How to Test a Chainsaw Coil With a Multimeter: Quick Guide



Test a Chainsaw Coil With a Multimeter

To test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter, set it to the ohms setting and measure resistance between the ignition coil’s leads. A faulty coil often shows an infinite resistance reading or no continuity.

Testing a chainsaw coil is an essential step in chainsaw maintenance which ensures the engine starts properly. A multimeter, a handy electrical testing device, allows you to diagnose issues with the ignition coil by measuring its resistance. A functioning coil is crucial for generating the spark that ignites the fuel mixture in the chainsaw’s engine.

Tackling this task at home not only saves you time and money but also enhances your understanding of your chainsaw’s operational aspects. This simple diagnostic process can help prevent engine start-up problems and promote the longevity of your chainsaw. As chainsaw-related tasks often involve safety risks, taking preventative steps like coil testing is a fundamental part of chainsaw upkeep. 

Testing Chainsaw Coils With Multimeters

Ensuring safety is paramount when preparing to test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter. First, ensure the chainsaw is powered off and the spark plug is disconnected to prevent accidental ignition. Clear the workspace to eliminate any potential hazards or obstructions. Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and eye protection, to safeguard against unforeseen incidents.

Electrical components necessitate a cautious approach. Always confirm that the chainsaw is completely inactive before proceeding. Never handle the multimeter or the chainsaw’s electrical components with wet hands or in a damp environment to prevent the risk of electrical shock. Regularly inspect your tools to ensure they are in good working condition and not damaged. By adhering to these safety measures, you can minimize the risk while effectively diagnosing issues with your chainsaw coil.

Identifying Chainsaw Coil Issues

Detecting issues with your chainsaw coil can be straightforward if you’re familiar with the common symptoms. A failing chainsaw coil may manifest as difficulty starting the chainsaw, or it may not start at all. Users might also notice inconsistent firing, where the chainsaw begins to sputter or dies unexpectedly during operation. In some cases, there may be a noticeable loss of power when cutting, indicating the coil might be unable to deliver sufficient spark. Frequent misfires or a complete lack of spark are also telltale signs of coil failure. Testing the coil with a multimeter can help determine if these issues are related to the coil or another component of the chainsaw’s ignition system.

The coil plays a critical role by transforming the low voltage from the chainsaw’s battery or magneto into the high voltage required to create a spark. This spark is essential for igniting the fuel mixture inside the engine’s cylinder. If the coil is compromised, the engine will not perform correctly, leading to a reduction in efficiency and safety during chainsaw operation. It’s important to troubleshoot coil issues promptly to maintain optimal performance of your chainsaw.

Diagnosing With A Multimeter

To accurately test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter, it is crucial to select the correct setting. Initially, set the multimeter to the ohms symbol or to the auto-ranging setting if it’s available. Ensuring the chainsaw is off and the spark plug is disconnected, place the multimeter probes on the metal ends of the spark plug coil.

Understanding the readings is fundamental for diagnosing coil health. Typically, a healthy chainsaw coil will show a reading between 2.5k ohms to 5k ohms. Readings significantly outside this range could indicate a faulty coil. If the multimeter displays ‘OL’ or a(n) infinite symbol, it suggests an open circuit within the coil, confirming that it is damaged and likely requires replacement.

Performing The Coil Test

Testing a chainsaw coil with a multimeter is a straightforward process. Ensure the chainsaw is turned off and the spark plug is disconnected before beginning. Set your multimeter to the ohms setting to check the coil’s resistance.

  • Locate the coil – it’s usually found near the engine’s flywheel.
  • Disconnect the small engine coil from the spark plug.
  • Place the multimeter leads on the coil’s metal connectors for the spark plug wire and the engine.Ensure proper contact.
  • Note the reading – a healthy chainsaw coil will typically show a reading between 2.5k to 5k ohms.

To interpret the multimeter’s value, compare your measurement with the recommended resistance values from the chainsaw’s manufacturer. If the reading is significantly higher or lower, it may indicate a faulty coil. A zero or infinite reading suggests a complete failure, and the coil will need replacing.

Learn more: How Long Does a Chainsaw Chain Last

Troubleshooting Coil Test Results

Testing the chainsaw coil with a multimeter requires understanding of the common resistance ranges for a functioning coil. Typically, a good chainsaw coil will show a primary resistance between 0.4 and 2 ohms, and secondary resistance of 6,000 to 10,000 ohms. Variations beyond these values could indicate coil issues.

Interpreting problematic test results is essential. An infinite or zero reading on the multimeter suggests a completely open or shorted coil respectively. These readings signify it’s time to replace the coil to ensure proper functioning of the chainsaw. Always confirm the test leads are securely connected and the multimeter is correctly set to avoid false measurements.

Coil PartFunctioning Range
Primary Resistance0.4 – 2 ohms
Secondary Resistance6,000 – 10,000 ohms

When To Replace The Chainsaw Coil

Chainsaw coils may fail, leading to engine problems and a non-starting saw. Recognizing the signs is key to timely maintenance. Repeated starting difficulties, unexpected stalling, and a noticeable lack of power during operations are clear symptoms. Erratic idling and an inability to reach full throttle can also indicate a compromised coil.

Choosing a replacement coil demands attention to compatibility with your chainsaw model. Opt for manufacturer-approved coils to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Quality aftermarket options are viable, but ensure they meet the specifications of the original coil. Checking reviews and ratings can provide additional assurance when selecting a dependable replacement.

Maintenance Tips For Chainsaw Coils

Ensuring the longevity of your chainsaw coil requires implementing a regular maintenance schedule. This involves periodic inspections to check for any signs of wear or damage, cleaning the coil to prevent buildup of debris, and testing the coil’s functionality with a multimeter. It is essential to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific maintenance intervals to keep the coil in optimal condition.

Avoiding common mistakes can also significantly contribute to the coil’s lifespan. Notable errors include neglecting routine inspections, using an incorrect testing method, or failing to replace the coil when necessary. Utilizing a multimeter ensures that the coil is producing the correct amount of electricity for the chainsaw to function effectively. This practice helps prevent poor engine start-up and inconsistent performance often attributed to coil issues.

Advancing Chainsaw Coil Knowledge

Chainsaw maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and proper functioning of the saw. Expanding your troubleshooting skills for coil issues is invaluable for chainsaw users. To test a chainsaw coil with a multimeter, one must first understand the relationship between the chainsaw’s ignition system and its performance. Faulty coils can lead to starting difficulties or engine misfires, symptoms that are often mistaken for other problems.

Diagnostic procedures involve setting the multimeter to the correct resistance range and measuring the primary and secondary windings of the coil. Correct measurements usually fall within a specified range provided by the chainsaw manufacturer. Discrepancies in these readings can indicate a damaged coil that might require replacement.

For those seeking to broaden their knowledge beyond basic testing, various resources are available. Workshops, online forums, and instructional manuals provide in-depth insights into chainsaw maintenance. They offer comprehensive guidance that spans from routine upkeep to complex repair techniques, essential for anyone keen on mastering chainsaw craftsmanship.

FAQs For How To Test A Chainsaw Coil With A Multimeter

How Do You Test A Coil With A Digital Multimeter?

To test a coil with a digital multimeter, set the meter to resistance mode. Attach the probes to the coil’s terminals. A functioning coil shows a reading in the manufacturer-specified range; no reading indicates a faulty coil.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Coil On A Chainsaw?

Common symptoms of a bad coil on a chainsaw include difficulty starting, inconsistent engine idling, power loss during operation, and unexpected engine stalling.

How Do I Know If My Ignition Coil Is Bad?

To identify a faulty ignition coil, watch for engine misfires, poor fuel economy, difficulty starting the vehicle, a Check Engine light, and noticeable reduction in power during acceleration.

What Is A Chainsaw Coil?

A chainsaw coil, also known as an ignition coil, is a component responsible for generating the electrical charge needed to spark the plug, initiating the combustion process required for the engine to run.


Testing a chainsaw coil doesn’t require expert skills. This guide shows basic steps using a multimeter. Remember, accurate readings ensure your chainsaw’s optimal performance. For troubleshooting, these tips are invaluable. Regular maintenance, armed with your multimeter, keeps your chainsaw in prime condition.

Stay connected with our guide for more contents.