SDS EM-5 ECU (EM56)

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rv6ejguy

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We are just starting to ship the latest SDS EM-5 ECU now with EM56 board and V 25.7 software. The EM56 now has on board coil drivers for up to 4 channels (as opposed to add-on daughter boards in previous EM-4 and EM-5 ECUs) and an additional analog input for something like an oil temp sensor. Version 25.7 software has additional code to enable one programmer to access dual ECUs in aviation applications. Usable on most 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines.

em56.jpg
 

rbarnes

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How does something like your EFI box merge up with something like a Garmin G3X touch or similar Dynon ? I would imagine both units would need to be looking at the same sensors at the same time ?
 

rv6ejguy

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We prefer to use separate sensors to avoid having some fault in other electronics/ sensors from causing an engine running problem. We can output a standard 4 cylinder tach signal of 2 pulses per crank revolution at either 5 or 12 volts. We can display fuel flow in the SDS programmer in one of the gauge modes. Some glass may be set up to look at injector frequency and pulse width tapped off an injector wire to have fuel flow information without traditional red cube flow meters. We can output serial data from the data logging port but I'm not sure how various glass would parce or deal with the data stream usefully.

Truthfully we are too busy with other developments to have time to work on other interfaces right now and it's hard to keep up with what other companies are doing with their products as something new seems to come out every 6 to 12 months. Our primary concern is running the engine reliably. Once the latest project is completed, we may have time to visit glass interfaces with the more popular brands as this is of growing interest for sure.
 

Kiwi303

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Can aftermarket systems like your SDS be rigged to an OBDII port for datalogging through the likes of a Android wireless linked ELM327 and tablet for a glass meter setup?

There are a number of good meter apps to run obdII data on your phone or tablet these days.
 

AdrianS

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Serial data out is much simpler than OBDII.

I have done datalogging interfaces to multiple aftermarket car ECUs : most protocols are based on the racelogic digital dash format.

If Ross wants to PM me, I can email him more info (but I'm off rallying this weekend, so won't reply until next week. )
 

rbarnes

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We prefer to use separate sensors to avoid having some fault in other electronics/ sensors from causing an engine running problem. We can output a standard 4 cylinder tach signal of 2 pulses per crank revolution at either 5 or 12 volts. We can display fuel flow in the SDS programmer in one of the gauge modes. Some glass may be set up to look at injector frequency and pulse width tapped off an injector wire to have fuel flow information without traditional red cube flow meters. We can output serial data from the data logging port but I'm not sure how various glass would parce or deal with the data stream usefully.

Truthfully we are too busy with other developments to have time to work on other interfaces right now and it's hard to keep up with what other companies are doing with their products as something new seems to come out every 6 to 12 months. Our primary concern is running the engine reliably. Once the latest project is completed, we may have time to visit glass interfaces with the more popular brands as this is of growing interest for sure.

Thanks for the reply. Running parallel sensors doesn't seem like a big deal to me. The tach signal seems like the only one that would be a bit of a pain to run two pick-ups for. MP, fuel flow and pressure and temp sensors would be easy.

The one thing that really perked my interest on the Rotax 912iS, is that it's FADEC plug-n-plays into the Garmin G3x touch system...... which was really smart of them to think of.
 

rv6ejguy

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Can aftermarket systems like your SDS be rigged to an OBDII port for datalogging through the likes of a Android wireless linked ELM327 and tablet for a glass meter setup?

There are a number of good meter apps to run obdII data on your phone or tablet these days.
Most aftermarket systems don't use OBDII that I'm aware of.
 

rv6ejguy

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Thanks for the reply. Running parallel sensors doesn't seem like a big deal to me. The tach signal seems like the only one that would be a bit of a pain to run two pick-ups for. MP, fuel flow and pressure and temp sensors would be easy.

The one thing that really perked my interest on the Rotax 912iS, is that it's FADEC plug-n-plays into the Garmin G3x touch system...... which was really smart of them to think of.
We output the tach signal directly out of the ECU specifically to drive external glass or analog tachs. The CPU gets it's tach info right off the Hall Effect sensor.

Rotax had about 9 years and a big budget to develop their FADEC with Rockwell I believe. Has some cool features but is immensely complicated/ heavy and they had several phantom problems on release with uncommanded power reductions. The factory had a hard time tracing the reasons down according to a couple reports I read. Fuel burn is much better than with the Bing carbs by all reports though.
 

rbarnes

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Rotax had about 9 years and a big budget to develop their FADEC with Rockwell I believe. Has some cool features but is immensely complicated/ heavy and they had several phantom problems on release with uncommanded power reductions. The factory had a hard time tracing the reasons down according to a couple reports I read. Fuel burn is much better than with the Bing carbs by all reports though.
Not to mention their pricing. Can't wait to see what the 915iS price is.
$40,000 - 135hp engine anyone ? makes Continentals and Lycomings look down right cheap.
 

rv6ejguy

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Release of V26 software is just around the corner in a few days to go with a small hardware change for those desiring the new optional features we've developed for 4 cylinder, direct drive, aero engines- primarily Lycoming 235, 320, 360, Continental O-200 and Jabiru 2200s. This allows in-flight control of fuel trim for each cylinder to optimize LOP operation where less than optimal manifolds deliver unequal mixture. The interface is through the panel mount programmer (no clunky laptop involved) so you can trim the offending cylinders to get equal EGTs on your engine monitor in about 30 seconds at any power setting you desire. This is an aviation first we believe and one-ups old tech mechanical FI systems with GAMI/ tuned nozzles which only give near equal fuel flows at one power setting.

The second development is 100 rpm increment programming for fuel and spark timing rather than the current 250 rpm increments.

There will also be a an upgrade program (reflash and add hardware) for older EM-5 boards starting in Feb. to give them the same capabilities. This will be slightly more expensive than new build systems due to the extra work involved. Injector wiring pinouts have to be altered to take advantage of the trim development.

Should have some photos shortly to post here.

Looking back on some other posts here, we've had optional, 8 channel PC data logging from the EM-5 for over a year now which can be helpful for tuning/ fault diagnosis.

dlog_hires2.jpg
 
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gtae07

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This allows in-flight control of fuel trim for each cylinder to optimize LOP operation where less than optimal manifolds deliver unequal mixture. The interface is through the panel mount programmer (no clunky laptop involved) so you can trim the offending cylinders to get equal EGTs on your engine monitor in about 30 seconds at any power setting you desire. This is an aviation first we believe and one-ups old tech mechanical FI systems with GAMI/ tuned nozzles which only give near equal fuel flows at one power setting.
!

The second development is 100 rpm increment programming for fuel and spark timing rather than the current 250 rpm increments.
!!

I like the sound of this :grin:
 

rv6ejguy

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The 250rpm vs 100rpm is something I have wondered about for years..

Most auto engines don't change VE much over 250rpm steps so it's an expedient to programming the system for high revving engines. With Lycomings, Jabirus and Contis mostly running under 3200 rpm and having an excess of unused programming windows available, we thought this would be a good move. Some Lycomings would change VE up to 4% over 250rpm so the change will give finer mixture control for these engines.

I think the individual cylinder trim is far more significant for these engines as they often have a wild EGT spreads (over 200F is not uncommon) due to the poor manifold designs. While this doesn't fix the root cause, it does allow all cylinders to run at the same air/fuel ratio so we can run further LOP if desired before lean misfire sets in.

It's a feature many Lycoming users have been asking for.
 

Toobuilder

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So this differs from the perfect "0" gami spread in that you are tuning FF to each cylinder across the entire operating range rather than just around peak? This means that we are going to have to start paying attention to absolute values again (contrary to current wisdom), and we are going to have to make sure that the EGT probes are installed consistently and matched. Currently, EGT is a result; your system turns that around and makes EGT a tuning input. That is going to require some shift in conventional thinking.

Good stuff!
 

Marc Zeitlin

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Release of V26 software is just around the corner ... There will also be a an upgrade program (reflash and add hardware) for older EM-5 boards starting in Feb. to give them the same capabilities. This will be slightly more expensive than new build systems due to the extra work involved. Injector wiring pinouts have to be altered to take advantage of the trim development.
Been following your system(s) now for a number of years - if I didn't already have dual Lightspeeds and an Airflow Performance FI system, I'd seriously consider it (I'm a cheap bastard).

But I do have a question - what is the relationship (both business and technically) between you and Robert Paisley over at EFII? You have a link to his site on your website, and the systems look almost identical (if not identical).

I have installed one of EFII's EI's on a customer's aircraft - it certainly seemed well made and well thought out, and the installation was reasonably simple (and he's very happy with the performance - he's eventually planning to upgrade to dual EI's and FI as well). But I am curious as to the relationships. If you could elucidate, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
 

Toobuilder

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I spoke with Robert a few weeks back and he revealed that Ross was the source of the brain boxes in the EFII system. Beyond that, I believe Robert is an independent designer and manufacturer. I know that Robert cranks out a bunch of the major parts of the EFII system in house, and looking closely at the hardware between the two, they clearly do not share the same design philosophy (Robert points his injectors "down" in Lycomings, for example).
 
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rv6ejguy

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So this differs from the perfect "0" gami spread in that you are tuning FF to each cylinder across the entire operating range rather than just around peak? This means that we are going to have to start paying attention to absolute values again (contrary to current wisdom), and we are going to have to make sure that the EGT probes are installed consistently and matched. Currently, EGT is a result; your system turns that around and makes EGT a tuning input. That is going to require some shift in conventional thinking.

Good stuff!
I've discussed this a lot on VAF but will summarize my thoughts here again. Ideally in a perfect world, we want all cylinders to flow equal amounts of air, mix with equal parts of fuel and make equal hp each for max power and smoothness. Due to unequal intake runner length, shapes and small plenum volumes, most Lycoming, Continental and Jabiru engines don't have very equal airflow, cylinder to cylinder, especially under certain throttle angle conditions.

Things like GAMI injectors on Bendix type mechanical injection can reduce the AFR variations between cylinders markedly but usually only over a narrow range and this works reasonably well since we're usually cruising in a narrow range of rpms and MAP in aircraft. However if we cruise at different MAPs, throttle angles and rpms, the GAMI solution is not quite so good any more. Dave Anders has AFP injection with cylinder matched injectors on his record setting RV4 and said he was not so happy with the EGT spreads under different power settings so he is now fitting SDS EFI and the new software.

I'm a fan of trying to get equal airflow as much as possible so recommend people use properly designed manifolds like those from Sky Dynamics and that is what Dave has now too.

To put it bluntly, now that we have this technology, mechanical injection, no matter how finely set up on a flow bench and tweaked, cannot deliver the same accuracy and efficiency as our EFI. Combined with variable timing advance when going LOP (features other aircraft EIs don't have), we're looking at a possible 4-10% improvement in fuel burn over legacy mechanical controls (mags and mechanical FI) for the same TAS and 20- 25% in the case of mags and carbs with crappy manifolds.

You're right, judging individual cylinder mixtures now demands that EGT probes be placed as similarly as possible for most accurate readings as that's what we're going by to even AFRs across the board. As I've said on VAF and others have argued against, AFRs are what really matter, not EGTs per se but EGTs are what we go by with their potential inaccuracies. We know that certain other factors can change EGT with no changes in AFR. Mechanical matching of things like compression ratios in each cylinder (cc'd chambers) and flow benched heads start splitting the hairs here when we can fine tune EGTs down to 1% electronically. We must remember that EGTs are only a composite of the temperature throughout the cycle of massively varying exhaust gas temperatures.
 
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rv6ejguy

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Been following your system(s) now for a number of years - if I didn't already have dual Lightspeeds and an Airflow Performance FI system, I'd seriously consider it (I'm a cheap bastard).

But I do have a question - what is the relationship (both business and technically) between you and Robert Paisley over at EFII? You have a link to his site on your website, and the systems look almost identical (if not identical).

I have installed one of EFII's EI's on a customer's aircraft - it certainly seemed well made and well thought out, and the installation was reasonably simple (and he's very happy with the performance - he's eventually planning to upgrade to dual EI's and FI as well). But I am curious as to the relationships. If you could elucidate, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
We manufacture the ECUs, programmers and Hall Effect sensors for EFII and have worked closely with Robert to improve features for his Lycoming customers through revised software and hardware over the last 4 years or so.

At the same time, we've been selling EFI for experimental and military use aircraft since 1994. We saw a market shift starting in 2003 where automotive ECU sales started a steady decline due to market saturation from multiple new aftermarket vendors, new OE technology in the form of reflashable ECUs and new low cost DIY ECUs entering the performance market.

We started a marketing shift towards aviation where there was essentially no competition. To that end, I built the company RV6A to showcase and test our emerging aviation EFI products and went after some higher profile exposure by getting involved in Reno Sport Class racing. These two things spiked up our aviation sales considerably along with supplying Eggenfellner with ECUs for his conversions. We've partnered with several companies over the years to bring EFI to new engine markets, some successful, others not so much. We've spent a lot of money and time on certain projects that went nowhere, but that's part of this business I believe. In 2016, we're doing more direct selling and introducing many new parts and features to this market. We're also doing some custom work for military buyers. As of last year, 80% of our ECU sales were for aviation. In 1994 it was at about 1%.

I think we saw growing acceptance of EFI/EI in experimental aviation really start about 5 years ago and Robert started to ramp up sales about 3 years ago with his complete bolt on kits for Lycomings, making installation within the reach of the average builder who could not fab all the custom parts to meld EFI to their engines.

So to answer the question, EFII has been a very valuable partner in the Lycoming market but in a sense, we compete. EFII fills the complete bolt on market nicely, we tend to go after the more customized, mechanically inclined DIYer. Our mechanical parts that we offer are different from EFII. Some people might prefer their solution, others might like ours. We give people choices. I've been in business almost my whole life, in many areas, and I've learned not to have all my eggs in one basket. I've been left hanging and burned enough times to know that it's best to have options and rely on yourself for longevity and I go with my gut, based on feedback and experiences in the market to shape the direction of my companies. We recently let a partner go because he was using our website to sell a competing ECU brand and copied some of our hardware designs without permission. We'll fill that void and introduce our own products in that segment soon to compete there. We're working with some new partners in 2016 who we think will help spread the word so to speak and broaden the market.

It's no secret that Robert and me have different outlooks, experiences and ideas about this market/ technology and how we run our businesses. We sometimes don't see eye to eye but try to find a compromise which will support growth in this segment. Our relationship has been mutually beneficial but at the same time, I need to steer my company the way I see fit for a healthy future. The bottom line is- things change, markets change, we must remain innovative and fluid to remain competitive and alive. We hope to continue to supply EFII with ECUs for a long time to come but at the same time, we're branching out in new directions to tap market demands- essential for basic survival in this small market. We can't rely on much revenue from the once huge automotive performance market anymore.
 
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Marc Zeitlin

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We manufacture the ECUs, programmers and Hall Effect sensors for EFII and have worked closely with Robert to improve features for his Lycoming customers through revised software and hardware over the last 4 years or so....
Thanks for the good explanation of your business and relationships with other vendors - I appreciate it.
 

rv6ejguy

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Here is the bootup screen for the new V26 software. Each ECU has a discrete burn# to enable us to activate certain optional software features.

trim.jpg

Here are some photos of the trim windows. We'd probably only trim 3 of 4 cylinders as shown, leaving one as the target point at 0%. You can trim +/- 10% with the +/-1 buttons, scroll with the arrow buttons to select which cylinder to trim

trim1.jpg trim2.jpg

trim3.jpg trim4.jpg

Doesn't get much easier than this.

I should add, before anyone asks, this is currently only available for 4 cylinder engines where the main market is for us. If it proves popular, we may introduce a new ECU for 6 cylinder applications, but that is a much larger development project.
 
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