Air & Fuel Delivery Sensors
Many types of sensors are used in the engine air and fuel, delivery system. Most sensors are typically located on fuel injected systems, because that is the system of fuel delivery for almost all vehicles that have an engine control unit. The fuel injected system is very efficient and precise,because it uses sensors, which send information to the vehicle's engine control unit, where it is processed and adjustments are made. The most common sensors found in the air and fuel delivery system are the mass airflow sensor, oxygen sensor, fuel sensor, throttle position sensor, and the manifold pressure sensor.
Air Mass Sensor
The air mass sensor measures the amount of air which is entering the engine. Since air mass varies depending on the temperature of the air, the engine control unit measures it to determine the correct amount of fuel which needs to be mixed with the air. Having the proper mixture of fuel and air will allow the engine to run more efficient. Mass airflow sensors are used in conjunction with an oxygen sensor, which allows the engine's air and fuel ratio to be controlled very accurately. Air density changes depending on the altitude, temperature, and the amount of forced induction. All of these variables change as a vehicle accelerates or encounters weather changes. Having a sensor that picks up on these changes even as the vehicle is going down the road will help the vehicles performance and fuel consumption.
Oxygen sensors are used to detect the air-fuel mixture of a gasoline engine by measuring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. This information is used to double check that the engine is running efficiently. This sensor also detects any pollutants to ensure that the engine is running at the correct emissions level. The fuel injection system trims the mixture of fuel and air to be leaner or richer depending on the reading the oxygen sensor is receiving. Oxygen sensors need to be hot in order to work properly which is why some might have a heater which will get it warmed up faster after a cold start. The oxygen sensor works by using a ceramic-like material which is exposed to the exhaust gas on one side. A voltage reading is produced as oxygen in the exhaust runs through the material. Rich mixtures can produce upwards of 900 millivolts, and lean mixtures can be as low as 100 millivolts. When the fuel injection system picks up the reading, it tries to maintain an on-off ratio close to 50%.
The fuel sensor is usually a float which is located in the gas tank of a vehicle. This sensor works with the fuel sending unit on a fuel injected vehicle which sends a signal to the engine control unit. This will then send a signal to the gauge in the dashboard which allows the user to see how much fuel is left in the tank. A fuel sensor works by using a long rod that has a float that bobbles up and down on the rod depending on the amount of liquid in the tank. The float has a magnet or pins located around it which is how the sensor can tell what part of the rod it is floating at.
Throttle Position Sensor
A throttle position sensor is used on a vehicle to monitor the position of the throttle on the engine. This sensor is usually located on the butterfly spindle which allows it to directly monitor the position of the throttle butterfly valve. This sensor sends a signal to the engine control unit which will alter the fuel injection timing depending on the position of the throttle. This sensor controls how much fuel is being sent into the engine so that the mixture never becomes to lean or rich.
The manifold absolute pressure sensor is attached to the intake manifold on a vehicles engine. This sensor responds to changes in the intake manifolds pressure. The signal from the readout is sent to the engine control unit were it helps determine fuel delivery by comparing how strong the vacuum is in the intake manifold. This sensor works by using a diaphragm and a piezo-electric circuit which will convert the measurement into a signal voltage.
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