US 3613653 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventors Eugene Irvin,Jr.
6635 Lakewood Blvd., Dallas, Tex. 75214; Edwin A. Carrell, 1608 Westlake Drive, Plano, Tex. 75074  Appl. No. 21,782  Filed Mar. 23, 1970  Patented Oct. 19, 1971  IGNITION DEVICE FOR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE 8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.  US. Cl ..l23/146.5 A, 123/148 A, 123/148 AC, 123/148 DC  Int. Cl F02p 9/00  Field of Search 123/119 E, 146.5,146.5 A, 148 AC, 148 DC, 148 E  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,451,482 10/1948 Flint 123/146.5 A 2,351,682 6/1944 Hendry et a1. 123/148 AC 2,968,296 l/1961 Kaehni 123/148 E 3,500,801 3/1970 Long et al 123/146.5
Primary Examiner-Laurence M. Goodridge Att0rneyH. Mathews Garland ABSTRACT: An air pollution control device for use in the ignition system of an internal combustion engine for applying a nonigniting electrical potential to nonfiring cylinders of the engine responsive to current flow to the firing cylinder including an assembly having a spark plug lead coupler connectible into each spark plug lead socket of the distributor head and engageable by the spark plug lead for that particular socket, each coupler having a conductor engageable at a lower end in the distributor head socket and contacted at the upper end by the spark plug wire. A conductive sleeve is secured in spaced electrically insulated relation around the conductor through the coupler, the sleeves in the several couplers of the device being electrically interconnected in series whereby a potential induced in a sleeve by electrical flow through the conductor within such sleeve induces a similar potential in the sleeves of the other couplers inducing a potential in the conductors through such other couplers effecting a nonigniting potential at the plugs of the nonfiring cylinders.
PATENTEUncT 19 I97! I INVENTORS Eugene Irvin, Jr.
ATTORNEY BY Edwin A.Carrell \-A\W Q M /v52. .w i w w r Ill!!! IGNITION DEVICE FOR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE This invention relates to a device for improving the combustion characteristics of an internal combustion engine and more specifically relates to an ignition device for electrically enhancing the combustion process of an internal combustion engine.
In recent years air pollution problems, particularly in metropolitan areas of the world, have become monumental and are increasing at such alarming rates that possibly survival of life as currently known on earth is contingent on determining the principal sources ofsuch pollution and finding ways of minimizing if not eliminating it. It is unquestioned that one source, and perhaps the major one, of such air pollution is the present internal combustion engine used in automobiles, busses, aircraft, and any other forms of mobil and stationary apparatus. One of the reasons for the production of pollutants by the internal combustion engine is the inefficiency of the combustion process in the engine resulting in the discharge of many unburned or partially burned products which, for the most part, are gaseous in form so that they laden the air with impurities. Numerous approaches are being taken to minimize the polluting materials being discharged from engines including changing the contents of the fuels being burned, often requiring engine redesign, and in the instance of the present invention, improving the combustion process through the mechanism of the conventional ignition system in present forms of engines.
It has been found that nonigniting electrical condition can be created in each of the nonfiring cylinders of an engine responsive to the flow of current to the firing cylinder improving conditions for combustion in the nonfiring cylinders. The flow of current to each of the firing cylinders is utilized to inductively create a potential providing a field in each of the nonfiring cylinders which effects conditions in such cylinders for improved combustion. Several approaches have been made to utilize the particular electrical concept applicable, but in each instance they have fallen somewhat short of achieving the desired end result and in particular have not been commercially desirable as they interfered with or altered existing structure of the ignition system of an engine and/or required somewhat more than ordinary skill for installation.
It is, therefore, a particularly important object of the invention to provide a new and improved ignition device for an internal combustion engine which reduces air pollution by minimizing the discharge of air-contaminating materials from the cylinders of the engine.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved ignition device which may be installed by an unskilled person without alternation of the existing structure of the ignition system of the engine.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved ignition device for an internal combustion engine which creates a more homogeneous mixture of air and fuel to provide a smoother burning mixture in each cylinder of the engine.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved ignition device which breaks down solid deposits on the piston and cylinder surfaces exposed to the combustion process.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which improves the power output of an engine and thus in an automobile the gas mileage is extended by increasing the efficiency of the combustion process.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which increases the acceleration of an engine.
It is a further object of the. invention to provide an ignition device which reduces oil contamination of an engine.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device wherein the atmosphere in each cylinder is ionized thereby lowering the voltage required to provide an igniting spark across the gap of each spark plug of the engine.
It is another object of the invention to provide an ignition device which includes no moving parts and thus is not subject to wear.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which is not affected by humidity, various forms of contamination to which an engine is normally subjected, or other conditions normally detrimental to proper performance of spark plugs and other components of an ignition system.
It is a further object of the invention to improve the life of various components of an ignition system including the battery by reducing the voltage necessary to operate the system.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which may be readily manufactured to fit any desired number of cylinders of an internal combustion engine.
It is further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which may be installed withoutthe use of tools or particular technical knowledge of the structure of the ignition system of the engine.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which is simply connected in between the normal spark plug leads and the distributor head of an ignition system whereby the device is energized by current flowing to each of the spark plugs of an engine.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device of the character described which does not necessitate penetration or other alteration of the insulation on the various current leads of the existing ignition system in which it is installed.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an ignition device which improves the idle speed of an engine.
These and further objects of the invention will be apparent from reading the following description of an ignition device embodying the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. I is an exploded perspective of an ignition device embodying the invention positioned for coupling the spark plug leads of an engine to the distributor;
FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of one of the couplers of the ignition device;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view in longitudinal section showing one of the couplers connected between a socket on the distributor and a spark plug lead; and
FIG. 4 is a view in section along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
In accordance with the invention, the current flowing to each firing cylinder is utilized to inductively create an electrical condition in the leads to and in the nonfiring cylinders which electrical condition is nonigniting and creates a cylinder atmosphere more favorable to a highly efficient combustion process. The exact phenomenon of which occurs to enhance the cylinder atmosphere is not known, though it is believed to be in part a corona effect induced by the voltage at the sparking gap of the nonfiring plugs communicated from the lead in which the current is flowing to the firing cylinder.
Referring to FIG. I of the drawings, an ignition device I0 embodying the invention for use with a four cylinder engine includes four identical couplers 11 which are electrically interconnected in series by a conductor 12. The couplers II are each connectable with one of four identical spark plug lead sockets 13 on the head of a distributor 14. The distributor is of suitable conventional design serving to distribute electrical current to the several spark plugs of the engine in the usual timed sequence. The distributor has a central electrical socket 15 engageable by a lead 20 having a male member 21 insertable into the socket 15 for electrically coupling the distributor to the ignition coil, not shown, of the engine ignition system. Theignition device 10 electrically couples four identical spark plug leads 22 to the four spark plugs, not shown, in the four cylinders of the engine. The spark plug leads each have a male connector 23 engageable in the head of one of the couplers I l.
Referring to FIGS. 2-4, each of the couplers II has an integral tubular body mandrel 30 including a slightly tapered enlarged head portion 31, a reduced tubular central portion 32, and a still further reduced tubular lower end portion 33. The head portion 31 has a blind bore defining a receiver 34. The upper end 35 of the mandrel 30 is somewhat rounded to provide a pleasing appearance and smooth surface for handling and installation of the coupler. The size reduction of the central body portion 32 provides downwardly facing stop shoulder 40 on the bottom of the head of the body. A locking flange or lip 41 is provided around the lower end of the body portion 32. The lower end portion 33 of the body is reduced below the lip 41. A longitudinal bore 42 extends throughout the length of the central and lower portions of the body opening into the bottom of the socket 34 and opening through the lower end of the lower body portion 33. The body 30 is formed of an insulating or dielectric plastic material such as polypropylene.
An electrically conductive tube 43 is disposed through the bore 42 and bradded or flared outwardly at its upper end securing it to a cylindrical conductive spark plug lead socket 44 tightly fitted in the receiver 34 in the upper head of the body. As seen in FIG. 3, the socket 44 is located at the lower end of the receiver 34 and the tube 43 is bradded at its upper end 430 through a hole defined in the center of the bottom of the socket. The lower end 43b of the tube 43 is similarly flared outwardly or bradded against the bottom of the body portion 33 to rigidly lock the tube in the coupler body. The socket 44 is sized to receive a standard male spark plug lead connector 23 so that the spark plug leads may be readily coupled into the upper end of the coupler merely by inserting them by hand into the socket 44. A conductive clip 45 is secured along the lower end of the coupler body as best illustrated in FIG. 3. The straight portion 450 of the clip is inserted upwardly into the bore of the tube 43 while the curved side portion 45b of the clip extends upwardly along the outside cylindrical surface of the body portion 33. An upper, inwardly extending hook portion 450 of the clip is inserted into a sidewardly opening hole 50 in the coupler lower body portion 33 to lock the clip against longitudinal movement on the clip. The socket 44, the tube 43, and the clip 45 are all made of electrically conductive material which most readily discharges the particular structural function required of the part. For example, the socket 44 is made of aluminum, the tube 43 of brass and the clip 45 of a spring steel. The particular arrangement of the conductive components in the body of the coupler provides ease of construction and forms a rigid structure which is not subject to accidental disassembly and thus is long wearing.
A slightly outwardly flared skirt or boot 51 is tightly fitted on the coupler body below the head 31 extending in spaced concentric relation over the central portion 32 and the lower portion 33 of the coupler body. The skirt has a central portion 52 provided with a bore 53 sized to receive the central portion 32 of the coupler body. The locking flange 41 of the body engages the bottom face of the skirt portion 52 below its bore 53 locking the body in the skirt. Epoxy glue may be used in the skirt bore around the body. The skirt has an upper cylindrical end portion 60 having a bore 61 which is larger than the central coupler body portion 32 defining an annular space 63 within the upper portion of the skirt when the skirt is assembled on the coupler body. The lower flared portion 64 of the skirt comprising the major portion of its length has a downwardly and outwardly flared bore 65 shaped to receive the distributor socket 13 for connecting the coupler on the distributor. The internal surface of the lower skirt portion has spaced internal annular ribs 70 which grip the outward surface of the distributor socket on which the coupler is engaged as shown in FIG. 3.
A partial sleeve conductor 80 is disposed within the annular space 63 tightly fitted on the central coupler body portion 32 and circumferentially encompassing a major portion of the body. The sleeve 80 is electrically connected with the conductor 12 as shown in FIG. 4. The insulation 12a is stripped from the conductor along the portion of its length 12b which is disposed within the coupler annular space 63 around the coupler body portion 32 in the upper skirt portion 60. The bare conductor portion 12b is tightly confined with the annular space clamped between the outer surface of the sleeve 80 and the inner surface of the upper skirt portion 60 within its bore 61. The insulation stripped conductor portion 12b is held in sufficiently tight engagement with the conductive sleeve that electrical contact is made between the conductor 12 and the sleeve. The conductor 12 extends from the skirt annular space on each side of the bare portion through a pair of circumferentially spaced semicircular slots 81 formed in and opened upwardly through the upper end of the skirt portion 60. While the preferred form of electrical connection between the conductor 12 and the sleeve 80 is as illustrated to facilitate assembly of each coupler, it will be recognized that the conductor 12 may be made in segments with separate segments extending through the spaced slots 81 with an insulation free end portion .of each soldered to the outer surface of the sleeve 80. The spacing of the sleeve 80 from the tube 43 and the insulating character of the body 30 preclude sparking between the sleeve and tube.
A fully assembled ignition device embodying the invention includes one coupler 11 for each spark plug lead of the ignition system of the engine with the conductive sleeves 80 of the several couplers of the ignition device being electrically interconnected in series by the conductor 12. In the particular ignition device 10 illustrated in FIG. I, for a four cylinder engine, four couplers 11 are interconnected by a single conductor 12. The four couplers are interconnected by a length of conductor 12 measured to properly space the four couplers to fit the sockets 13 on the head of the distributor 14 as shown in FIG. 1. The insulation is stripped at three spaced locations along the length of the conductor 12 to provide bare wire at such locations such as represented by the stripped conductor portion 12b in FIG. 4. Also, a length of each of the free ends of the conductor 12 is stripped of insulation so that at the coupler at which the ends terminate and come together, they may be laid into the annular space 63 of the coupler in the relationship shown in FIG. 4 with the bare ends of the stripped conductor being brought together approximately at the midpoint between the spaced slot 81 along the sleeve 80 in the coupler. The other three couplers will, of course, each be connected with a continuous bare section 12b of the conductor as in FIG. 4 so that the completely assembled ignition device 10 includes four circumferentially spaced couplers 11 with the ends of the conductor 12 being brought together in one of the couplers and the conductor 12 continuing through the other three couplers as in FIG. 4.
The conductor 12 may be inserted through the coupler in several different ways. For example, after the socket 44 and the tubing 43 are assembled in the body 30 of the coupler, the sleeve 80 may be placed on the central body portion 32. The conductor 12 with its stripped insulation portion 12b may be formed into an arcuate shape as in FIG. 4 and laid in place within the upper end portion of the skirt 51 with the insulation strip portion disposed across the skirt as shown in FIG. 4. The body 30 of the coupler is then inserted through the sleeve 80 into the skirt 51. Alternatively, the sleeve 80 is placed on the body portion 32 to the position shown in FIG. 3 and the stripped conductor portion 12b is wrapped partially around the sleeve 80 as in FIGS. 2 and 4 and held against the sleeve as the body 30 is inserted through the skirt until the stop shoulder 41 at the lower end of the body portion 32 engages the internal stop shoulder 55 within the skirt. The bare conductor portion 12b is wedged into the skirt portion 60 to the tightly fitting relationship represented in FIG. 4. The sizing of the slots 81 may be such that when the body portion 30 of the coupler is forced into the skirt, the bottom end surface 40 of the head 31 of the coupler body will tightly engage the segments of the insulation on the conductor 12 at the opposite ends of the bare portion 12b to further tightly clamp the conductor in the coupler. The clip 45 is then assembled on the lower end portion of the coupler body by inserting the straight portion 45a of the clip upwardly into the bore of the tube 43 with the crooked portion 45 of the clip sliding upwardly along the outer surface of the coupler body until the hooked end portion 450 engages the hole 50. If desired, the clip may be soldered to the tube 43 at a point designated 45d in FIG. 3 at the entry of the straight portion of the clip into the bore of the tube.
Any desired number of identical coupler units 11 may be so electrically and physically interconnected to provide an ignition device embodying the invention for an engine of any selected number of cylinders. If desired, the several couplers may be interconnected by a conductor 12 which is not in the closed loop form but rather is a single strip of wire having two free ends. In such a modified assembly a coupler 11 is secured as described at each free end of the conductor and the other couplers of the assembly spaced apart along the length of the conductor between the two end couplers. In such an arrangement the couplers still are electrically connected in series as in the form of FIG. 1.
The completely assembled ignition device is installed in the ignition system of an internal combustion engine by steps suggested in the exploded perspective view of FIG. 1. The spark plug and ignition coil leads are removed from the head of the distributor 14 by pulling the spark plug lead connectors 23 from the sockets l3 and the connector 21 of the ignition coil lead 20 from the socket 15. The ignition device 10 is then held above the distributor in the relationship shown in FIG. 1 with each of the couplers 11 being installed on a socket 13 of the distributor head as shown in FIG. 3. Each coupler is held and manually placed over the distributor head socket to the position shown in FIG. 3 with the lower end portion of the coupler body with the clip 45 being inserted into the conductive female socket 13a of the distributor head socket 13. As shown in FIG. 3 the clip 45 is contoured to conform to a por tion of the inner surface of the socket 13a to aid in holding the coupler on the socket. The hook 450 on the clip resiliently engages the locking recess 13b of the socket 13a. The gripping action of the ribs 70 aid in holding the coupler on the socket. The couplers 11 are sequentially installed on the sockets of the distributor head until the ignition device is securely connected with and supported on the distributor head. The spark plug leads are then connected into the proper couplers 11 in the same order in which they previously had been connected into the sockets 13 of the distributor head. The male connector 23 of each spark plug lead is inserted into the position shown in FIG. 3 within the socket 44 of each coupler. The coil lead 20 is then reconnected with the distributor socket to provide energy from the spark coil to the distributor.
If the nonclosed loop or straight string arrangement of the assembly of couplers is used, the coil lead is not removed during installation of the device. The spark plug leads are removed, the couplers are installed in the distributor head around the coil lead, and the spark plug leads are inserted into the couplers.
With the ignition device so connected between and electrically coupling the spark plug leads with the distributor, as the distributor sequentially energizes the spark plug leads, the ignition device is activated functioning to transmit a nonigniting electrical condition from each energized spark plug lead to the nonenergized spark plug leads and thence to the nonfiring cylinders of the engine. The distributor energizes a selected socket 13. An electrical potential is applied from the female socket 13a through the conductive clip 45 and the conductive tube 43 to the female socket 44 of the coupler 11. The potential is applied to the male connector 23 of the spark plug lead and through such lead to the spark plug of the cylinder to be fired. As the current flows through the tube 43 of the coupler 11 to energize the spark plug lead, an electrical field is effected in the vicinity of the tube 43 inducing a potential on the conductive sleeve 80 surrounding and electrically insulated from the tube 43. The character of and the thickness of the material comprising the central body portion 32 of the coupler is such that the potential on the tube 43 does not effect a spark between the tube and the sleeve 80. Also, of course, the character of the material comprising the dielectric along the body portion 32 must be such that the electrical condition between the tube 43 and the sleeve 80 will not effect breakdown of the material. The potential induced in the sleeve 80 is conducted to the insulation bare conductor portion 12b and through such conductor to the serially connected other couplers 11 in the system. The sleeves 80 in the couplers ll connected with the nonenergized distributor sockets 13 are thus raised to the potential of the sleeve surrounding the energized coupler. The electrical potential of the sleeves 80 of the nonenergized couplers induces an electrical condition in the conductive tubes 43 through such nonenergized couplers which condition is then conducted through the spark plug leads to the plugs of the nonfiring cylinders resulting in nonigniting emissions from such nonfiring plugs. These nonignitingv ignitions condition the charge and atmosphere within the nonfiring cylinders to enhance the combustion process in such cylinders when each of the spark plugs in suchcylinders are subsequently ignited to effect combustion of such charges. The engine operates in routine fashion with the spark plugs being sequentially fired and the ignition device 10 effecting the desired condition in each of the nonigniting cylinders as each spark plug lead is sequentially energized.
The numerous previously discussed beneficial effects are obtained, including improved acceleration, increased gas mileage, quicker starting, cleaner operating parts within the engine, and most importantly, a substantially reduced discharge of contaminants from the engine due to the improved combustion process. Analyses of exhaust gases from automobile engines operating under normal conditions under the influence of the ignition device of the invention have demonstrated an 84.9 percent decrease in hydrocarbons heavier than methane in one instance and in another instance a percent decrease in such hydrocarbons. In the same tests, the methane measured in such exhaust gases showed a 35.82 percent decrease in the first instance and 100 percent decrease in the second example. In similar tests on the automobile engines, a full second reduction in acceleration time from zero to speeds of 60 miles per hour were measured. Also, an increase in idle speed of up to 200 r.p.m. was found in an engine with the addition of the ignition device without any engine adjustments. Gas mileage increases were found to range up to 20 to 30 percent. The device is readily installed without the use of special tools, and, due to theabsence of moving parts and the protection provided the conductors in the device, essentially no deterioration occurs during its operation. Due to the nature of the construction of the device and the manner in which its several couplers are interconnected by the conductor 12, it is readily assembled to function with an engine of any number of cylinders without the necessity of manufacturing and stocking varieties of part sizes and kinds. The uniformity of spark plug lead connections and distributor heads permits the use of a uniform-type coupler with only the numbers of couplers being varied to accommodate the device to various engines.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent 1. An ignition device for improving the combustion process in the combustion chambers of the cylinders of an internal combustion engine having electrical conductors connected between a distributor and the spark plug of each cylinder of said engine, said device comprising: an electrically conductive sleeve supported in electrically insulated relationship around each of said electrical conductors forming one plate of a condenser for each conductor of said engine for inducing an electrical potential in each of said sleeves responsive to current flow in the electrical conductor through said sleeve; and electrical conductor means interconnecting said sleeves together in parallel whereby each of said plates of the individual condensers formed for each electrical conductor are simultaneously energized responsive to current flow through the electrical conductor passing through any one of said sleeves.
2. An ignition device for conditioning the combustion chambers of internal combustion engines comprising: a plurality of serially interconnected couplers for electrically connecting the spark plug leads of said engine with the head of the distributor of said engine, each of said couplers including first conductive means for connecting said coupler into a socket of said distributor head, second conductive means spaced therefrom for connection of a spark plug lead with said coupler, an electrical conductor connected between said first and said second coupling means, an electrically conductive sleeve disposed in spaced electrically insulated relationship around said conductor between said first and second coupling means, an electrical conductor extending between said couplers serially interconnecting said sleeves of said couplers whereby an electrical potential is induced in one of said sleeves of said couplers responsive to electric current flowing through said conductor between said first and second coupling means of said coupler, said potential is conducted to the sleeves of the remaining couplers of said ignition device effecting a change of electrical conditions in the nonfiring combustion chambers of said engine by means of said spark plugs in said chambers,
3. An ignition device in accordance with claim 2 wherein said sleeve is split having a gap therein between opposite free ends and said sleeve encompasses a major circumferential portion of said coupler around said conductor through said coupler between said first and second coupling means.
4. An ignition device in accordance with claim 2 wherein in each of said couplers said first conductive means comprises a male connector adapted to be inserted into a spark plug receptacle of said distributor head and said second conductive means comprises a female receptacle for receiving the male connector of a spark plug lead.
5. An ignition device for preconditioning a fuel charge in an internal combustion engine for improving the combustion process in the combustion chambers of said engine comprising: a plurality of serially interconnected electrically conductive couplers for connecting spark plug leads of said engine into the head of the distributor of said engine, each of said couplers comprising an elongate, tubular body mandrel formed of an electrically insulating material, an electrically conductive female socket disposed in an opening at one end of said body mandrel for receiving the male connector of a spark plug lead, an elongate electrical conductor disposed through said body mandrel from said female socket member to a second end of said body mandrel, an electrically conductive connector secured on said second end of said body mandrel in electrically conductive relationship with said conductor through said body mandrel, said second end of said body mandrel and said connector comprising a male connection on said coupler for insertion into a female spark plug lead socket on a distributor head, an electrically conductive sleeve disposed in electrically insulated spaced relationship around said body mandrel encompassing said conductor through said body mandrel and within an electrical field generated around said conductor when said conductor is energized, a tubular skirt of electrically insulating material disposed on said body mandrel around and in spaced relationship from said second male end portion of said body mandrel for fitting over and gripping a said socket member of said distributor head, and an electrical conductor serially interconnecting said conductive sleeves of said couplers of said ignition device, said conductor having a portion thereof disposed through said skirt of each of said couplers and clamped in electrically conducting relationship with said sleeve of said coupler whereby electrical energy passing through one of said couplers from said distributor to a spark plug lead connected thereto induces an electrical condition in said sleeve of said coupler, said electrical condition being communicated to the sleeves of the other couplers of said ignition device for communication to the spark plugs of the nonfiring cylinders of said engine.
6. An ignition device as defined in claim 5 wherein said sleeve is a split sleeve encompassing a major circumferential portion of said conductor through each of said couplers.
7. An ignition device as defined in claim 6 wherein said conductive coupling means on said male portion of said body mandrel of said coupler is a clip having a portion electrically connected with said conductor through said body mandrel and a portion engageable in the female socket of the socket connector of said distributor head of said engine when said device is installed on said engine.
8. An Ignition device as defined in claim 7 wherein said con-