how to test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter

A chainsaw is an indispensable tool for many homeowners, landscapers, and arborists. However, like any mechanical device, a chainsaw can develop issues over time, affecting its performance and safety.

A crucial component that can cause these issues is the ignition coil, which generates the electrical spark needed to ignite the fuel. If the ignition coil is not functioning correctly, it can lead to difficulty starting or inconsistent operation of the chainsaw.

In this detailed guide, we will teach you how to test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter, enabling you to diagnose and resolve any ignition-related problems efficiently and effectively.

To test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter, disconnect the coil and identify its terminals. Set the multimeter to the Ohms setting, touch the probes to the terminals, and check the reading. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine if the reading falls within the acceptable range for the coil.

Importance of a Properly Functioning Chainsaw Coil

A chainsaw ignition coil is responsible for generating an electric spark, which ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber.

A faulty ignition coil can cause poor performance or prevent the chainsaw from starting altogether.

Learning how to test a chainsaw coil can help you diagnose and fix issues before they become more significant problems.

Necessary Tools and Equipment

Before testing your chainsaw coil, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Multimeter
  • Insulated pliers
  • Chainsaw user manual (for resistance specifications)
  • Spark plug socket or wrench
  • Spark plug tester (optional)

Preparing the Chainsaw for Testing

Disconnecting the Spark Plug Wire

Disconnecting the Spark Plug Wire

To test the chainsaw coil, first, disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug. This will prevent accidental ignition during testing.

Removing the Spark Plug

Next, remove the spark plug using a spark plug socket or wrench. This step provides access to the ignition coil for testing.

Cleaning the Chainsaw’s Air Filter

Ensure the air filter is clean before testing, as a dirty air filter can cause starting issues unrelated to the ignition coil.

How to Test a Chainsaw Coil with a Multimeter

Setting Up the Multimeter

Set your multimeter to the ohms (Ω) setting, as you’ll be measuring resistance in the primary and secondary windings of the ignition coil.

Testing the Primary Coil

To test the primary coil, touching the multimeter’s test leads to the positive and negative terminals on the coil.

Compare the reading to the resistance specifications in the chainsaw user manual. If the reading is outside the specified range, the primary coil may be faulty.

Testing the Secondary Coil

To test the secondary coil, place one test lead on the negative terminal of the coil and the other test lead on the spark plug wire connection.

Again, compare the reading to the resistance specifications in the user manual. If the reading is outside the specified range, the secondary coil may be faulty.

Identifying Signs of a Faulty Chainsaw Ignition Coil

Common signs of a faulty chainsaw ignition coil include:

  • Difficulty starting the chainsaw
  • Inconsistent engine performance
  • Engine stalling
  • Weak or no spark at the spark plug

How to Test a Chainsaw Coil Using a Spark Plug Tester

An alternative method for testing a chainsaw coil is using a spark plug tester. Connect the tester between the spark plug and the spark plug wire, then pull the starter cord while observing the tester for a bright blue spark. If the spark is weak or not present, the ignition coil may be faulty.

Checking the Spark Plug Gap

Ensure that the spark plug gap is within the recommended range specified in the user manual, as an incorrect gap can cause ignition issues.

Replacing a Bad Chainsaw Coil

In case your chainsaw coil is faulty, replace it with a new one, it can be done easily by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Maintaining a Chainsaw Ignition Coil

To prolong the life of your chainsaw ignition coil, regularly inspect and clean the electrical contacts, and replace any cracked or damaged components.

Common Chainsaw Coil Brands: Stihl and Husqvarna

Stihl and Husqvarna are popular chainsaw brands known for their high-quality ignition coils. If you need a replacement coil, consider these brands for reliable performance.

Troubleshooting Chainsaw Coil Issues

If you’ve tested your chainsaw coil and still experience issues, inspect the following components:

  • Spark plug
  • Fuel pump
  • Throttle control
  • Electrical connections

Safety Tips When Testing a Chainsaw Coil

Always follow these safety tips when testing a chainsaw coil:

  • Disconnect the spark plug wire before testing
  • Wear insulated gloves and eye protection
  • Work in a well-ventilated area

how to test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter: FAQs

How do you tell if a coil is bad with a multimeter?

To test a coil, disconnect it and identify its two terminals. Then touch the multimeter probes to the terminals and check the reading on the Ohms setting. A reading close to zero or OL indicates a bad coil.

How to know if my chainsaw coil is bad?

A few common signs that your chainsaw coil may be bad include difficulty starting the chainsaw, the chainsaw starting but quickly stalling, and weak or no spark from the spark plug when attempting to start the chainsaw. Testing the coil with a multimeter can also help confirm if it is faulty.

How many ohms should a coil read?

The resistance of a coil can vary depending on the type of coil and its specifications. Typically, a healthy coil will have a resistance in the range of a few ohms to a few hundred ohms.

Why do chainsaw ignition coils fail?

Chainsaw ignition coils can fail due to overheating, age, wear, exposure to moisture, or electrical problems caused by other components in the ignition system. The insulation on the coil wires breaking down is a common cause of failure.

How many ohms is safe for a single coil?

The safe resistance range for a single coil varies depending on the type of coil and its specifications.

It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the safe ohm range for a specific coil.

Final Thoughts

A multimeter can be a valuable tool for anyone who owns a chainsaw since it lets you diagnose and fix ignition-related problems that can hurt the chainsaw’s performance.

You can make sure your chainsaw’s ignition system works properly and efficiently by following these steps.

Regular maintenance, including inspecting and cleaning your chainsaw’s ignition coil and related components, can help extend its life, so you’ll have a chainsaw you can rely on for many years to come.

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Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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