Air / Fuel Mixture & Leaning with ECU's

Discussion in 'Mazda Rotary' started by TXFlyGuy, Sep 26, 2017.

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  1. Sep 26, 2017 #1

    TXFlyGuy

    TXFlyGuy

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    How does an ECU vary the fuel mixture? When climbing to altitude? Is it just programmed to run at a set air/fuel mixture, based on power settings?
    There is no O2 sensor in our example.
     
  2. Sep 26, 2017 #2

    Voidhawk9

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    You'll still have some sort of airflow sensor in the intake, right?
     
  3. Sep 26, 2017 #3

    BoKu

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    I don't think that there is any one way of doing it. There are probably a few reasonable ways, and one or two unreasonable ways.

    The typical automotive sensor suite consists of:

    * crank and cam position sensors
    * coolant temperature
    * intake air temperature
    * MAP or MAF sensor (sometimes both)
    * Throttle position sensor
    * O2 sensor
    * Knock sensor

    Given information from those or similar sensors, most ECUs start with default map values for mixture based on various parameters, then enrich or lean it out to get expected O2 values without setting off the knock sensor. The ECU is constantly updating its maps with settings that worked, so it can go right to them and not have to experiment.

    Also, given a sensor suite as described above, most ECUs can keep the engine running and producing power even in the absence of one or two of the sensors.
    * If the knock sensor (basically a microphone) dies, the ECU often commands richer-than-normal mixture and might reduce power in certain RPM ranges. (BTDT, got the P0330 T-shirt)
    * If the cam position sensor dies, the ECU can infer whether the crank is AM or PM based on its last known position.
    * If the MAP/MAF, throttle position, or O2 sensor dies, the ECU can guess at the fuel values based on the remaining two.

    --Bob K.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  4. Sep 27, 2017 #4

    TXFlyGuy

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    We will be running an "open loop" system, with a fuel ladder ECU look up table that will control the injector duty cycles dependent upon RPM and MAP.

    I just found this out.
     
  5. Sep 27, 2017 #5

    Toobuilder

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    RPM and MAP (and IAT) get you close, but once you start getting into the teens the response is non linear so the lookup tables start to loose control of AFR. To combat this the later SDS ECUs feature barometric compensation. Testing by Dave Anders indicates this results in a rock solid AFR from SL to the high teens.
     
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  6. Sep 27, 2017 #6

    TXFlyGuy

    TXFlyGuy

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    I doubt we fly much over 12000', unless the winds are real favorable higher. Most of the flying will be below 5000.

    Of course, an O2 sensor would do the job.
     
  7. Sep 27, 2017 #7

    Hephaestus

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    You could pull in CHT data pretty easy to figure out lean/rich off normal operating temps.
     
  8. Sep 27, 2017 #8

    TXFlyGuy

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    We will have EGT readout, but being liquid cooled there will be no CHT info. We will have water coolant temps.
     
  9. Sep 27, 2017 #9

    Hephaestus

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    Might work - but opens a can of worms - you could get CHT off thermocouples mounted to the heads, reduce the flux in the system. EGT can get you there too - but yes I assumed air cooled.
     
  10. Oct 2, 2017 #10

    wsimpso1

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    Simple answer is that it is has some reference for how much air is being used and whether it needs mixture enrichment turned on. Once it has that, it can find fuel flow. If operating closed loop, it can then use EGO sensor to fine tune the mixture at each of the table points. Details? Internal, there are several ways.

    MAF is great because it tells the ECU how much air mass is going in. The ECU does not even need to know throttle position or have altimetry. It knows how much air is being used and fuel required derives from that. If the mass of air passing through the engine changes, the fuel can be adjusted accordingly. If power settings are high enough, mixture enrichment can be put in to protect the pistons and the exhaust valves;

    If you do not have MAF, but you have MAP and inlet temp and rpm, you can get air mass flow too, and fuel flow required can be derived from that. It does not need altimetry data. It knows how much air is moving, and it does not care if you are moving less air because you are turning lower rpm or using less throttle opening or have gone higher - it knows how much air is moving from the sensors. Other sensors can give feedback on power settings that trigger enrichment, give failure management for dead sensors, etc;

    No MAF or MAP, but rpm and throttle position, now it gets less precise. From throttle position and rpm, the fuel required at some reference atmospheric pressure is derived, but you would have to lean it manually. Add in Ambient Air Pressure and Ambient Air Temperature, and you are back to knowing air use and get to fuel required;

    Now in truth, many of the injector duty cycle maps are set up empirically from running an example engine over the range of sensors with an EGO or HEGO on each bank, and set up a little rich so your engine (with aa different induction system, cam, exhaust system, etc) can be run, and tuned. Then the fuel flow is again corrected based upon Air Mass Flow, either direct or inferred.

    So, if the system is automatic, depending upon the sensors available, they either measure the airflow or infer the air flow, map in injector duty cycle against their variables for air flow, and then tune the system. Change altitudes, and the amount of air being moved changes in a repeatable fashion, is mapped or corrected for, and away we go...

    Bill
     
  11. Oct 2, 2017 #11

    wsimpso1

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    Manifold Absolute Pressure and RPM gets fairly close. Change altitude without changing throttle setting and manifold pressure changes. It can be pretty good this way. If it also had atmospheric temperature or manifold air temperature, it could really fine tune fuel flow. In cars this stuff plus EGO is used to really nail stoich for "right now" covering variability in the injectors, how much ethanol and other oxygenated fuels are in the tank, and so on.

    Since we do not worry as much over nailing stoich, we get by with less precision.

    If I had my druthers, I would want an MAF sensor as the first line, then have rpm and MAP and throttle position and a secondary rpm sensor. Now you will have several ways of estimating air flow and can check them against each other. Problem with that becomes how to determine which to call out as faulty? The best plan is probably to go with the system scheme that has the highest overall reliability and be happy.

    Billski
     
  12. Oct 2, 2017 #12

    Winginit

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    Note there are several answers to your question. Each answer represents a different way of looking at the question.

    First, lets try to address "how" the mixture is varied which is your basic question. The injector is pulsed on and off at a very high rate of speed. The amount of time (%) the injector spends turned on per second is called its "duty cycle". An injector should not be over taxed by running it open 100% of that 1 second. Something like a max of 80% of the time is acceptable. If the injector must operate more than 80% to supply enough fuel, then a larger (more gph) should be substituted. If the injector is only open a minimal time, it may be too large and make tuning difficult to control at low rpms. In that case a smaller injector may be needed. You should realize that an injector opens and closes hundreds of times per second. Making the mixture richer or leaner is controlled by how many times the ECU tells the injector to open each second.

    How does the ECU tell the injector to open and close? I think most/all systems use a 5 volt current to control everything in the whole system. Basically the ECU measures changes in this voltage and compares that to a known/wanted algorythm. Its pretty much as simple as that. The ECU sends out a 5 volt reference signal and measures how many volts return. Most sensors are simply adapted resistance units. A quick way to explain this is the temperature sensor. Depending on the temperature of the engine, the resistance of current flowing thru the sensor will vary from the initial 5 volts.There is a target voltage that tells the ECU that the engine has reached a predetermined temperature. Most other sensors use this same premise to inform the ECU.....varying voltage. It is very important that the battery in your electrical system be in good condition and producing full voltage. A marginal battery can cause an incorrect reference voltage being sent out and therefore an incorrect return signal.

    How does the ECU know how much fuel to send out? Here is where it begins to get involved somewhat.

    First we need to define the two basic types of EFI systems. Then inject "open and closed " loop into the understanding.

    One system is call "Speed Density". In a Speed Density system a MAF sensor isn't used. MAF stands for MASS Air Flow. Since it isn't used, I'll skip it for now. In the Speed Density system there are several sensors that affect why the ECU richens and leans the mixture. Most of these will also be used in the other (MAF) system and perform the same function. Your system without a MAF will be a "Speed Density" system.

    The main thing to remember is that the Speed Density system will use a sensor called a MAP sensor. That stands for Manifold Absolute Pressure.

    Map Sensor.jpg The MAP sensor plugs into your intake manifold plenum and senses what is going on inside of it, and by varying the 5 volt reference signal (resistance) tells the ECU what is going on as far as air flow needs go. The ECU uses this info coupled with other sensor inputs to pick the correct preprogrammed algorythem for the condition. Its reading the amount of vacuum or boost inside the manifold.Changing atmospheric conditions do not affect its ability to sense engine needs. This sensor can be employed by itself or used in conjunction with a system also employing a MAF sensor.

    MAF sensor.jpg This is an older style MAF sensor. It is NOT used in the "Speed Density" system. If you look at the inside of a MAF sensor you will see a fine wire. Air flowing over this wire cools it. The more air, the cooler the wire. As the temperature of the wire changes, so does its resistance and the 5 volt reference signal from the ECU changes. When the changed voltage returns too the ECU, the ECU compares the info to another algorythm. Now temperature of the air and temperature of the engine also play a part in the ECU choosing the correct algorythm.

    So, we add a sensor that checks the ambient air temperature and send a variation of 5 volts to the ECU. We also add a coolant temperature sensor that tells the ECU what the engine temperature is.

    The Ambient Air sensor is usually mounted in your air intake somewhere ahead of the throttle body. It uses air flow over a fine wire just like the MAF sensor.

    The coolant temperature sensor can be screwed into the engine coolant system. It has a much thicker body but still works by temperature varying resistance to electrical flow.

    coolant sens.jpg


    Earlier, it was mentioned that a "Throttle Position Sensor" was not needed. I don't feel thats a correct statement. An engine will run and will change speeds based on readings from the other sensors. That part is correct. The reason you need a Throttle Position Sensor is for rapid changes in airflow such as at takeoff or during an aborted landing. The ECU needs to know that you suddenly went from an idling situation to a WOT situation. When you do that, your engine goes from running in Closed Loop to Open Loop. (Which I haven't discussed yet). For right now, what you need to know is that the ECU completely goes to a different set of algorythms and mode of operation. So, I think its best to have an operating Throttle Position Sensor. It does exactly what its name suggests. It is mounted on the side of the Throttle Body and as the valve rotates to open position, it moves a resistor and tells the ECU how far it is open....which helps the ECU compute the air flow, and how quickly the need changed. Its a rheostat.

    Throttle PS.jpg tps.gif

    Its getting late, so a couple more points that weren't mentioned.

    The ECU is constantly monitoring many things which can cause it to lean the engine fuel. In factory OEM systems there is a sensor called a knock sensor. It senses when your engine is running too lean and begins to knock or ping. It can hear this noise long before your ears pick it up. The ECU is constantly advancing timing and leaning fuel until a knock is sensed, then it backs off and does it again. So when you are cruising, this is happening if your system is designed to do so.

    MAF system (as opposed to a Speed Density system). A MAF system will as its name implies utilize a MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor. All it does is send the computer information on the amount of air being consumed. It can be used in conjunction with a MAP sensor, or without one.

    Open Loop and Closed Loop. Both systems operate in Open and Closed Loop. When an engine is cold or cool, the ECU gets a voltage signal from the engine (coolant) temperature sensor. This will tell the ECU to ignore any signal from the O2 sensors. An O2 sensor is basically inserted into the exhaust and sends a voltage representing how much Oxgen is contained in the exiting exhaust. Conversely the amount of Oxygen present in the exhaust tells the ECU also what amount of fuel (excess or lean) is contained in the exhaust. When the engine is cold, it probably won't start on the usual fuel mixture, and it needs to be artificially enrichened. Everyone knows what a "choke" is on a lawnmower. It allows the engine to get more fuel than normal to start the engine. Well thats just what "Open Loop" does. The ECU ignores the fact that its being told by the O2 sensor that the mixture is too rich. It pulses the injectors more than normal and provides extra fuel. When the engine has warmed sufficiently, the ECU will change to "Closed Loop" and start accepting the signal from the O2 sensors. If you suddenly push the throttle wide open, the ECU will go into "Open Loop" and provide a precalculated richer than normal mixture. Thats why a throttle position sensor is needed. It might work OK without one, but all the OEMs employ them.

    I know I've probably forgotten something but hopefully this helps you understand a little better.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  13. Oct 2, 2017 #13

    TXFlyGuy

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    Thank you for all of the input on this. It has been very informative. Our Link G4+ Xtreme ECU is very advanced, and is being programmed at this time. An O2 sensor has been installed to get the initial data. It will not be used in the final application.

    Our throttle, and associated linkage, is all mechanical. The OEM throttle body is not being used.

    Our LS3 engine has a MAF, and it is connected to the ECU. We should be able to get real efficient on our fuel flow.

    We will be in open-loop mode at all times.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  14. Oct 2, 2017 #14

    TFF

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    You have EGT readout but the computer does not check that reading, correct? Although not as fast as a O2 sensor, with EGT I would think there would be best power, rich of peak and lean of peak at the tip of your finger with EFI. Once you know the range you want, programing to hit those targets is what you want.
     
  15. Oct 2, 2017 #15

    TXFlyGuy

    TXFlyGuy

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    Yes, EGT info is there. But not sure if the ECU looks at it. And we have no way to manually lean the AFR.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  16. Oct 3, 2017 #16

    delta

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    I used a variable resistor between the coolant temperature sensor and ecm for manual AFR control on my old Audi. I'm not sure where I got the pot, but it probably was a volume or tone control from an electric guitar. It has 7 turns from stop to stop.
     
  17. Oct 4, 2017 #17

    TXFlyGuy

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    As cool as that is, we have no way to do that with our ECU.

    Link G4+ Xtreme
     

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