Updated on 19 October, 2021
An inline spark regulator is a device usually used in gas engines to check and record spark failure. To utilize a spark regulator, the spark plug or combustion chamber is first inserted into an electric outlet, and then a regulator flame is lit to test for proper connection. The regulation of the flame and its intensity will determine the amount of current drawn by the regulator, which serves as a means of regulating the amount of spark created.
There are many types of regulators available for testing spark plugs. The most common, and perhaps most obvious, is the push/pull regulator. In this system, a small metal piston acts as the pull apparatus that pushes a metallic strip across the opening of a plug. When the piston moves past a stationary point, the metal strip pulls the plug out. The regulator then detects when the piston has moved past the point where it should have stopped, determining when to allow the plug to ignition and stop the current flow.
Inline regulators also incorporate a timing mechanism that allows them to determine the right time for plug in ignition. The regulator utilizes a variable resistor to set the ignition time based on the load current draw of the ignition coil. The idea behind this is that when there is less current drawing on the ignition coil, the current will stop flowing through the device. Once the current resumes, ignition occurs, at which time the resistor is adjustable and can be varied to allow a certain spark pressure level.
Another type of regulator is the velocity tester. Using this type of inline spark regulator is similar to the push/pull style regulator, with one difference - the device is attached to a spark plug instead of a pull cylinder. With a velocity tester, when the spark plugs are pulled, air is forced between the spark plug and the cylinder, which causes a flame with the same energy as the inline spark tester. With this type of tester, it is necessary to adjust the pressure used by the spark plug to match the appropriate spark volume.
While testing your inline spark equipment, make sure you don't install or operate the device on an open or covered area. In most cases, this is not an option because an open flame can damage your spark screen, restrict airflow, or both. If the area where the testing is performed is covered, make sure that a cover is installed so that there is no possibility of the device coming into contact with combustible material. Keep the area clean, as well, to reduce the possibility of contaminating the area and causing damage to the tester or the equipment itself.
Once the inline spark test is complete, inspect your equipment for any burning or smoke stains, which could indicate a fire hazard. If there are no spots of fire, then your equipment has passed the initial testing. Next, remove the device from the area where it was tested and store it in a safe location. It is important to note that some flammable fluids such as antifreeze must be stored in a well-ventilated area away from any combustible material. Finally, reconnect the inline spark ignition system to its power source, and test it one more time.
With the proper spark reserve capacity and installation procedures, your inline spark unit will last for a lifetime. Although older models may require more maintenance than newer ones, the cost of caring for them should be comparable. As with other appliances in your home, it is very important to make sure that your device is properly maintained. If your spark plugs need to be replaced after awhile, check the manufacturer's warranty to find out when your next scheduled maintenance visit will be.
For those who use their inline spark equipment on a regular basis, there is the added benefit of knowing when the best time to change the batteries or replace the spark plug might be. Testing in this way will help you avoid buying a new unit when you don't really need one. When you find that the equipment performs as expected, keep in mind that there is always the chance that the manufacturer's warranty will not cover continued use after the warranty expires. In this case, purchasing a different brand can ensure that you get your money's worth.