Camshaft Position Sensor, How It Works, & Function

What Is Camshaft Position Sensor

The car computer takes information from the different types of sensors of the vehicle to start the car. The ECU (car computer) activates all the necessary functions at the right time for the proper combustion to take place.

If there is any problem with information delivery to the ECU, the ECU turns the check engine light ON, and the car may show several problems. One of the sensors, which helps the car computer to start the car is the camshaft position sensor.

This webpage is all about the camshaft position sensor! You’ll learn how it works, what it does, and what its function is.

What Is Camshaft Position Sensor

What Is Camshaft Position Sensor
What Is Camshaft Position Sensor

The camshaft position sensor is an electronic sensor used to determine the exact position of the engine’s camshaft and converts it into an electronic signal then sends it to the car ECU.

It determines the location of the camshaft and its angle in order to determine the position of the engine cylinder’s piston to be operated.

It is a cylinder identification sensor that helps the car ECU recognize what is the next cylinder’s piston is on the top dead center for a potential intake stroke and confirms that the valves are aligned to deliver air and fuel.

The ECU does not know the position of the cylinder’s piston; the cam sensor makes it known to the ECU whether it is an intake, compression, power, or exhaust stroke.

The ECU then decides when to produce a spark in the engine and when to open and close the valves of the injectors based on the reading received from the camshaft position sensor of the vehicle.

The camshaft sensor of the vehicle is located near the cylinder head of the vehicle such that it is opposite to the timing rotor that is attached to the camshaft of the engine. It works together with the crankshaft position sensor to recognize the particular stroke of the engine piston.

Its primary function is to produce a signal indicating the top dead center of the first cylinder and send it to the electronic control unit (ECU) of the vehicle to help it decide the timing of the fuel injection and locate the cylinder in which the fuel is to be injected and prevent the engine from misfiring.

Camshaft Position Sensor Function

Camshaft Position Sensor Function
Camshaft Position Sensor Function

The major function of the camshaft position sensor is to work along with the crankshaft position sensor of the vehicle to determine the exact position of the crankshaft drive.

The information gathered as a result of the combined working of both these sensors, the electronic control unit (ECU) of the vehicle gets known the cylinder which has to be operated and the time when the top dead center is reached in that particular cylinder.

The information gathered by the electronic control unit of the vehicle is used for the following purposes:

  • To produce the spark when the piston is at the top dead center
  • To determine the duration of the injection pulse
  • To know the firing order of the engine cylinder

Camshaft Position Sensor Working

Camshaft Position Sensor
Camshaft Position Sensor

The camshaft position sensor is similar to the crankshaft position sensor in working. The camshaft position sensor works on the principle of electromagnetism.

Inside the camshaft position sensor, there is a magnet that is placed near the gear of the camshaft. As the camshaft rotates, the gear also rotates, when the gear teeth pass close to the tip of the cam sensor, the magnetic field coming out of the sensor is interrupted.

This interruption generates a voltage in the sensor itself and is sent to the car computer (ECU).

FAQs

Can an engine run without a camshaft position sensor?

No, an engine cannot run without a camshaft position sensor. It is used to synchronize the fuel injection and ignition timing. It is located at the top of the engine and relays information about the position of the engine’s pistons to the ECU. The camshaft position sensor is responsible for telling the engine computer the position of the pistons as they fire. Without this information, the engine will not run correctly.

Can I unplug the camshaft sensor?

The camshaft sensor is an important part of the engine management system, and it is not recommended that you unplug it. The sensor monitors the position of the camshaft and relays this information to the engine control unit. This helps the ECU to adjust the timing of the ignition and fuel injection, which is important for optimal engine performance. If you unplug the camshaft sensor, it is likely that the engine will run less efficiently and may eventually stall.


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