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Gloucester RCC student invents automotive ignition device

Rappahannock Community College student and Gloucester resident Eric Binkerd recently invented a device that will allow Nissan cars built in the early 1990s using a distributor-based ignition system to be converted to an electronic system that is standard in most post-2000 cars.

His goal is to boost the performance of these older cars. With his device eliminating the need for a distributor, automotive technicians will be able to tune the engines by computer.

Binkerd cites a “desire to know how things work” as his reason for enrolling in the RCC curriculum that lead to an associate degree in General Engineering Technology, and credits RCC electronics courses with many of the ideas that helped him develop his invention.

A high school dropout who earned his GED, Binkerd joined the United States Army in 2005 at the age of 18, and quickly found an area where he could excel—in his assigned task of repairing Blackhawk helicopters. “I had a knack for the mechanical si...

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