which ecu

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Discussion

Engineer1949

Original Poster:

1,415 posts

83 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
as some on here will know i am rebuilding a 400 chimaera and fitting a scpower supercharger, now thinking of which ecu to go for, i want fuel and spark mapping, i have a favourite but am interested in what the illustrious forum members think.



john

ChimpofDarkness

8,454 posts

118 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
It's fair to say all the usual suspects will give you what you need, in my experience a lot of it will come down to personal choice.

I did quite a bit of research before making my decision, quite quickly I ended up with the following three:

1) MegaSquirt

2) Canems

3) Emerald

Once I'd narrowed it down to the above three I refined by evaluating the pros & cons based on the following elements weighted in this order:

1) Support (Manufacturer/Supplier)

2) Software (Ease of use & functionality)

3) Wiring (Availability of bespoke Chimaera loom & it's cost)

4) Features

5) Availability of mappers that can work with the system

5) Price

I would say don't underestimate the cost of the loom, if you have the time & skills to build your own then MegaSquirt starts to come out on top as it fits in with it's DIY nature.

Whichever system you decide on, it's the wiring that can really let the installation down.

The other element that can let down an after-market engine management system is the mapping, a badly mapped Emerald, MegaSquirt or Canems could end up being worse than the old Lucas 14CUX & distributor.

So it's choices choices choices, it took me some time to decide on what ECU package to go for.

TBH it was a close run thing, in the end I had to write down a list of pros & cons to clearly evaluate the winner from the above three.

And your pros & cons may be different from mine, or you may prioritise them differently to me.

In the end I settled on the Canems system from Lloyd Specialist Developments because it simply ticked more of my boxes than anything else.

I hope I made the right decision, I'll find out next week bounce

At the end of the day all the above three systems will give you what you need.

Just evaluate your pros & cons carefully, add up all the costs thoroughly and you should find your personal winner.

SILICONEKID340HP

14,662 posts

170 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
I paid less than £400 for a full instalation and rolling road tune ,worked out well and he even fixed a few electrical niggles..

Came back with 333bhp but the ignition side was flat and he did not use TPS which im now using (much faster)

I did not like the cold start ,took to long for the RPM to slow down but all that can be tweaked.

He spent alot of time explaining things and even installed the Tuner Studio in to my old Del 610.

Over all i was very happy.

Forgot to say it did he oil change free and adviced me to go for VR1 Mineral.

Just ask for Keven he will give good advice.

http://www.switchtolpg.co.uk/
http://www.dynoremapping.co.uk/

Purchased the kit from EFI EXTRAS with some leads and coil packs,trigger wheel,bracket etc etc ..

Tech edge wide band lambdas from Trigger wheels.com

Edited by SILICONEKID340HP on Wednesday 18th July 09:13

450Nick

3,906 posts

151 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
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There are a few factors you want to consider when choosing an ECU as have been mentioned above. If you're looking at fine control, rapid reaction ECUs with lots of inputs to monitor and trim your fueling for all eventualities then you look at the Motec, Syvecs, DTA kind of leve of ECUs. In a road car however you are realistically never going to use these features for 99% of applications, and they come at huge cost so you can effectively write off this level of ECU to start with. This leaves you with the CANEMS, Emerald, Megasquirt, and a few others I can't remember at the moment. I'm not going to go into details of all of them, but I have a supercharged Chimaera and run an Emerald, and I'll quickly explain the reasons for my choice.

First off, the Emerald is by far the most common ECU replacement for TVRs and as such has a wide base of knowledge from which to pull information - the garages know them, the owners know them, and Emerald themselves have worked with TVRs many times, so it is unlikely that you'll meet a problem which hasn't previously been covered and resolved, plus there are base maps available for just about any engine configuration to get you running - including supercharged cars. Secondly the Emerald has an extremely good reliability record; Dave and Karl have been making them since 1994 IIRC, so the units themselves are very well refined, and problems with the ECU are virtually unheard of, so immediately you can rely on this fact should you ever encounter a running problem. Should you have a problem, Emerald are very well known for their excellent customer support, and though there are only about 5 people running the whole operation, Emerald are always very good at helping their customers with any problem they may encounter, so you will never be left unsupported.

The ECU its self has all of the functions that you'd require to run the car and blower to a high level of refinement, and stepper motors, MAP compensation, data logging etc are all standard with the current K6 model. The real benefit of the Emerald though is the user interface; I've used a lot of different ECUs over the years, and I've never come across one as easy to use and as intuative as that of the Emerald. This is a well known strong point of the ECU, and thereby lends its self very well to home tuning, and you will almost certainly want to have a play yourself to refine the car to your taste after it has been mapped. It really is brilliant, and allows easy diagnosis of any issues, and is very easy to jump in and alter fueling to remove any lumps and bumps you may find in time (which you will even with the best mappers).

So the price is competitive with respect to other similar ECUs, but really its all of the other stuff that weighs in its favour.




daxtojeiro

733 posts

185 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
ChimpofDarkness said:
I would say don't underestimate the cost of the loom, if you have the time & skills to build your own then MegaSquirt starts to come out on top as it fits in with it's DIY nature.
I can get looms made for the MegaSquirt conversion to an RV8/TVR for around £275, so a complete MS2 ECU kit for a wasted spark setup (coils, wheel, sensors, loom, etc etc) works out at around £900.

Add in a bracket for the coil packs and HT leads and your done as far as the hardware goes.
Sell your Lucas and air flow meter and this should easily raise enough to get someone to tune it for you if you didnt want to do it yourself,
Phil

Edited by daxtojeiro on Wednesday 18th July 12:19

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ChimpofDarkness

8,454 posts

118 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
Some good points from 450Nick, I also looked at Motec, Omex, Syvecs, DTA & SCS.

I came to the similar conclusions as 450Nick, IE my Chim is a road car not a race car.

Some of the features I would have been paying for on the above systems would simply not have been used.

That's why I ended up with the three usual suspects:

1) MegaSquirt

2) Canems

3) Emerald

The truth is there seems to be an endless list of after market ECU manufacturers, I started with eight for heavens sake!!!

So as a starting point it really helped me to whittle things down to just three.

The MegaSquirt (as a full package with loom) certainly wins the price element hands down, & to the tune of £300 - £400, which can't be ignored!!!

MegaSquirt is very feature rich & the software appeared user friendly too, so early on it was looking like a winner.

Saying that Emerald was very tempting, it has a great reputation for customer service & support, and just about any mapper in the country is happy to work with it.

However, with an Emerald Chimaera loom from someone like Paul Dove coming in at £5-600, then add in all the sensors ect, it certainly came out as the most expensive of the three.

TBH I agonised for ages over which way to go, the decision made all the more difficult because (from what I could see) all three are the equal of each other in terms of performance benefits.

What pushed me towards Canems were the installers, & how closely they work with ECU manufacturer.

I just don't have the time to fit a system like this myself, I didnt want the car to be out of action for weeks and weeks, and then there was the mapping to be done.

So I needed a package of, engine management system + fitting + mapping, all at an agreed fixed price that was cost competitive.

And I needed someone I could trust to take complete responsibility for that full package, this way if anything goes wrong I am dealing with one company not a group of people all blaming each other.

These requirements pushed me closer to Lloyd Specialist Developments, their partnership & close working relationship with Canems extends to a joint development of their new dual fuel ECU.

And it's that very neat & proven dual fuel ECU, and it's ability to fire low impedance LPG injectors on the second map without me needing to take a degree in computer science that finally swung me towards Canems.

Aside for the obvious benefits, for me an after market ECU should be all about opening the doors to the future development plans I have for my TVR.

Doors currently very firmly closed by the Lucas 14CUX.

And as I have future plans to go LPG the Canems very conveniently opens one more door for me.

For example the loom is very neatly designed to accommodate the LPG conversion from the outset.

That's it, a very close run thing, and each person's requirements will be slightly different from mine.

I'm pretty sure the OP will be happy with all three systems, if cost is a key driver then go MegaSquirt, it certainly does seem to do it all for less.

If it helps others, I will be happy give an honest & truthful review of my Canems installation in a few weeks.

Petrol first, with LPG & a cost equivalent of 50mpg to follow biggrin

Dave.

Edited by ChimpofDarkness on Wednesday 18th July 14:22

EggsBenedict

1,398 posts

113 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
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I have an Emerald K6 waiting to go on mine. I used it purely because I bought and fitted one to my previous car, a Dax Rush. The instructions were easy to follow, there's good backup and the UI onto the unit itself (i.e. the mapping software) is easy to learn.

I guess that I'm a repeat customer should give some indication of how happy I was with the original purchase.


Engineer1949

Original Poster:

1,415 posts

83 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
Thanks for the info most illuminating just as a matter of interest the emerald was my first choice if only because they are just down the road in wotton but will check out some of the other marks listed here.



John

Ribol

9,322 posts

197 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
ChimpofDarkness said:
Petrol first, with LPG & a cost equivalent of 50mpg to follow biggrin
Great idea if it could be done properly, the economics @ £1.35 odd per litre have never looked better, but the installs I have seen done so far are not something I would want to do to my car.

I have looked at it seriously a few times over the years, the under bonnet stuff has never been the problem. The problem has always been the tank/tanks, roof storage and boot space (no golf jokes please) - despite looking at all the tank options available, even today.

scotty_d

6,795 posts

133 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
Ribol said:
reat idea if it could be done properly, the economics @ £1.35 odd per litre have never looked better, but the installs I have seen done so far are not something I would want to do to my car.

I have looked at it seriously a few times over the years, the under bonnet stuff has never been the problem. The problem has always been the tank/tanks, roof storage and boot space (no golf jokes please) - despite looking at all the tank options available, even today.
I ran a lpg jag for 2 years and my dad ran a volvo 850 on lpg for 12 year until the car was done. He bought a 850 again and just a few weeks ago we set about moving the kit over to his "new" 850. My best idea would be to junk the standard chim fuel tank and fit a large tank where it should be and then have a smaller fuel cell made to fit in so space would be optimized.

And i know for a fact you will go out your way to avoid ever having to spend 1.35+ a litre when you can buy it for half that. hehe

spitfire4v8

2,769 posts

120 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
How many miles do you have to drive to recoup your ecu and lpg install investment? I guess they're fun miles though smile

For the average ecu upgrader looking for dyno remapping the emerald wins hands down for local choice of mapper.. I don't know anyone who maps canems so that's a bit of a downer unless you live near Lloyd's. Every mapper and his dog has seen an emerald at some point. I map 2 or 3 emeralds a month , probably one MS system every 2 months or so though funnily enough all ms systems i've seen have been on kit cars like sylvas and westfields etc. I've never even seen a canems in all the time i've been mapping.

Ribol

9,322 posts

197 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
scotty_d said:
My best idea would be to junk the standard chim fuel tank and fit a large tank where it should be and then have a smaller fuel cell made to fit in so space would be optimized.
This highlights perfectly how the type of use a car gets determines how LPG will work for you. My other car would work fine for me with LPG with a small start up tank because it is used for relatively short journeys and then back to base, with no issues finding LPG along the way if need be.

However, in the 9/10 years I have owned my Chimaera I have averaged 5 trips over the water per year. Not saying that to impress, bear with me. That means the Eurotunnel would then be out, a restriction I would rather not have but I could live with that if need be, even with Speedferries and Seafrance now gone. But a small startup tank now starts to be very restrictive to how you plan your travel, not ideal. I would not want my trips to end up fitting in with fill ups rather than doing what I want when I want.
That leaves me needing a decent sized start up tank as well as an LPG one to make the whole thing worthwhile, getting me back to the original space/tanks problem and the reason I haven't done it.

For someone who just takes their car out for the day and can get away with under an LPG tank full, or plan stops along the way then I dare say it could be made to work well. A self install would also help keep it sensible financially too if that is an option for them.

ChimpofDarkness

8,454 posts

118 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
spitfire4v8 said:
How many miles do you have to drive to recoup your ecu and lpg install investment? I guess they're fun miles though smile

For the average ecu upgrader looking for dyno remapping the emerald wins hands down for local choice of mapper.. I don't know anyone who maps canems so that's a bit of a downer unless you live near Lloyd's. Every mapper and his dog has seen an emerald at some point. I map 2 or 3 emeralds a month , probably one MS system every 2 months or so though funnily enough all ms systems i've seen have been on kit cars like sylvas and westfields etc. I've never even seen a canems in all the time i've been mapping.
Are you saying you wouldn't map a Canems?

I've seen the Canems software and it looks pretty straightforward to me, then again I'm just a layman so what do I know.

However, knowing your skills and reputation I'm confident you could adjust to it but that's not for me to say is it.

Am I missing something?

It's a shame if you wouldn't look at a Canems, you are a long way from me but your reputation goes before you so I had assumed if I needed your services you might be open to mapping it.

The gas bag project is a work in progress and has no grounding in economics, I just like the way LPG burns and the saving is an added bonus.

A fast grand touring sports car that delivers family hatchback economy just tickles my fancy some how.

Not all decisions are based on pure economics.

Edited by ChimpofDarkness on Wednesday 18th July 23:19

SILICONEKID340HP

14,662 posts

170 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
ChimpofDarkness said:
spitfire4v8 said:
How many miles do you have to drive to recoup your ecu and lpg install investment? I guess they're fun miles though smile

For the average ecu upgrader looking for dyno remapping the emerald wins hands down for local choice of mapper.. I don't know anyone who maps canems so that's a bit of a downer unless you live near Lloyd's. Every mapper and his dog has seen an emerald at some point. I map 2 or 3 emeralds a month , probably one MS system every 2 months or so though funnily enough all ms systems i've seen have been on kit cars like sylvas and westfields etc. I've never even seen a canems in all the time i've been mapping.
Are you saying you wouldn't map a Canems?

I've seen the Canems software and it looks pretty straightforward to me, then again I'm just a layman so what do I know.

However, knowing your skills and reputation I'm confident you could adjust to it but that's not for me to say is it.

Am I missing something?

It's a shame if you wouldn't look a Canems, you are a long way from me but your reputation goes before you so I had assumed if I needed your services you might be open to mapping it.

The gas bag project is a work in progress and has no grounding in economics, I just like the way LPG burns and the saving is an added bonus.

A fast grand touring sports car that delivers family hatchback economy just tickles my fancy some how.

Not all decisions are based on pure economics.
If your going LPG keep me posted ,would like to see the petrol tank LPG cylinder configeration,it`s the difficult bit ..

Seen a conversion with the filler on the rear inside bumper,looked OK.He actually had the cylinder behind him covered in matching carpet ,looked a bit scensoredt.

Remember you don`t get any where near the MPG out of LPG ,think its about two thirds.




Edited by SILICONEKID340HP on Wednesday 18th July 23:07


Edited by SILICONEKID340HP on Wednesday 18th July 23:08

Ribol

9,322 posts

197 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
SILICONEKID340HP said:
Remember you don`t get any where near the MPG out of LPG ,think its about two thirds.
Miles out - more like 85/95% based on people I know who have done it.

haircutmike

17,340 posts

143 months

Wednesday 18th July 2012
quotequote all
Ribol said:
SILICONEKID340HP said:
Remember you don`t get any where near the MPG out of LPG ,think its about two thirds.
Miles out - more like 85/95% based on people I know who have done it.
Same here, I used to get 12 mpg on my 4.0 Disco with gas at half price, (24mpg) worked out cheaper then my current TD5 oil burner!

SILICONEKID340HP

14,662 posts

170 months

Thursday 19th July 2012
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Kevin at Autotech said loose the petrol tank completly ,he Guaranteed more bhp on LPG.

The LPG works out cheaper because you don`t need the ECU which comes with the LPG kit.

My megasquirt will do LPG and Petrol..

The car will go straight through the emission test for the mot.



Edited by SILICONEKID340HP on Thursday 19th July 00:08

ChimpofDarkness

8,454 posts

118 months

Thursday 19th July 2012
quotequote all
Ribol said:
SILICONEKID340HP said:
Remember you don`t get any where near the MPG out of LPG ,think its about two thirds.
Miles out - more like 85/95% based on people I know who have done it.
Thank you Ribol, you saved me responding.

The figures Daz is quoting may have been true a few years ago on the crude single point LPG systems, but things have moved on leaps & bounds since then.

I'm currently working on a 15% reduction in economy on LPG.

Until fairly recently gas delivery systems were often miles behind the petrol delivery systems fitted to the converted vehicle.

This gap in efficiency really gave LPG a bad name, and like Ribol says most installations are a real mess.

Cobbled together by back street self appointed so called LPG specialists that are focussing on keeping costs low and their profits as high as possible, they can end up being a real disappointment.

Piggy back LPG ECU's are full of compromises & excessive complications in my opinion.

All this is a great shame, LPG is a fantastic fuel if you get the delivery & control systems right.

With the Lloyd Canems dual fuel ECU, its just one ECU.

It's the same software & two totally separate unique fuel & ignition maps for the two totally different fuels that have totally different requirements.

Because it's just one ECU both maps a built based on direct first hand inputs from the same sensors.

The Canems dual fuel ECU is not working with second hand signals that have already passed through the petrol ECU, and then extrapolated to compensate for the different requirements of LPG like an LPG piggy back ECU does.

Even if I went Emerald I would still need a piggy back ECU to fire the low impedance LPG injectors.

It appears you could do it with a MegaSquirt but it looks fussy, untested & complicated to me.

I've seen & took a ride in a Range Rover on a Canems dual fuel ECU, it was the neatest & nicest running LPG conversion I've ever seen.... & by a huge margin.

Add a set of Kiehin injectors and the latest Prins VSI vaporiser and you have a very modern, reliable & efficient installation.

Build it around a loom that's been designed from the outset for a dual fuel installation and suddenly 90% of the normal compromises associated with LPG conversions become a thing of the past.

I was ditching the Lucas system anyway, if I was going for after market petrol ECU yet already thinking about an LPG conversion in the future, I figured it made sense to go with the Canems dual fuel ECU & loom in the first place.

I realise it's an expensive solution and the economics may not immediately stack up, but I wanted to cover all future bases in one hit.

And that folks is why I went with Canems.

Edited by ChimpofDarkness on Thursday 19th July 00:35

SILICONEKID340HP

14,662 posts

170 months

Thursday 19th July 2012
quotequote all
Its even cheaper if you willing to use Calor,meaning you have to remove large cansiters ,but it will reduce the price to 30p a litre but i don`t know if it`s legal ..

i would like to know what is involved when useing megasquirt for LPG

haircutmike

17,340 posts

143 months

Thursday 19th July 2012
quotequote all
I would remove the existing fuel tank, fit a the largest gas tank and fit a shaped 15 litre tank in the corner.

On my Disco, I had 130 litres of gas and a 15 litre petrol tank, worked very well.

As a plus, when touring in Europe, I have always found much more LPG availability then over here.