A key to the diagnosis of the PCM and its subsystems is to determine which subsystems are on a vehicle. Examples of typical subsystems appear below:
System Control Modules
Before attempting diagnosis of the Electronic Engine Control system, familiarize yourself with the basics of how the system is designed to operate. It consists of a central processing unit: Powertrain Control Module (PCM), Engine Control Module (ECM), Transmission Control Module (TCM) and/or the Body Control Module (BCM). These units are the heart of the electronic control systems on the vehicle. In some cases, these units are integral with one another, and on some applications, they are separate. As you get deeper into actual diagnostic testing, you will find out which units are used on the vehicle you are testing.
The PCM is a digital computer that contains a microprocessor. The PCM receives input signals from various sensors and switches that are referred to as PCM inputs. Based on these inputs, the PCM adjusts various engine and vehicle operations through devices that are referred to as PCM outputs. Examples of the input and output devices are shown in the graphic below.