The Magneto Ignition System

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An absolute treasure trove of information about the Bendix and Slick magnetos used on virtually all piston aircraft engines. The book covers everything you could possibly want to know about how your aircraft ignition system works.

The book will make you knowledgeable about the functions of the magneto coil, rotor, capacitor, points, P-lead, impulse coupling, and ignition harness. Learn what "E" gap means and why it's so important. The difference between internal magneto timing and magneto-to-engine timing. What "bumping" the magneto means. How altitude and temperature affect the magneto. What the voltage and energy requirements are for reliable ignition, and how spark plug leads and radio noise filters may reduce magneto output.

Schwaner reviews all of the different models of Bendix and Slick magnetos, and describes their strengths and weaknesses. He shows you how to choose the best mag for your type of flying: which mag is best for high altitude, ease of maintenance, low radio noise. The pros and cons of the impulse coupling magneto versus the retard breaker ("shower of sparks") magneto. He explains what to look for during the preflight mag check, and how to troubleshoot starting problems and engine roughness.About a third of the book is devoted to topics of specific interest to the A&P mechanic or maintenance-involved owner. Recommendations for preventative magneto maintenance are set forth in great detail. Listings and discussions of ADs and service bulletins for all Bendix and Slick models are included.

The book is profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings, graphs, and tables. You'll want to add this great little book to your maintenance library.
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Table of Contents

  • The Magneto Coil
  • The Magneto Rotor
  • The Magneto Capacitor
  • The Ignition Lead
  • Electrical Testing of the Ignition Lead "E" Gap
  • The "P" Lead
  • How Much Voltage is Required?
  • How Much Energy is Required?
  • How Altitude Affects the Magneto
  • How Temperature Affects the Magneto
  • The Impulse Coupling
  • Inspecting the Bendix Impulse Coupling
  • Installation Tip for the Bendix Impulse Coupling
  • The Retard Breaker Magneto
  • Retard Breaker Circuit Description
  • The Magneto Check
  • Magneto-Induced Engine Roughness
  • Magneto Waveform Interpretation
  • "Bumping" Magneto Timing
  • Bendix S-20/S-200 Rotor Bearings
  • Bendix S-20/S-200 Bearing Grease
  • Moisture Drains on Bendix S-1200 Magnetos
  • Bendix Breaker Cam Lubrication
  • Bendix Distributor Block Bushing Lubrication
  • Replacing Distributor Felt on Bendix Magnetos
  • Coating the S-20/S-200 Distributor Block
  • Magneto Oil Contamination
  • Checking the Ignition Filter or Mag Capacitor
  • The D-2000 and D-3000 Dual Magneto
  • Timing the Magneto to the Engine
  • Ignition System Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
  • Electrical Bonding
  • Storing Magneto Rotors
  • Slick Magneto Supersedure Listing
  • Data Plate Information
  • Service Bulletins for Bendix S-1200 Series
  • Service Bulletins for Bendix S-20/S-200 Series
  • Service Bulletins for Bendix D-2000/D-2200
  • Service Bulletins for Bendix D-3000/D-3200
  • Service Bulletins for Slick 4200 Series
  • Service Bulletins for Slick 6200 Series
  • Which Magneto is Best?
  • Index


  • Publishers: Aircraft Technical Book Co. & FAA
  • ISBN-13: 9780989312301
  • Copyright Date: 1992
  • Pages: 98
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5"
  • eBook
  • File Type: standard pdf ebook
  • Print: unlimited
  • Copy/Paste: unlimited
  • Offline Access: yes
  • Search: always
  • Bookmarks: always
  • System Reqs: Windows, Macintosh, iPad, and more

Version Types

Softcover Book - Printed book with heavyweight cover stock.

eBook EB - A protected document designed for reflowable content. Also referred to as an ePub or "Electronic Publication" format. Easily viewed on both small and large screens. Text, images, and pages will adapt or reflow to fit the screen size of the device, so zooming is not necessary to read. Text size can be adjusted in an ebook reader app. Visit AC Technical Books -eBooks for more details on how to setup your device.


Douglas E Verified Purchase


July 21, 2021

As a student in aircraft maintenance, I thought this would be a good addition to my library. Some interesting things in there but I was hoping for a little more. Good place to start though.

Vincent B
August 18, 2018

This is a good book on the TECHNICAL aspects of how magnetos work (lots of theory of magnetism etc.) and worth having if you are looking for that kind of info. If however you are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to set the e-gap or how to time the magneto to the engine this is not the book for you. I found the organization somewhat lacking - rambles between subjects to some degree but still a good reference book to have in my library.

November 20, 2016


Please note, Aircraft Spruce's personnel are not certified aircraft mechanics and can only provide general support and ideas, which should not be relied upon or implemented in lieu of consulting an A&P or other qualified technician. Aircraft Spruce assumes no responsibility or liability for any issue or problem which may arise from any repair, modification or other work done from this knowledge base. Any product eligibility information provided here is based on general application guides and we recommend always referring to your specific aircraft parts manual, the parts manufacturer or consulting with a qualified mechanic.

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