How to Test ATV Ignition Pickup Coils

by William Hirsch

Troubleshoot a possible ATV starting problem by testing its ignition pickup coils. Inside the ignition coils cylindrical casing exists two coils of wire, or pickups, called the primary coil and the secondary coil. The primary coil receives voltage from the ATV battery. The secondary coil sends voltage to the spark plugs that start the engine. Each coil has a specific operating resistance specified by the manufacturer. This resistance prevents too much electrical current from passing through the wire, so the correct voltage may be reached by the ignition pickup coils.

Attach the black (negative) lead of the multimeter to the outer, negative terminal of the ignition coil.

Connect the red (positive) lead of the multimeter to the outer, positive terminal of the ignition coil. Turn the reading dial on the multimeter to ohms to measure resistance of the primary pickup coil. (The Greek letter omega denotes ohms.) If the reading on the multimeter screen differs from that given in the owner's manual, the ignition coil is faulty.

Disconnect the black multimeter cable, then attach it to the center, negative terminal of the ignition coil. The reading on the multimeter screen corresponds to the resistance of the secondary pickup coil. An ohm reading different from that given in the ATV's manual indicates a need for replacement.

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About the Author

William Hirsch started writing during graduate school in 2005. His work has been published in the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters." He specializes in computer-related and physical science articles. Hirsch holds a Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in theoretical physics, where he studied particle physics and black holes.

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