AEM or Motec?

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TXFlyGuy

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My engine builder is real big on AEM Infinity ECU's. The Thunder Mustang uses Motec. Most guys over on the Honda forum say Motec is hands down the best. There are plenty of people in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area capable of doing the tuning.

Anyone here have experience with these?
 

cheapracer

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You know our very own Forum Member Ross Farnham AKA; "rv6ejguy" is this guy ...

Simple Digital System EM-5

Look for Ross's Vans RV6/Subaru info there.

Ross can set you up with the right flying setups in difference to whats required for a car.
 

TXFlyGuy

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You know our very own Forum Member Ross Farnham AKA; "rv6ejguy" is this guy ...

Simple Digital System EM-5

Look for Ross's Vans RV6/Subaru info there.

Ross can set you up with the right flying setups in difference to whats required for a car.
Yes, we are familiar with SDS. Ross did mention Motec as being one of the best examples available, but programming the unit is a bit of a challenge.
 

rv6ejguy

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MoTec is kind of the world standard but if your engine guy does not have experience tuning it, might be best to stick with what he knows. MoTec is not for the first time tuner. I believe MoTec USA offers a 5 or 7 day tuning course (fee applies) to understand their systems better.
 

TXFlyGuy

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MoTec is kind of the world standard but if your engine guy does not have experience tuning it, might be best to stick with what he knows. MoTec is not for the first time tuner. I believe MoTec USA offers a 5 or 7 day tuning course (fee applies) to understand their systems better.
Thanks, Ross. There are a number of Motec dealers / tuners here in the North Texas area. The engine will be run in on the dyno with a standard Honda OEM ECU. Once the engine gets shipped to Texas, we'll dive into the tuning issue...if we can find someone who will work with us. Funny thing is when I mention aviation to many suppliers, they clam up and refuse to even talk to us.
 

rv6ejguy

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Thanks, Ross. There are a number of Motec dealers / tuners here in the North Texas area. The engine will be run in on the dyno with a standard Honda OEM ECU. Once the engine gets shipped to Texas, we'll dive into the tuning issue...if we can find someone who will work with us. Funny thing is when I mention aviation to many suppliers, they clam up and refuse to even talk to us.
Yep, that is pretty common. No reason why the AEM should not work ok, that way, your engine builder can do the whole job. I would be careful to know what the AEM will do in the event of a sensor failure(s) though. Unplug each sensor in turn with the engine running at high power and see the effect on the dyno.

You don't need a really expensive MoTec for this application which has simple needs compared to automotive race applications. The new AEM units are more than capable to run the engine well. There could be possible concerns with interference from avionics so you'd want to do considerable ground testing to be sure there was no effect on the ECU from the transponder and VHF transmitters. Also do low voltage checks.

As I've said many times before, reinventing the wheel in experimental aviation involves additional testing and risks. The reason why certified stuff is relatively reliable is because it is tested, proven and duplicated multiple times without change in specification. One off stuff and you are the pioneer with zero track record.
 

TXFlyGuy

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Yep, that is pretty common. No reason why the AEM should not work ok, that way, your engine builder can do the whole job. I would be careful to know what the AEM will do in the event of a sensor failure(s) though. Unplug each sensor in turn with the engine running at high power and see the effect on the dyno.

You don't need a really expensive MoTec for this application which has simple needs compared to automotive race applications. The new AEM units are more than capable to run the engine well. There could be possible concerns with interference from avionics so you'd want to do considerable ground testing to be sure there was no effect on the ECU from the transponder and VHF transmitters. Also do low voltage checks.

As I've said many times before, reinventing the wheel in experimental aviation involves additional testing and risks. The reason why certified stuff is relatively reliable is because it is tested, proven and duplicated multiple times without change in specification. One off stuff and you are the pioneer with zero track record.
Since Falconer V12's in the Thunder Mustang run Motec's, I feel a bit more comfortable with that brand. The Techs at Motec told me that you can easily program a "default" setting, here is their (Motec's) response...

[FONT=&quot]Hi Myron,[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]You can set a default value for a sensor in the software so that if it failed, the default value would allow the engine to continue running. For example, you could set the Air temp sensor default value so that if that sensor failed the engine would run richer rather than taking fuel out from an incorrect reading. To set this up :[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Adjust > Input setup > select the sensor > press change > adjust the default value in the setup screen.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Feel free to contact me if you have any questions![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Regards,[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Hannah[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]

Feedback from real world users, as well as dealers, indicates Motec is probably the best available. The AEM Infinity is new, but has good reviews as well. Base price is about the same for either unit. I would think the AEM could be set up so that any sensor failure would cause the engine to go to a default setting allowing near full power to be developed, much like the Motec. Perhaps this is why it is not advisable to use a factory OEM ECU in an airplane...lack of programming capability.
 

TXFlyGuy

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Here is a response from the engineering department at Motec...

In setup of the input sensors you can specify default values for any of the sensors. When a sensor goes into error, the ecu uses the fixed value you specify instead. This accomplishes 90% of your goal. The tough one to do is the efficiceny / load signal. This is a dynamic thing whether it be throttle position, manifold pressure, or mass air flow. A single number won't do the job. The only one we can somewhat work in a dynamic matter is the throttle position signal. When the sensor fails, the throttle position is reported to the ECU in the following manner:

RPM < 1500, TPS = 5%
RPM > 3000, TPS = Default Value (often set to 80%)
1500 < RPM < 3000, TPS is linearly interpolated from 5% to default value


After a conversation with Motec, it is my understanding that the ability of the engine to run at near full power is dependent upon the existing throttle position at the time of the sensor failure. If you were in a long, low power (low rpm) descent, and had a failure of the manifold pressure or throttle position sensor, you would not be able to sustain level flight. If, on the other hand, a failure of the sensor was experienced at cruise power settings, you could just keep flying until you found a suitable airport for repairs.
 

rv6ejguy

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Since Falconer V12's in the Thunder Mustang run Motec's, I feel a bit more comfortable with that brand. The Techs at Motec told me that you can easily program a "default" setting, here is their (Motec's) response...

[FONT=&amp]Hi Myron,[/FONT]


[FONT=&amp]You can set a default value for a sensor in the software so that if it failed, the default value would allow the engine to continue running. For example, you could set the Air temp sensor default value so that if that sensor failed the engine would run richer rather than taking fuel out from an incorrect reading. To set this up :[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Adjust > Input setup > select the sensor > press change > adjust the default value in the setup screen.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Feel free to contact me if you have any questions![/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Regards,[/FONT]
[FONT=&amp]Hannah[/FONT]

Feedback from real world users, as well as dealers, indicates Motec is probably the best available. The AEM Infinity is new, but has good reviews as well. Base price is about the same for either unit. I would think the AEM could be set up so that any sensor failure would cause the engine to go to a default setting allowing near full power to be developed, much like the Motec. Perhaps this is why it is not advisable to use a factory OEM ECU in an airplane...lack of programming capability.
We've used defaults like this for 20 years in our aviation ECUs and it works well. You can't go wrong with MoTec if you have the budget. Top shelf stuff. Certainly there have been multiple crashes and some fatalities due to sensor failures and limp mode incidents using OEM ECUs. The programming priorities are quite different from something intended for aviation. People think they can undo, trick or turn off a lot of the engine protection code in OEM ECUs. Maybe, but you better be pretty smart to know what 3 million plus lines of code does and how it all interacts together... Only Robinson has a real, flight proven track record on this regard using the LS engines and OEM GM ECUs. Lots of others have had multiple incidents.
 

Brian Clayton

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I have used MoTec before, in a race application. Personally, I didn't care for the software interface, not very user friendly in my opinion. Maybe its changed. Tried Big Stuff, not a fan. I use several FAST systems in cars I tune now, and like them a lot (just ordered another one for a new car). Reliable and super easy to tune. I have never fooled with Racetech's injection, but I do like the coil pack system. Integrated ignition is something that a lot of other units don't have. Ross is right about factory ecu's, I don't even use factory ECU's in engine swaps, too much hassle and too hard to use(tune). I would never, ever consider a factory ecu in anything but the car it came in. If I was trying to do anything other than drive it around, it would be the first thing to go.
 

TXFlyGuy

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I have used MoTec before, in a race application. Personally, I didn't care for the software interface, not very user friendly in my opinion. Maybe its changed. Tried Big Stuff, not a fan. I use several FAST systems in cars I tune now, and like them a lot (just ordered another one for a new car). Reliable and super easy to tune. I have never fooled with Racetech's injection, but I do like the coil pack system. Integrated ignition is something that a lot of other units don't have. Ross is right about factory ecu's, I don't even use factory ECU's in engine swaps, too much hassle and too hard to use(tune). I would never, ever consider a factory ecu in anything but the car it came in. If I was trying to do anything other than drive it around, it would be the first thing to go.
This is all good info. As already stated, my engine builder likes the new AEM Infinty. And, it is becoming obvious that the Motec dealers in North Texas have no desire to work with us. Looks like we'll go with the Infinity. Like Ross said, the AEM should be just fine, and my engine builder is experienced with the brand and can get everything set up for PNP.
 

Jeffd

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For what it is worth, after a lot of thought and research we have decided to use the Racetech/SDS controller to run the EFI system in the P85. Compared to others, I like the in-panel controller, fuel trim knob, and well thought out sensor failure modes. The fact that Ross is an enthusiastic and supportive airplane guy is just about priceless.

Jeff Ackland
Altitude Group LLC
About The Radial Rocket
 

cheapracer

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Ross since you are so forthright about the other systems which is greatly appreciated by many of us I'm sure, what is it Motec does that you feel is worth such praise in comparison with your own system please?
 

rv6ejguy

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Ross since you are so forthright about the other systems which is greatly appreciated by many of us I'm sure, what is it MoTec does that you feel is worth such praise in comparison with your own system please?
MoTec offers several features that we don't such as full 3D mapping, higher processor speeds, multi channel data logging, telemetry, traction control and individual cylinder fuel trim. Most of these features are not very important for aviation where the engine spends most of its life at high, fairly continuous power settings. If you have the budget and the proper guy to program a MoTec, you won't be disappointed.

It doesn't help my business to sling mud at other excellent and aviation proven products like Motec. I would just look like an idiot spewing sour grapes. Everyone in this industry knows MoTec is good stuff.

Our claim is that we have more experience and more units flying on more different types of engines, with more flight hours than any other company in this field and we actually fly our own company aircraft with SDS products. Our experience and aviation track record is simply unmatched. SDS has proven extremely reliable over the last 20 years and is much easier to program than systems like the MoTec for new or relatively inexperienced users. Companies like Titan Aircraft could choose any ECU they wanted to but use SDS on all their V6 T51s and the same goes for certain military UAV projects where price is not so much of an object as in civilian use. For military use, our ECUs had to pass third party EMI/RFI, temperature and vibration validation before acceptance.

Our systems are about 1/3rd to 1/4 the cost of MoTec, depending on configuration which is probably appealing to experimental users.

I am often asked to compare our products to competitors. I really don't know much about most of them. People should do their own research and talk to actual users flying brand X. Personally, I'd be careful using products which are not flying or which are not supported or recommended for aviation use but that is up to the individual. Tech support from the manufacturer may be something you need down the road as well.
 
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TXFlyGuy

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After speaking with two Motec dealers, I have learned that they have a fair amount of experience in aviation. One dealer has an installation that raced at Reno and set a speed record of 351 mph. But they are pricey, no doubt!
 

TXFlyGuy

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MoTec offers several features that we don't such as full 3D mapping, higher processor speeds, multi channel data logging, telemetry, traction control and individual cylinder fuel trim. Most of these features are not very important for aviation where the engine spends most of its life at high, fairly continuous power settings. If you have the budget and the proper guy to program a MoTec, you won't be disappointed.

It doesn't help my business to sling mud at other excellent and aviation proven products like Motec. I would just look like an idiot spewing sour grapes. Everyone in this industry knows MoTec is good stuff.

Our claim is that we have more experience and more units flying on more different types of engines, with more flight hours than any other company in this field and we actually fly our own company aircraft with SDS products. Our experience and aviation track record is simply unmatched. SDS has proven extremely reliable over the last 20 years and is much easier to program than systems like the MoTec for new or relatively inexperienced users. Companies like Titan Aircraft could choose any ECU they wanted to but use SDS on all their V6 T51s and the same goes for certain military UAV projects where price is not so much of an object as in civilian use. For military use, our ECUs had to pass third party EMI/RFI, temperature and vibration validation before acceptance.

Our systems are about 1/3rd to 1/4 the cost of MoTec, depending on configuration which is probably appealing to experimental users.

I am often asked to compare our products to competitors. I really don't know much about most of them. People should do their own research and talk to actual users flying brand X. Personally, I'd be careful using products which are not flying or which are not supported or recommended for aviation use but that is up to the individual. Tech support from the manufacturer may be something you need down the road as well.
Let me point out that Ross is a class act! Something that (sadly) is often lacking in this industry.

Just had a long conversation with Paul, the chief tech/engineer at AEM . I am now convinced that their "Infinity" will be a wise choice for our Honda. These are only available through specially trained AEM Infinity dealers. The two people working on our engine package, both named Tim, are very competent and the end product should reflect their high degree of professionalism.

The AEM is installed in many race car applications, and is flying in some aircraft in Italy and France, but these aircraft are not Honda powered. Also AEM is powering a Honda J37 in a marine application, boat racing.

Again, a big and public thanks to Ross for helping in the decision making process!
 

EdgePerformance.no

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Hi guys.

I`ve been using, installing and flying with SDS on Vw`s, Verner engines, Jabirus, Rotax engine with and without turbos. It is just what its named "Simple" in all ways yet has all the options you nees.
Wiring and hooking up to the engine takes very little time. Most comes pre-wired with connectors. The price, SUPPORT and experience in the field is more than enough for me to choose SDS-EFI.

Nothing but good words to say about Ross. Hi really takes all matters into great concideration, tech support within minutes/hours and always works toward improving and optimizing the system !

I use 1 day installing the SDS + Harness + sensors. Ground tuning on a Rotax 912 takes me 20-30minutes with a wideband O2 sensor hooked up and with a hour or flight time with fine tuning your done !
Simple, reliable and really good prices and service !

Thomas Hauklien
 

TXFlyGuy

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Hi guys.

I`ve been using, installing and flying with SDS on Vw`s, Verner engines, Jabirus, Rotax engine with and without turbos. It is just what its named "Simple" in all ways yet has all the options you nees.
Wiring and hooking up to the engine takes very little time. Most comes pre-wired with connectors. The price, SUPPORT and experience in the field is more than enough for me to choose SDS-EFI.

Nothing but good words to say about Ross. Hi really takes all matters into great concideration, tech support within minutes/hours and always works toward improving and optimizing the system !

I use 1 day installing the SDS + Harness + sensors. Ground tuning on a Rotax 912 takes me 20-30minutes with a wideband O2 sensor hooked up and with a hour or flight time with fine tuning your done !
Simple, reliable and really good prices and service !

Thomas Hauklien
Yes, I agree with your comment 100% that SDS is really good, and Ross offers great support. We have opted to go with the Infinity by AEM. Primarily for the programing features and data logging.

You mention that you use an O2 sensor...do you burn leaded avgas? We have contacted engineers from Bosch and NGK about their sensors and leaded fuel. They both stated that the sensors will work with leaded fuel, and the Bosch technician said the sensor has been tested and lasted 20,000 km when burning leaded fuel. We plan to employ the wideband O2 sensor from NTK (NGK).

The technician from NGK stated that the sensor would need to be changed out more often from the lead contamination. My engine builder has been running O2 sensors with leaded racing fuel with good results, having the wideband sensors last for up to three years and longer.
 
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