Element cutting off

I'm a new Element owner so I tried to find posts about the engine error codes but I could not find anything. I found one that was applicable to other Hondas.
Last night, when starting, I noticed the engine maintenence light came on and blinked then went off. About three blocks away as I slowed to make a turn, the engine cut off. It will start and drive but only if you put your foot on the gas pedal. It seems that it idles so low now that it just cuts of.
I checked the connection to the throttle position sensor and it was fine. This morning it started and ran fine. I went to my local auto parts store and they put a code reader on it but it showed nothing. It acted up again as I was leaving. It will drive fine as long as I keep my foot ready to step the idle up when needed. For the most part is is fine but it starts up again unexpectedly.
A couple of people have mentioned checking the idle air sensor. How many more sensors could there be.
How do I get my error codes and where can I decipher them. Do I need to go to a Honda service center?
Glenn
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To clarify, is the light that came on and blinked then went off the "maintenence required" light or the "check engine" light. The meanings are very different.
Mike
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2006 07:40:21 -0700, "Michael Pardee"

It was the maintenence required light.
Glenn
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That's a great clue. There aren't likely to be any stored codes, since that would be indicated by the "check engine" light.
Instead, my attention turns to the electrical system, especially system-wide things like the charging system, battery or battery connections and the engine ground. Others may have Element-specific ideas. Anyway, I suspect what is happening is that the power to the ECU is not stable. The easiest to check if you have a voltmeter is the charging system and battery in combination. A voltage check across the battery with the engine running should show about 14 volts (higher when the underhood temperature is cold, lower when it is hot. It must not be above about 16 volts (17 volts is a typical overcharging reading) and should not be below 13.5 volts. Assuming you are measuring with a digital meter, the AC voltage across the battery with the engine running should be less than 0.1 volts AC. A reading of half a volt or more AC points to an alternator or battery problem; typically I've seen AC voltages around 1.5 volts for bad batteries and bad alternators alike. I've never seen a reading between 0.1 (good) and 0.5 (bad), so there isn't much room for doubt. With the engine off, the battery voltage should be a little above 12 volts DC, no AC.
The other electrical defect that can cause a bunch of weird electrical problems is a bad ground between the engine and the chassis. A visual inspection and wiggling of the ends to be sure they are tight usually is good enough, but it's even easier to use a voltmeter to look for AC and DC voltage between the engine block (or manifolds or whatever bare metal is handy) and the body. There should be under 0.3 volts DC and under 0.1 volts AC. Again, there is a big difference between good and bad.
If you don't have a voltmeter, this is a good time to buy one. Adequate ones are available for less than $10 US if you look around.
My SWAG: the battery or engine ground are more likely than the alternator. Alternators usually don't get better if they are putting out AC (trash).
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

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The thing is brand new. Take it back to the dealer. Start poking around and you'll wind up with an unhappy dealer. :-(
'Curly'
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D'oh! I missed that in the original post. Righteo.
Mike
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2006 14:25:48 -0700, "Michael Pardee"

It's new to me but it's an '03 from a private seller. I'll take my meter to it and see what I get.
Thanks,
Glenn
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You might try digging around on the Element Owners Club forums as well. Lots of good info over there that may be helpful. Good luck.
Glenn Woodell wrote:

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