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Wiring Fundamentals: Actuator Types

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Actuator Types


00:00 - We term any device fitted to your engine the ECU controls in order to interact with the physical world as an actuator.
00:07 At a minimum this will include fuel injectors, ignition coils, and a fuel pump but can expand to include boost control solenoids, idle air control valves, cooling fans, electronic throttle bodies, and many others.
00:19 Actuators will be wired to your ECU's output channels and we categorise them by the type of output channel the ECU uses to drive them.
00:27 Usually these groups will be fuel injectors, ignition coils, pulsed solenoids, and simple on - off switch outputs.
00:35 As was the case with sensors, your ECU may not be able to directly control every type of actuator and might need an interface device between itself and the actuator that converts the ECU output signals to the control signals the actuator requires.
00:49 Your ECU documentation will have detailed specifications on its output capabilities and you will need to be familiar with this to ensure the compatibility of the parts fitted to your engine.
00:58 A common idea you need to be familiar with when wiring actuators, is that of low side switching.
01:03 This is when the actuator is provided with a constant positive voltage supply from our power supply system, with the ECU then determining when to provide a ground connection to complete the circuit and turn the actuator on.
01:15 Particularly, fuel injectors and ignition coils are almost exclusively wired in a low side switch configuration.

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