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TECHTALK

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TECHTALK in association with AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS It is only a few years ago that

AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS

It is only a few years ago that air conditioning was fitted as standard to luxury cars. More recently air conditioning seems to be now available as standard on virtually every car. In their quest to offer ever higher levels of specification and equipment, it seemed inevitable that manufacturers would offer air conditioning and at the time of writing almost 60% of new cars are fitted with a/c. This is planned to increase dramatically in the next few years.

The main benefits of air conditioning are:

Driver comfort, hence safety.

Cools the vehicle interior on hot days.

Removes moisture and therefore speeds up de-misting on cold, damp days.

Helps to remove dirt and dust from the air in the vehicle interior. Ideal for the allergy sufferers.

REFRIGERANTS In its basic form a refrigerant is simply a ‘heat carrier'. It carries heat from the interior of the vehicle and disperses it to the atmosphere outside. Although there are many types of refrigerant in use, generally, the one used in automotive applications is R-134a, R-12 having been phased out at the end of 1994.

is R-134a, R-12 having been phased out at the end of 1994. Pressure-temperature relationship The pressure-temperature
is R-134a, R-12 having been phased out at the end of 1994. Pressure-temperature relationship The pressure-temperature
is R-134a, R-12 having been phased out at the end of 1994. Pressure-temperature relationship The pressure-temperature

Pressure-temperature relationship

The pressure-temperature relationship of the refrigerant is essential. If the pressure of the refrigerant is low, the temperature will also be low. If the pressure of the refrigerant is high, the temperature will be high also. Utilising this quality, an increase or decrease in the refrigerant temperature can be obtained by varying the refrigerant pressure. To operate at peak efficiency, the refrigerant must be at its coldest state without icing (low pressure) in the evaporator and its warmest (high pressure) in the condenser. In the evaporator the refrigerant is under

very low pressure. Thus, a low temperature is also obtained. This temperature is much lower than the temperature inside the vehicle. For this reason, the vehicle’s heat will travel to the colder refrigerant. As the heat is absorbed, the refrigerant vapourises and carries the heat from the evaporator to the compressor. The compressor increases the pressure, and temperature of the refrigerant vapours. The vapours are then pumped to the condenser where the heat is transferred to the outside air which has a much lower temperature than the vapourised refrigerant, and condensation takes place. The refrigerant while giving off its heat then returns to a liquid state.

SYSTEM OPERATION An air conditioning system works because of these basic principles:

Heat travels from warmer to cooler.

Liquid to vapour. Evaporator refrigerant absorbs and captures heat during evaporation.

Vapour to liquid. Condenser refrigerant releases heat during condensation.

All automotive air conditioning systems contain the following 5* basic components:

Compressor

Condenser

Receiver-drier or accumulator

Expansion valve or orifice tube

Evaporator

*Manufacturers are developing smaller air conditioning systems. The latest do not have an accumulator and the compressor is smaller.

Critical charge systems require very accurate charge with capacitates

of 400 to 450gms of refrigerant. The quantity of refrigerant is very

critical so there is even less room for error - a small variation of gas

will cause a fault.

DESCRIPTION

An air conditioning system is divided into two parts, a High Side and

a Low Side. This is true of all air conditioning systems, and the division of these two sides always occurs at the same point.

HIGH SIDE High side simply refers to the side of the system in which high pressure exists. As shown in the illustration the high side is (following the flow arrows) from the outlet (discharge) side of the compressor, through the condenser, through the receiver-drier (if equipped) and up to the expansion valve (or the orifice tube). It is the compressor's job to create the high pressure (high temperature) so that the refrigerant will be able to condense and release heat at the condenser. A pressure differential is created at the expansion valve or orifice tube, the dividing point in the system.

LOW SIDE Low side is the term used for the side of the air conditioning

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk July/August 2004 34

Receiver Dryer Type Accumulator Type system in which the low pressure and temperature exist. From
Receiver Dryer Type Accumulator Type system in which the low pressure and temperature exist. From

Receiver Dryer Type

Accumulator Type

system in which the low pressure and temperature exist. From the expansion valve or orifice tube through the evaporator and accumulator (if fitted) to the inlet of the compressor, the refrigerant is in a low-pressure state. This allows heat to be transferred from inside the vehicle to the 'colder' refrigerant, which carries it away.

COMPRESSOR Piston-type compressors may have their pistons arranged in an in-line, axial, radial, or V design. Rotary vane compressors have no pistons. The most common compressor used by car manufacturers is the piston-type. They have an electromagnetic clutch which enables the compressor to 'shut down' when compressor operation is not required.

down' when compressor operation is not required. Pressure-temperature relationship ● These are the two

Pressure-temperature relationship

These are the two main functions of the compressor (1) to circulate the refrigerant through the system, and (2) to raise the pressure/temperature of the refrigerant so it will condense and release the heat.

CONDENSER The condenser consists of a refrigerant coil in a series of thin cooling fins mounted directly in front of the radiator where it can receive full air flow created by the vehicle forward motion and by the engine cooling fan. The condenser receives heat-laden high pressure refrigerant vapour from compressor. The vapour enters at the top of the condenser and flows through its coils. The vapourous refrigerant

becomes a liquid and flows from the condenser and towards the evaporator.

and flows from the condenser and towards the evaporator. RECEIVER-DRIER ACCUMULATOR The receiver-drier is used on

RECEIVER-DRIER ACCUMULATOR The receiver-drier is used on many air conditioning systems. It

receives refrigerant from the condenser. The receiver-drier is mounted either adjacent to the condenser or somewhere downstream before the expansion valve. It consists of a tank, a filter,

a drying agent (desiccant), a pick up tube and on some applications

a sight glass Sometimes the receiver-drier function is taken over by the accumulator. When there is nothing mounted in the high side part of the air conditioning system, there has to be an accumulator in the low side part. It is mounted in the low side of the system at the outlet of the evaporator.

the low side of the system at the outlet of the evaporator. Thermostatic Expansion Valve The

Thermostatic Expansion Valve

The refrigerant flow to the evaporator must be controlled to obtain maximum cooling, while assuring complete evaporation of the liquid refrigerant within the evaporator. This is accomplished by a thermostatic expansion valve or a fixed orifice tube.

ORIFICE TUBE The orifice tube serves the same basic function as the expansion valve but has a different configuration. The orifice tube is a straight tube of sintered metal or a plastic. Some of these tubes have a filter screen to remove contaminates and a calibrated orifice tube to meter refrigerant flow.

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk July/August 2004 35

TECHTALK

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▲ TECHTALK in association with Thermostatic Expansion Valve EVAPORATOR The evaporator like the condenser consists of
Thermostatic Expansion Valve EVAPORATOR The evaporator like the condenser consists of a refrigerant coil mounted
Thermostatic Expansion Valve
EVAPORATOR
The evaporator like the condenser consists of a refrigerant coil
mounted in a series of thin cooling fins. It provides a maximum
Evaporator
amount of heat transfer in
evaporator is usually mounted
a
minimum amount of space. The
in
a housing under the dash panel or
cowl. As the cold refrigerant passes through the evaporator coils
heat moves from the warm air into the cooler refrigerant. When the
liquid refrigerant receives enough heat a change of state takes
place. This causes the refrigerant to change from a low pressure
liquid into a low pressure vapour
The warm air blown across the evaporator will usually contain
some moisture (humidity).
The moisture in the air will normally condense on the cold
evaporator coils and be drained off as water.
SAFETY
It is extremely important that the necessary safety precautions are
followed when handling refrigerants and working on air conditioning
systems. The main danger is frostbite. Remember that R-134a
evaporates or 'boils' at -26.5 degrees Celsius.
Always follow manufacturers’ safety recommendations.
This
article has been compiled
Although we have covered
of an air conditioning system,
the main components and operation
there are a number of other control
from extracts from the Sun Guide
to Air Conditioning. To receive
your complimentary copy please
contact techsales.uk@snapon.com
or alternatively phone Sun
devices to protect system components, improve cooling and give
good driveability.
Diagnostics UK on 01553 692422, or visit our website at
www.sun-diagnostics.com.
BACK
TO BASICS WITH AUTO-SOLVE
ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION
(PART 2)
These input signals will include: -
● The resistance of the coolant temperature.
INJECTOR DURATION
The multi-point injector is an electro-mechanical device which is fed
by a 12 volt supply from either the fuel injection relay or from the
Electronic Control Module (ECM). The injector consists of a
solenoid operated valve, which is held in the closed position by a
spring until the ECM completes the earth circuit. When the
● The output voltage from the airflow meter (when fitted).
● The resistance of the air temperature sensor.
● The signal from the Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor
(when fitted).
● The position of the throttle switch/potentiometer.
electromagnetic field lifts the pintle off its seat, fuel is delivered to
the engine. The total lift on the pintle is approximately 0.15 mm (6
thou) and has a reaction time of around 1 millisecond.
The voltage at the injector
will only be present when the engine
is cranking or running, due to the voltage supply being controlled by
a tachometric relay.
The held open time or injector duration will vary to compensate
for cold engine starting and warm-up periods, i.e. a large duration
that decreases the injection time as the engine warms to operating
temperature.
The duration time will also expand under acceleration and
contract under light load conditions.
The injector is supplied with fuel from a common fuel rail. The
length of time that the injector is held open will depend on the input
signals seen by the engine management ECM from its various engine
sensors.
Depending on the system encountered, the injectors can fire
either once or twice per cycle. The injectors are wired in parallel with
simultaneous injection and will all fire together at the same time (Fig
1.0).

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk July/August 2004 36

Fig 1.0 Fig 1.1 Sequential injection, as with simultaneous, has a common supply to each

Fig 1.0

Fig 1.1

Sequential injection, as with simultaneous, has a common supply

to each injector but unlike simultaneous has a separate earth path for each injector (Fig 1.1). This individual firing allows the system, when used in conjunction with a phase sensor, to deliver the fuel when the inlet valve is open and the incoming air helps to atomise the fuel. It is also common for injectors to be fired in 'banks' on 'V' configuration engines (Fig1.2). The fuel will be delivered to each

bank alternately. In the case of

a Jaguar V12 the injectors are fired in

4 groups of 3 injectors. Because of the frequency of the firing of the injectors, it is expected that a sequential injector will have twice the duration, or

opening time, than that of a simultaneous pulse. This will however be

determined by the injectors’ pressure.

flow rate and the fuel’s operating

injectors’ pressure. flow rate and the fuel’s operating In the waveform illustrated Fig 1.2 in Fig

In the waveform illustrated

Fig 1.2

in Fig 1.3 we can observe the current

drawn by the injector (shown in red) at the same time as monitoring the primary ignition trace (shown in blue). The main reason for evaluating these two waveforms together is to identify the cause of a non-start situation or sudden loss of power, causing the engine to

primary signal will differ between sequential and simultaneous injection (sequential having one pulse per 720°, while simultaneous will predominantly have two). Some simultaneous systems do however have a single pulse, but these are in the minority.

however have a single pulse, but these are in the minority. Fig 1.3 ENGINE SENSORS The

Fig 1.3

ENGINE SENSORS The following sections detail the inputs into the vehicle’s ECM that contribute towards the desired injector duration. While certain components may not be fitted on some systems, the text endeavours to cover all variants.

Coolant Temperature Sensor

The coolant temperature sensor is a small two connection device that has the function of reporting the engine's temperature back to the ECM. It is this signal which will determine the engine's warm-up enrichment and the engine's fast idle speed. This sensor will normally have a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC), which means that the component's resistance will reduce as the temperature increases. A Positive Temperature

common as the NTC and its

Coefficient (PTC) sensor is not as

resistance will react to temperature in the opposite way.

The sensors are man- ufacturer specific and the outputs will vary dramatically although they may look identical. Any poor connections on this circuit will introduce an extra resistance in series and will falsify the readings that the ECM sees – reading the

will falsify the readings that the ECM sees – reading the Fig 1.4 resistance at the

Fig 1.4

resistance at the ECM multi- plug will confirm this. Fig 1.4 illustrates Ford’s version of a coolant temperature sensor.

The Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS) will invariably be a two wire device with a voltage supply at approximately 5 volts.

The sensor itself has the ability to alter its resistance with engine

of sensors have a Negative

Temperature Coefficient (NTC), which results in the resistance of the component decreasing as the temperature increases. The resistance change will therefore alter the voltage seen at the sensor and can be monitored for any discrepancies across its operational range.

temperature change. The majority

stop. If the primary trace is absent, there will be no switching of the injectors as these two circuits are timed together while the loss of the injector current signifies that a fault has occurred within the injection circuit. The frequency of the injection trace when compared to the

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk July/August 2004 37

TECHTALK

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▲ TECHTALK in association with By selecting a time scale of 500 seconds, connect the oscilloscope

By selecting a time scale of 500 seconds, connect the oscilloscope to the sensor and observe the output voltage. Start the engine and in the majority of cases the voltage will start in the region of 3 to 4 volts; however this voltage will depend on the temperature of the engine, as the temperature increases the resistance decreases and the voltage will also be seen to drop. See Fig 1.5. The rate of voltage change is usually linear with no sudden changes to the voltage; if the CTS displays a fault at certain temperature, this is the only true way of detecting it.

temperature, this is the only true way of detecting it. Fig 1.5 V AUXHALL CTS The

Fig 1.5

VAUXHALL CTS The CTS used in the Multec system on the Vauxhall Vectra 1.6 Lt.

CTS used in the Multec system on the Vauxhall Vectra 1.6 Lt. Fig 1.6 engine has

Fig 1.6

engine has a distinctive waveform when viewed on the oscilloscope. The voltage seen at the CTS will display a conventional voltage reduction until the engine reaches 40 0 - 50 0 C, at which point the voltage rises dramatically due to internal switching inside the Electronic Control Module (ECM). This is illustrated in Fig 1.6. The reason for the voltage change is that at higher operating temperatures (50 0 C plus), the ECM is now able to offer finer control with the increased voltage. All the example waveforms used were recorded using a PC based oscilloscope loaned by www.picotech.com. Other manufacturers’ equipment will have different voltage ranges but the resultant picture should be very similar.

BOSCH SHEDS EVEN MORE LIGHT

Bosch's automotive aftermarket division has extended its lighting programme to 5,600 different units. The company says this growth has been sparked by an ever increasing number of new vehicles - and new lighting technologies - being introduced by manufacturers. Bosch has worked in conjunction with these manufacturers to enable them to offer the latest OE- quality parts within its aftermarket lighting portfolio, which includes rotating identification lamps, spotlights and auxiliary headlights. Recent developments to the testing and diagnostic software also allow for the repair and adjustment of Xenon lights. In addition, the Bosch bulb programme is undergoing further development and includes products such as the new 'Daytime' bulb. These bulbs not only feature a long service life for permanent day-and-night operation but also offer a light-intensity increase of up to 10 per cent. This offers increased safety to all road users by allowing drivers to operate day-time driving lights. The programme features 12 different types of bulbs for all standard headlamps. Further details on 01895 878010.

NEW FUEL PUMP FOR 06 MODELS

TI Automotive is investing more than £10m this year to launch production of an all-new dual- channel, single-stage (DCSS) fuel pump that is claimed to provides dramatic improvements in efficiency and performance. The DCSS pump will debut on selected 2006-model vehicles with production at TI Automotive facilities in France and the US. Customers for the new line include two major European automakers, two of the industry's traditional "Big Three" manufacturers and two Asia-Pacific producers. Further details on 01895 878010.

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk July/August 2004 38

ACE PRODUCTION

The Factoring Services Group has produced its most complete accessories catalogue ever, as part of the company’s Auto Centre of Excellence (ACE) retail programme. It lists all the suppliers in the programme and the products they supply including: Performance exhausts, in-car entertainment (ICE), lubricants and additives, styling and accessories, wiper blades, performance shock

absorbers, spark plugs, and alloy wheels. To obtain a copy, phone 01756

701353

wiper blades, performance shock absorbers, spark plugs, and alloy wheels. To obtain a copy, phone 01756