Products suited to this guided test*
  • Back-pinning Probe Set

  • *At Pico we are always looking to improve our products. The tool used in this guided test may have been superseded and the product above is our latest version used to diagnose the fault documented in this case study.

Inductive crankshaft sensor (floating) voltage during running

The purpose of this test is to check the signal from an inductive Crankshaft Position (CKP) sensor, with no reference voltage, during engine running.

How to perform the test

View connection guidance notes.

  1. Connect PicoScope Channel A and Channel B to the CKP sensor circuits.
  2. Minimize the help page. You will see that PicoScope has displayed an example waveform and is preset to capture your waveform.
  3. Start the scope to see live data.
  4. Start and run the engine.
  5. With your waveforms on screen stop the scope.
  6. Turn off the engine.
  7. Use the Waveform Buffer, Zoom and Measurements tools to examine your waveforms.

Example waveform

Waveform notes

These known good waveform have the following characteristics:

  • Channel B mirrors Channel A.
  • As engine speed increases, the oscillation amplitude and frequency increase.
  • The oscillations are punctuated by a periodic gap caused by the timing reference mark indicating a fixed position within each crankshaft rotation.
  • There is no excessive noise or any inconsistent breaks in the waveform.

Waveform Library

Go to the drop-down menu bar at the lower left corner of the Waveform Library window and select, Crankshaft sensor (inductive).

Further guidance

A CKP sensor provides an Engine Control Module (ECM) with its primary engine timing reference signal. The ECM uses it to calculate the engine speed and position for accurate injection and ignition control. The signal is also used to detect engine speed anomalies from misfires etc.

An inductive CKP sensor consists of a circuit with a wire coiled around a magnet. The sensor is accompanied by a pulse wheel, typically arranged about the flywheel circumference. The pulse wheel passes through and disturbs the sensor magnetic field inducing a circuit voltage. The induced voltage depends on engine speed: the faster the pulse wheel rotates, the greater the magnetic field disturbance.

When either the tooth or gap centres align with the sensor, there is an equal and opposite magnetic field disturbance and no voltage is induced. Conversely, as either a tooth leading or trailing edge aligns with the sensor, the magnetic field disturbance and induced voltage are greatest.

Positive voltage is produced when a tooth leading edge is closer than its trailing edge, and a negative voltage is produced in the opposite case.

The missing tooth on the pulse wheel provides the main timing reference mark. As the gap passes through the magnetic field, there is a period of reduced disturbance and voltage. Furthermore, the trailing and leading edge of the teeth that immediately precede and follow the gap are further apart, thus they produce a larger net magnetic field disturbance and induced voltage.

A two pin CKP sensor and ECM circuit can be arranged in two ways, with either:

  • a constant reference, non-floating, voltage to one side of the sensor and the sensor output signal on the other; or
  • a floating voltage, with mirrored output signals on each side of the sensor.

The CKP sensor signal is critical to ECM operation and failures can cause symptoms such as:

  • Engine cranking but not starting
  • Engine cutting out symptoms
  • Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illumination
  • Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

Possible faults are:

  • Short or open circuits or high circuit resistances.
  • Signal errors resulting from excessive dirt and detritus on the sensor housing or pulse wheel.
  • Incorrect fitment or operation of the sensor or crankshaft components, causing:
    • Excessive gaps between the sensor and pulse wheel
    • Damage to the sensor housing or pulse wheel
    • Excessive crank or flywheel movement or vibration

Diagnostic trouble codes

Selection of component related Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

P0016 Crankshaft Position - Camshaft Position Correlation Bank 1 Sensor A

P0017 Crankshaft Position - Camshaft Position Correlation Bank 1 Sensor B

P0018 Crankshaft Position - Camshaft Position Correlation Bank 2 Sensor A

P0019 Crankshaft Position - Camshaft Position Correlation Bank 2 Sensor B

P0315 Crankshaft Position - system variation values are not stored in the PCM memory

P0335 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction

P0336 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Range/Performance

P0337 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Low Input

P0338 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit High Input

P0339 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Intermittent

P0385 Crankshaft Position Sensor B Circuit Malfunction

P0386 Crankshaft Position Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance

P0387 Crankshaft Position Sensor B Circuit Low Input

P0388 Crankshaft Position Sensor B Circuit High Input

P0389 Crankshaft Position Sensor B Circuit Intermittent


This help topic is subject to changes without notification. The information within is carefully checked and considered to be correct. This information is an example of our investigations and findings and is not a definitive procedure. Pico Technology accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies. Each vehicle may be different and require unique test settings.

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Guided test: Crankshaft position sensor (inductive - floating) - running