In the field of vehicle diagnostics accurate instantaneous engine speed information enables the detection and diagnosis of many engine problems, even subtle ones. Currently, there is a limited choice in the ways of obtaining such information. For example, it is known that one can tap into the crank sensor wiring, or use a separate, intrusive method, such as mounting a sensor in the bell housing to sense the rotation of the ring gear. However, the shortcomings of these approaches are locating and gaining access to the crank sensor connector, the location of which varies from vehicle to vehicle.
Thus, authors proposed a novel, robust and manufacturing friendly speed sensor. The concept is based on the Villari effect. The sensor, which is attached to the front end of the engine crankshaft, consists of a coil of magnetostrictive wire supplied with AC current. During engine rotation the magnetostrictive wire become stressed due to centrifugal force. The change in stress produces a corresponding change in permeability of the wire material. This change of permeability can be sensed as a change in coil inductance. Thus, the rotational speed of the engine can be obtained by measuring coil inductance. Some general design directions, experimental results and practical considerations concerning material selection are discussed in this paper.