Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS TO CONTROL AN IGNITION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/081007
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A multi-charge ignition system including a spark plug control unit adapted to control at least two coil stages so as to successively energise and de-energise said coil stage(s) to provide a current to a spark plug, said two stages comprising a first transformer (T1) including a first primary winding (L1) inductively coupled to a first secondary winding (L2); a second transformer (T2) including a second primary winding (L3) inductively coupled to a second secondary winding (L4); characterised in including first switch means M2 located between the high end side of the first primary winding and high end side of the second primary winding, and second switch means M3 located between the low side of the first primary wining and high side of the second primary winding.

Inventors:
FRANK, Lorenz (Engelstrasse 98, Trier, 54292, DE)
WEYAND, Peter (Cite Millewee 34, 8064 Bertrange, 8064, LU)
Application Number:
EP2016/076983
Publication Date:
May 18, 2017
Filing Date:
November 08, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DELPHI AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS LUXEMBOURG SA (Avenue de Luxembourg, 4940 Bascharage, 4940, LU)
International Classes:
F02P9/00; F02P15/10
Foreign References:
EP2325476A12011-05-25
US3218512A1965-11-16
DE3637140A11987-05-07
CN201181633Y2009-01-14
JPH07220955A1995-08-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DELPHI FRANCE SAS (B√Ętiment le Raspail - ZAC Paris Nord 2, 22 avenue des NationsCS65059 Villepinte, Roissy CDG Cedex, 95972, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A multi-charge ignition system including a spark plug control unit adapted to control at least two coil stages so as to successively energise and de-energise said coil stage(s) to provide a current to a spark plug, said two stages comprising a first transformer (Tl) including a first primary winding (LI) inductively coupled to a first secondary winding (L2); a second transformer (T2) including a second primary winding (L3) inductively coupled to a second secondary winding (L4); characterised in including first switch means M2 electrically connected between the high end side of the first primary winding and high end side of the second primary winding, and second switch means M3 electrically connected between the low side of the first primary wining and high side of the second primary winding.

2. As system as claimed in claim 1 including a step-down converter stage electrically connected between said control unit and coil stage(s), said step-down converter including a third switch (Ml) and a diode (D3), said control unit being enabled to control said third switch to selectively provide power to said coil stages.

3. A system as claimed in claim 1 including fourth and fifth switches Ql and Q2 controlled by said control unit, said fourth and fifth electrically connected between the low sides of said first and primary windings respectively, and ground.

4. A system as claimed in claim 1 where said control unit enabled to

simultaneously energize and de-energize primary windings (LI , L3) by simultaneously switching on and off two said corresponding fourth and fifth switches (Ql , Q2) to sequentially energize and de-energize primary windings (LI , L3) by sequentially switching on and off both corresponding switches (Ql , Q2) to maintain a continuous ignition fire, 5. A system as claimed in claims 1 to 4 wherein for a multi-charge ignition cycle, during an initial energisation/ramp up phase of said primary coil of said first stage, said control unit is adapted to close said second switch M3 and open said first switch M2 so as to connect the primary coil of both stages in series. 6. A systems as claimed in any previous claim where said first and second switches are provided with control lines from said control unit.

7. A method of controlling a system of claim 1 to 6 during an initial energisation/ramp-up phase of said primary coil of said first stage in a multi-charge ignition cycle, comprising closing said second switch M3 and opening said first switch M2 so as to connect the primary coil of both stages in series.

Description:
Method and Apparatus to Control an Ignition System Technical Field

The present invention relates to an ignition system and method of controlling spark plugs. It has particular but not exclusive application to systems which are adapted to provide a continuous spark, such as a multi-spark plug ignition system.

Background of the Invention

Ignition engines that use very lean air- fuel mixtures have been developed, that is, having a higher air composition to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. In order to provide a safe ignition it is necessary to have a high energy ignition source. Prior art systems generally use large, high energy, single spark ignition coils, which have a limited spark duration and energy output. To overcome this limitation and also to reduce the size of the ignition system multi-charge ignition systems have been developed. Multi-charge systems produce a fast sequence of individual sparks, so that the output is a long quasi- continuous spark. Multi-charge ignition methods have the disadvantage that the spark is interrupted during the recharge periods,

which has negative effects, particularly noticeable when high turbulences are present in the combustion chamber. For example this can lead to misfire, resulting in higher fuel consumption and higher emissions.

An improved multi-charge system is described in European Patent EP2325476 which discloses a multi-charge ignition system without these negative effects and, at least partly, producing a continuous ignition spark over a wide area of burn voltage, delivering an adjustable energy to the spark plug and providing with a burning time of the ignition fire that can be chosen freely.

One drawback of current systems is the high primary current peak at the initial charge. That current peak is unwanted, it generates higher copper-losses, higher EMC- Emissions and acts as a higher load for the onboard power generation (generator / battery) of the vehicle. One option to minimize the high primary current peak is a DC/DC converter in front of the ignition coil (e.g. 48 V). However this introduces extra cost. It is an object of the invention to minimize the high primary current peak without the use of a DC/DC converter.

Statement of the Invention

In one aspect is provided a multi-charge ignition system including a spark plug control unit adapted to control at least two coil stages so as to successively energise and de-energise said coil stage(s) to provide a current to a spark plug, said two stages comprising a first transformer (Tl) including a first primary winding (LI) inductively coupled to a first secondary winding (L2); a second transformer (T2) including a second primary winding (L3) inductively coupled to a second secondary winding (L4);

characterised in including first switch means M2 located between the high end side of the first primary winding and high end side of the second primary winding, and second switch means M3 located between the low side of the first primary wining and high side of the second primary winding.

The system may include a step-down converter stage located between said control unit and coil stage(s), said step-down converter including a third switch (Ml) and a diode (D3), said control unit being enabled to control said third switch to selectively provide power to said coil stages.

The system may include fourth and fifth switches Q 1 and Q2 controlled by said control unit, said fourth and fifth connecting the low side of said first and primary winding respectively to ground.

The control unit may be enabled to simultaneously energize and de-energize primary windings (LI, L3) by simultaneously switching on and off two said

corresponding fourth and fifth switches (Ql, Q2) to sequentially energize and de- energize primary windings (LI, L3) by sequentially switching on and off both corresponding switches (Ql, Q2) to maintain a continuous ignition fire,

For a multi-charge ignition cycle, during an initial energisation/ramp up phase of said primary coil of said first stage, said control unit may be adapted to close said second switch M3 and open said first switch M2 so as to connect the primary coil of both stages in series.

Said first and second switches may be provided with control lines from said control unit

Also provided is a method of controlling the above systems where during an initial energisation/ramp-up phase of said primary coil of said first stage in a multi-charge ignition cycle, comprising closing said second switch M3 and opening said first switch M2 so as to connect the primary coil of both stages in series. Brief Description of Drawings

The invention will now be described by way of example and with reference ot the following drawings of which:

Figure 1 shows the circuitry of a prior art coupled-multi-charge ignition system;

Figure 2 shows timeline of the figure 1 systems for primary and secondary current, EST signal and coil 1 switch and coil 2 switch "on" times;

Figure 3 shows a circuit of a coupled multi-charge system according to one example, and

Figure 4 shows timeline of the figure 3 system with the same parameters as in figure 2.

Prior Art

Figure 1 shows the circuitry of a prior art coupled-multi-charge ignition system for producing a continuous ignition spark over a wide area of burn voltage servicing a single set of gapped electrodes in a spark plug 11 such as might be associated with a single combustion cylinder of an internal combustion engine (not shown). The CMC system uses fast charging ignition coils (L1-L4), including primary windings, LI, L2 to generate the required high DC-voltage. LI and L2 are wound on a common core Kl forming a first transformer (coil stage) and secondary windings L3, L4 wound on another common core K2 are forming a second transformer (coil stage).. The two coil ends of the first and second primary 20 windings LI, L3 may be alternately switched to a common ground such as a chassis ground of an automobile by electrical switches Ql, Q2. These switches Ql, Q2 are preferably Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors. Resistor Rl may be optionally present for measuring the primary current Ip that flows from the primary side and is connected between the switches Ql, Q2 and ground, while optional resistor R2 for measuring the secondary current Is that flows from the secondary side is connected between the diodes Dl, D2 and ground. The low- voltage ends of the secondary windings L2, L4 may be coupled to a common ground or chassis ground of an automobile through high- voltages diodes Dl, D2. The high- voltage ends of the secondary ignition windings L2, L4 are coupled to one electrode of a gapped pair of electrodes in a spark plug 11 through conventional means. The other electrode of the spark plug 11 is also coupled to a common ground, conventionally by way of threaded engagement of the spark plug to the engine block. The primary windings LI, L3 are connected to a common energizing potential which may correspond to conventional automotive system voltage in a nominal 12V automotive electrical system and is in the figure the positive voltage of battery. The charge current can be supervised by an electronic control circuit 13 that controls the state of the switches Ql, Q2. The control circuit 13 is for example responsive to engine spark timing (EST) signals, supplied by the ECU, to selectively couple the primary windings LI and L2 to system ground through switches Ql and Q2 respectively controlled by signals Igbtl and Igbt2, respectively. Measured primary current Ip and secondary current Is may be sent to control unit 13. Advantageously, the common energizing potential of the battery 15 is coupled by way of an ignition switch Ml to the primary windings LI, L3 at the opposite end that the grounded one. Switch Ml is preferably a MOSFET transistor. A diode D3 or any other semiconductor switch (e.g. MOSFET) is coupled to transistor Ml so as to form a step-down converter. Control unit 13 is enabled to switch off switch Ml by means of a signal FET. The diode D3 or any other semiconductor switch will be switched on when Ml is off and vice versa.

In prior art operation, the control circuit 13 is operative to provide an extended continuous high-energy arc across the gapped electrodes. During a first step, switches Ml, Ql and Q2 are all switched on, so that the delivered energy of the power supply 15 is stored in the magnetic circuit of both transformers (Tl, T2). During a second step, both primary windings are switched off at the same time by means of switches Ql and Q2. On the secondary side of the transformers a high voltage is induced and an ignition spark is created through the gapped electrodes of the spark plug 11. During a third step, after a minimum burn time wherein both transformers (Tl, T2) are delivering energy, switch Ql is switched on and switch Q2 is switched off (or vice versa). That means that the first transformer (LI, L2) stores energy into its magnetic circuit while the second transformer (L3, L4) delivers energy to spark plug (or vice versa). During a fourth step, when the primary current Ip increases over a limit (Ipmax), the control unit detects it and switches transistor Ml off. The stored energy in the transformer (LI, L2 or L3, L4) that is switched on (Ql, or Q2) impels a current over diode D3 (step-down topology), so that the transformer cannot go into the magnetic saturation, its energy being limited. Preferably, transistor Ml will be permanently switched on and off to hold the energy in the transformer on a constant level. During a fifth step, just after the secondary current Is falls short of a secondary current threshold level (Ismin) the switch Ql is switched off and the switch Q2 is switched on (or vice versa). Then steps 3 to 5 will be iterated by sequentially switching on and off switches Ql and Q2 as long as the control unit switches both switches Ql and Q2 off. Figure 2 shows timeline of ignition system current; figure 2a shows a trace representing primary current Ip along time. Figure 2b shows the secondary current Is. Figure 2c shows the signal on the EST line which is sent from the ECU to the ignition system control unit and which indicates ignition time. During step 1, i.e. Ml, Ql and Q2 switched on, the primary current Ip is increasing rapidly with the energy storage in the transformers. During step 2, i.e. Ql and Q2 switched off, the secondary current Is is increasing and a high voltage is induced so as to create an ignition spark through the gapped electrodes of the spark plug. During step 3, i.e. Ql and Q2 are switched on and off sequentially, so as to maintain the spark as well as the energy stored in the transformers. During step 4, comparison is made between primary current Ip and a limit Ipth. When Ip exceeds Ipth Ml is switched off, so that the "switched on" transformer cannot go into the magnetic saturation, by limiting its stored energy. The switch Ml is switched on and off in this way, that the primary current Ip is stable in a controlled range. During step 5, comparison is made between the secondary current Is and a secondary current threshold level Isth. If Is < Isth, Ql is switched off and Q2 switched on (or vice versa). Then steps 3 to 5 will be iterated by sequentially switching on and off Ql and Q2 as long as the control unit switches both Ql and Q2 off. Because of the alternating charging and discharging of the two transformers the ignition system delivers a continuous ignition fire. The above describes the circuitry and operation of a prior art ignition system to provide a background to the current invention. In some aspects of the invention the above circuitry can be used. The invention provides various solutions to enhance performance and reduce spark-plug wear. Figures 2d and e show the operating states of the respective coils by virtue of the switch on and off times. Detailed Description of the Invention

Example 1

Figure 3 shows a circuit according to one example - it is similar to that of figure 1. The circuit may include means to measure the voltage at the high voltage HV-diodes (Dl and D2), though this is optional, The supply voltage (Ubat) can additionally and optionally be measured.

In this example there are two further switches are provided: switch M2 located between the connection to the high side of the primary winding of coil stage 1 and the high side of primary winding of stage 2; and switch M3, located between the low side of primary winding of stage 1 and high side of primary winding of coil stage 2. These may be controlled by the ECU and/or spark control unit. When switch M3 is closed and M2 opened, the coils LI and L3 (i.e. the primary coils) are effectively connected in series rather than in parallel.

Figure 4 is similar to figure 2 and shows plots of primary current, secondary current, EST signal and operating states of the respective coils during operation of the figure 3 circuit according to one method, during a multi-spark ignition cycle. In the initial phase of a multi-charge (spark) ignition cycle, (e.g. when the EST pulse goes high to activate the ignition), and where the primary current is ramped up, switch M3 is closed and switch M2 is opened. Ml is switched on to provided current to both the windings LI and L2. As a consequence the primary current will ramp up at a shallower gradient compared to figure 2a as shown in figure 4a. (the ramp up peak of the prior art design is superimposed in figure 4a) for comparison,

The switches M2 and M3 may controlled by the ignition coil controller which may include respective control lines to control the switches, partially shown in the figure. In order to achieve the requisite charging, the EST pulse with regard to the initial ramp up charge period may be extended as shown in figure 4c (compared to figure 2c). After the discharge of energy to the spark plug, the coils 1 and 2 are switched alternately to provide alternate charge and discharge of the first and second stages, as is conventional in multi-spark systems.