Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines lack direct in-cylinder mechanisms, such as spark plugs or direct fuel injection, for controlling the combustion timing. Many indirect methods have been used to control the combustion timing in an HCCI engine. With any indirect method, it is important to have a measure of the combustion timing so the control inputs can be adjusted for the next cycle. In this paper, it is shown that microphones and knock sensors can be used to detect combustion in HCCI engines. The output from various microphones and a knock sensor on an HCCI engine are measured at light and high loads. The combustion timing data obtained from the sensors are compared to the combustion timing data obtained from a piezoelectric cylinder pressure transducer. One of these sensors is selected and used for closed-loop control of the combustion timing in a single cylinder HCCI engine.