In the long list of necessary parts to get an old boat up and running, a good amplifier kit is one of the most important. As an integral part of an ignition system, an amplifier is one of the key pieces involved in getting a charge to the spark plugs. Whether you’re building a new system out of kit parts, or just performing maintenance on a trustworthy old boat, finding the right amplifier kit can be difficult.
Ignition amplifiers are relatively simple devices. Turning a key to start the ignition process sends an electrical current to the ignition coil. It is the ignition coil’s job to store and amplify that signal, and send it along a path that ultimately leads to the combustion cylinders.
If you are trying to debug a troubled motor that doesn’t seem to be getting any power at all, first check the connections around the ignition amplifier. If the coil is equipped with an external resistor, check the connections to the resistor for signs of damage or corrosion. If the resistor is internal, then check the positive side of the coil for an 11 or 12-volt charge.
Purchasing an Amplifier Kit
Depending on your boat, engine, and ignition system, some brands of amplifiers may be more suitable than others. Your manual should describe in detail what make and model of amplifier kit to purchase; if you can’t find the relevant information in a manual, online forums are a great place to direct inquiries. Online outboard engine and parts stores usually stock a variety of ignition amplifiers, and offer knowledgeable salespeople to help answer any technical questions that you may have.