Engels started playing with Linux® in 1991 and obtained his Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), Red Hat Certified Instructor (RHCI), and Red Hat Certified Examiner (RHCX) certifications in 2002. He is in charge of Bluepoint's Total Linux®, Linux Kernel Internals®, Perl & Python Programming, and Extreme PHP curriculum and instruction development.
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Elvin Joseph Sanico was one of the best professors I was privileged to have at the UP National Institute of Physics in Diliman. His use of the continuity equation for steady one-dimensional flow to prove the "silent waters run deep" axiom was really cool!
In loving memory of CPT Mario B. Mortega Sr., USAFFE, VET (1920-2004)
Spark Plugs!
Saturday, Oct 2, 2004, 8:14 PM
Two out of the three spark plugs on our Daihatsu Charade TS died today, after almost ten months of daily use. Tune-up time! Switching to DIY mode, I picked up my brother-in-law and hobbled to the nearest auto shop using spark plug #2, the engine coughing like a tuk-tuk.

First, we decided to replace all three Denso copper plugs with something relatively better.

My first choice was the NGK Iridium IX (BPR5EIX-11), supposedly the most technologically advanced high performance spark plug available today. Featuring a 0.6 mm iridium center electrode tip, it is said to offer superior ignitability without sacrificing durability. The tapered ground electrode increases flame kernel expansion, while the superior heat range design is ideally suited to the demands of high performance environments. It was specially designed to offer outstanding acceleration, high fuel efficiency and long life. Just what the doctor ordered! Unfortunately, it was out of stock.

With only fifteen minutes before closing time, I asked for the NGK V-Power (BPR5EY-11) instead. It's a pretty interesting plug. The v-groove center electrode forces the spark to the outer edge of the ground electrode, placing it closer to the air and fuel mixture. This allows the spark to quickly ignite the mixture, providing more complete combustion and minimizing harmful emissions. It also requires lower ignition firing voltage, resulting in quicker starts and easier cold weather starts throughout the life of the plug. As an added bonus, the v-groove forcing the spark to the outer edge of the ground electrode helps reduce the quenching effect, reducing misfires caused by high cylinder pressures blowing out the spark. A great alternative to Iridium IX. Alas, it was also out of stock. Out of stock started sounding like a euphimism for "we really don't carry that particular item here but are too embarassed to say so."

We finally settled for the Bosch Platinum (WR8DPX) which boasts of quicker starts, smoother acceleration and top fuel efficiency. It's supposed to be the only spark plug with a pure platinum center electrode that's heat-fused into an extended ceramic insulator. This design eliminates air gaps which exist in platinum alloy-tipped plugs so the spark plug reaches its self-cleaning temperature faster. Its lower ignition voltage requirement should also provide reliable starting in hot and cold weather extremes and a more reliable spark at higher RPM's without misfires. At 120 pesos a piece, it's a very economical alternative to the NGK Platinum. However, street racing enthusiasts say that the ceramic insulator will sometimes fracture under high compression conditions, causing erratic sparks and fouling. With only five minutes before closing time, we bit the bullet. The car won't be going to any slalom or race-what-you-brung circuits anyway, especially now that Phoenix is here.

With the new plugs in place, the car went back to its pleasing low frequency hum. Up next: contact point, timing, and idle settings on a modified engine, intake, and exhaust system. It's going to be a long day.