Coil output is determined by the mass of the iron core being converted into a magnetic field. Creating this magnetic field takes time, called the current ramp. Once the iron core is saturated, increasing the current flow does not add to that stored m
When Cadillac introduced the world's first factory-installed electric headlights in 1912, driving at night was still rare and risky. Steady improvements in power and brightness have reduced the risk, and today's headlights can virtually turn night in
Modern scan tools, both OEM and aftermarket, have come a long way. More data parameters to use, faster refresh rates and better graphing all have played a role in making scan tool diagnostics easier. But there are still those occasions when I want to
To make power, automotive engines mix air and fuel, then add spark to ignite the mixture in a controlled burn. This burning of the mixture creates pressure and forces the piston down the bore, turning the crankshaft. Because engines are nothing more
When I first started in this business, you could diagnose most running problems based on a generalized set of rules. Of course, this was in the day of carbureted engines and mechanical ignition systems. Today, the Engine Control Module (ECM) does a p
While the basic idea behind the alternator hasn't changed much since it replaced the direct current (DC) generator in the early 1960s, it has evolved to meet new demands. Computer-control is the norm and has impacted charging system diagnostics as te
Ignition systems can be one of three basic designs: the distributor ignition system, the distributorless (DIS) ignition system or the coil-on-plug (COP) system. They all perform the same function, but even in the individual systems, design difference
Back in November of 2010, Motor Trend magazine named the Chevrolet Volt the "Car of the Year." Making its debut at the same time was the Nissan Leaf, and I believe 2010 will go down in automotive history as the first year mainstream manufacturers off
In the early world of automotive ?black box? technology NASA gave us in the 1970s, parallel interface was the only show in town. What that means is that every sensor and actuator had to be hard-wired to the brain box and other than dashboard-mounted
Refrigerant leaks are less common than they used to be. Fewer connecting points, lower refrigerant charges and better components are resulting in systems that leak less (as a total annual figure) than older systems used to from the compressor shaft s
A wiring schematic is a line diagram of an electrical circuit showing all the components needed to operate the circuit and the wiring paths that connect them. Back in the early days, a diagram including every circuit on the car would only take up a f
As the weather warms, more and more of your customers will be switching over their HVAC control settings to Max A/C. And if the system doesn't respond by blowing that refreshing cool air, they will show up at your door to find out why.
There was a time that hybrid cars were unusual enough that people would turn their heads and point them out to their friends as one passed by. Those were the days when folks were undecided as to whether this hybrid idea was even going to stick. Of co
From the days when automobiles were first built, racing has played an integral role in their development. Racing has been where new technologies are tested and proven on their way to becoming mainstream. It also has been where many ideas are introduc
Not too long ago, one of our Motor Age community members wrote excitedly about a new technology he was told about in a training class. The topic of his excitement was ion sensing ignition systems, and I certainly admire him for his enthusiasm. But as
Certified Technician is the newsletter for automotive repair professionals. Get the latest news, tech tips and diagnostic techniques delivered straight to your in box. Sign up today! Published every Monday and Thursday.