Fuel Injection is as simple or complicated as the tools you use to work with it.
This sounds obvious, but is so often over looked when deciding what fuel injection controller to buy. It just doesn’t matter how good the fuel injection controller is if it has poor software for you to work with. Imagine you have the perfect after market fuel injection controller for your car, it has every option you ever see yourself needing, this Engine management System can control a 16 cylinder sequential injection engine with coil on plug ignition while managing a 6 speed automatic transmission. It does this with a monster 10GHz processor that can make every calculation perfect without even using a fraction of it’s resources. This is Great! BUT, think about it. It is only going to do what it is told to do by you as you set it up; And you can only do what you know by what you see the engine asking for.
The most important part of a fuel injection controller is you getting the information and being able to correct problems or take advantage of opportunities based on what YOUR engine is doing. Not reading about someone else’s engine, but getting the information directly from your engine, then having your engine information analyzed for problems, improvements and opportunities. This is just taking advantage of modern technology, yet it just doesn’t happen with the majority of fuel injection controllers available today at any price. You can spend $5000 on a fuel injection system and be left with unimaginably primitive software for you to see what it is doing or for you to correct it.
How does this happen you might ask? I know I did when I started looking at what was available from the majority of aftermarket EFI controllers, including some big names and what would otherwise be great products. The vast majority of aftermarket controllers have either extremely basic software or software that was designed by the guy who made the controller, so it all makes great sense to him after working with it day in and day out for hundreds or thousands of hours. You don't want to waste those hours yourself, you want to tune your car! Even more often limitations have just been accepted when they didn’t need to be. So even those experts are stuck working with limited information. The development of high caliber tuning software is a very different process and skill set than the development of the controller itself.
Don’t fall victim to selecting a stand alone controller without heavily considering the tuning software you will have to work with. Before buying any fuel injection Controller:
- Make sure the software can data log the information you need. It may mean every field you can think of or running a data log during an entire 3 hour rally race.
- Check the user interface to be clean, simple to navigate and bug free. This is an area that commonly suffers and you see many cobbled together applications.
- Make sure the software identifies problems and offers guidance
- Make sure it runs on the computer you need it to run on.
- Make sure it easily lets you review and adjust your tune while the car isn't around.
- Is management of tune files easy?
- Can you easily compare changes to the tune and settings at different points in time?
- Compare the features of the software, whether it is dashboard display, data log capture and viewing, Auto tuning, diagnostics, etc.
- Auto tuning is not a check box. Very few work. Yet a good auto tune can tune better than any human can.
Don’t for a second think that because you pay a premium price, you will get the premium software, it just doesn’t work that way. You should always try the software before you buy an EFI controller. Your fuel injection experience is only as simple as the software you use to interact with it.
If you and your PC side software can not clearly see and understand what your engine is doing, it will simply never run to potential.