Understanding 5-Volt Reference Signals
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Gary Goms Underhood Service article

Dealer Service

Understanding 5-Volt Reference Signals

During the diagnostic process, we occasionally forget that OBD II engine control modules (ECMs) can’t function unless they accurately gather and process data from 5-volt reference sensors. Most engine management sensors are two-wire circuits that contain a 5-volt reference and a signal return wire or three-wire circuits that contain a 5-volt, signal return and auxiliary ground wire. 

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Author Gary Goms provides two real-world examples of how two- and three-wire sensors can cause an intermittent rich operating condition. 

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