Honda HR-V Owners & Service Manuals

Honda HR-V: Introduction, Overview of Noid Light


You probably have several tools at your disposal to diagnose injector circuits. But you might have questioned "Is a lab scope necessary to do a thorough job, or will a set of noid lights and a multifunction DVOM do just as well?" In the following text, we are going to look at what noid lights and DVOMs do best, do not do very well, and when they can mislead you. As you might suspect, the lab scope, with its ability to look inside an active circuit, comes to the rescue by answering for the deficiencies of these other tools.


The noid light is an excellent "quick and dirty" tool. It can usually be hooked to a fuel injector harness fast and the flashing light is easy to understand. It is a dependable way to identify a no-pulse situation.

However, a noid light can be very deceptive in two cases: If the wrong one is used for the circuit being tested. Beware: Just because a connector on a noid light fits the harness does not mean it is the right one.

If an injector driver is weak or a minor voltage drop is present.

Use the Right Noid Light

In the following text we will look at what can happen if the wrong noid light is used, why there are different types of noid lights (besides differences with connectors), how to identify the types of noid lights, and how to know the right type to use.

First, let's discuss what can happen if the incorrect type of noid light is used. You might see:

  • A dimly flashing light when it should be normal.
  • A normal flashing light when it should be dim.

A noid light will flash dim if used on a lower voltage circuit than it was designed for. A normally operating circuit would appear underpowered, which could be misinterpreted as the cause of a fuel starvation problem.

Here are the two circuit types that could cause this problem:

  • Circuits with external injector resistors. Used predominately on some Asian & European systems, they are used to reduce the available voltage to an injector in order to limit the current flow. This lower voltage can cause a dim flash on a noid light designed for full voltage.
  • Circuits with current controlled injector drivers (e.g. "Peak and Hold"). Basically, this type of driver allows a quick burst of voltage/current to flow and then throttles it back significantly for the remainder of the pulse width duration. If a noid light was designed for the other type of driver (voltage controlled, e.g. "Saturated"), it will appear dim because it is expecting full voltage/current to flow for the entire duration of the pulse width.

Let's move to the other situation where a noid light flashes normally when it should be dim. This could occur if a more sensitive noid light is used on a higher voltage/amperage circuit that was weakened enough to cause problems (but not outright broken). A circuit with an actual problem would thus appear normal.

Let's look at why. A noid light does not come close to consuming as much amperage as an injector solenoid. If there is a partial driver failure or a minor voltage drop in the injector circuit, there can be adequate amperage to fully operate the noid light BUT NOT ENOUGH TO OPERATE THE INJECTOR.

If this is not clear, picture a battery with a lot of corrosion on the terminals. Say there is enough corrosion that the starter motor will not operate; it only clicks. Now imagine turning on the headlights (with the ignition in the RUN position). You find they light normally and are fully bright. This is the same idea as noid light: There is a problem, but enough amp flow exists to operate the headlights ("noid light"), but not the starter motor ("injector").

How do you identify and avoid all these situations? By using the correct type of noid light. This requires that you understanding the types of injector circuits that your noid lights are designed for. There are three. They are:

  • Systems with a voltage controlled injector driver. Another way to say it: The noid light is designed for a circuit with a "high" resistance injector (generally 12 ohms or above).
  • Systems with a current controlled injector driver. Another way to say it: The noid light is designed for a circuit with a low resistance injector (generally less than 12 ohms) without an external injector resistor.
  • Systems with a voltage controlled injector driver and an external injector resistor. Another way of saying it: The noid light is designed for a circuit with a low resistance injector (generally less than 12 ohms) and an external injector resistor.

NOTE: Some noid lights can meet both the second and third categories simultaneously.

If you are not sure which type of circuit your noid light is designed for, plug it into a known good car and check out the results. If it flashes normally during cranking, determine the circuit type by finding out injector resistance and if an external injector resistor is used. You now know enough to identify the type of injector circuit. Label the noid light appropriately.

Next time you need to use a noid light for diagnosis, determine what type of injector circuit you are dealing with and select the appropriate noid light.

Of course, if you suspect a no-pulse condition you could plug in any one whose connector fit without fear of misdiagnosis. This is because it is unimportant if the flashing light is dim or bright. It is only important that it flashes.

In any cases of doubt regarding the use of a noid light, a lab scope will overcome all inherent weaknesses.


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