I'm designing a circuit that requires a high voltage pulse in order to fire a spark plug. I'm thinking of using an inductor to provide this pulse (via inductive kickback), but I'm struggling to figure out how to actually make it work without destroying my power supply.
I understand that spark plugs in a car are fired in a similar way using an ignition coil (which is actually like a transformer, so the high voltage side is isolated from the low voltage side). However, I haven't been able to figure out how the battery is protected from the massive voltage spike. From what I can tell, a flyback diode on the primary also prevents spikes on the secondary, so it seems near impossible to actually get a spike.
My design doesn't use a transformer as it seemed like there was no difference in using an inductor vs a transformer. So, I am currently designing the circuit with an inductor although I could change it to a transformer if that's the only way to do it. The circuit looks like this:
I'm simulating the spark plug as a high resistance (100GOhm) element. The 1.4 kOhm resistor is being used to tune the output voltage, as my understanding is that the output voltage is given by V=I*R where I is the current through the inductor before switching, and R is the resistance of the RL circuit. The 1 Ohm resistor is being used to limit the current through the resistor.
This circuit does technically do what I want it to do. It produces a very high voltage (I think about 7 kV) spike when the switch is opened. However, the switch is the real problem. If I use a solid state switch (MOSFET, SSR, etc.), there would be major issues with the voltage rating of the switches as it is going to be very hard to find a switch that is ok with 7 kV being dropped over it. The easier alternative is using a relay, but I need to prevent the relay contacts from sparking. The only way I know to prevent this issue is to use a flyback diode, but that will also reduce the voltage produced by the inductor so the spark plug is unlikely to fire.
The only solution I've come up with is to use a PPTC resettable fuse to block high currents (as anything greater than (5 V/1 Ohm =) 5 A would be unusual in the above circuit), but that would also rely on the fuse being rated for very high voltages. Are there any better ways of doing this? How do cars do this without having a huge potential difference between the positive terminal of the battery and the positive terminal of the inductor in the ignition coil?