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CHAPTER 25 Wide-Band Oxygen Sensors

OBJECTIVES
After studying Chapter 25, the reader will be able to: 1. Prepare for the ASE certification test content Engine Performance (A8) content area “E” (Computerized Engine Controls Diagnosis and Repair) 2. Describe the difference between a two-band and a wideband oxygen sensor. 3. Explain the difference between a thimble design and a planar design. 4. Discuss the operation of a wide-band oxygen sensor. 5. List the test procedure for testing a dual cell and a single cell wide-band oxygen sensor.

Automotive Engine Performance, 3/e By James D. Halderman

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Copyright © 2010, 2007, 2003 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

KEY TERMS
• • • • • •


• •

Air–fuel ratio sensor Air reference chamber Ambient air electrode Ambient side electrode Cup design Diffusion chamber Dual cell Exhaust side electrode Finger design

• • • • • •


• • •

Lean air–fuel (LAF) sensor Light-off time (LOT) Nernst cell Planar design Pump cell Reference electrode Reference voltage Signal electrode Single cell Thimble design

Automotive Engine Performance, 3/e By James D. Halderman

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Copyright © 2010, 2007, 2003 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

TERMINOLOGY

Wide-band oxygen sensors are used by most vehicle manufacturers to ensure that the exhaust emissions can meet the current standard. Wide-band oxygen sensors are also called by various names, depending on the vehicle and/or oxygen sensor manufacturer. The terms used include:
• • • • • • •

Wide-band oxygen sensor Broadband oxygen sensor Wide-range oxygen sensor Air–fuel ratio (AFR) sensor Wide-range air–fuel (WRAF) sensor Lean air–fuel (LAF) sensor Air–fuel (AF) sensor
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Automotive Engine Performance, 3/e By James D. Halderman

Copyright © 2010, 2007, 2003 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. This means that the sensor cannot be used to detect the exact air–fuel mixture. Halderman 5 Copyright © 2010. 3/e By James D.. Automotive Engine Performance. 2007.00).7:1 (lambda 1. .NEED FOR WIDE-BAND SENSORS INTRODUCTION • • A conventional zirconia oxygen sensor resets to an air–fuel mixture of either richer or leaner than 14. Upper Saddle River. 2003 Pearson Education.7:1. FIGURE 25–1 A conventional zirconia oxygen sensor can only reset to exhaust mixtures that are richer or leaner than 14.

NEED FOR WIDE-BAND SENSORS PURPOSE AND FUNCTION • • A wide-band oxygen sensor is capable of supplying air–fuel ratio information to the PCM over a much broader range. 3/e By James D. Inc. . Upper Saddle River. The use of a wide-band oxygen sensor compared with a conventional zirconia oxygen sensor differs as follows: • • Able to detect exhaust air–fuel ratio from as rich as 10:1 and as lean as 23:1 in some cases. Automotive Engine Performance. Halderman 6 Copyright © 2010. 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.. Cold-start activity within as little as 10 seconds. 2003 Pearson Education.

allows it to meet the stringent SULEV standards. The gasoline engine often achieves closed loop operation during cranking because the oxygen sensors are fully warm and ready to go at the same time the engine is started. . 3/e By James D.How Quickly Can a Wide-Band Oxygen Sensor Achieve Closed Loop? • In a Toyota Highlander hybrid electric vehicle.. Automotive Engine Performance. 2007. Upper Saddle River. It is capable of being driven immediately using electric power alone and the oxygen sensor heaters are turned on at first start. Halderman 7 Copyright © 2010. the gasoline engine start is delayed for a short time when first started. 2003 Pearson Education. Having the gasoline engine achieve closed loop quickly. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

450 V (450 mV). . 2007.. 3/e By James D. A conventional oxygen sensor is therefore referred to as: • • 2-step sensor Narrow band sensor • The voltage value where a zirconia oxygen sensor switches from rich to lean or from lean to rich is 0. Inc. 2003 Pearson Education.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW NARROW BAND • • A conventional zirconia oxygen sensor (O2S) is only able to detect if the exhaust is richer or leaner than 14.450 V = rich Below 0.450 V = lean 8 Automotive Engine Performance. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River. Halderman Copyright © 2010.7:1. • • Above 0.

Halderman 9 Copyright © 2010.. Upper Saddle River. 2007. the output of a zirconia oxygen sensor is below 450 mV. 2003 Pearson Education. (b) When the exhaust is rich. Automotive Engine Performance. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW NARROW BAND FIGURE 25–2 (a) When the exhaust is lean. . the output of a zirconia oxygen sensor is above 450 mV.

NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 2007. Inc.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW CONSTRUCTION • A typical zirconia oxygen sensor has the sensing element in the shape of a thimble and is often referred to as: • • • Thimble design Cup design Finger design Automotive Engine Performance. Upper Saddle River.. Halderman 10 Copyright © 2010. 2003 Pearson Education. . 3/e By James D.

2007. . 2003 Pearson Education.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW CONSTRUCTION FIGURE 25–3 Most conventional zirconia oxygen sensors and some wide-band oxygen sensors use the cup-type design.. Halderman 11 Copyright © 2010. Upper Saddle River. 3/e By James D. Automotive Engine Performance. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

which have the following functions: • • Exhaust side electrode Ambient side electrode FIGURE 25–4 A typical heated zirconia oxygen sensor. . Automotive Engine Performance. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 2007.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW CONSTRUCTION • There are also two porous platinum electrodes. 3/e By James D. Upper Saddle River. showing the sensor signal circuit that uses the outer (exhaust) electrode as negative and the ambient air side electrode as the positive.. Inc. Halderman 12 Copyright © 2010. 2003 Pearson Education.

A wide-band oxygen sensor operates at a higher temperature than a conventional HO2S from 1.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW HEATER CIRCUITS • • • The heater circuit on conventional oxygen sensors requires 0.0 amperes and it keeps the sensor at about 600°F (315°C). The amount of electrical current needed for a wideband oxygen sensor is about 8 to 10 amperes..200°F to 1. Upper Saddle River. 2007.400°F (650°C to 760°C). Automotive Engine Performance. 2003 Pearson Education. 3/e By James D. . NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Inc.8 to 2. Halderman 13 Copyright © 2010.

Upper Saddle River. Inc. Halderman Copyright © 2010. . Planar oxygen sensors are the most commonly used. 14 Automotive Engine Performance.. The planar design allows faster warm-up because the heater is in direct contact with the other elements.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW PLANAR DESIGN • • A conventional oxygen sensor can be constructed using a planar design instead of the thimble-type design. 2003 Pearson Education. Some planar designs are used as a conventional narrowband oxygen sensor. A planar design has the following features: • • • The elements including the zirconia electrolyte and the two electrodes and heater are stacked together in a flattype design. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 2007. 3/e By James D.

Inc. Halderman 15 Copyright © 2010. Upper Saddle River. which allows the sensor to reach operating temperature quickly. a German physicist known for his work in electrochemistry. . 3/e By James D. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. FIGURE 25–5 A planar design zirconia oxygen sensor places all of the elements together. 1864– 1941.CONVENTIONAL O2S REVIEW PLANAR DESIGN • • Another name for a conventional oxygen sensor is a Nernst cell. Automotive Engine Performance. 2007. The Nernst cell is named for Walther Nernst. 2003 Pearson Education..

2007. a bias or reference voltage can be applied to the two platinum electrodes. Halderman 16 Copyright © 2010. If the polarity is reversed. 2003 Pearson Education.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION • • In a conventional zirconia oxygen sensor. Inc. Upper Saddle River.. the oxygen ion can be forced to travel in the opposite direction. and then oxygen ions can be forced (pumped) from the ambient reference air side to the exhaust side of the sensor. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D. . Automotive Engine Performance.

which is called the reference. Upper Saddle River.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION • • • • A dual cell planar-type wide-band oxygen sensor is made like a conventional planar O2S and is labeled Nernst cell. The two cells share a common ground. which is called the pump cell. 3/e By James D. The diffusion chamber is exposed to the exhaust gases. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. . Above the Nernst cell is another zirconia layer with two electrodes.. Halderman Copyright © 2010. There are two internal chambers: • • The air reference chamber is exposed to ambient air. 17 Automotive Engine Performance. 2003 Pearson Education. 2007. Inc.

NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Inc. . Automotive Engine Performance.. Upper Saddle River. 2007. 3/e By James D. 2003 Pearson Education. Halderman 18 Copyright © 2010.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION FIGURE 25–6 The reference electrodes are shared by the Nernst cell and the pump cell.

3/e By James D. Halderman 19 . NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION • STOICHIOMETRIC • • • When the exhaust is at stoichiometric (14. 2003 Pearson Education..450 V). Automotive Engine Performance. Upper Saddle River. This voltage will be: • • Higher if the exhaust is rich Lower if the exhaust is lean • • RICH EXHAUST LEAN EXHAUST Copyright © 2010.450 V.7:1 air– fuel ratio). Inc. the voltage of the Nernst cell is 450 mV (0. The voltage between the diffusion chamber and the air reference chamber changes from 0. 2007.

NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. . 2007. 2003 Pearson Education. 3/e By James D. Automotive Engine Performance.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION FIGURE 25–7 When the exhaust is rich.. Upper Saddle River. Inc. the PCM applies a negative current into the pump cell. Halderman 20 Copyright © 2010.

Halderman 21 Copyright © 2010. 2003 Pearson Education.DUAL CELL PLANAR WIDEBAND SENSOR OPERATION FIGURE 25–8 When the exhaust is lean. . 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Inc. 3/e By James D. Upper Saddle River. the PCM applies a positive current into the pump cell. Automotive Engine Performance..

Upper Saddle River. the PCM will command an incorrect amount of fuel. However. The scan data shown on a generic (global) OBD-II scan tool will often be different than the reading on the factory scan tool. Inc. Halderman 22 Copyright © 2010. 2007. 2003 Pearson Education. 3/e By James D. This is because the PCM performs tests of the unit and can identify faults. . even wide-band oxygen sensors can be fooled if there is an exhaust manifold leak or other fault which could lead to false or inaccurate readings.DUAL CELL DIAGNOSIS SCAN TOOL DIAGNOSIS • • • • • Most service information specifies that a scan tool be used to check the wide-band oxygen sensor.. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. If the oxygen sensor reading is false. Automotive Engine Performance.

. 2003 Pearson Education. 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Halderman 23 Copyright © 2010. Upper Saddle River.DUAL CELL DIAGNOSIS SCAN TOOL DIAGNOSIS Automotive Engine Performance. 3/e By James D. Inc..

. . 3/e By James D. 2003 Pearson Education. Halderman 24 Copyright © 2010.DUAL CELL DIAGNOSIS SCAN TOOL DATA (PID) • The following information will be displayed on a scan tool when looking at data for a wide-band oxygen sensor: Automotive Engine Performance. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River. 2007.

DIGITAL MULTIMETER TESTING • When testing a wide-band oxygen sensor for proper operation. . While the value of this resistor can vary widely. STEP 3 Measure the heater circuit for proper resistance or current flow. 2003 Pearson Education. STEP 2 Measure the calibration resistor. depending on the type of sensor. the calibrating resistor should still be checked for opens and shorts. connect an ammeter and measure the current in the pump cell control wire.6 volts. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D. perform the following steps: • • • • • STEP 1 Check service information and determine the circuit and connector terminal identification. Inc.4 to 2. Upper Saddle River. STEP 5 Using jumper wires. 2007. This can vary but is generally 2. STEP 4 Measure the reference voltage relative to ground. 25 Automotive Engine Performance.. Halderman Copyright © 2010.

DIGITAL MULTIMETER TESTING • • RICH EXHAUST (LAMBDA LESS THAN 1. .7:1 air–fuel ratio.. 2007.00) LEAN EXHAUST (LAMBDA HIGHER THAN 1. Inc. 2003 Pearson Education. The scope is showing activity to the pump cell with commands from the PCM to keep the Nernst cell at 14. The meter reading is attached to the Nernst cell and should read stoichiometric (450 mV) at all times. Upper Saddle River. Halderman 26 Copyright © 2010.00) FIGURE 25–9 Testing a dual cell wideband oxygen sensor can be done using a voltmeter or a scope. Automotive Engine Performance. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D.

2003 Pearson Education. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Automotive Engine Performance. Copyright © 2010. The typical single cell wide-band oxygen sensor.SINGLE CELL WIDE-BAND OXYGEN SENSORS CONSTRUCTION • • A typical single cell wide-band oxygen sensor looks similar to a conventional four-wire zirconia oxygen sensor. Upper Saddle River.. 3/e By James D. Halderman 27 . has the following construction features: • • • • • Can be made using the cup or planar design Oxygen (O2) is pumped into the diffusion layer similar to the operation of a dual cell wide-band oxygen sensor. 2007. Current flow reverses positive and negative Consists of two cell wires and two heater wires (power and ground) The heater usually requires 6 amperes and the ground side is pulse-width modulated. usually called an air–fuel ratio sensor.

NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Automotive Engine Performance..9 = 0. .3 . Inc. 2003 Pearson Education.SINGLE CELL WIDE-BAND OXYGEN SENSORS CONSTRUCTION FIGURE 25–10 A single cell wide-band oxygen sensor has four wires with two for the heater and two for the sensor itself.2. Halderman 28 Copyright © 2010. Upper Saddle River.4 volt (3. 2007. The voltage applied to the sensor is 0.4) across the two leads of the sensor. 3/e By James D.

3/e By James D. Inc. • • • Zero (0 mA) represents lambda or stoichiometric air–fuel ratio of 14. Halderman Copyright © 2010. 2003 Pearson Education. The PCM keeps the voltage difference constant under all operating conditions by increasing or decreasing current between the element of the cell. . NJ 07458 • All rights reserved..7:1 + 10 mA indicates a lean condition .3 V) between the two sensor leads.SINGLE CELL WIDE-BAND OXYGEN SENSORS TESTING WITH A MILLIAMMETER • • The PCM controls the single cell wide-band oxygen sensor by maintaining a voltage difference of 300 mV (0.10 mA indicates a rich condition 29 Automotive Engine Performance. 2007. Upper Saddle River.

Inc. 2003 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River. 2007..3 volts because the PCM is controlling the sensor by applying a low current to the sensor to achieve balance. FIGURE 25–11 The scan tool can display various voltage but will often show 3. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. . 3/e By James D.SINGLE CELL WIDE-BAND OXYGEN SENSORS TESTING USING A SCAN TOOL • A scan tool will display a voltage reading but can vary depending on the type and maker of scan tool. Halderman 30 Copyright © 2010. Automotive Engine Performance.

Upper Saddle River.. When testing indicates an extremely lean condition. one type of failure may not set a DTC when the following occurs: • • • 1. 3/e By James D. However. usually causing the malfunction indicator (check engine) lamp to light. 2. Voltage from the heater circuit bleeds into the Nernst cell. Most of the failures will cause a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) to set. this is confirmation that the wide-band oxygen sensor has failed and requires replacement. . 3. Halderman Copyright © 2010. If the engine starts to operate correctly with the sensor unplugged. unplug the connector to the oxygen sensor.WIDE-BAND OXYGEN SENSOR PATTERN FAILURES • • • Wide-band oxygen sensors have a long life but can fail. Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 2003 Pearson Education. 2007. 31 Automotive Engine Performance. This voltage will cause the engine to operate extremely lean and may or may not set a diagnostic trouble code.

A conventional zirconia oxygen sensor can be made in a cup shape or planar design and is sometimes called a narrow band or 2-step sensor. 3. Upper Saddle River. The use of a wide-band oxygen sensor allows the engine to achieve more stringent exhaust emission standards. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Halderman 32 .SUMMARY 1. 4. Automotive Engine Performance. 3/e By James D. Inc. 2. 2003 Pearson Education. A wide-band oxygen sensor is capable of furnishing the PCM with exhaust air–fuel ratios as rich as 10:1 and as lean as 23:1. Copyright © 2010. 5.. 2007. including: • Broadband oxygen sensor • Wide-range oxygen sensor • Air–fuel ratio (AFR) sensor • Wide-range air–fuel (WRAF) sensor • Lean air–fuel (LAF) sensor • Air–fuel (AF) sensor Wide-band oxygen sensors are manufactured using a cup or planar design and are dual cell or single cell design. Wide-band oxygen sensors are known by many different terms.

Wide-band oxygen sensors can be best tested using a scan tool. but dual cell sensors can be checked with a voltmeter or scope. • When the exhaust is lean. A typical dual cell wide-band oxygen sensor uses the PCM to apply a current to the pump cell to keep the Nernst cell at 14. 3/e By James D. Automotive Engine Performance.200°F to 1. Halderman 33 Copyright © 2010. Upper Saddle River. 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Inc. Wide-band oxygen sensors can also be made using a single cell design. A broadband sensor heater has to heat the sensor to 1.400°F (650°C to 760°C) and requires up to 8 to 10 amperes. 7. Single cell sensors can be checked using a milliammeter.SUMMARY 6. . the PCM applies a negative current to the pump cell.7:1. • When the exhaust is rich. The heater used on a conventional zirconia oxygen sensor uses up to 2 amperes and heats the sensor to about 600°F (315°C).. 2003 Pearson Education. 9. the PCM applies a positive current to the pump cell. 8.

Halderman 34 Copyright © 2010.. What type of construction is used to make wideband oxygen sensors? Why are wide-band oxygen sensors used instead of conventional zirconia sensors? How is the heater different for a wide-band oxygen sensor compared with a conventional zirconia oxygen sensor? How does a wide-range oxygen sensor work? How can a wide-band oxygen sensor be tested? Automotive Engine Performance. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D.REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. 5. 3. . Inc. 4. 2. Upper Saddle River. 2007. 2003 Pearson Education.

3/e By James D. Halderman 35 Copyright © 2010. 1992 1996 2000 2006 Automotive Engine Performance. Inc. Upper Saddle River. 2007. . b. c.CHAPTER QUIZ 1. 2003 Pearson Education. d. A wide-band oxygen sensor was first used on a Honda in what model year? a.. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.

d. 3/e By James D. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. a. 2003 Pearson Education. A wide-band oxygen sensor is capable of detecting the air–fuel mixture in the exhaust from ________ (rich) to ________ (lean). c.7:1 10:1 to 23:1 8:1 to 18:1 Automotive Engine Performance. 2007. Halderman 36 Copyright © 2010.CHAPTER QUIZ 2.. Inc. . 12:1 to 15:1 13:1 to 16. b. Upper Saddle River.

CHAPTER QUIZ 3. c.. d. Halderman 37 Copyright © 2010. 3/e By James D. Inc. A conventional zirconia oxygen sensor can be made with what designs? a. . 2003 Pearson Education. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 2007. b. Upper Saddle River. Cup and thimble Cup and planar Finger and thimble Dual cell and single cell Automotive Engine Performance.

2003 Pearson Education.. Inc.CHAPTER QUIZ 4. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. d. b. c. 2007. . A wide-band oxygen sensor can be made using what design? a. Halderman 38 Copyright © 2010. 3/e By James D. Upper Saddle River. Cup and thimble Cup and planar Finger and thimble Dual cell and single cell Automotive Engine Performance.

Upper Saddle River.. Halderman 39 Copyright © 2010. . A wide-band oxygen sensor heater could draw how much current (amperes)? a. c. d. 0. Inc.8 to 2. 2003 Pearson Education. b. 3/e By James D. 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.0 A 2 to 4 A 6 to 8 A 8 to 10 A Automotive Engine Performance.CHAPTER QUIZ 5.

A wide-band oxygen sensor needs to be heated to what operating temperature? a.093°C) Automotive Engine Performance.400°F (760°C) 2. b. c. Inc. 2003 Pearson Education.000°F (1. Upper Saddle River. . 600°F (315°C) 800°F (427°C) 1. d.CHAPTER QUIZ 6. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Halderman 40 Copyright © 2010. 3/e By James D. 2007..

Halderman 41 Copyright © 2010. c. 2003 Pearson Education. 2007. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. Single and dual Nernst and pump Air reference and diffusion Inside and outside Automotive Engine Performance. b. Upper Saddle River. 3/e By James D. Inc. a. The two internal chambers of a dual cell wideband oxygen sensor include ________..CHAPTER QUIZ 7. . d.

Inc. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. 3/e By James D.CHAPTER QUIZ 8. . 2003 Pearson Education.. 2007. the PCM applies a ________ current into the pump cell. Halderman 42 Copyright © 2010. a. b. When the exhaust is rich. Upper Saddle River. Positive Negative Automotive Engine Performance.

When the exhaust is lean.. 2003 Pearson Education. the PCM applies a ________ current into the pump cell. b. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved. a. . Inc.CHAPTER QUIZ 9. 3/e By James D. Halderman 43 Copyright © 2010. Positive Negative Automotive Engine Performance. Upper Saddle River. 2007.

. a. d. Scan tool Voltmeter Scope All of the above Automotive Engine Performance. 2007. b. Inc. Upper Saddle River. 3/e By James D..CHAPTER QUIZ 10. 2003 Pearson Education. A dual cell wide-band oxygen sensor can be tested using a ________. c. Halderman 44 Copyright © 2010. NJ 07458 • All rights reserved.