 100 is assembled and installed into an aircraft and without a separate tool such as a magneto timing light, which is typically used to set timing on the engine 100 when the ignition controllers 130 are magnetos. The method can include attaching the EEC 130 to the engine 100, rotating the crankshaft until the engine 100 is at either the TDC position or the full advance position for the number one cylinder, rotating each of the EECs 130 until the visual indicator 660 for the EEC 130 activates— indicating that the EEC 130 is in the desired orientation, and securing each EEC 130, e.g., by staking the respective EEC 130 to the engine 100.

[00101] The timing itself can be made adjustable to any one of a number of preset values (or other non-preset values) through the programmable controller 1400— which again can be embodied in the control board 1410, in which case the initial setting of the EEC 130 can appear more like a method of synchronization and less like a method of timing.

It can be considered more like synchronization in the sense that the disclosed method can synchronize each EEC 130 with respect to a known position of the engine 100 so that any one of a number of timing changes can be made later (including during flight) based on knowledge of the confirmed initial setting.

[00102] Figure 27 is a block diagram 2700 of the ignition system of Figure 1 comprising a multi-function P-lead connection such as the P-lead connection 650. To selectively help supply ongoing“ship’s” power, cut such power, supply independent power, or test the power to the ignition system 120, with a single wire the P-lead connection 650 (shown in Figure) can be routed to a power junction and an ignition circuit. Under starting conditions and under normal operating (including flight) conditions, the power junction can accept power from the P-lead connection 650 as long as the P-lead voltage is higher than the voltage of the independent power supply built into the EEC 130 or higher than a cut-off voltage. When the P-lead voltage potential is at or below the cut-off voltage, the ignition circuit can automatically switch to the independent power supply. The ignition circuit can also be powered by the independent power supply when the P-lead connection 650 is disconnected (i.e., open), in which case the voltage can be allowed to float above the cut-off voltage and below the independent power supply voltage.

[00103] In a typical configuration of the engine 100 comprising two magnetos, five different settings— OFF, RIGHT, LEFT, BOTH, and START— are possible for the ignition switch 2800 (shown in Figure 28), any of which can and would typically be used for at least testing purposes during preflight operations of the engine 100. The possible settings for a typical magneto itself are OPEN (corresponding to normal operation) and GROUND (when the magneto is disabled).

[00104] Shown in Figure 28, the ignition switch 2800 can be configured to control the

ignition system 120 when comprising an EEC 130. The switch 2800 can comprise a body 2810 and can use many components of a standard switch including a key 2880. A plastic support plate 2820 and contacts 2830 can be configured to send system or ship’s power through the P-lead connection 650 when the switch 2800 is in the START and BOTH positions. As shown on a switch plate 2850 of the switch 2800, the same five settings are possible for the ignition switch 2800 in the ignition system 120 comprising the disclosed pair of EECs 130, but in addition each EEC 130 can comprise a permanent magnet generator producing an independent power supply (which can also be referred to as a primary generator system for the EEC 130). In contrast to an ignition system 120 using the magnetos, the possible settings for each of the EECs 130 is POWER (connected to aircraft, battery, or“ship’s” power, all of which are equivalent), OPEN (connected not to ship’s power but rather simply its own independent power supply), and GROUND (when the EEC 130 is disabled). The operation of the switch 2800 can otherwise be identical to an existing switch configured for use with an ignition system 120 using the magnetos.

[00105] Figure 29 is a table 2900 showing the“P-lead input” for each of the first EEC 130 and a second EEC 130 of the pair of EECs 130 corresponding to LEFT and RIGHT EECs 130 in each of five positions of the ignition switch 2800. When set in the OFF position, the P-lead on each of the left EEC 130 and the right EEC 130 can be disabled. When set in the RIGHT position, the P-lead on the left EEC 130 can be disabled (by connecting its P-lead to ground) but the P-lead input on the right EEC 130 can still have generator power, in which case the independent power supply and the operation generally of the right EEC 130 can be tested. Similarly, when set in the LEFT position, the P-lead on the right EEC 130 can be disabled (by connecting its P-lead to ground) but the P-lead input on the left EEC 130 can have generator power, in which case the independent power supply and the operation generally of the left EEC 130 can be tested. Again, when set in either the BOTH or START positions, the EEC 130 can have access to both battery power (“ship’s” power) and its own independent power supply for redundancy (i.e. , if one power source fails, power should be available from the other power source). In effect, in the BOTH and START positions the P-lead is“closed” to a voltage of 28 V as opposed to being closed to ground (in which case the PMG would be disabled).

[00106] Figure 30 is an electrical schematic 3000 showing the operation of the ignition

switch in each of the ignition switch positions of Figure 29. The“LEFT EEC” can correspond to the left EEC 130 comprising the first permanent magnet generator, the “RIGHT EEC” can correspond to the right EEC 130 comprising the second permanent magnet generator, and the“STARTER SOLENOID” can correspond to a typical component for starting the engine 100— typically through engagement of a starter motor with the flywheel 105 of the engine 100. The independent power supply for each EEC 130 can function at an engine speed of as little as 200 RPM, and each EEC 130 can operate consistently with power in a 9.5V-32V range.

[00107] Figure 31 is an engine performance diagram 3100 for a typical engine such as the engine 100 but with magnetos installed. [00108] As shown in Figure 32, an ignition timing map 3200 can represent how the timing of the ignition system 120 of the engine 100 can vary with respect to a rotational speed of the engine— as represented by a first horizontal axis— and with respect to a load placed on the engine— as represented by a second horizontal axis. Again, based on a predetermined map for the engine 100, which can vary by size, type, and configuration of the engine 100, the timing (e.g., the timing advance in degrees before top dead center or full advance) can vary based on the load of the engine as determined from the input from the MAP sensor 504 and the MAT sensor 505 and the RPM of the engine as measured inside the EEC 130 or independently through the aforementioned tachometer.

[00109] Figure 33 is a flowchart 3300 describing, at least in part, the operation of the

ignition system of Figure 1 ; and, more specifically, a method of timing calculation and fault accommodation.

[00110] Figure 34 is a pair of flowcharts describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1 ; and, more specifically, a first routine or QEI1 routine 3410 enabling ignition outputs and a second routine— or Timer 3 or TMR3 routine 3420— disabling the ignition outputs. The QEI1 routine 3410 is called when a position count (using the angular position encoder 1110) is reached. The routine 3410 enables the ignition output according to the current sequence (counter). The sequence is

incremented, the Timer 3 routine is started, and the next ignition position value is stored in the QEI interrupt register. The Timer 3 routine 3420 interrupts after a 1 microsecond period has expired and, again, disables all ignition outputs.

[00111] Figure 35 is a list 3500 of variables for describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1 and the variables used in the various routines disclosed herein.

[00112] Figure 36 is a flowchart describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1 ; and, more specifically, a Timer 4 or TMR4 routine 3600 comprising an analog to digital converter (ADC) routine, a linear interpolation routine, a sensor range check routine, and an ignition timing calculation routine.

[00113] Figure 37 is a flowchart 3700 describing, at least in part, the operation of the

ignition system of Figure 1 ; and, more specifically, an interrupt architecture for the ignition system.

[00114] Figure 38 is an electrical schematic describing, at least in part, electrical

interconnections of the ignition system 120 of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a charge circuit 3800 of the ignition system. As shown, the charge circuit can be a standard flyback converter.

[00115] Figure 39 is a pair of electrical schematics further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, power supply circuits 3910,3920 of the ignition system. Grounding the P-lead connection 650 can disable the charge circuit. An SMPS can regulate the system voltage from the EEC 130 (which can be in a range of 9.5 to 32 V) to 12 VDC.

[00116] Figure 40 is an electrical schematic 4000 further describing, at least in part, the operation of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a power supply of the ignition system.

[00117] Figure 41 is an electrical schematic 4100 further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, an angular position encoder of the ignition system.

[00118] Figure 42 is an electrical schematic 4200 further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, an LED driver of the ignition system.

[00119] Figure 43 is a pair of electrical schematics 4310,4320 further describing, at least in part, the electrical interconnections of the ignition system of Figure 1 and, more specifically, a microcontroller of the ignition system and its power supply.

[00120] A method of installing the ignition system 120 can comprise installing the switch 2800 and, for safety, a two amp (2 A) breaker on each channel. The method can comprise installing sensors and a low voltage harness such as the wiring harness 400. The method can comprise installing the EEC 130 on the engine 100. The method can comprise rotating the engine 100 to number one cylinder full advance for the particular desired configuration of the engine 100. For safety, the method can comprise disconnecting any coil packs 180 during installation. The method can comprise connecting to the P-lead connection 650 and to ground on the 19-pin connector using the blade terminal on the EEC 130. The method can comprise turning on master aircraft power. The method can comprise turning the ignition switch 2800 to BOTH. The method can comprise illuminating the visual indicator 660, which can create a“halo” light, for 1 second to test the visual indicator 660, after which time the light should extinguish. The method can comprise rotating the drive shaft 620 to the number one cylinder full advance position, at which point the visual indicator 660 can be made to illuminate. To eliminate backlash in the gears of the system, the method can comprise staking the EEC 130 and rotating counter to (i.e. , opposite to) the drive rotation until the visual indicator 660 illuminates. The method can comprise locking the EEC 130 in position with standard flange clamps. The method can comprise connecting the coil pack 180 to the EEC 130.

In some aspects, the coil pack 180 can be configured to be energized above 50 rpm.

[00121] Embodied in the EEC 130, the P-lead connection can supply or cut power to the engine 100 and can also test the independent power source of the EEC 130 without a need for separate hardware. [00122] Because the P-lead is built into the EEC 130, the steps above can be accomplished after the engine 100 is assembled and installed into an aircraft and without separate hardware. Pre-flight testing on the ignition system in effect tests not only the operation of the EEC 130 itself but also the independent power supply contained therein. Because the design and operation of the disclosed EEC 130 requires no changes to the design of the engine 100 itself, outside of the new ignition switch and associated wiring, the disclosed EEC 130 and associated hardware including the new ignition switch can be a drop-in replacement for a magneto system.

[00123] The engine 100 can be dual-plugged (i.e. , having more than one spark plug per chamber). The engine 100 can use waste spark operation.

[00124] In one exemplary aspect, an internal combustion engine can comprise a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a visual indicator, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the engine. The ignition controller can comprise a permanent magnet generator. The visual indicator can extend around the perimeter of an end of the ignition controller. The visual indicator can comprise a light-emitting diode. The predetermined angular position of the engine can be a full advance position of a number one cylinder of the engine.

[00125] In another exemplary aspect, an ignition controller for an internal combustion

engine can comprise a housing; and a visual indicator extending around the perimeter of an end of the housing, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the engine. The predetermined angular position of the engine can be a top dead center position of a number one cylinder of the engine.

[00126] A method of timing an internal combustion engine can comprise: rotating the

crankshaft to a predetermined angular position of the engine; rotating an ignition controller of the engine with respect to the engine; and activating a visual indicator 660 of the ignition controller when a drive shaft of the ignition controller reaches the

predetermined angular position of the engine. The method can further comprise attaching the ignition controller to the engine. The method can further comprise securing the ignition controller to the engine after the ignition controller reaches the predetermined angular position of the engine. The predetermined angular position of the engine can be the top dead center position of a number one cylinder of the engine.

[00127] An internal combustion engine for an aircraft can comprise a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a P-lead connection, the ignition controller able to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from the engine via the P~lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power. The ignition controller can comprise a permanent magnet generator. The P-lead connection can extend from an end of the ignition controller.

[00128] An ignition controller for an internal combustion engine, the controller comprising: a housing; and a P-lead connection extending from the housing, the controller able to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power. The ignition controller can comprise a permanent magnet generator. The P-lead connection can extend from an end of the ignition controller.

[00129] In one exemplary aspect, a method of using an ignition system in an internal

combustion engine can comprise supplying power to an ignition controller of the system via a P-lead connection of the ignition controller as long as the P-lead voltage is higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut off voltage of the ignition controller; and automatically switching to the independent power supply of the ignition controller when the P-lead voltage is at or below the cut-off voltage.

[00130] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can comprise a permanent magnet generator.

[00131] In another exemplary aspect, an internal combustion engine for an aircraft can

comprise: a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a visual indicator, the visual indicator configured to produce a visual signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

[00132] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be an electronic engine controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the visual indicator can be positioned on an outer surface of a body of the ignition controller. In a further exemplary aspect, the visual indicator can be positioned on an axially outward facing surface of the outer surface of the ignition controller. In a further exemplary aspect, the engine can further comprise a plurality of pistons and a plurality of cylinders, each of the plurality of pistons configured to move within a corresponding cylinder of the plurality of cylinders. In a further exemplary aspect, the visual indicator can comprise a light-producing device. In a further exemplary aspect, the light-producing device can comprise a light-emitting diode (LED). In a further exemplary aspect, the engine can further comprise a coil pack, a plurality of fuel igniting devices, and a sensor, the sensor being one of a manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor and a manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor, the ignition controller being in electrical communication with the coil pack, the coil pack being in electrical communication with the plurality of fuel igniting devices, the ignition controller configured to vary a timing of ignition of each of the fuel igniting devices of the engine based on an input signal from each of the MAP sensor and the MAT sensor.

[00133] In another exemplary aspect, an ignition controller for an internal combustion

engine can comprise: a body defining a mounting end and a free end; and an indicator positioned on an outer surface of the body, the indicator configured to produce a signal at a predetermined angular position of the ignition controller.

[00134] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be an electronic engine controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the permanent magnet generator can comprise a drive shaft, a drive gear coupled to the drive shaft, and a timing gear in mechanical communication with the drive gear; the timing gear comprising a position magnet fixed with respect to the timing gear. In a further exemplary aspect, the controller can further comprise a chip positioned inside the controller proximate to a position magnet of a timing gear of the controller, the chip in close enough proximity to the position magnet to detect the angular position of the timing gear. In a further exemplary aspect, the indicator can be a visual indicator comprising a light-emitting diode (LED).

[00135] In another exemplary aspect, a method of timing an internal combustion engine of an aircraft can comprise: rotating a crankshaft of the engine to a predetermined angular position of the engine; rotating an ignition controller of the engine with respect to the engine; and activating an indicator of the ignition controller when a drive shaft of the ignition controller reaches a controller angular position corresponding to the

predetermined angular position of the engine.

[00136] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be an electronic engine controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the method can further comprise attaching the ignition controller to the engine. In a further exemplary aspect, the method can further comprise securing the ignition controller to the engine after the ignition controller reaches the controller angular position. In a further exemplary aspect, the predetermined angular position of the engine can be a one of a full advance position and a top dead center position of a number one cylinder of the engine. In a further exemplary aspect, the indicator can be a visual indicator comprising a light-emitting diode (LED). In a further exemplary aspect, the engine can further comprise a coil pack, a plurality of fuel igniting devices, and a sensor, the sensor being one of a manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor and a manifold air temperature (MAT) sensor, the ignition controller being in electrical communication with the coil pack, the coil pack being in electrical communication with the plurality of fuel igniting devices, the method further comprising varying a timing of ignition of each of the fuel igniting devices of the engine with the ignition controller based on measurements by the MAP sensor and the MAT sensor.

[00137] In another exemplary aspect, an internal combustion engine for an aircraft can comprise: a crankshaft configured to drive a propeller; a camshaft coupled to the crankshaft; and an ignition system comprising an ignition controller coupled to the camshaft and comprising a P-lead connection, the ignition system able to switch electrical power from the engine via the P~lead connection, the ignition controller also able to selectively supply its own power.

[00138] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be an electronic engine controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the P-lead connection can extend from an end of the ignition controller.

[00139] In another exemplary aspect, an ignition controller for an internal combustion

engine can comprise: a housing; and a P-lead connection extending from the housing, the ignition controller configured to selectively supply or cut main electrical power from the engine via the P-lead connection, the ignition controller also configured to selectively supply its own power.

[00140] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the P-lead connection can extend from an end of the ignition controller.

[00141] In another exemplary aspect, a method of using an ignition system in an internal combustion engine of an aircraft can comprise: supplying power to an ignition controller of the system via a P-lead connection of the ignition controller as long as the P-lead voltage is higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut-off voltage of the ignition controller; and supplying power to the ignition controller from the independent power supply of the ignition controller when the P-lead voltage is not higher than a one of a voltage of an independent power supply of the ignition controller or a cut-off voltage of the ignition controller.

[00142] In a further exemplary aspect, the ignition controller can be an electronic engine controller, the electronic engine controller comprising a permanent magnet generator.

[00143] In another exemplary aspect, a method of testing a pair of electronic engine

controllers in an internal combustion engine of an aircraft can comprise: grounding a P- lead connection of a first electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers while opening a P-lead connection to a second electronic engine controller of the pair of electronic engine controllers; checking for normal operation of the second electronic engine controller while the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is open; grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller while opening the P-lead connection to the first electronic engine controller; and checking for normal operation of the first electronic engine controller while the P- lead connection of the second electronic engine controller is grounded and while the P- lead connection of the first electronic engine controller is open.

[00144] In a further exemplary aspect, grounding the P-lead connection of the first

electronic engine controller and grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller can be accomplished by activating a switch in a cockpit of the aircraft. In a further exemplary aspect, the switch can comprise three settings: a first setting that connects to ground both of the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller and the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller, a second setting that initiates the steps of grounding the P-lead connection of a first electronic engine controller and checking for normal operation of the second electronic engine controller, and a third setting that initiates the steps of grounding the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller and checking for normal operation of the first electronic engine controller. In a further exemplary aspect, the switch can comprise four settings, the method further comprising positioning the switch in a fourth setting to initiate joining in electrical communication with a battery of the engine each of the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller and the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller. In a further exemplary aspect, the switch can comprise five settings, the method further comprising positioning the switch in a fifth setting to initiate joining in electrical communication with the battery of the engine the following: the P-lead connection of the first electronic engine controller, the P-lead connection of the second electronic engine controller, and a starter configured to start operation of the engine. In a further exemplary aspect, each of the first electronic engine controller and the second electronic engine controller can comprise a permanent magnet generator. In a further exemplary aspect, the permanent magnet generator of each of the first electronic engine controller and the second electronic engine controller can be a permanent magnet alternator configured to produce an alternating current. In a further exemplary aspect, the method can further comprise: turning the engine at a speed below a cut-on speed required to send current to any of a plurality of fuel igniting devices of the engine; rotating the engine to a one of a full advance and a top dead center position of a number one cylinder; and automatically activating an indicator of the electronic engine controller based on a rotation position of the electronic engine controller being synchronized with the one of the full advance and the top dead center position of a number one cylinder. [00145] In another exemplary aspect, an ignition controller can comprise: a body configured to mount in place of a magneto on an internal combustion engine; and a permanent magnet generator positioned within the body and configured to supply an independent source of power to the engine.

[00146] One should note that conditional language, such as, among others,“can,”“could,” “might,” or“may,” unless specifically stated otherwise, or otherwise understood within the context as used, is generally intended to convey that certain aspects include, while other aspects do not include, certain features, elements and/or steps. Thus, such conditional language is not generally intended to imply that features, elements and/or steps are in any way required for one or more particular aspects or that one or more particular aspects necessarily comprise logic for deciding, with or without user input or prompting, whether these features, elements and/or steps are included or are to be performed in any particular aspect.

[00147] It should be emphasized that the above-described aspects are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the present disclosure. Any process descriptions or blocks in flow diagrams should be understood as representing modules, segments, or portions of code which comprise one or more executable instructions for implementing specific logical functions or steps in the process, and alternate implementations are included in which functions may not be included or executed at all, may be executed out of order from that shown or discussed, including substantially concurrently or in reverse order, depending on the functionality involved, as would be understood by those reasonably skilled in the art of the present disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described aspect(s) without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the present disclosure. Further, the scope of the present disclosure is intended to cover any and all combinations and sub-combinations of all elements, features, and aspects discussed above. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of the present disclosure, and all possible claims to individual aspects or combinations of elements or steps are intended to be supported by the present disclosure.