Page 1 of 1

open source ECU (engine control unit)

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:53 pm
by 53bash
I've seen a few cases where its been done by individuals, but can't find any general information about building an engine control unit using an Arduino or other open source micro controlller. I think a low cost, open source ecu would potentially be both valuable to society (as it would allow high-emission engines to be better tuned) and a lot of fun (as it would allow performance and reliability boosts to old carburated engines).

There's a lot I don't know about this, but a lot I'd like to learn. I think the obvious course would be to grab an inexpensive small engine, fit it with a throttle body / fuel injector and various sensors, and play around, developing a base of knowledge to grow on. Thus the initial focus would likely be for a single cylinder 4 stroke engine, although I'd like to build in the option to expand development to multiple cylinders and two stroke / diesel engines.

Long term goal would be to develop a open source knowledge base and hardware that would
- allow adaptation of carburated engines to EFI
- allow digital control of spark advance
- be largely 'self tuning' (not requiring dyno testing, manual map programming)
- allow major fueling changes on the fly (multi fuel, adaptive forced induction)
- be applicable to older and less 'sophisticated' engines with minimal modification
- have low cost

I know all these things are individually possible, but I've never seen them combined in one place.

Skills that I know will be needed (perhaps developed!) include
- basic engine mechanics (needs to work good before we mess with it, needs maintenance and testing, and may well get damaged in development)
- advanced engine mechanics (tuning and combustion theory)
- fabrication (intakes with injectors, sensor mounts, etc)
- high voltage power (CDI or other spark ignition)
- low voltage power (basic wiring of sensors controllers, etc)
- Arduino (and / or other micro controller) expertise

Anybody else interested?

Re: open source ECU (engine control unit)

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:43 am
by Gyvven
I started looking into this a few years ago but quickly realized I didn't have enough programming knowledge (and still don't) to get very far. I ended up purchasing a MegaSquirt ECU, which was a really good purchase since I now know a lot of the parameters that go into tuning an engine. I'd be interested in helping out since I think a cheap arduino should be able to do the same things as the MegaSquirt. You only need a few inputs and outputs to make it go. There are a lot of nay-sayers out there that say it's not worth the trouble, but I don't think it'd hurt to try.


Re: open source ECU (engine control unit)

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:38 am
by Learner
For a project like this, using automotive grade parts would be a must due to voltage, electrical noise, temp, & vibrations if you want to do it right.

Re: open source ECU (engine control unit)

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:49 am
by FrankManic
I don't know anything about this at all, but it does sound damned interesting.