How To Choose a Street Ignition

Speaker 1: Whether it's your daily driver, a weekend warrior or that show car sitting in the corner of the garage, one thing's for sure. We can all appreciate a good running engine. Speaker 1: One of the easiest and most beneficial upgrades you can do to get the most out of your ride is to upgrade the ignition system, but with so many choices and tons of options, how do you know which ignition system is the best choice for your street vehicle? That's a good question. We all know the basics of how an engine works. The air-fuel mixture is compressed into the cylinders, which is then ignited by the ignition system. Just one small spark is all that's necessary to combust the air-fuel mixture and complete the power stroke. Speaker 1: Spark is spark, right? Not quite. Most stock ignitions only produce a single weak spark to fire the spark plug, and that may be good enough for a stock engine, but it's not ideal if you really want to get the most out of your engine's potential. One of the easiest ways to take advantage of increased spark energy is to install one of our ready-to-run or HEI-style distributors. They act as a standalone ignition system and can produce about two and a half times the spark energy that your stock ignition system does. Speaker 1: Since the ignition is built right into the distributor, you only need to connect a few wires to be up and running. Some models even allow you to fine-tune the ignition timing curve to match your engine's performance needs. If you've been around the automotive scene at all, then I'm sure you've heard of MSD. Three simple letters, but do you know what those letters stand for? Multiple spark discharge. Speaker 1: It's a design that was patented by MSD in the 1970s, and you may also have heard that installing a multi-spark ignition can give your engine more horsepower and better throttle response. It's true, but why and how? Let's take a closer look at how a multi-spark ignition works. Speaker 1: At lower RPMs, an MSD ignition fires your spark plug multiple times during each cycle, rather than just once, like most OEM ignitions do. But, that's not the only thing going on. Unlike stock inductive style ignition systems, MSD ignitions incorporate capacitive discharge technology. Here, the supply voltage is stepped up to as much as 535 volts, all complements of accustom MSD transformer. Speaker 1: Then it's stored in highly efficient capacitors. This multi-plug firing, combined with our capacitive discharge technology, produces a high powered spark, which is then unleashed to the coil at full output, no matter what the RPM. The hotter spark ensures that you'll experience a smoother idle, better throttle response, and more complete combustion from idle, all the way to the red line. Speaker 1: A powerful spark is even more important when you make performance upgrades to your engine. This can include adding an aftermarket intake, better flowing cylinder heads, and less restrictive headers or exhaust systems. These engines will require more air and fuel to maintain the correct air-fuel ratio. This is where the MSD ignitions really shine. With the combination of multiple spark and capacitive discharge, our recognitions provide a stronger, hotter spark to completely ignite your air-fuel mixture under these demanding conditions. Speaker 1: How do I get the benefits of multiple spark and capacitive discharge technology? There are actually several ways that you can take advantage. Our entry level MSD 6A works on virtually any vehicle, utilizing a 12 to 18 volt electrical system with the distributor and coil. It can be triggered using breaker points, a magnetic pickup, or the output of an electronic amplifier. The 6A is our budget-minded analog ignition, and is designed for use on stock to slightly modified street machines, trucks, and street rods. Speaker 1: The powerful multi-spark capability of our MSD 6A ensures complete combustion throughout the entire RPM range, along with benefits like easier starting, improved throttle response, reduced plug fouling, more power, and even increased fuel economy. Speaker 1: MSD 6AL shares the same circuitry as our 6A, but with the addition of a built-in adjustable rev limiter. RPM control limits are adjusted in 100 RPM increments, and when the engine reaches a selected RPM limit, our soft touch circuitry begins dropping spark to the various cylinders. Then, on the next cycle, these plugs are fired again to prevent fuel from loading up in the cylinders. This results in a smooth and accurate RPM limiting action without backfires or blowbacks that could potentially cause damage to your motor, should you happen to miss a shift or have a catastrophic failure. Speaker 1: The combination of powerful spark and the ability to add a two-step rev limiter and safety of our soft touch rev control, makes the 6AL a perfect choice for the entry level street strip racer, and is one of our most popular CDI ignitions produced. Speaker 1: For those of you that enjoy the simplicity of the 6AL, but also need to control timing on supercharged or turbocharged cars, our MSD 6BTM has you covered. This analog ignition offers multiple spark, capacitive discharge technology, and a high RPM rev limiter, along with a built-in map sensor that's able to detect boost pressures, as well as the capability to retard timing anywhere from zero to three degrees per pound of boost. Speaker 1: Our Digital 6 Plus is a step above the popular 6AL ignition, offering you additional features that puts you in control of your engine's ignition. It uses MSD's high-speed RISC microcontrollers to control ignition output while continually analyzing inputs such as supply voltage, trigger signals, and RPMs. Our high-speed controller makes quick compensations to the output voltage, multiple spark series, timing and RPM limits, in order to maintain accurate timing signals to within a 10th of a degree, and precise RPM limit accuracy. Speaker 1: Our Digital 6 Plus uses soft touch rev control, just like the 6AL, but with two different RPM limits. Soft touch circuitry provides a smooth and accurate rev limit by dropping the spark to individual cylinders and produces a load-free rev limit. You can select two rev limiters. The first limit can be used for staging, and the second limit for top and over-rev protection. Both RPM limits are adjustable externally in 100 RPM increments, with our easy to use rotary dial switches. Speaker 1: There's also a single stage retard step that's activated when 12 volts are applied. It remains active until 12 volts are removed. The retard is adjustable from zero to 9.9 degrees, and can be adjusted in 10th of a degree increments. It's perfect for nitrous applications, and can be connected to a nitrous cell node activation wire, or your micro-switch on the shifter. Speaker 1: Depending on what you'll be triggering your MSD box with, some of you may need the flexibility of a Hall effect sensor input. The answer to this need is the Digital 6AL-2, and our programmable Digital 6AL-2. The 6AL-2 offers all the features of our Digital 6 Plus box in a more traditional MSD case. While the programmable Digital 6AL-2 is loaded with features such as a three step rev limiter, a single stage of timing retard for use with nitrous, programmable timing curves and a boost timing curve for supercharged or turbo applications. The programmable Digital 6AL-2 is easy to set up using MSD's Pro Data Plus software right from your PC. Speaker 1: Why wouldn't you want increased spark energy that results in a smoother idle, better throttle response and more power? In the end, it just makes sense to add an MSD ignition to your engine. Thanks for watching. I hope you found this video helpful. To learn more about MSD distributors and ignition systems, or to watch more how-to videos, visit our website at


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MSD Digital ignition control for 4, 6 and 8 cyl. engines
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