The surface discharge spark plugs ignition.

Surface discharge spark plug, NGK BUE.

How it sparks:


An old story...


By  Hampton  H.  Foster and  David  M.  Straight

Concluding remarks.

 "Use  of  a  nontriggered  ignition system and a surface-discharge-type ignitor in combination with controlled
ignitor  spark-gap  environment  may  provide  optimum  design  for  ignition.

Lewis  Flight  Propulsion  Laboratory
National  Advisory Committee  for  Aeronautics
Cleveland,  Ohio,  January  19,  1954

With nowadays confirmation:

 Which concludes:

"Of the plugs in this study with a J shaped ground strap, several physical parameters appear to affect the kernel growth – the amount of crossover of the ground strap, the dimensions of the ground strap, and the gap width seem to be the primary factors in this consideration.

Multiple ground electrode designed spark plugs significantly slow down the early flame development, due to the increase in heat loses and the reduction in flame growth due the restricted flow directions.

The plug, type-D, that performed the best, was a plug with no ground electrode where the amount of heat loses was the lowest and there was no obstacles affecting the flame growth. A reduction of 7.3% in the time required to burn 10% mass of the mixture was recorded for this spark plug compared to SP type-A while an increase of 4.4% in IMEP was observed.
The COV of the type-D spark plug was the lowest of the four main test spark plugs where it showed a reduction of 23.8% and 17.1% in the COV of IMEP and engine speed respectively compared to the base spark plug, SP type-A."

Comparison to the conventional spark plug.


"The spark plugs,  surface gap type, do not need to be cleaned or gapped. Check the surface of the insulator around the center electrode for signs of tracking, which looks like shiny, radial lines from the center electrode to the spark plug shell. If the insulator surface is tracked, the high voltage from the ignition coil will "leak" across the track before it has risen high enough to jump the gap".

 Instantaneous, explosive, cold start, (at 0 Celsius), 5% economy, better torque, more power at high revs.

23/February/17 Update

After study and adjustments, the clear result now is 20% -, (an unbelievable result, even by me), + another 10%- because I can use gasoline of 95 RON, instead of 100 RON, (cheaper in Greece by 10%),  which was necessary having preignition or detonation problems, (or both), or whatever, causing mr. Digifant to cut the timing at acceleration, giving the feeling of  a stair. 

The measurements are done by MFA, (car's trip computer), in a closed road, all the parameters, (tires, load, temperature, way of driving, wind), counted to be constant, and the results repeatable.

The car, now, is capable of climbing low gradients with the 3rd gear and rpms as low as 800, not even touching the gas pedal (!), where previously the 1st, (or the 2nd marginally),  gear was necessary, not laboring or making any strange noise.

At acceleration, there is a bike feeling in terms of noise and g's, (g60).

The total cost, up to now, is...12 Euro, which is the price of the spark plugs.

Gasoline thermodynamics.

From the, (Greek), oil company E.K.O., I had the following informations, (orally):
95 RON + 100 RON the same density, varying from 34.6 MJ/L to 35.1 MJ/L, and 720 to 775 kgr/m., for both gasoline types.

So it seems that there must be  no difference expectations to torque and hp, although I spot a tiny ...(not sure yet to tell you).

Many more are coming! 

24/February/17 Update

December 1965, Popular Mechanics. (Article excerpt).

"...6% better, (lower), consumption, with surface discharge spark plugs..."

The above, (right), photo of the "Polar-Gap" surface discharge spark plug, shows a tiny, (and important), detail: the inner secondary gap, in order to, (auto), eliminate fouling.

So they were right! Or, better, my measurement  of  5% reduction in fuel consumption was accurate, BUT before adjustments. The fact that with these spark plugs there is, (almost), no danger of detonation or preignition, gives the opportunity for adjustments, especially for timing adjustments, mixture adjustments e.t.c., e.t.c., allowing for a vast reduction in the consumption!

(Tip: The cars of the f1, are using the surface discharge spark plugs, with a very high compression ratio,  but with the gasoline RON number varying between 97-102 , which is a very low number for such designs. Undoubtedly their spark plugs are a contributing factor for this magic). 

f1 surface discharge spark plugs, (Denso, much smaller than the conventional size).

19/March/17, update.

Yesterday I had problem trying to start the engine.

It is a fact that if, for any reason, there is a hesitation to start, (f.ex. after a period of several days without any action), the NGK's BUE are fouled.

The solution is to take them out for cleaning and they are o.k. again.

But considering the inner, extra, secondary, gap which exists in some surface discharge spark plug designs, I went that way, introducing such a gap in BUE's, never imagining what was going to happen.


1)The engine started immediately.

2)(I really do not believe it, although the phenomenon was present continuously, under all the circumstances, driving into the traffic, or to the open road, or within the limits of the closed route which I use to take measurements):

An additional 5% drop of the consumption! (Added to a total of 20% up to now = 25% drop, the price difference of the fuels, (regular 95 RON, which now can be used without problems, vs racing 100 RON), excluded.

Many more are coming!
(For the moment I am repairing the focus mechanisms and studying how to align the prisms of a "SUPER ZENITH" binoculars set ('70s)).

22/March/17, update.

 1966, Champion said:


The important thing here is the oscilloscope's picture. The auxiliary, (booster), extra, gap, drops the rising time, ( from 100 microseconds to, just, 4, as you can see at the next document),  so the total available amount of energy is released instantaneously, contributing for a better combustion.

But in the case of the g60 engine there is an additional rotary spark gap, (distributor), so there are two static and a rotary spark gap in series. How are they syncronized, (yes I know, "synchronized"), to give these unexpected results?

22/March/17, update.

The correct auxiliary gap?

" If the spark plugs are the surface gap type, they do not need to be cleaned or gapped. Check the surface of the insulator around the center electrode for signs of tracking, which looks like shiny, radial lines from the center electrode to the spark plug shell. If the insulator surface is tracked, the high voltage from the ignition coil will "leak" across the track before it has risen high enough to jump the gap. NOTE: The two surface gap spark plugs recommended for this engine are the Champion UL-17V and the NGK BUHX. Generally, the UL-17V will make the engine run more smoothly at small throttle openings because it has an extended nose. However, it tends to foul or track more easily than the BUHX because it has only a 0.200" booster gap (series gap). The BUHX has a 0.250" booster gap so that the voltage seen at the spark plug electrodes i
s higher."

An old, (1920),  accessory!

An old naval trick.

24/March/17, update.

The, (river), sand, spark plug, auxiliary, gap, dielectric!
(More are coming asap).

25/March/17, update.

Now, everything is ready for the next step, and it seems that it is a lot easier than the method with the diodes e.t.c. e.t.c..

We 'll see...

But lets discuss firstly the, (river), sand dielectric, auxiliary gap, surface discharge, spark plug.

From the moment I made an auxiliary gap, (more about that in a few moments), I understood that the air as dielectric in this gap, (which differs in many ways from the other two, the one between the central electrode and the body and the second which is rotary at the distributor), is not a good idea to have it for two reasons:

1)It's dielectric constant is, just 1, (as you can see here ), so there are limitations posed by the design. This means that for a reasonable gap, having a higher constant dielectric,  better results can be achieved at a relatively smaller gap, which, by definition, will be less space consuming and faster.

2)A  corrosive gas is produced, the ozone. 

Only 200 km after, the electrodes, (which are not real electrodes, because they are not designed to be  used in this way), seem to be eroded by the sparks and corroded by the ozone.

 The green particles show the corrosion of the copper central electrode by the ozone.

Erosion at the, nickel, terminal by the sparks.


First try to construct a surface discharge spark plug. (At that moment didn't know that there are ready products).

On the left the O.E.M. Bosch W6DPO, (double platinum), without the ground, Γ type, side gap, electrode.

 On the right an NGK BUR6ET, semi surface discharge NGK. In the middle the heavily modified BUR6ET, which gave spectacular results at low revs.

My product, even further modified, after some use.

The 2 m.m. gap, too much for the ignition.

Back to the business, and see how the inner gap is adjusted.

Here we can see that when the terminal is lifted up to 4 m.m., the inner gap is set to 0.9 m.m..
The amount of the terminal lifting limit, is imposed by the structure's stability, meaning that there are not enough threads above it.

The 0.9 m.m. auxiliary gap is  minor compared to the industry standard which is 5m.m. to 6m.m., (as mentioned previously).

Here is  the importance of the dielectric substance. If the air is replaced by another dielectric, which must be,
* inflammable,
* stronger, (with higher dielectric constant),
* non corrosive,
* with low expansion coefficient,
 then the goal is achieved.

As we can see here, all the above parameters, (f.ex. dielectric constant 3-4 times more than the air's), are obtained.

The last point is the use of a river sand, and the reason is that the sea sand is corrosive, which is due to the high contents in salt.

A very sturdy construction promises for the required strength.

(Ya I know, I have to admit that, the total project is, a little bit, extreme, ha ha ha).

28/March/17, NACA's report 202, pdf, (excerpt):



290.100  km.

A small instability at idle may be due the wear of the auxiliary gap?

Reduced it at the minimum 0.1 mm, the instability disappeared...


NACA, April 1, 1954.


By  Hampton  H.  Foster  and  David  M.  Straight
Lewis  Flight  Propulsion  Laboratory
Cleveland,  Ohio

"3. With the same ignition supply system used, the combustor-inlet
pressures  at  the  ignition  limit  were  1  to  2  inches  of  mercury  lower  for
the  best  of  the  surface-discharge  ignitors  than  for  a  reference  production-
type  air-gap  ignitor.  In  general,  the  surface-discharge  ignitors,  par-
ticularly those with wide spark gaps, were more subject to adverse ef-
fects of fuel wetting than conventional air-gap  iknitors." 


The final adjustments?

This is the situation of the auxiliary gap electrode after a brief use with air, (no sand), dielectric:

The pattern of a central electrode/circumference ground, with the pros it has, is repeated here:

Setting the distance, between  the terminal and the ceramic insulator at 0.6 cm, the inner, auxiliary gap, is at 0.1 cm, (filled with the river sand), which is, about, the 80% of the main gap. 
(It seems that the industry standard is something between 80%-85%).

The total height of the spark plug becomes 8.1 cm vs the 7.5 cm of the original, acceptable without spacing problems.


Some results 10.000 km. after: (Please use your headphones to here the details, while you are watching it on  (the) You Tube).


The "Final Adjustments" seems to be far away, again.

An inspection of the distributor's cap, inner, terminals, was very informative.

Let's look at them:

Here is the distributor cap with it's EMI/RFI shield.

Inside the cap we can see that there are the terminals, (here the cap from a BMW), divided in two zones

Talking about negative high voltage coils, as the 99% of the cars have, the original spark zone is where the spark jumps, (anode), to it's way to the spark plugs.

If the spak plugs gap is extra wide, (as per BUEs at 1.3 m.m. or 0.050''), and if the ignition coil has adequate output, the spark becomes stronger, since more energy has to be distributed. If the distributor cap is without cracks and clean, the spark is forced to jump through the terminals, as ought.

So it goes from the rotor, (cathode, here is a used one with a miniscule erosion, as it is expected, since the cathode of the spark gap is affected  in a minimum extend):

to the stator's, (cup), brass, (for the specific 30.000 Volts, Bosch), cup  terminals.

But these terminals are strongly eroded by using them in a vast amount of time or by using them by forcing, (through them), an amount of energy higher than the specified.

So here are the results to mine, after 280.000 km with the standard spark plugs plus 7.000 km with the BUEs plus 2.000-3.000 km with the extra, secondary, spark gap and the BUE's. Their capability to transmit the required energy  is, significally, diminished.

And here is the rotor, somehow unaffected of all the severe conditions eroded the terminals, (an expected picture from the cathode):

So it seems that some measures must be taken:

1)Dismiss the secondary, (river sand), gap, (causing an extra energy reduction and a potential spark timing/duration disturbance), since the reason for the spark plugs fouling may be the eroded terminals.

2)Renew the distribution cap, (and the rotor).

Since the rotor seems to be o.k., (and since to be renewed, the old one, must be crushed because it is glued), decided a more creative solution: to repair the distribution cap. (First, ever, international try?).

So, thought to use the virgin terminal zone, (please see the BMW's cap photo above).

It was a very easy task by adding an 1 m.m., (cable), flange, so the spark, (triumphantly), entered the terminal's virgin zone.

(click on the photo to enlarge)

The impressive performance of the BUE's is back again in it's full glory. 
(The fouling question remains, now have an opportunity to inspect if it was a matter of the eroded terminals.).


A Porsche ignition cap, part of the double distributors, (with a belt), system.

A new question arises: are the ventilation holes just for the belt or they serve for a better health of the terminals, since the high energy ignition produces a lot of corrosive ozon?

Here is an answer from a,  MSD, certified tech.:

"Keep in mind when using a CD ignition that the energy passing through the distributor cap is greatly amplified. As the energy arcs from the rotor tip to the distributor cap it ionizes the air within the cap. If the air under the cap does not vent out sufficiently then the ionized air will oxidize the metals, combined with moisture in the air the oxidation process is accelerated.

You should be able to clean up the oxidation with emery cloth or scotch brite. You can apply a lite coat of dielectric grease to the metal surfaces to minimize the oxidation." 


In fact on vehicles that are driven frequently in wet weather this can cause more problems by allowing more moisture in the cap."


"You should also vent the cap by drilling 2 - ¼” holes 180 degrees across from each other midway up the cap between two of the poles. This will allow you to using the spinning of the rotor to draw fresh air through the cap and keep that ionizing of the collected moisture to a minimum. If this does not seem to work as well as we planned, drill an additional two holes at 90 degrees from the original holes.

The rust or corrosion is a by product of moisture being trapped inside the cap and the high energy of the MSD ionizing that moisture. By venting the cap, we use the action of the rotor to continually draw fresh air through the cap keeping the moisture down to a minimum.

MSD Tech"



Another  think to consider is that after some hours of operation, the new, (discovered), terra, for my strikes, has an eroded vision:

May be because this part  is narrow?

But, for shure, this figure confirms why the so good results: the BUE's drain a hot, high energy, spark, taking the power from a coil operated for 25 years perfectly and above it's original operating folder, when needed, without a cough.

Time for, more, action!


The new state of life terminals: The Semi-Solid.


For ever young! (o.k., just for the terminals, (for the moment)).


Collecting informations about the subject I have found these:

From this:

From another, undentified, (Ford?, GM?), source:

Now some questions arising:

1)Is it possible to protect the terminals from the ozon, which is produced as the spark meets them, and from the aggressive nitrogen oxides, as Bosch says that they are  the byproducts of the operation?
(To prevent a broken link I duplicate: "The spark discharge between the distributor rotor and the HT lead contact generates heat and a high proportion of aggressive nitrogen oxides.")

(Looking at the base of the Bosch cap, we can see that there are 4x2 channels for the gas escaping at  a manner that it is not possible for the moisture and the dust to enter).

The suggested solution about the dielectric, (non conductive), grease, seems that minimize the production of the harmful gases, but   has a disadvantage: the dielectric grease does not contact electricity, so this may be a barrier for a, really, hot spark.

2)Is it possible to repair the, already, eroded terminals? 

3)And if the answer to the #2 question is yes, is it possible to optimize the gap between the rotor and the terminals in order to achieve the minimum loss of power? ("Optimize": may be the less possible gap in a try for the minimum energy loss or, simply, to achieve the correct gap in order, for the coil, to accumulate the maximum energy before firing. It is an intriguing matter).

4)By the way, is it possible to eliminate any eccentricities, in a try for an equal spark for all the cylinders?

My  answer.

 In my warehouse I had a motorex "copper paste":

I thought to give it a try.

It is a lithium based grease and withstands temperatures up to 1200 °C vs the 200 °C of a  silicon grease. Knowing that the spark temperature, is, about 6000 °C το 7000 °C, (very rough estimates), when a silicon grease is suggested, seems that the temperature at the surface of the terminal must be below this point. (Of course the silicon oils have the additional advantage to repel the dust).

Knowing that it is much more above the limit when the danger to turn into carbon, having the disadvantage of attracting the dust, (with the hope that this attraction inside the cap  will be very delayed), there is an obstacle: it is not contuctive.

Being a "copper paste" grease, seems as the proper candidate to convert it's mass into conductive state by, simply, adding copper castings, (drilling an old air conditioner's copper tube).

The conductive copper paste, lithium grease.

 (My sound record is not good, please wear your headphones).

(To be continued)


The Plasma Era.


These amazing surface discharge spark plugs!


These amazing surface discharge spark plugs! β'


The Plasma Era.

Mr. Digifant rejects a diplomatic solution. So an unorthodox solution is under construction for a Digifant plasma ignition. A separate unit, running in parallel,  triggered inductively,  implemented after the distributor, having no direct connection to the main system.

The nickel emissions and the gamma radiation are two improbable factors about  which more data are collected.


#1 Digifant and Plasma! Yes, it is true, contrary to the predictions.

Here are some raw photos from the, D.I.Y.,  just finished construction and installation:

No MFA, (trip computer), data available, since the system is just installed.

#2 Just some minutes after operation, Plasma on, here is the picture:

Plasma burns the residues. You can see the lighter residue traces on the ceramic insulator.

But there are a lot other things Plasma can do...


The Plasma is a green  technology, really. Do you see the green light when it is energized through a switch from the cockpit?

(The Plasma on/off switch).


A, background, pilot lamp is added in order to have a real time operation check:



Plasma mkII.

Are you ready?


Working with the Plasma.

100 km after, with the spark plugs washers on(*), here is one glimpse:

The deposits on the ceramic insulator are cleaned up.

 With the washers on the firing point is at 0 m.m., 2 m.m. below the standard point which is at 3 m.m..

Since a timing retardation is recommended for the Plasma ignition, I thought to start from this point.

Setting the firing at 1 m.m., (obtained without the washers), is my standard point for operation in this project and I am going to check it as a next step. 


Be a Merovingian King.

To resume.

With the Plasma technology you may:

#1 Burn hydrocarbons much more efficiently and greenly.

#2 Burn water.

#3 Burn the...Nothing and become a "Do Nothing" Merovingian King. (Free energy for all). 

But someone has to forbid it, of course:

There will be no development of any "plasma" engine or device

The above may be or may not be real. I cannot check it.

My first measurements:

#1 Emissions: the same as previously (!)
#2 Consumption: no change (!)

(It seems that it will be a little bit difficult).

The Syncro Heresy


One month of research, study, decisions, repairs.

Nothing went well.

The emissions hit a red line. The consumption with ups and downs. And, finally, stalling at low revs, unstable idling, severe loss of power. 

All the above even with the Plasma off!

The month passed in  laborious  tries to see what is going on. Of course, my fides to my beloved g60 engine cannot be dissolved at any circumstances. 

Starting from the basics:

#1 Change of the fuel filter. At 40.000 km, the previous one had no signs of restriction in the fuel circulation and the fuel inside was clean, (90%).

No success.

#2 Change of the fuel pump. This step will be elaborated in a separate page, since there are a lot of interesting discoveries about the qualities, the operation principles, the process, the available market substitutes and the intention to renew an equipment after 25 years of successful operation, (unexpected even by the manufacturer (?)), in order to serve the car's presence on the road for another 25 years, (at least). 
The, two stage, original, Pierburg unit is an aviation level part, almost.
Fuel pump change. (November 2018 update).

No success.

#3 Change of the ECU.

No success.

#4 Change of the ignition coil. 

But this was a desperate try. This, die hard, amplitude modulated, ignition coil for the electronic Bosch Digifant ignition, never fails, even having some very unfortunate moments with me, building the Plasma. 

No success.

#5 Taking out, clean, after thorough study, and reassemble the injectors, reassembling not provisioned by the manufacturer, for this boutique engine, for a common, mortal, person, without manufacturer's divine capabilities.

A special page is coming for this operation and for those green Bosch, immortal, injectors.

No success.

#6 Distributor's Hall sender connector repair. A broken part was circulating within the distributor and the Hall armature. The pins from the connector where free to short circuit to the ground.

No success.

#7 Operation without the lamba probe.

No success.

#8 Adjustment and cleaning  of the, self-cleaned, copot, (co % regulator, air speed detector),  tries at various values of injectors inject duration, (duration adjusted by the copot).

No success.

#9 Inspection of the wot and idle switches, isv valve cleaning.

No success.

#10 Inspection and re-fitment of the various tubes, the Ecu's "exactly one meter" included.

No success. 

#11 Finally, lost in space, at night, an unexpected, (not surprising though), discovery: the diode modules which are into , the magnificent, state of the art engineering and electronic science ice cream box, made by me, are glowing, ripping the darkness and my beloved g60, sending the spark wherever he wants to go.

The State of the Art, cold Plasma, ice cream box.


A nice owner of a Passat Syncro g60 made this study for the fueling of his g60, using the co-pot adjuster:

Translating it, we are coming to this:

800 RPM at 37.5 mbar:

CO pot setting vs Inj PW
0 ; 3.102 ms
200 ; 2.620 ms
400 ; 2.540 ms
495 ; 2.480 ms 
<-- added="" font="" fuel="" is="" neither="" nor="" subtracted="" value="" where="">
600 ; 2.416 ms
800 ; 2.328 ms
1000; 2.254 ms
1200; 2.202 ms
1400; 2.156 ms
1600; 2.120 ms
1800; 2.088 ms
2000; 2.062 ms

6300 RPM at 175 mbar:

CO pot setting vs Inj PW
0 ; 9.146 ms
200 ; 9.088 ms
400 ; 9.042 ms
495 ; 9.030 ms 
<-- added="" font="" fuel="" is="" neither="" nor="" subtracted="" value="" where="">
600 ; 9.006 ms
800 ; 8.984 ms
1000; 8.960 ms
1200; 8.950 ms
1400; 8.938 ms
1600; 8.926 ms
1800; 8.914 ms
2000; 8.904 ms

These are for an open loop operation. After a specific temperature point the lamba sensor adjusts the stoichiometric fuel mixture in a closed loop operation.

Taking in account that in many cases the engine's cooling liquid drops down the point of the normal 80° C operation, (f.ex. in standard  and low stress driving), this adjustment may affect more than a 5%, (official spec),  the final result of the fueling leaning, which is the next step.

But it is time to summarize a little bit isn't it?  


Great expectations:

Please keep in mind that the above data have a benchmark: the conventional spark ignition.(?)

But, in my work, there is a second one: the conventional spark plug.
(More on that later on).

More explanations?


Yes! Yes! Yes!

Tech Review: Brisk USA’s Surface Discharge Spark Plugs For Nitrous Applications

NMCA Xtreme Street racer and event winner Scotty Guiler also uses Brisk USA plugs in his nitrous-oxide assisted, big-block Chevy-powered Oldsmobile.
By Steve Baur
Photos by FSC
"If you’re a late-model Ford enthusiast, then there’s a really good chance that you’re running Brisk USA spark plugs in your ride, especially if it’s boosted with a supercharger or turbocharger. The company worked early on with shops like Strictly Performance, JPC Racing, Evolution Performance, and Murillo Motorsports to gain a foothold into that segment, and has had a stranglehold on that market ever since. As Brisk USA’s Martin Uhlir told us, the company is always looking for new applications to get involved with. During a conversation with Uhlir at the 2017 PRI show, we came to find out that Brisk USA has been involved with a number of nitrous oxide-using racers in the Xtreme Street, Ultra Street, and X275 ranks for a few years now, and some of them have done quite well using the Brisk USA surface discharge spark plug.
Noted engine builder Tony Bischoff of BES Racing Engines began using Brisk USA’s Silver series plugs in a number of his Engine Masters Challenge builds.
“They say it was the silver, but any time I put the plugs in an engine, it was worth 5-10 horsepower,” Bischoff told us.

“Iridium is a hard, dense, resistant metal, and that makes for a long lifespan in an OEM application,” Uhlir explained. It’s dense and hard properties offer a trade-off—you get a weaker spark, but you can make the electrode smaller so it requires less energy. That might be good for the daily driver, but in a high-performance application, less spark energy can be problematic.

Brisk USA’s surface discharge spark plug is not your typical spark plug design, but works extremely well in the most demanding applications. With no ground strap to burn off, the plugs are more durable and longer lasting.
Bischoff kept working with Brisk on a number of customer engines and his own builds, and this led him to the use of Brisk USA’s surface discharge spark plug. With this design, Bischoff has found a lot of success in nitrous applications in particular.
The surface discharge spark plug design was brought over from Brisk’s European division where it is employed in rally cars among other applications.
“With the surface discharge spark plug, there is no strap to burn off,” noted Uhlir. “Generally, this plug is used in the most demanding applications; it can even handle short-term detonation. The tip of spark plug is not shrouded by the strap, so the spark doesn’t have to fight to get to the strap, it just goes with the flow in the combustion chamber. They still have a silver surface, and can fire in 360-degree perimeter.”
Bischoff has found these attributes to be beneficial for big nitrous applications in vehicles ranging from Xtreme Street to Pro Mod.
“We run the surface discharge plugs on our Pro Mod and in most of my X275, Ultra Street, and Xtreme Street customer’s engines,” Bischoff told us. “On a nitrous engine, you have to pull the timing back so far because it burns fast. Most of the nitrous tuners read the heat in the ground strap, and that’s the hottest part of the chamber. It’s harder to read the surface discharge plugs because they don’t have the strap, but you can run more timing with them, and ultimately you will run faster with them. I have customers that don’t run them and they are changing the plugs every pass, and I have customers that run the surface plugs and change them once a season.”

Noted X275 racer Dean Marinis turns to Tony Bischoff at BES Racing Engines to make big nitrous power for his small-tire Mustang. Both he and Bischoff had high praise for the surface discharge spark plugs.
Brisk USA’s surface discharge plugs have been in the hands of engine builders and racers for a little over a year now, and as noted X275 racer and BES Racing Engines customer Dean Marinis told us, “They’re the best kept secret!”
Marinis has been using the surface discharge plugs for three years now, and with great success. His nitrous-oxide-assisted Mustang won at the Lights Out and No Mercy races in 2017, and he hopes to have more success in 2018.
“The ground strap in a regular plug turns into a glow plug and you can burn it. These surface gaps, if you know where you’re timing is, they’re a lot more forgiving. There’s a pretty big space from the electrode to the ground, there’s no misfires, no nothing, they’re badass.”
And Marinis backs up Bischoff’s claim regarding their longevity, too.
“I ran them last year at Lights Out, at an NHRA, at Cecil, during a Put up or Shut up TV show, and at the Yellow Bullet Nationals, “Marinis recalled. “Then at No Mercy, I decided I should look at them and changed them out. They looked fine, though, and I would have put them back in.”
Those are some big, successful names using “the best kept secret.” It might just not be a secret for long".
(article excerpt)



A THESIS IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements


"It is observed that in air the arc preferentially follows the surface, even when the surface path length is longer than the electrode" 

Scaling of a fast spherical discharge

  1. 1.
  2. 2.
Plasma Dynamics

"The discharge cavity walls have a stabilizing effect on the plasma"

So here is my new invention based on the above, (and other), principles:

NGK BUE MKII (The kinked 90° Plasma)

In such unprecedented applications, usually, the good results may be affected by enthusiasm and happiness, so it is better to remain calm for the next day's real results.


                                                                       Spontaneous and forced Plasma

It seems that the system withdraws a lot of current now and the problems are ante portas.


Does it remind you something?

What Is an Ion?

An ion is simply an atom or molecule that is electrically charged. Ionization is the process of electrically charging an atom or molecule by adding or removing electrons. Ions can be positive (when they lose one or more electrons) or negative (when they gain one or more electrons). A gas is considered ionized when some or all the atoms or molecules contained in it are converted into ions. Plasma is an electrically neutral gas in which all positive and negative charges—from neutral atoms, negatively charged electrons, and positively charged ions—add up to zero. Plasma exists everywhere in nature; it is designated as the fourth state of matter (the others are solid, liquid, and gas). It has some of the properties of a gas but is affected by electric and magnetic fields and is a good conductor of electricity. Plasma is the building block for all types of electric propulsion, where electric and/or magnetic fields are used to push on the electrically charged ions and electrons to provide thrust. Examples of plasmas seen every day are lightning and fluorescent light bulbs.

MPD Operation

Image right: Overview of magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster operation. Credit: NASA

In its basic form, the MPD thruster has two metal electrodes: a central rod-shaped cathode, and a cylindrical anode that surrounds the cathode. Just as in an arc welder, a high-current electric arc is struck between the anode and cathode. As the cathode heats up, it emits electrons, which collide with and ionize a propellant gas to create plasma. A magnetic field is created by the electric current returning to the power supply through the cathode, just like the magnetic field that is created when electrical current travels through a wire. This self-induced magnetic field interacts with the electric current flowing from the anode to the cathode (through the plasma) to produce an electromagnetic (Lorentz) force that pushes the plasma out of the engine, creating thrust. An external magnet coil may also be used to provide additional magnetic fields to help stabilize and accelerate the plasma discharge.


First results:



There is:

#1 a fuel consumption reduction of 2.8%.
#2 misfiring at high revs.
#3 low revs torque increase.

Since the gap for the modified spark plugs is extremely wide, (~3.3 mm vs 1.3 for the normal), seems that it's  reserve voltage is not enough.

The question is if there is a solution in order to keep the 2.8% consumption reduction, having no misfires.

After various combinations, the adding of 12 MΩ resistance between the coil and the distributor gave a good result, since the consumption gain remains, (+0.1% ?), and, seems, that the misfiring at high revs is eliminated. But I cannot conclude, for the moment.

It is interesting, and needs further analysis, that the Plasma operation seems as having no or minuscule effect on the MK II spark plugs, at least at the low revs, where with the standard BUE's the tachometer is going up and down, (slightly), when it is on and off respectively. 

Another interesting point is that the idling is a little bit higher, (~50-100 revs), and stabler with the MKII.


Golden plated tungsten wire set as the grounding electrode, many times wrapped around the plug's body and stabilized with blue tack. 

The high voltage prefers the surface discharging, (as it is well known), since, although  the gap between the two electrodes is ~ 4.5 mm, and between the tungsten wire and the central electrode just ~ 3.2 mm, follows the longer, surface, distance.

The following video must be played with decreased rate to see the effect.


I am leaning to connect in parallel the secondary of two ignition coils, because having a 4.5 mm gap, voltage deficiency is observed in high revolutions.

Their power supply will be independent, the one from the standard ignition and the second from the special module which gives the plasma. 

Some tries give a perfect result, simultaneously in high and low revs, but somewhere, in some cases, there is a misfiring under heavy load, although the distributor cap has no signs of arcing. There must be an arcing, somewhere, though... 

Two high voltage ignition coils and a plasma unit, feeding the spark plugs, seems as a promising solution. On the other hand, the plasma module gives some signs of overheating struggling to give high current for the plasma and for the second ignition coil.


The misfiring problem solved by replacing the main high voltage cable, ignition coil to distributor, with a DIY color tv, solid core, copper, cable, (the same applied to connect my plasma with the spark plugs), with the lowest possible, suppressor, limit , for a BOSCH electronic ignition, of 2 kΩ. 

So, some, underground, discussions about the superiority of the tv cable vs the various spark plugs cables, (not the carbons which are the worst), seems to be right.




An '80s solution for the high revs:

(Click on the image to enlarge).

For the moment, works perfectly.

Thats why?


#1 A lot of answers about coils:


Tesla is smiling.

T.v. antenna unlike
any other
floating valves not giving feedback
to each other.

No missing signals
from the air
no blurred signals
on the air.

Tesla is smiling. (From there).

Bips and bums 
and burning lights
smokes and thunders
and delights,

currents, voltages
through air,
sparks and arcs
but no despair.

Tesla is smiling. (From there).

Yesterday a burning light
flawlessly hovering at night
a message carrying to the site:

"Tesla is smiling" (From height).

The Syncro Heresy


Some more data before some more conclusions(?):

The importance of the resistorless spark plugs.

With a resistor of  4960 Ω, 11.313 volts are lost vs 23.31, vs, in fact, nothing.

The above document explains the next image?


Twin coils, (ala Jag, you know...).

The double, parallel, ignition coils, both BOSCH OEM, seems to work perfectly, for the moment at least. 
You see, their total resistance is 0.45 Ω to 0.5 Ω, so they are at the lower limit of the triggering module.
The lucky thing is that I found one which met exactly the resistance of the already working coil, so, checked on 
the bench, both together give a stronger spark.



Everything starts again. Fortunatelly not from the 0 point. A lot of gains  won from this adventure.

My goal now is how to use "The Kinked 90° Plasma Spark Plug", (syncrovention), with the minor possible modifications in order to be benefited for it's amazingly positive behavior. 

The above spark plug is made by using these two D.I.Y., hightec, tools:

                                                   the cutting knife                                                 the guide


1)The Plasma unit is disconnected at all. This disconection includes the tv high voltage cables, which, finally, seems that leak under the pressure of the huge gap size of 1.3mm horizontally  and 4mm vertically, (=5.3 mm or 0.21'' !), which is present after the modification of the NGK BUE.

2)The timing is advanced to a point where the detonation is present, trying to overcome the fouling problem a so cold, (below 0), spark plug range poses, since the arc is jumping the gap easier at lower pressures.

3)The co pot, (co% adjustment), is set to 600 Ω, (vs 520 Ω up to now), in a try for a, leaner/spark plug tip, warmer, burning.

It seems that the major problem, for other sectors of the tecnology, which is called "The Surface Discharge", here becomes a major positive factor and can be used here giving, some never seen before, positive results, and all these without any modifications, but with adjustments only!


The new phase begins by an unusual adjustment. The distributor cap/rotor gap is set to 5 m.m. instead the initial 1

The theory says that the two gaps in series can be adjusted in such a manner that the first can simulate the function
of a capacitor. In practice, the engine works and this seems, somehow, unbelievable to me.



The new idea is to optimize the system before the plasma is installed again.

To sum up:

1)The plasma module is out.
2)The spark plugs are the surface discharge NGK BUE.
3)The gap into the distributor is set at 5  m.m., (instead 0.8-1 m.m.).
4)The two, factory, parallel, catalysts are out, since there were strange crushing marble noises.
5)The fuel is petrol 95° RON SHELL.
6)The timing is adjusted on the road, by trial and error method, as advanced as possible.
7)The copot is set at 600 Ωμ.
8)The crankcase breather connected as at normal operation. 

Τhe car bought by me with ~250.000 km on clock.

The first M.O.T. about which I have emissions data is this: 

Here there must be about 240.000 km on the clock.

The last M.O.T. emissions data, where all the above actions are active, is this, (298.582 km):

As we can see, ~60.000 km after, this unopened and never repaired g60 engine, without catlytic converters any more, reduces it's emissions as follows:

idling: CO%: 0.43% > 0.01%
2500 rpm: CO%: 0.25% > 0

idling: HC ppm: 79ppm > 17ppm (4.65 times less)
2500 rpm: HC ppm: 56ppm > 14ppm (4 times less)

There must be repeated measurements to verify the results, of course, but the car does not smell anything as it works, to an extend that the technician at the M.O.T. service, as he was going to put the sniffer at the exhaust, asked me if the engine is working or not!

You see, the operation became so smooth that, when there is environmental noise, it is difficult to hear the g60 idling.



Today I am trying to find out if there is Ethanol into the petrol, from the beginning of the year and the percentage. 
It seems that is a difficult task though.

Ethanol reduces some emissions, so this may be an explanation for the above results. 


The following information is from the Coral, the dealer of the SHELL in Greece.

"In Greece we 'll not have ethanol into petrol, since there are production problems which have to do with the hydroscopic nature of the ethanol.

Instead, starting from the year 2019, we have ~ 1.1% bioethanol and 3.3% bioether, (ETBE)."

Can this be the reason for the minimization of the emissions in such a drastic manner? Is there another factor? 



My, DIY, mkII Improved Plasma Ignition ready to install.

The mkII Improved plasma is better since:

1)There are no bottle necks for the current and for the voltage. A path of 6 A is retained throughout.

2)It is thermal protection ready.

3)There are no high voltage leakages when widening the spark plug gaps. ("The Kinked 90° Plasma Spark Plug", ready).

4)The diodes channels are separated better and not physically stressed.

5)A stronger ignition coil, for the Plasma module, which happens to be the g60 ignition coil, is used.
Now out of the Plasma module for better cooling and flexibility.

Are you ready?


Mixing the high with the low voltage.


1)No EMI/RFI radiation.

2)Good terminal contactivity.

3)Rigid construction.

4)Coupling the high to the low voltage.

Cabling: three from the many phases: The finished, the terminated, coupled high-low voltage, the non-terminated.

The coupling pin as can be seen from the inspection window.



The mkII improved plasma had no lack since the progress is rapid!

I introduce to you The mkIII Cordon Rouge, Double Plasma.

Yes, it is consisted by two plasma modules, 4 A current in total, 380V, (& 25.000V, 6A).
 (The system may be updated up to 6 A triple plasma).

The surface discharge NGK spark plugs seems to be the perfect much to the mkIII Cordon Rouge Plasma.

Images and video asap. 


Double Plasma, mkIII, Cordon Rouge, (ice cream box, for very low NOX emissions).


Just recognized that there is a patent about the plasma ignition for petrol internal combustion engines:

A very interesting reading!


4 ampere 380v pure current. 

The 3 and the 4 channel diode banks cannot handle the huge 4(+) m.m. gap of my kinked 90° surface discharge spark plugs, since the voltage is raised above their limit, (although they are working well with the standard NGK 1.3 m.m. gap).

I am working to overcome the above problem, as well as, problems with the sync(h)ronization of the two plasma units, problems with EMI/RFI emissions, (since the tries to ground the cable shielding must not include the tv cables physical aluminum shield, the arc is so strong that is grounded through the shield!).

Extra shields, extra units, (6 amperes is possible with the existing setup), absolutely precise advance adjustment on the road, (by the insight and the ear), decisions about the correct height of the spark plug ignition height point, protection against overheating if the 555 transistors malfunction, protection against water, decisions, decisions, decisions...

The difference between the initial 2A current  vs the 4A current of the  new Double Plasma, mkIII, Cordon Rouge 
module, is not theoretical, at all, it is very present and, hopefully, it will be seen in my next video. 


#1 In series, 105° C,  ground thermal protection, for the power transistors 3055, is adopted.
The cutoffs are in touch with thermal paste and pressed against the, specially, chosen flat cup transistors.

#2 High quality oil is added between the transistors and their coolers.

#3  A 10A fuse and a VW, (soft start), relay are adopted to power the unit.


Gaps in series.

Many hours and tries reveal: The Kinked 90° Arc Surface Discharge Spark Plug

does not work if the distributor has the standard gap to the rotor, (0.8-1 m.m. or even a little more):

Instead, it starts working with more than 3-4 m.m., and works perfectly with 9-10 m.m. gap!

The problem is that the current BOSCH distributor cap, does not allow a lot more, since the terminals are of the 
floating type, but even other brand caps marginally can achieve an additional 0.3-0.4 m.m. gap, as we can see 

The voltage raises to a high of ~ 40.000 - 50.000 V having a drop in current, but now the current comes 
from the Cordon Rouge Double Plasma MK III, if you know what I mean... 

And this:

eliminates,  literally, the wear of the terminals, when they are exposed to an ultra high voltage, where they never 
intended to work.

Now the question is the RESULTS!

11 August 2019

Plasma ignition. The Syncro Heresy  can ask you now: "I told you so. Didn't I?"

30 May 2021

06 October 2022


After a long time in the desert…


Double plasma ready!


* 2A  or 4A, switchable.


* 2 separate thermal protection, one per plasma unit.


* 37 6A 1000V bulletproof diodes  per cylinder. (Two way low voltage edition, 4 diode banks).


* Stranded, thick, 12 gauge, distributor to spark plugs and diode bank to spark plugs, zero resistance, copper, cabling. (No skin effect allowed).


* Spring forced terminals at both ends of the cable, spark plugs and distributor.


* Zero high voltage leakage, pvc,  cable insulation.


* Semi-liquid cooled, (copper, high temperature grease), ozone  ventilated, no wear, adjustable, copper, gap in series, distributor terminals.


* The Kinked surface discharge spark plugs, (syncrovention), or the Volcano surface discharge spark plugs, (the new kid on the block, still under development, syncrovention).


* Mr. Digifant, (ECU), no disturbance mode.

More asap…

08 October 2022

The new double plasma works perfectly, as never before.


High rpm, full throttle, or any other situation, which poses a high voltage stress to the system, is not a factor of malfunction.


The first gear behaves as “gelande” gear, almost.


The second gear allows a smooth, continuous, train like, acceleration from the starting point.


The surface discharge NGK are clean always, no fooling problem, under any circumstances, any more.


It seems that the next step, apart from the volcano spark plugs, will be a fuel restrictor, since, by theory, plasma allows to lean the fuel mixture. (Mr. unbeatable Digifant do you hear me?).


The new diodes are  seamless, no high voltage leaking is detected between the 4 banks.


Of course there must be emissions, still!  (Measurements wanted!).


(Yes. I know, I owe to you a video of the double plasma ark! Is coming shortly!).


* Please, be cautious! Heretic content!

16 October 2022




No comments!

18 October 2022




seems to be a little bit better?

30 October 2022


#1 It turns out that the double plasma, (two unit construction), is not a viable solution.

There is an interference between them and the 555 chip stops working.


#2 It turns out that the good results may be achieved with the one unit by simply adding more capacitance to the power capacitor, (1 μF), paralleling one more, (or two, or three, or…).


#3 It turns out that with a capacitor of 100 μF ~1.5 cm, (0.6 inch), plasma is possible from the NGK 2322 surface discharge spark plug!


#4 It turns out that the, electronic, power supply of 12v is sensitive to these plasma pulses and is ready to be burnt.


#5 It turns out that I have to start, again, from the beginning!