Explosion and decomposition limits of flammable and chemically unstable gases were determined experimentally in a closed autoclave with an ignition energy higher than the standard 10 J a 20 J. The ignition source was a lightning arc caused by an exploding wire igniter as described in EN 1839 B. With a newly developed ignition system a graded ignition energy between 3 J and 1000 J was generated. Different types of gases were studied with this ignition system: methane as a typical fuel gas and reference gas for some standards for explosion limit determination, the refrigerant R32 (difluoromethane) as a mildly flammable gas with low burning velocity and high minimum ignition energy compared with methane as well as the chemical unstable gases acetylene, nitrous oxide and ethylene oxide, which can decompose explosively in the absence of air or other oxidizers. It was found that the influence of strong ignition sources on explosion and decomposition limits can be very different for different systems. In case of methane only the upper explosion limit was influenced significantly by the ignition energy, whereas the lower explosion limit was constant. In a standard test vessel with an inner volume of 14 dm3 it was difficult to quantify the upper explosion limit of methane exactly with the strong ignition source, because the explosion pressure did not increase abruptly near the explosion limit, but steadily over a large concentration range. Probably a larger explosion vessel is more appropriate in this case. In case of R32 however, it was the lower explosion limit that was influenced significantly by the ignition energy and not the upper explosion limit. A particularly strong dependency from the ignition energy was found for the decomposition limits of the chemically unstable gases in nitrogen. Here special regard is necessary in practical applications, if uncommonly strong ignition sources cannot be excluded.