Innovate Motorsports' Newsletter #7

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Tuner Resources

"Technology for Tuners" Newsletter #7

This is Innovate Motorsports' "Technology for Tuners" Newsletter, Issue #7. These updates are intended to keep you informed of tuning tips, firmware updates, application notes, new product releases, company news, and other useful information. In this issue:

1) XD-1 is Shipping!
2) LC-1 in Final Pre-release
3) SEMA & PRI Recap
4) Roadmap for the MTS
5) Customer Testimonials Contest
6) Tuning Tip- The Oxygen Sensor Scale Analogy

XD-1 is Shipping!

The bezels are cut. The firmware is done. The cables are molded. The light-emitting (and light-sensing) diodes are in. The test fixtures are testing. The wait is over. The XD-1 is shipping! With a ton of innovation, we think the XD-1 was worth the wait:

  • 21 programmable RGB "needle" LEDs
  • Remote control button to start/stop log sessions, calibrate sensors, and view min/max holds
  • Total thickness of ¾” allows surface mount or thin-pod installations
  • Programmable warning lights with multiple dependencies
  • Universal design can display AFR or any channel that LM-1 is logging
  • User-replaceable dials with web tool for printing custom dials / gauge faces

The XD-1 is available in 4 color combinations, as an accessory for the LM-1 (click here for ordering details), or as a standalone kit (includes an LC-1).

LC-1 in Final Pre-release

The LC-1 (aka Lambda Cable) is a complete wideband controller built in to a sealed and rugged cable. It features the same industry-leading patented digital circuit found in the proven LM-1, and includes digital in & out, plus two programmable analog outputs. The LC-1 can connect directly to the XD-1 for a standalone AFR gauge, and is ideal for using with an ECU, a piggy-back fuel controller, a laptop/OBD-II tuner, a separate data logger system, or a dyno. (If your dyno has analog inputs, you can start doing 8-cylinder tuning without even waiting for LogWorks 2.0). MSRP on the LC-1 is $199 with a sensor, and $149 without a sensor, so you can see we’re still serious about bringing you the best in pro-quality digital tools at prices for the pro and enthusiast alike!

SEMA & PRI Recap

SEMA and PRI 2004 were a great success. The MTS won a couple of awards (S3 Magazine's Best 50 Products, Turbo Magazine's "Wickedly Hot Product"), we met, or reconnected with, numerous customers and dealers, and we got lots a great ideas and feedback from all of our motor sports friends. The LM-101 videos were a hit, and everyone was excited to finally see the LC-1 and XD-1s. Thanks to all of you who came by and said hello.

Roadmap for the MTS

With the release of the XD-1 and LC-1, the Innovate MTS (Modular Tuning System) continues to grow. The next key elements are LogWorks 2.0 and the AuxBox-SD. Here is a preview of the planned features for these two projects:

LogWorks 2.0 provides support for up to 32 channels of data. This is key for tuning individual cylinders, or for doing full data acquisition. For example, 8 wideband sensors plus RPM, MAP, CHT, and acceleration would require 12 channels. Other key features of LogWorks 2.0 include a 3D tool for visualizing fuel maps in 3 dimensions to quickly “see” problem spots; a virtual gauge configurator to individually customize the format, size, and placement of on screen gauges; and expanded input/gauge definition capabilities.

The AuxBox-SD is a 32-channel data recorder built in to our existing LMA-3 multi-sensor input box (the popular “AuxBox"). The AuxBox-SD utilizes standard “SD” memory cards, and can record up to 200 hours of data (32-channels, 12 samples/channel/second).

All Innovate products share a common communication protocol and can be combined in a variety of ways. A couple of the applications that will be possible with the expanded 32-channel architecture:

  • 4, 6, 8, or 10 LC-1’s with LogWorks 2.0 or the AuxBox-SD (or both) for individual cylinder tuning.
  • A full 32-channel data acquisition system for <$3K (8-channels of wideband AFR, 8-channels of CHT, MAP, RPM, 2-axis accel, duty cycles, torque, wheel speed, shaft speed, etc.)

Customer Testimonials Contest

The photo above is of Dave Owen, ECTA record holder at 215.642 MPH set in Maxton, NC in October 2004. Dave writes: "THE INNOVATE MOTORSPORTS LM-1 ALLOWED ME TO PERFORM TUNING WITHIN MINUTES OF MY PASSES, OPTIMIZING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MOTORCYCLE, AND SETTING THREE NEW RECORDS. The LM1 has helped me tune even better than with a chassis dyno, and is simple to setup and operate. Your tech support has been outstanding…..second to none. Thank you for providing me with a product that has proven accurate and reliable, at OVER 200 MPH!!!”

Dave got his bag of swag (T-shirt, decals, etc.), and you can too. Just write a quick testimonial, take a cool photo (you and an Innovate product in use), and send it in to us (email or snail mail). Each month we’ll select the best ones, and send the winners some Innovate stuff. And you might even see yourself in a national magazine ad.

Tuning Tip- The Oxygen Sensor Scale Analogy
By Klaus Allmendinger, VP of Engineering, Innovate Motorsports

Here’s an analogy for how the LM-1’s measurement principle works, and how it differs from both narrow-band technology, and other wideband technology:

Narrow-band Sensors: Like a balance scale with only one reference weight

Picture a balance scale like the ones used by merchants and traders for the last 10,000 years. These scales work by adding various known weights to one side until both sides balance. But if you had only one reference weight, all you could know is if your item weights more or less than the reference. This is what a narrow-band, switch-type sensors do (even 3-wire or 4-wire versions). They tell you if you are higher or lower than 14.7 AFR, but nothing else. This works for regulating engines to 14.7AFR at idle or cruise, but is useless for maximizing efficiency or performance.

Wideband sensors: Like a spring scale

A Wideband sensor is more like a spring-based scale. These scales determine a weight by measuring the deflection of a spring. A set screw is used to set the spring tension to a defined deflection for a known exact weight. The spring analog in this example is the pump current, the set-screw is the calibration resistor provided by the sensor manufacturer and the known exact weight is pump current required in free air. Another issue with this scale is that when you put a new weight on the scale, you need to wait until the scale stops oscillating.

But what if the spring looses tension with age or manufacturing tolerances make the spring deflection non-linear?

The very expensive high-end meters supply a 'calibration table' that compensates for the 'spring' non-linearity on a sensor-by-sensor basis. Producing this table is a laborious and expensive process and is naturally only correct for a new spring/sensor.

The Innovate LM-1

The LM-1 uses a different principle. Let's go back to the balancing scale analogy: What if you had only one reference weight? And there were only 3 things you know about this weight:

1. It is heavier than any produce you want to measure.
2. It does not change over time.
3. It is cheap, any rock will do.

How can you possibly precisely measure with just this?

If you were an electronic superman you can put that weight on and off the scale so fast that the scale, due to its inertia, hardly has time to move. The inertia is dependent on the sum of the measured weight, the reference weight and the weight of the scale.

If you put the reference weight on and off so fast that the scale stays in balance, you can determine the weight by the time ratio between having the reference weight on and off. By weighing a precisely known quantity (free air) once you can also exactly determine your reference weight. From that and the precisely measured on/off times you can determine the weight and inertia of the scale exactly without calibrated springs or reference weights. You can also at any time recalibrate it by measuring free air again. Another advantage of this measurement method (still staying with the above example) is that you can measure much faster because you do not need to decide which new (smaller) reference weights to add or take away to get the scale in balance. Also, you don’t need to wait for the spring-loaded weight to settle and stops oscillating.

The LM-1 uses this approach, putting the 'reference weight' on and off several hundred times per second. The precision of this approach is then limited by the precision of the time measurement. Fortunately crystal oscillators today allow precise time measurement at extremely low cost at tolerances of ~0.0001%. Precision resistors (the equivalence of a balance weigh set) come in tolerances of 1% to 0.1% and get VERY expensive for higher precision.

Until next time... Keep On Tuning!
-Innovate Motorsports

NOTE: If you found any of this useful, and you'd like to share it with a friend or colleague, you can use the link at the bottom of the original email.


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