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OE engine management VS Standalone

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OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by Toad on Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:03 am

Right, in the spirit of this forum, I've been thinking about engine management and the use of standalones.

In my case I'm looking at a 2l 4 cylinder turboed car, running average boost. I'll be coming from K -Jet so I will need a new management system, I could look at Haltech, Megasquirt, Emerald etc, but surely there will be a system from another car I could use? After all, I'll be looking at audi intakes etc.

Waht would be the advantages of using an ecu from an Escort cosworth, or a saab 9000 turbo? Why don't we look at these things more?

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Cheers!
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by dirtytorque on Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:14 am

I think that as a whole VW car enthusiats have owned and thus know more about other vag cars in the range and this influences are decision making in terms of part selection.
And argueably said parts are more likely to fit onto into together with out existing parts!?

With standalone you get maximum flexibility and adaptability which comes into its own the more exotic your setup gets imo.
Also with a standalone you have easy access to configuration data.
The management system becomes less of a "black box".

Open to the floor..
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by SensibleDave on Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:40 pm

Several systems from later VAG cars would do the trick. But a few problems spring to mind.

Immobilisers, pretty much all the later VAG cars have some form. They can be bypassed, at a cost or you could try and incorporate them this tends to need the clocks from the donor vehicle.

Cam sensors. All the later cars have cam sensors, the Siemans systems on late Golf 3s have a single slot dizzy to handle this. Think I'd be tempted to have something with coil on plug (COP) ignition though.

They may need mapping depending on how far you go with the turbo side of things.


Guess the above is just a start and some pretty big hurdles already. Standalone would seem the best bet, but don't underestimate the work involved, it takes a lot of messing to get a standalone to the kind of drivability that you get from an OE system. If you do the work yourself the learning curve is very steep but it can be done. Helps if you buy a system that has a base configuration for the engine setup fitted.

MegaSquirt is something that most of you know I've tried on the VR, but after months of trying it didn't give me the OE drive I wanted. Lack of sequential injector control (batched fired injectors ticking away under the bonnet!) and software that just dies for no apparent reason put me right off it. The software may have been fixed by now, but I just didn't like the fact that the ECU would just refuse to work at times and then suddenly wake up without doing anything. Fortunately I wasn't ever anywhere but on the drive at home when it happend!

Emerald seems to have easy setup, a base configuration in every unit shipped and loads of features to keep even the most modifed car running. The price is also very tempting.

DTA without doubt the Rolls Royce of standalones and capable in every way but has the price to match.


Other manufacturers systems, sensors compatability, diagnostics (no VAG-COM), different connecors / looms. And would still need mapping to suit a V-dub. Loads of work and no benefit.


What about K jet with a 5th injector for boost? I made my own 5th injector ECU about 15 years ago, worked a treat. A bit old school these days, but so smooooth. Can you guess I'm a K jet fan!
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by Flusted on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:15 pm

Could you not run it on digi 1 from a g60? that way its plug n play, just need suited chip.
VEEDUBBED from the rdao forum runs his on lanca intergrale management
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by dirtytorque on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:28 pm

SensibleDave wrote:Several systems from later VAG cars would do the trick. But a few problems spring to mind.Immobilisers, pretty much all the later VAG cars have some form. They can be bypassed, at a cost or you could try and incorporate them this tends to need the clocks from the donor vehicle.Cam sensors. All the later cars have cam sensors, the Siemans systems on late Golf 3s have a single slot dizzy to handle this. Think I'd be tempted to have something with coil on plug (COP) ignition though.They may need mapping depending on how far you go with the turbo side of things.Guess the above is just a start and some pretty big hurdles already. Standalone would seem the best bet, but don't underestimate the work involved, it takes a lot of messing to get a standalone to the kind of drivability that you get from an OE system. If you do the work yourself the learning curve is very steep but it can be done. Helps if you buy a system that has a base configuration for the engine setup fitted.MegaSquirt is something that most of you know I've tried on the VR, but after months of trying it didn't give me the OE drive I wanted. Lack of sequential injector control (batched fired injectors ticking away under the bonnet!) and software that just dies for no apparent reason put me right off it. The software may have been fixed by now, but I just didn't like the fact that the ECU would just refuse to work at times and then suddenly wake up without doing anything. Fortunately I wasn't ever anywhere but on the drive at home when it happend!Emerald seems to have easy setup, a base configuration in every unit shipped and loads of features to keep even the most modifed car running. The price is also very tempting.DTA without doubt the Rolls Royce of standalones and capable in every way but has the price to match.Other manufacturers systems, sensors compatability, diagnostics (no VAG-COM), different connecors / looms. And would still need mapping to suit a V-dub. Loads of work and no benefit.What about K jet with a 5th injector for boost? I made my own 5th injector ECU about 15 years ago, worked a treat. A bit old school these days, but so smooooth. Can you guess I'm a K jet fan!
I always wanted to ask why u junked MS.Interesting.Were you using MS1 or 2.Mine has been very reliable.All the probs i had in the beginning were self induced.One thing that came up was that MS isn't as resistive to emi as it should be.I had one "funny" where I got a weird map reading and then the controller died.After a tow home behind the yellow van I looked at the logs and saw a 20volt battery reading just before the car died.I think this was down to me having the Coil HT lead too close to the wire connected to the neg side of the coil.Also it is recommended that you use resistor spark plugs with MS to combat EMI which I wasn't running at the time.Apart from that I have found the controller bullet proof.i have driven it many miles now with no probs and no more failures.In fact it has survived my best efforts to destroy it.My idle is always solid although my cold start phase could still use a little work..It still suits those who are either on a tight budget or wish to learn about EFI.Somebody who wants a quick clean aftermarket solution probably should stay clear for the moment.I love it though. CoolI guess like anything it is a very personal choice.
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by SensibleDave on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:31 pm

Now thats a great idea. Map sensor based OE system could be just the job, and plenty of people can map them properly (Jabbasport springs to mind) and I know somebody who has a Rallye G60 ECU, loom etc...

Is the Lancia system Magnetti Marelli?
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by SensibleDave on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:43 pm

Response to dirtytorques Q's

It ran without trouble most of the time, but I could never go out without a laptop in the car and that drove me nuts. It certainly wasn't a problem with emi or spurious resets, sometimes it just wouldn't connect or corrupt the maps etc.

Trouble is that for the VR I needed to run MSnExtra for MS2 with the latest release because that was the only one that supported 60-1 trigger wheels with wasted spark for 3 coils. The code was very beta at the time. It's most likely sorted by now, so maybe I should give it another go. It certainly drove very well when it did work and you could tune out all the part throttle niggles that I still dislike about Motronic.

Looking back the stuff I learnt from messing with MS was superb. In fact maybe we should encourage more people to go through it, because it helps you to get a good understanding of all sorts of EFI concepts.
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by Flusted on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:45 pm

SensibleDave wrote:Is the Lancia system Magnetti Marelli?
Yep!

PSD guy can write chips to suit aswell as sns. I had a chip custom done for mine which runs standard digi 1 from g60
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:36 am

SensibleDave wrote:What about K jet with a 5th injector for boost? I made my own 5th injector ECU about 15 years ago, worked a treat. A bit old school these days, but so smooooth. Can you guess I'm a K jet fan!

Or better still, a 5th injector controller that feeds a rail of additional injectors.

That's how my Valver Turbo was fuelled.

Stock 16V K jet fuelling (with a WUR mod naturally!) took care of the engine off boost, and on boost, a K Star KS301 controlled a rail of VR6 injectors to supplement the K jet ones. K star also brought mappable timing to the party, which is something you can't adjust (off idle) on a KR engine normally.

It was very smooth (way smoother than a stock valver in fact), very reliable and made 220hp with 10psi of T25 boost. The K Star was a really simple, DOS based controller. It only had 5 load sites though, well, 5 maps to be more precise. A whole new map was loaded against MAP pressure but I reckon one could be knocked up easily and cheaply with more functionality.

Standalones are awesome if you can afford the financial and time investments.

As far as I'm concerned, standalones are no different to choosing a tool for a specific job. People throw brand names around, but try to pick one that does what you want it to do.

For instance, if you want Sequential, you won't be choosing the MS.

If you want Sequential, Lambda Target, closed loop with 25% fuel authority (plus and minus), you won't be using the Emerald (not enough closed loop adjustment).

If you want Seq, CL, LT, DBW, COP, then you'll be picking the DTA S60/S80.

If you want all that, plus MAF, 32x32 load sites, EGT, etc etc, then you'll be looking at MOTEC and Pectel.

Where possible, download the software of each ECU you're considering and have a play. If it's poorly laid out, unintuitive and buggy, it will frustrate the hell out of you.
Also check they support CAN in case you ever want to run a digital dash or DBW, Air con etc in the future.

What seperates the bad standalones from the good ones, feature sets aside, is always the Software interface. MOTEC and PECTEL cost £1000s, but Pectel has a really nasty DOS interface and MOTEC only recently got into Windows, and again, it's not nice.

Bosch Motorsport do some nice ECUs too. They do a lovely unlocked ME7 for reasonable money which would be perfect for 16V Ts, but as Dave says, you need cam and crank sensors, knock sensors, COPs etc etc.... it would be prohibitively expensive.

If you're not aiming for silly power, then I still say the K Jet + piggyback is a cheap and elegant solution with the minimum of mapping required.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by SensibleDave on Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:38 am

If you want Sequential, Lambda Target, closed loop with 25% fuel authority (plus and minus), you won't be using the Emerald (not enough closed loop adjustment).

I was always under the impression that Emerald could do these things, or am I getting the wrong end of the stick?
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:44 am

It can do those things, but the point I was getting at is it has very limited closed loop control.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by mic_VR on Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:16 pm

So what would you guys recommend for me?

late '03 4motion engine with VVT and COP's, looking to run about 8-10psi to start but I like the idea of being able to tweek things myself on the laptop and will probably be adding more boost later (as is the way of things! Twisted Evil )

I will also need it to be a reliable system as it'll still be my only car for a while.
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by dirtytorque on Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:36 pm

SensibleDave wrote:
Looking back the stuff I learnt from messing with MS was superb. In fact maybe we should encourage more people to go through it, because it helps you to get a good understanding of all sorts of EFI concepts.

Yeah,It is very instructive.For the most part it has been rewarding.The whole open source thing appeals to me too.

I think people get a bad perception of MS because by the most part it is installed by Diy'ers and who inevitably experience problems along the way while they are learning.
For instance anyone following my attempts to get it started in Waynos's thread would maybe be put off.But these things were all down to me fumbling my way through something that was/is very new to me.
I found it tricky and I have some background in electronics and engineering.
Having said that they have done a great job in taking a differcult complicated subject and making it accessible to joe average.
MS was primarily conceived as a educational tool.Its just that people have just ran with it.

Truth be told I'm a bit consumed by EFI at the mo.
To the detriment of my 16vg60 project.
Embarassed

I think in the not too distant future when MS becomes more feature rich people will have to think long and hard about not using it.
It's not there yet though.
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:12 am

mic_VR wrote:So what would you guys recommend for me?

late '03 4motion engine with VVT and COP's, looking to run about 8-10psi to start but I like the idea of being able to tweek things myself on the laptop and will probably be adding more boost later (as is the way of things! Twisted Evil )

I will also need it to be a reliable system as it'll still be my only car for a while.

Is your 24v lump DBW?

The factory ME7 ECU is a lovely peice of kit and would map well for turbo use. Retrofitting the loom and ECU is doable but won't give you the easy DIY tweakability you want.

I recommend the DTA S80 Very Happy I know what you're thinking.... I'm a DTA snob rah rah....but as I said earlier, it's about picking the tool that's right for the job, and it just so happens the S80 is the best canditate for your application, imo of course Very Happy

It can do all the DBW, COP, Sequential, twin lambda stuff the OE ECU provides, plus a hell of a lot more to help future proof your investment Very Happy

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by mic_VR on Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:50 pm

kevhaywire wrote:Is your 24v lump DBW?

The factory ME7 ECU is a lovely peice of kit and would map well for turbo use. Retrofitting the loom and ECU is doable but won't give you the easy DIY tweakability you want.

I recommend the DTA S80 Very Happy I know what you're thinking.... I'm a DTA snob rah rah....but as I said earlier, it's about picking the tool that's right for the job, and it just so happens the S80 is the best canditate for your application, imo of course Very Happy

It can do all the DBW, COP, Sequential, twin lambda stuff the OE ECU provides, plus a hell of a lot more to help future proof your investment Very Happy

Yeah it is DBW but I was planning to use a different throttle body so I didn't have to cut up my pedal box and fire wall to fit the DBW pedal, although I've got everything I need to fit the DBW if I wanted to.

The S80 is currently top of my list, orginally I looked at the S100 but Stu convinced me that might be a little OTT. So how much is a S80 setup these days?
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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:27 am

You don't have to cut the floor or anything. You just get a DBW pedal off a VW caddy. It simply bolts to the floor. The stock throttle pedal can just be unhinged and thrown in the shed, leaving the original brake and clutch pedals as they are.

DBW isn't essential, but it's nice for idling, cruise control, mappable throttle response, power limitation if your Mum drives the car etc etc...

And you don't have to have a physical cable passing near the turbo, which eventually bakes the PTFE lining, causing it to stick intermittantly.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by JNLRacing on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:20 pm

Factory ECU has had millions of pounds in r&d spend on it will give you excellent start up maps and idle from the word go but tend to be costly to keep tweaking.

From personal experience (there are others but these are the ones I've dealt with)

Standalone is primitive compared to factory ECU's but allow the constant tweaking of a map which makes it more suited to custom application.
MS is the poor mans DIY version which is all and well if you can map yourself or know someone reliable that can do a good job which are far and few between.

Emerald you cant beat for value for money but is primitive in it's function.

DTA has a great range but their customer service sucks.

If you are on a budget and want something different go and spend a £100 on a cossie ECU which is fully remapable designed for turbo use and doesn't need the silly MAF to function making it a hell of a lot easier to map. + it will have an excellent start up and idle map on it already.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by mrbeige on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:37 pm

JNLRacing wrote:If you are on a budget and want something different go and spend a £100 on a cossie ECU which is fully remapable designed for turbo use and doesn't need the silly MAF to function making it a hell of a lot easier to map. + it will have an excellent start up and idle map on it already.
That's quite interesting. So is there mapping software that can be used with a Cossie ECU, that can be found on t'internet for free, like MS?

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by nemesis360 on Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:50 pm

JNLRacing wrote:Factory ECU has had millions of pounds in r&d spend on it will give you excellent start up maps and idle from the word go but tend to be costly to keep tweaking.

From personal experience (there are others but these are the ones I've dealt with)

Standalone is primitive compared to factory ECU's but allow the constant tweaking of a map which makes it more suited to custom application.
MS is the poor mans DIY version which is all and well if you can map yourself or know someone reliable that can do a good job which are far and few between.

Emerald you cant beat for value for money but is primitive in it's function.

DTA has a great range but their customer service sucks.

If you are on a budget and want something different go and spend a £100 on a cossie ECU which is fully remapable designed for turbo use and doesn't need the silly MAF to function making it a hell of a lot easier to map. + it will have an excellent start up and idle map on it already.

As I always say VW spent millions on motronic some bloke in a shed isnt going to do any better!

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by JNLRacing on Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:07 pm

mrbeige wrote:
That's quite interesting. So is there mapping software that can be used with a Cossie ECU, that can be found on t'internet for free, like MS?

I'll find out for you as I know someone who maps with them. I dont do mapping myself as I believe in concentrating in what you're good at and getting better rather than spreading oneself too thinly becoming average at everything.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:27 am

The Cossie ECU won't work in 6 cyl applications if you want sequential, but you can of course pair up 3 injector drivers and run in batch mode.

OE ECUs have millions invested because they have no choice. They don't do it for the love of their customers. They do it so that Mable doesn't sue VW because her car launched itself through Sainsbury's window whilst parking up. They also HAVE to do it for emissions reasons.

DIY man in his shed is more than capable of matching an OE ECU's startup and part throttle mapping. If you understand how engines work, it's not difficult.

I get bored of reading "VW invest millions in their ECUs" as if that some how qualifies it to be automatically better than a standalone. It doesn't. Not enough people understand how to map standalones and don't know any different to how OE ECUs run. It's not difficult achieving better than stock manners and performance with an aftermarket ECU. Being a custom tune, you don't need half of the security and emissions crap that comes with OE setups.


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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by dirtytorque on Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:37 am

/\/\/\/\

amen.
Also once you go away from a standard car setup the point is mute anyway.
VW never Mapped my car for a 68mm pulley or a schrick split duration cam.
And if they would of they would of had a few more concerns that I won't necessarily have.

Anyway,thousands and thousands of people out there are running standalones and making good reliable power. Smile

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by mrbeige on Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:51 am

I think the 'Real' difference between most standalone installations is the time taken to map the bloody things. VW and all the other OEMs do indeed spend millions on their ECUs, I should know I've done some of it, but the amount of time spent actually calibrating the damn things is where the majority of the money goes. But, the actual engine control part of the ECU software is no more simple or complex, just that as said, OEM ECUs are designed really for super smoothness, good idle, non aggressive control, and by no means least, to satisfy Mr European Emissions Legislation.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by nemesis360 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:07 am

As stu has said above the point I was trying to make (although not very clear) was that standalones can be made to work very well but it takes a lot of setup time etc etc, Motronic is already mapped quite well...obviously If your going for big power its useless but as Dave has proved it can work well for mild boost.

I think youll be the first to agree Kev that standalones take a while to get right, but when they do the are brilliant.

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Re: OE engine management VS Standalone

Post by kevhaywire on Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:10 am

Indeedy. It's easy to get into heated debates with some of the choices we make for our projects, but at the end of the day there are no rules Very Happy

Everyone has their own idea of how things should be done, but all the engine cares about is seeing the right fuel to air ratio at the right time, and there are loads of ways to manage that.

If an OE ECU works for you, then there's nothing wrong in that. What I take issue with is the remapped OE ECU brigade slating standalones, many of whom have never even driven a car run with a standalone. They just assume Bosch and their remapper got everything right and life can't possibly be any better Laughing

Some of the hacks I've seen in certain VR6 chips to run turbos are truly awful, but if it's what people want, cest la vie.

Standalones give you the flexibility to get the tune 100% spot on for your own application. A generic chip cannot possibly be optimal. OE programming just about has enough leeway for filters, exhausts and cams.
Change things more substantially and imo, a standalone to fuel the mods properly is the way to go Laughing

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