Tech Basics - The First Thing to Do in a Stand Alone Installation

In any Stand Alone installation there are steps you need to tackle in order to get everything setup and working properly. The very first thing that I prefer to do after connecting all power and ground wires is essentially connect the crank/cam sensors to the ECU and try to turn the motor over to see if the system is understanding the signals correctly and will in turn control the outputs to the injectors and coils correctly. If these signals are not properly configured in the ECU, then the ECU cannot control the firing of the ignition and injector outputs appropriately.

No other sensor is as important as the crank and cam, or Trigger and Home, or Ref and Sync, depending on the system brand and how they are referenced in the software. Once you have connected and configured these sensor inputs correctly then the ECU will do what it is programmed to do. Then and only then should you continue to setup the rest of the input sensors on the system.

It is common practice to usually purchase a kit with an already pre-made wiring harness. This is very practical and allows the installation to move along much quicker. The issue arises when the wiring is installed, the ECU is connected, all components are hooked up, but the ECU has not been pre-loaded with a base map for this particular application and when its powered up something gets damaged from not being configured correctly before hand. Extra care should be taken, before connecting any sensors, coils, injectors, etc., leave everything disconnected, power up the ECU and proceed to load the appropriate calibration in the ECU to prevent any problems.

Los Básicos - Lo Primero que Debemos Hacer en una Instalación

En toda instalación de una computadora programable hay pasos que se deben atender en orden para poder configurar todo y dejarlo funcionando adecuadamente. El primer paso que yo hago personalmente luego de haber conectado todas las lineas de tierra y corriente es primordialmente conectar los sensores de posición de cigueñal y leva a la computadora y darle arranque para verificar que el sistema esta procesando las señales correctamente y por consiguiente controle las salidas de inyectores y bobinas correctamente. Si estas señales no estan configuradas correctamente, entonces la computadora no podra controlar el disparo de las salidas de inyección y chispa adecuadamente.

No hay ningun otro sensor que sea mas importante que el de cigueñal y leva, o sensores de disparo, o de referencia y sincronización, dependiendo de como la marca del sistema y como se les llamen dentro de la programación. Una vez que que haya conectado y configurado correctamente estos sensores entonces la computadora podrá realizar la labor para la cual se le ha programado. En ese momento, y únicamente en ese momento, deberá continuar configurando y conectando el resto de los sensores en el sistema.

Es común ver que a veces se adquiere un kit el cual ya vendrá con una cablería pre-configurada. Es una opción bastante práctica y permite que la instalación se realice de manera fácil y rápida. El inconveniente surge cuando luego de que la cablería es instalada, la computadora conectada, donde ya todos los componentes estan conectados, pero la computadora no ha sido programada con una calibración base para la instalación especifica en que se esta trabajando y luego es encendida causando que algun componente sea dañado, la computadora haga algo inesperado, porque todavía no ha sido configurada correctamente de ante mano. Mucho cuidado debe tomarse antes de conectar cualquier sensor, bobina, inyector, etc.. Mantenga todo desconectado. Encienda la computadora y proceda a cargar una calibración adecuada para prevenir cualquier inconveniente.

Tech Basics - Connecting Sensors and Other Inputs

After you have confirmed that the ECU is reading the crank and cam signals correctly, and the ECU sync's properly in the software, you should move onto connecting the rest of the sensor inputs. These will be the Throttle Position Sensor (or TPS), the Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (or MAP), the Coolant Temperature Sensor (or CTS), the Air Temperature Sensor (or ATS), and additionally you can connect an Oil and Fuel Pressure sensors, its ideal to always use a Wideband O2 Sensor to help with tuning, perhaps a knock sensor, vehicle speed, additional temperature sensors, etc.

Once you have the basic sensors connected you can proceed to connect the ignition system.

Tech Basics - Configuring and Setting the Base Timing

Once you have configured the basic sensors and you have verified that your Trigger Settings are correct for your application, it is time to configure the Ignition Setup page. This should be performed BEFORE you connect any ignition components so no damage to them occurs. Once you have all the correct settings for your application you can verify the timing using a Timing Light, it is recommended that you use a simple, analog, none digital timing light to keep results consistent and not get any erroneous information which could cause problems later on. We'll cover timing lights in a further Tools article.

Connect the timing light to the #1 cylinder spark plug lead. Please note that if you have Coil On Plug, you will need to take the coil out of the head and use an old spark plug lead from the boot of the coil down to the spark plug for the measurement to be correct, as timing variations can be introduced if you justmeasure before the coil. Once you are able to measure timing, crank the engine for a few seconds and verify that the notches on the crank pulley are lining up with the marks on the timing front cover. You might need to use a marker, whiteout or some kind of light colored paint to make the marks more visible to correctly see them while the engine is turning.

As a precaution, but always be very careful when doing this, you can hook up a battery charger set to the LOWEST POSSIBLE SETTING for amperage the charger has, as serious damage can occur if you leave it too high. 2 to 5A is usually ok to keep the battery from draining as you crank a few times.

Also, as you check the base timing you will need to turn on or configure some kind of timing lock function so that the ECU will always stick to the same timing no matter what the maps say. This is usually found in the software under the ignition configuration options. If your timing cover has a 10, 15 or 20 degree mark, you can set the lock value to this number and you as you crank the engine the marks should be aligned properly, otherwise some kind of adjustment will have to be done to the base angle set in the configuration until its perfectly lined up.