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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was flippin through the July 07 issue of PopSci and found a 2 page ad for Pulstar Pulse Plugs in it. Seems like there is a lot of talk about this on the net, but no empirical data on the benefit or lack thereof of these spark plugs. Their site has what other non-bmw forums have called hype, has alot of neat pictures, animation and big numbers, but i should mention that i found a 97 740 on their test result section. I took college physics and didnt understand the 1 million watt output. Anyhow i figured i would feed it to the board and see what happens. I know that our cars are pretty finicky about spark plugs and i have had issues myself with those bosch +4 plugs in my 540. Anyone here is a link for you guys to chew on, spit out...what have you:blink:, have a good rest of the night,


http://www.pulstarplug.com/index.html
 

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I think the pulstar strategy is seriously flawed. Their commercial hype that claims great benefit assumes the ignition is driven by a 1950 coil with points and condensor or basic electronic switching distributor with primitive "as-is" waveform output.

Waveform shaping occurs in the ignition module these days and it can be tailored or shaped as desired. High speed, high amplitude pulse output is totally feasible and modern coilpacks can easily multiply this waveform without distortion.

Special in-plug circuitry to alter waveform is not helpful or beneficial, IMO. It's just something else to fail.

The mixture either ignites or it doesn't (misfire that can be felt). Combustion energy is not a function of spark energy, so greater horsepower does not result from stronger spark. Once adequate ignition performance is achieved, greater spark energy or magnitude will not provide significant benefit. This is especially true if the car is normally aspirated because the spark is not subject to pressure blowout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Best answer i have seen on the net yet! Figures that it should come from our own M5board! Many thanks,
 

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I have one more concern........

This pulse plug will definitely retard timing to some degree, pun intended.

The strategy they use to increase spark magnitude will introduce a delay in the initiation of spark. Since ignition timing is not mechanically adjustable on the M5, this spark forming strategy would seem to have a serious shortcoming. The active knock systems may be able to compensate under most use, but light throttle cruise may see some default delay that could impact efficiency.
 

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I think the pulstar strategy is seriously flawed. Their commercial hype that claims great benefit assumes the ignition is driven by a 1950 coil with points and condensor or basic electronic switching distributor with primitive "as-is" waveform output.

Waveform shaping occurs in the ignition module these days and it can be tailored or shaped as desired. High speed, high amplitude pulse output is totally feasible and modern coilpacks can easily multiply this waveform without distortion.

Special in-plug circuitry to alter waveform is not helpful or beneficial, IMO. It's just something else to fail.

The mixture either ignites or it doesn't (misfire that can be felt). Combustion energy is not a function of spark energy, so greater horsepower does not result from stronger spark. Once adequate ignition performance is achieved, greater spark energy or magnitude will not provide significant benefit. This is especially true if the car is normally aspirated because the spark is not subject to pressure blowout.
Well here's a dumb question then: If all that matters is whether the plug either fires or misfires, what good does it do to change the plugs before they're misfiring?
 

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huh? this might be OT, but I think its funny when people in 1982 chevy's and the like come to my place asking to put in the super iridium diamond quadruple platinum mega tip uranium spark plugs when all they need is a standard copper plug. come on, in 1982 what technology were they working with? what makes one think something like what I stated above is gonna make the car run any better? lol lots of money and hype, minimal performance. just get a set of NGK's and be on your way!
 

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Well here's a dumb question then: If all that matters is whether the plug either fires or misfires, what good does it do to change the plugs before they're misfiring?
Fair question.

By the time you detect intermittent misfire, your emissions have gone to crap and gas has been wasted and catalytic converters may be overheated & ruined from unburnt fuel. Deferring a spark plug change a year or two to save $8 could easily cost you $2500 in cat converter damage.

Always perform proactive preventive maintenance and service according to mfr recommendation or better. Do not wait until troubles occur because it costs more money and the car can become damaged or sit out of service awaiting repair. I am a Maintenance Plan Mgr by trade and I can guarantee you that, no matter what type of mechanical gizmo you're dealing with. Doing maintenance the right way saves money, reduced downtime, improves performance and lifecycle.
 

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Fair question.

By the time you detect intermittent misfire, your emissions have gone to crap and gas has been wasted and catalytic converters may be overheated & ruined from unburnt fuel. Deferring a spark plug change a year or two to save $8 could easily cost you $2500 in cat converter damage.

Always perform proactive preventive maintenance and service according to mfr recommendation or better. Do not wait until troubles occur because it costs more money and the car can become damaged or sit out of service awaiting repair. I am a Maintenance Plan Mgr by trade and I can guarantee you that, no matter what type of mechanical gizmo you're dealing with. Doing maintenance the right way saves money, reduced downtime, improves performance and lifecycle.
There have been lots of testimonials here from guys who changed their plugs early and felt a significant performance improvement.

What I was actually trying to understand is whether to change the plugs now at 45k miles, or wait until Inspection 2, which won't occur until about 53k miles. Car is running fine, but question is whether it would run finer with new plugs. Not being a "pyro engineer", it's not clear to me whether a weak spark that always ignites the fuel is any worse than a strong spark that always ignites the fuel. Seems like there would be some difference in how fast it all ignites depending on how the ignition is started.

Thanks!
 

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There have been lots of testimonials here from guys who changed their plugs early and felt a significant performance improvement.

What I was actually trying to understand is whether to change the pulse star plugs now at 45k miles, or wait until Inspection 2, which won't occur until about 53k miles. Car is running fine, but question is whether it would run finer with new plugs. Not being a "pyro engineer", it's not clear to me whether a weak spark that always ignites the fuel is any worse than a strong spark that always ignites the fuel. Seems like there would be some difference in how fast it all ignites depending on how the ignition is started.

Thanks!
Yes it would run better if you installed new plugs. IMHO, new plugs will mean better ignition of fuel, therefore the car will run smoother. Correct me if I'm wrong fellas
 

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Hi Gentlemen. I am the CEO of Enerpulse, the maker of Pulstar pulse plugs. I noticed your comments concerning Pulstar and thought I might add some food for thought.

Pulstar works differently than spark plugs becuase it has a pulsed power device sometimes referred to as a bi-polar high power capacitor. The capacitor intensifies the spark much like a camera flash intensifies light. This generates a larger spark aperture than spark plugs transferring more energy to the fuel charge yielding greater ignition precision and efficiency. It does not retard timing as some might think. If anything it will advance it slightly due to the high peak power during the brief streamer (2 nanoseconds) phase of the spark.

I would welcome any questions or comments you might have for this new technology in hopes of clarifying misconceptions about it.

We have performed tests on stardard BMWs with very promising results. At the present time, however, we do not have a 12 MM version so M class owners can't test it yet. But, we expect to have 12 MM early in 2009. We would be interested in finding a few M3, M5 owners willing to test Pulstar so that they can experience it and share your experience with others.

Cheers
 

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Interested in hearing about "promising results".... How did you compare the results?

Ryan



Hi Gentlemen. I am the CEO of Enerpulse, the maker of Pulstar pulse plugs. I noticed your comments concerning Pulstar and thought I might add some food for thought.

Pulstar works differently than spark plugs becuase it has a pulsed power device sometimes referred to as a bi-polar high power capacitor. The capacitor intensifies the spark much like a camera flash intensifies light. This generates a larger spark aperture than spark plugs transferring more energy to the fuel charge yielding greater ignition precision and efficiency. It does not retard timing as some might think. If anything it will advance it slightly due to the high peak power during the brief streamer (2 nanoseconds) phase of the spark.

I would welcome any questions or comments you might have for this new technology in hopes of clarifying misconceptions about it.

We have performed tests on stardard BMWs with very promising results. At the present time, however, we do not have a 12 MM version so M class owners can't test it yet. But, we expect to have 12 MM early in 2009. We would be interested in finding a few M3, M5 owners willing to test Pulstar so that they can experience it and share your experience with others.

Cheers
 

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Maybe I'll volunteer to do before/after dyno runs. I have new OE plugs (7k miles), so I might do the runs on consecutive days, not a perfect way to do it but perhaps close enough. I'm not wild about throwing away an extra $70 but in the name of science...?
 

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Hi Gentlemen. I am the CEO of Enerpulse, the maker of Pulstar pulse plugs.
I'm Bill Gates. ;)

FYI www.sparkplugs.com shows these as a part for the M5...'03 anyway.
They put it at the "top of the heap" in it's own class.
 

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We do 3 tests: fuel economy, torque pull at WOT and acceleration from 40-80 mph. We tap into the fuel line to get accurate fuel flow through a digital flow meter and perform a standard a EPA US06 test where the driver follows a speed line on a computer screen (takes some skill). The test ranges in speeds from 0 to 80 mph with some fairly steep acceleration ramps (not for you guys). It takes about 10 minutes per test. We precondition the vehicle with new OE spark plugs and run all the tests. We then change to Pulstar pulse plugs and run them again. Then we compare the results.
 

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I'm up for it

I do not know where in the US you would be doing the testing, but I would be happy to participate if it is in the greater Houston area.

Mark
 

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Unfortunatley I do not think this well represent the gains or losses acuratley. The E39 M5 is not a good platform to conducts a test with.

For instance,if you were to run the test with you car the way it sits three different times, you would get three grossly different results. Look at all the guys who are expeirience great power sometimes and a loss of power other times.

I think it you tested it you will see a large difference in each run that will have nothign to do with the plugs... But who knows..

Ryan

We do 3 tests: fuel economy, torque pull at WOT and acceleration from 40-80 mph. We tap into the fuel line to get accurate fuel flow through a digital flow meter and perform a standard a EPA US06 test where the driver follows a speed line on a computer screen (takes some skill). The test ranges in speeds from 0 to 80 mph with some fairly steep acceleration ramps (not for you guys). It takes about 10 minutes per test. We precondition the vehicle with new OE spark plugs and run all the tests. We then change to Pulstar pulse plugs and run them again. Then we compare the results.
 

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Just out of curiosity, why would you say the M5 is not a good platform to conduct tests with? I would think just the opposite because of its higher engineering standards. Certainly the tests we do are standard industry tests used by the automakers and performance engine builders. I agree if we saw large differences among multiple runs there would either have to be something wrong with the dyno or the car. But, the testing methodology is well documented and accurate.
 

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I don't know how you can claim spark advance.

If the ignition pulse- that would go the the stock spark plug is FIRST routed to your capacitor, the capacitor charges, and THEN generates the pulse, it will be delayed.

Unless somehow the pulsars bend the laws of physics.

It appears you are taking a half truth (the energy rise with a pulster is so rapid that it generates a faster pulse) and failing to account for the performance IN THE EXISTING SYSTEM. (Whereby the 'faster pulse' is of no benefit as the car cannot utilize it since it must use the existing discharge to trigger the pulster.)

Please explain.
 
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