Manifold Pressure/Vacuum Sensor: Description and Operation
The MAP sensor is used as an input to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). It contains a silicon based sensing unit to provide data on the manifold
vacuum that draws the air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber. The PCM requires this information to determine injector pulse width and spark
advance. When manifold absolute pressure (MAP) equals Barometric pressure, the pulse width will be at maximum.
A 5 volt reference is supplied from the PCM and returns a voltage signal to the PCM that reflects manifold pressure. The zero pressure reading is 0.5V
and full scale is 4.5V. For a pressure swing of 0-15 psi, the voltage changes 4.0V. To operate the sensor, it is supplied a regulated 4.8 to 5.1 volts.
Ground is provided through the low-noise, sensor return circuit at the PCM.
The MAP sensor input is the number one contributor to fuel injector pulse width. The most important function of the MAP sensor is to determine
barometric pressure. The PCM needs to know if the vehicle is at sea level or at a higher altitude, because the air density changes with altitude. It will also
help to correct for varying barometric pressure. Barometric pressure and altitude have a direct inverse correlation; as altitude goes up, barometric goes
down. At key-on, the PCM powers up and looks at MAP voltage, and based upon the voltage it sees, it knows the current barometric pressure (relative to
altitude). Once the engine starts, the PCM looks at the voltage again, continuously every 12 milliseconds, and compares the current voltage to what it
was at key-on. The difference between current voltage and what it was at key-on, is manifold vacuum.
During key-on (engine not running) the sensor reads (updates) barometric pressure. A normal range can be obtained by monitoring a known good sensor.
As the altitude increases, the air becomes thinner (less oxygen). If a vehicle is started and driven to a very different altitude than where it was at key-on,
the barometric pressure needs to be updated. Any time the PCM sees Wide Open Throttle (WOT), based upon Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) angle and
RPM, it will update barometric pressure in the MAP memory cell. With periodic updates, the PCM can make its calculations more effectively.
The PCM uses the MAP sensor input to aid in calculating the following:
Shift-point strategies (certain automatic transmissions only)
Decel fuel shutoff
The MAP sensor signal is provided from a single piezoresistive element located in the center of a diaphragm. The element and diaphragm are both made
of silicone. As manifold pressure changes, the diaphragm moves causing the element to deflect, which stresses the silicone. When silicone is exposed to
stress, its resistance changes. As manifold vacuum increases, the MAP sensor input voltage decreases proportionally. The sensor also contains
electronics that condition the signal and provide temperature compensation.
The PCM recognizes a decrease in manifold pressure by monitoring a decrease in voltage from the reading stored in the barometric pressure memory
cell. The MAP sensor is a linear sensor; meaning as pressure changes, voltage changes proportionately. The range of voltage output from the sensor is
usually between 4.6 volts at sea level to as low as 0.3 volts at 26 in. of Hg. Barometric pressure is the pressure exerted by the atmosphere upon an object.
At sea level on a standard day, no storm, barometric pressure is approximately 29.92 in Hg. For every 100 feet of altitude, barometric pressure drops
0.10 in. Hg. If a storm goes through, it can change barometric pressure from what should be present for that altitude. You should know what the average
pressure and corresponding barometric pressure is for your area.