Ford EDIS unit PIP / SAW signals

You will require a PicoScope to perform this test. A list of suitable accessories can be found at the bottom of this page.

How to perform the test

Channel A: PIP signal

  1. Plug a BNC test lead into Channel A on the PicoScope.
  2. Fit a large black clip onto the black plug on the test lead.
  3. Fit a Back-pinning Probe or multimeter probe onto the colored plug on the test lead.
  4. Place the large black clip on the battery negative terminal.
  5. Probe the square wave output (PIP signal) from the EDIS unit to the Electronic Control Module (ECM) using the backpinning probe.

Channel B: SAW signal

  1. Plug a BNC test lead into Channel B.
  2. Fit a Back-pinning Probe or multimeter probe on the red plug on the test lead.
  3. Probe the returning modified signal (SAW signal) from the ECM back to the EDIS unit.

The pin numbers of the EDIS unit need to be found from technical data.

When the two signals are displayed on the oscilloscope, the engine speed can be raised and the two signals will shift relative to each other as the timing advances. The amount of timing advance may be restricted until a suitable signal is seen from the road speed sensor.

With the example waveform displayed on the screen, you can now hit the space bar to start looking at live readings.

With a 4-channel scope it is possible to capture the PIP, SAW, Crankshaft and Primary Ignition signals.

Figure 1 shows 4 probes connected to an EDIS unit multi-plug.

Example waveform

Waveform notes

  • PIP: Profile Ignition Pick-up
  • SAW: Spark Advance Word

Profile Ignition Pick-up (PIP) is the signal sent from the Electronic Distributorless Ignition System (EDIS) to the Electronic Control Module (ECM). It is the digitally modified version of the alternating current (AC) signal that originates from the Crank Angle Sensor (CAS). The PIP signal is a squarewave switched at 12 volts and is the ECM's reference for the engine's speed and position. When received by the ECM, the PIP signal is modified to take into account the ignition's timing advance and is then fed back to the EDIS unit. The returned signal is called the SAW signal, and is in the form of a 5 volt squarewave.

Both signals can be seen in the example waveform with the PIP signal in blue and the SAW signal in red.

Technical information

The EDIS module, fitted to the distributorless range of Ford vehicles, works in conjunction with the main EEC IV ECM. Its function is to collect the alternating current (AC) signal from the crank angle sensor and modify it into a digital square wave. This signal is known as the Profile Ignition Pick-up (PIP) signal. The PIP signal tells the ECM the exact position of the engine and this signal is then further modified into the Spark Advance Word (SAW) signal that is adjusted to compensate for any timing advance that the ECM decides is necessary.

The advance is determined by the engine speed and the engine load.

The returning SAW signal to the EDIS unit determines when the earth return circuit is released from the coil negative in order to fire the coils.

As there is only one SAW signal that triggers the coil for cylinders 1 and 4, the point of ignition is calculated by the EDIS unit for cylinders 2 and 3. The ignition timing is set at 10° before top dead centre (btdc) as its base setting, which occurs when the engine is cranking, at idle, or operating in Limited Operation Strategy (LOS).

If one of the SAW signals is outside its operating window, the EDIS module uses the width of the previous signal; if however the unit sees 5 or more errant signals, the ignition timing reverts to 10° btdc.

As with all double-ended coil configurations, a wasted spark system is used that fires the plugs even when they are on the exhaust stroke.

Figure 2 shows the basic wiring diagram for the EDIS system.


EDIS Unit Multi-plug

Figure 1

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.

Suitable accessories

  • Back-pinning Probe Set


  • Flexible Back-pinning Probe


  • PicoScope Sprung Hook Probe


  • Small Crocodile/Gator Clips


  • PicoScope Battery Clip


  • Large Dolphin/Gator Clips


  • Premium Test Lead: BNC to 4 mm, 3 m


  • Premium Test Leads: Set of four leads 3 m (TA125 - TA128)


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Guided test: EDIS Unit PIP / SAW Signals