Ignition is a key ingredient in making internal combustion engines work, and controlling when the ignition events occur and the spark energy with which it fires can be a valuable asset in the power management game. MSD recently realized that there was a market for an ultra powerful CDI ignition system and got to work. The result of those efforts is the MSD Pro 600 CDI.
MSD’s latest capacitive discharge ignition (CDI) is designed to work with electronic fuel injection systems such as late-model Factory LS-based controls, as well as aftermarket systems like Holley EFI. It will easily convert any distributor-based ignition into a coil-near-plug setup.
“Most fuel injection units have coil-on-plug, but they are inductive, not CD,” said MSD’s Joe Pando. “Those are based on RPM and energy. As RPM goes up, charge time goes down. With a CD ignition, it charges up extremely fast and when you discharge, it discharges completely, so you’re always getting maximum spark energy out of a CD. When you get to high boost levels, we found out we needed a CD ignition.”
The MSD Pro 600 is ideal for turbocharged and supercharged applications where high cylinder pressures require extreme spark energy, and the Pro 600 delivers on that. The eight-output system offers up to 680 millijoules of spark energy continuously without fail, while the AC power delivery means less draw from your battery or charging system.
That spark energy is also programmable, too, and the MSD Pro 600 has a plugin interface for use with the MSD Grid and Davis Profiler.
“You can connect it to the MSD Grid through the CAN plug and you can use the MSD Grid software to adjust just power output,” Pando explained. “It’s great for guys that run Drag Week where they don’t need to run max power and kill the plugs. This allows them to adjust power level. Because of the amount of power, it’ll erode the electrode and just like a welder—it will consume it.”
When it came time to test out the new system, MSD sought out top racers, including Stevie Jackson and Phil Shuler.
“I think it’s probably the simplest, most easy to use, ignition system on the market,” said Jackson in a recent MSD video. “All of my blown alcohol cars now run it. It fixed our holes dropping out on the starting line and that makes it deadly repeatable. With the soft touch rev limiter, this thing is 80-100 rpm top to bottom. When you’ve got a consistent launch rom, you’ve got a consistent race car.”
Jackson, who switched his cars to the 600 CDI ignition from the Pro Magneto, also noted that the system offers other benefits.
“Team-wise, we’ve probably saved ourselves $10,000 in ignition system maintenance this year.”
“An 8-channel coil-on-plug doesn’t have the power of a Pro Mag, but it runs right there with it,” Pando told us. “These Pro Mods are taking timing out on the starting line to launch the car, and when you do that with a mag, you do it by retarding the timing and it loses spark energy.” That isn’t the case with the CDI ignition, which still delivers the ignition power you need.
In order for the MSD Pro 600 CDI to be legal in NHRA competition, it had to get the sanctioning body’s approval, which it has. But the 600 can be used on more applications than just Pro Mods or Alcohol dragsters, as Pando told us that NMRA Street Outlaw racer John Urist has been testing one on his direct-injected, Coyote-powered Mustang.
“John Urist tested it with a difference approach,” Pando explained. “He was at the limit of the Bosch controller. His box system is only good for 200 mj. Historically, he had to watch it or it would drop holes. With the Pro 600, he ran it at 300-400 mj at the Street Car Super Nationals and never had a problem with the spark plugs. He plans to up the power at his next track outing.”
With power management one of the key elements in making 2,000-plus-horsepower machines go fast, having a stable, powerful, and tunable ignition system like the MSD Pro 600 CDI might just be the hot ticket.
MSD Pro 600 CDI Features:
- Eight outputs of up to 680 mJ of energy
- All necessary wiring harnesses included
- Continuous 600 mJ operation without risk of failure from overheating
- High-efficiency Alternating Current (AC) power delivery means less voltage draw from your battery or charging system
- Over 50 Kilovolts output voltage when used with MSD suggested coils
- Spark duration of greater than 300 microseconds
- 6 Volts minimum required for starting and running
- 12 Volts minimum required for 600 mJ operation
- Maximum Operating Voltage 22V
- Direct Plugin to Holley EFI systems
- Compatible with most EFI systems, including 5V or 12V drivers
- Plugin interface with MSD Power-Grid, Davis Profiler and OEM LS-style coil harness
- Reverse Battery Protection
- Protection against shorted or open coils, and over temperature
- Diagnostic LEDs help troubleshoot issues should they arise
- On-the-fly Power Output selection wire, selectable between low-power and high-power operation
- Fits most coil-per-plug engines up to eight cylinders (Including four and six cylinders)
- Additional CAN based features when used with Holley EFI
- Approved for NHRA Pro Mod, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, and more