Air Mass Sensor
What is an Air Mass Sensor
The mass air flow (MAF) sensor is an important element that the engine control unit depends on. When airflow enters the engine fuel injection system, the mass airflow sensor will analyze the amount of air flowing through it. It will then transmit this information to the engine control unit.
From there, the engine control unit will be able to control the amount of fuel injected into the engine. The MAF sensor makes sure the right amount of air and fuel is mixed in an engine’s internal combustion chamber.
Air Mass Sensors Function
When the motor is idle, some air still flows around the wire. Therefore, it takes a very low current to heat the wires. When accelerating, there is an increase in the amount of air that slides over the hot film grid.
The greater the amount of air that flows through the fil grid, the greater the amount of electrical current needed to keep it warm. Hence, the electrical current needed to maintain the temperature of the film grid is proportional to the amount of airflow.
The information from the MAF is used by the ECU in order to calculate the amount of fuel to be injected. The purpose is to keep the air to fuel ratio at the optimum level.
Symptoms Of A faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor
The bad mass air flow sensor will not be able to accurately measure the amount of air flow correctly, which is why the car computer won’t calculate the amount of fuel injected correctly.
As a result, we may face several problems such as:
1. Difficulty in starting the engine
2. Engine interruptions
3. Dark smoke comes out of the vehicle’s exhaust system
4. Low acceleration
5. Increase in fuel consumption
6. Rough idling
On the other hand, with a faulty MAF, the “Check Engine” light or warning lights on the car dashboard may also come on the instrument panel.
Over time, dust and oil particles accumulate and stick to the hot film grid. Incidentally, these particles may insulate the wire from the air stream, thus preventing correct readings by the MAF.
How To Test Mass Air Flow Sensor
You can test the mass air flow sensor with the help of a scan tool. The reading of the amount of MAF is measured at different RPMs. The reading of the MAF sensor is usually measured when the vehicle is idle. The reading should be 1,000 RPM, 2,000 RPM and 3,000 RPM.
The contaminated air flow sensor shows low air flow reading, while a well maintained car MAF sensor will show a higher reading. However, it is important to note here that different engines may have varying readings. The readings usually depend on the engine size and are higher for high volume engines like V6 or V8.
Common Car Mass Air Flow Sensor Fault Codes
Common fault codes and causes include:
1. MAF circuit malfunction: P0100
2. MAF circuit range/performance: P0101
3. MAF circuit low input: P0102
4. MAF circuit high input: P0103
5. MAF circuit intermittent P0104
6. The code occur due to a faulty or contaminated MAF sensor: P0171
Types Air Flow Sensor
Air flow sensors are used to determine the mass or volume of flow of air in a channel. There are 2 categories of airflow sensors. They are volume air flow sensors and mass air flow sensors (MAF). These categories are further divided into different types, which are explained below.
1. Volume Air Flow Sensors: It is a type of airflow sensor is called the Karman Vortex airflow sensor. These are used to detect airflow using optical sensors that monitor the frequency of artificial turbulence. Then the ECM calculates the volume of flow of air by combining the information of volume air flow air temperature measurements.
2. Mass Air Flow Sensors: This type of sensor is most widely used in automobiles to detect the mass of flow of air that enters the vehicle’s engine and the amount of fuel injection.
3. Vane Type Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF): This type of MAF is used to monitor and measure the amount of air flowing via a vehicle’s engine air intake by placing a vane in the air stream.
4. Hot-Wire Mass Air Flow Sensor: This type of MAF is used to measure the rate of flow of air by placing the thin resistive (hot) wire down to the airflow. The hot wire is heated at a temperature of 100°F above the ambient temp that is detected by the IAT (intake air temp) sensor.
5. Cold-Wire Mass Airflow Sensor: This type of MAF measures the airflow by detecting the varying inductance of thin metallic strips of a circuit, which vibrates when air passes.
6. MEMS Devices: This type is used to detect the rate of airflow by observing the temperature changes of a membrane (heated). It is similar to the hot-wire MAF.
Advantages Of Air Mass Sensor:
The following are the advantages of the airflow sensor.
1. More design options are available.
3. Faster response to changes in the flow rate of air.
4. Less sensitive to orientation and location.
5. Durable because of no movable parts.
6. No use of temperature and pressure sensors.
7. Small size.
8. Installation is easy.
9. Measures static pressure, average air velocity, and total pressure.
Disadvantages Of Air Mass Sensor:
The following are the disadvantages of airflow sensors Or flow sensors Or mass flow sensor
1. Poor stability.
2. They are not used to measure low-density liquids.
3. High sensitive
4. Affected by Vibration interference.
5. Contaminated quickly due to oil and dust, which leads to failure and malfunctioning of the sensor.
6. Accuracy is less due to contamination.
7. Calibration is necessary to analyze the mass or airflow.
8. Reduced air intake affects the performance of the sensor.
9. Conductivity is low 0.05 micro sec/cm.
10. Errors due to gas inclusions.
Air Flow Sensor Applications:
The airflow sensor applications are listed below.
1. Used to measure and control of flow rate of air in ventilation and ACs.
2. Used to analyze the flow rate of mass Or air in fuel-injected combustion engines.
3. Industrial, commercial and automotive applications.
4. Medical devices.
5. Analytical applications.
6. Testing applications.
7. Chemical factories etc.
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