Author: redtide

Adaptive Learning

Adaptive Learning is a strategy used by O.E.M. automotive manufacturers to maintain long term tuning accuracy.  This strategy allows for continuously changing climate conditions to be constantly compensated for by the ECU. This strategy is vastly different from closed loop type control systems. While Closed Loop and Adaptive Learning work together, with Closed loop systems, the system is always starting from the same point, so if you are 10% off on your base, then your closed loop system will always have to trim that 10% out every time it hits that point in the mapping. With adaptive learning, the ECU learns this 10% error, and changes the value in the map at that point. This allows for the closed loop system to work more effectively, keeping the Closed Loop system to minimal changes.
There are several strategies with the ProEFI ECU that incorporate Adaptive learning.
Idle Control – Obtaining a proper Idle control on a warmed up engine is the easy part. The challenge arrives when that given amount of air required to obtain the desired Idle RPM changes. When the engine gets cold, the oil viscosity changes and the engine becomes harder to turn over, requiring more air to get the same idle RPM. So you now have varying base idle settings to obtain the same idle rpm under different conditions. While closed loop systems help with this condition, the errors vary greatly under the different conditions, making the closed loop system fluctuate more while trying to eliminate the error against the target. Incorporating Adaptive learning to the Idle control strategy   allows for constant adjustments to the base idle tables. This means less idle fluctuation with changing temperatures, and less setup to “dial” in the idle control.


Fault Management

Fault Managementis a strategy used by the O.E.M. vehicle manufacturers for years to help protect the vehicles powertrain. The tuner has access to numerous conditions the Powertrain controller is always monitoring. This allows the tuner to setup minimum and maximum operating conditions of the powertrain. If any of these conditions are exceeded or have not been met, then a fault is triggered by the PCM. With this fault trigger the tuner can setup a set of actions based upon these triggers. These triggers all have adjustable sample rates to allow the tuner to fine tune what is truly a fault condition or a quick blip in a transition state. When a fault is triggered, a code will be set that can be read from the blinking of a check engine light, or from a laptop connection. ProEFI’s base fault codes are based upon OBDII protocol for faults. These codes are tuner selectable and may be changed by the tuner as well.
Example 1: Lean condition – The tuner has set a lean fuel fault condition to trigger a fault at above 12.5 to 1 Air/Fuel ratio when manifold pressure is above 150kpa (7.3psi). The tuner can now go in to the fault management and set condition 1 to trigger a check engine light, condition 2 to set the boost to minimum allowed boost, condition 3 to disengage nitrous control, and condition 4 to enter a cut mode, either ignition or fuel. The tuner can now set this fault can either be released when normal operating conditions are met, held until the ignition key is cycled, or held until the fault condition is reset by the tuner.Example 2: Fuel pressure variance – One of the biggest problems in today’s high horsepower turbocharged engines is fuel delivery. The ProEFI’s built in strategy to monitor fuel pressure for all types of fuel systems, allows for some really trick safety features. While monitoring fuel pressure, the PCM will see when the fuel pressure is not maintaining the proper pressure ratio across the injector. Although the computer will automatically adjust the injector opening time to maintain the proper air/fuel ratio, if a limit is exceeded, a fault condition will be triggered. The tuner can then setup in the fault management for Conditions 1 to default to base boost, Condition 2 to turn on the check engine light, Condition 3 to disengage nitrous, and condition 4 to enter a cut mode.


Knock Control

There are several ways to approach Knock control. Some manufacturers use more of a noise control than a knock control system. These systems use the knock sensor with a non specific band pass filter to filter out some back ground frequencies. Then a user defined table is used to limit the amount of “noise” before it is considered to be knock.

Once this threshold is reached action is taken by pulling timing and adding fuel in attempt to limit the noise. There are several problems with these types of systems. As the engine is producing more power, it also produces more noise, so if the noise isn’t really knock, then power is greatly reduced for no reason. Using a broad band pass filter, you can’t determine the frequency that knock actually occurs in the engine being monitored. Also by looking at the “noise” level, you don’t know which cylinder is actually responsible for know. It then gets even more complicated because you can’t determine the window in which knock will occur in each cylinder. The systems that are monitoring noise rather than knock also lack the processing speed to properly determine what knock really is.

BACKGROUND The term “knock” refers to the spontaneous combustion of in-cylinder end gases (un-burnt premixed fuel and air in front of the flame front) that occurs independent of the combustion associated with the spark initiated flame front traveling through the cylinder.  This spontaneous combustion is a function of temperature, pressure, and time – that is, if the temperature and pressure of the end gases reach the self-ignition threshold before the flame front has had time to propagate to the cylinder walls, knock will occur. 

The effect of this spontaneous combustion creates shock waves and thermal explosions throughout the cylinder, attributes that both audibly and physically affect the consumer and engine, respectively.

Various steps can be taken to decrease an engines tendency to knock.  Increased burn rates will allow less time for the end gases to heat up and ignite before combustion is completed.  Therefore any agent that improves mixing, such as swirl and tumble, will also improve the knock characteristics. 

Colder charge and block temperatures will guarantee more time for the end gases to reach there self-ignition temperature threshold, thus giving the flame front more time to reach the end gases before knock occurs.  Higher octane fuels have a similar effect on the end gases, by raising the activation energy required to self-ignite. 

Rich mixtures burn faster than lean, and heat the cylinder up less for each consecutive combustion event.  Spark retard shifts peak pressure of the combustion event away from TDC, thus avoiding the dramatic rise in cylinder pressure (and temperature) when the two are in close proximity relative to crank angle.  (It should be noted here that fuel is typically used to cool exhaust gas temperatures (EGTs) when significant spark retard is used to for knock control, and does not have a substantial affect on knock control.) 

Some of the steps listed above must be addressed in the base engine design, but some can be utilized in an active cylinder-by-cylinder, cycle-by-cycle knock controller to effectively reduce knock only in operating conditions where knock is present, thus retaining the majority of the engines potential power whenever possible.

The calibration process for the knock controller involves four basic steps.  These steps are sequential, and described in Figure 2.0.  Location refers to determining the location of the knock accelerometers on the engine that captures the largest knocking energy relative to non-knocking energy. 

Once chosen, a band pass Filter must be selected that isolates the knock frequencies from the full spectrum to maximize signal to noise ratio of the knock signal.  Next Windows are selected relative to crank angle to direct the controller which portion of the knock signal to use for calculating cycle-by-cycle knock intensity.  Finally, a Threshold is chosen to define a knock intensity level above which the engine is considered to be knocking.

Traction Control

ProEFI’s state of the art traction control provides the flexibility to be used in any racing venue. The tuner can set up the traction control to be front and rear wheel slip differential, driveshaft/vehicle speed dependent, or based upon the engines rate of acceleration in each gear.

Wheel Speed Differential– The wheel speed differential traction control monitors driven vs. non-driven wheel speed and controls the maximum amount of slip from the driven wheels. The allowed slip percent can be adjusted based on a launch timer to allow maximum acceleration from a standing start, as well as dialing in a maximum slip percentage based upon any conditions. The tuner can select either a fuel cut, ignition cut, ignition retard, or a combination of the three. Using the ProEFI’s one of a kind fault management, the tuner can also tie other activities based upon the amount of wheel slip, things like turning on a warning light, disabling nitrous control, turning the boost pressure down, etc…

Engine rate of acceleration– This strategy is designed more for manual transmission cars. The engine rate of acceleration is broken down by each gear, limiting the engines rate of acceleration in rpm/sec. Unlike other engine management systems, you simply set this one up by entering your transmission gear ratio’s, tire diameter, and final drive ratio. Then the tuner simply dials in the allowed engines rate of acceleration in each gear! The tuner can select either a fuel cut, ignition cut, ignition retard, or a combination of the three. Using the ProEFI’s one of a kind fault management, the tuner can also tie other activities based upon the amount of wheel slip, things like turning on a warning light, disabling nitrous control, turning the boost pressure down, etc…

DriveShaft/Vehicle Speed – This strategy is designed more for automatic transmission cars. The tuner can select either the rate of engine acceleration allowed at a given vehicle speed, or the maximum driveshaft rpm allowed against a launch timer. The rate of engine acceleration by vehicle speed is a strategy a high horsepower, traction challenged automatic car would use for street driving conditions, while the driveshaft rpm control would be used in a drag racing situation. When an input is triggered, usually from a trans brake release or brake pedal release, the computer starts a timer and monitors the driveshafts rpm against that timer. If the driveshaft RPM exceeds the limit, then power reducing strategies are activated. The tuner can select either a fuel cut, ignition cut, ignition retard, or a combination of the three. Using the ProEFI’s one of a kind fault management, the tuner can also tie other activities based upon the amount of wheel slip, things like turning on a warning light, disabling nitrous control, turning the boost pressure down, etc…

Fuel Pressure Feedback


Fuel Pressure Feedback is such a simple add on, and a MUST for any car, highly modified or not. You can’t believe the number of short comings in your fuel system this simple feature will point
out to you!

The ProEFI uses cutting edge strategies to tie fuel pressure in to the fueling calculations so any issues in the fuel system are QUICKLY recognized and pointed out BEFORE any engine damage can occur.

This system is tied in to the ProEFI’s exclusive fault management system to prevent damage from occuring by lowering boost, turning off nitrous, cutting ignition or fuel, etc…

Scroll to top