Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
a device in the ignition system of a carburetor-type internal-combustion engine that is designed to transmit high-voltage electric current to the spark plugs.
A distributor consists of a low-voltage current interrupter and a high-voltage current distributor, which are driven by an engine camshaft. The interrupter opens the primary circuit of the ignition coil at a specific moment, thereby causing induction of a high-voltage current in the secondary winding. The high-voltage current is fed through the distributor, which consists of a current-carrying rotor and a cover with electrical contacts, to the spark plugs of the appropriate cylinders. Regulating devices on the distributor automatically vary the timing of the spark advance according to the mode of operation of the engine. (See alsoIGNITION.)