Processing Speed: AEM’s new Infinity-6 ECU has lightning-quick reflexes

Bisi Ezerioha of Bisimoto Engineering in Ontario, Calif., built a Honda Odyssey minivan for corporate Honda. It was one of the stranger projects he had worked on, but certainly a powerful one. In final tune, the Odyssey dyno tested at 1,029 horsepower from its turbocharged V6 engine. Yes, you read that right: 1,029 horsepower.

Ezerioha then loaned the van to the erstwhile television show Top Gear USA, whose hosts flogged it for all it was worth. However, he wasn’t worried, and the car came back unharmed.

“They took it for a week and did everything with it, from 0-120 runs to Pikes Peak. People saw that show and said ‘Bisi, you let them do that to your car?’” Ezerioha said. “Well, guess what, I had the right components on it in terms of the engine foundation, what we built here. But also the engine management system.”

Ezerioha had installed the new AEM Infinity engine management system, which has quickly become his system of choice, even among systems costing three times as much money, such as those from Motec. We caught up with Ezerioha by phone to learn more about what this new AEM Infinity system can do.

AEM’s new Infinity-6/8 is designed for up to six cylinders and V8s with high-impedance injectors. The Infinity can process 400 MIPS, which marks a colossal leap forward in processing power.
AEM’s new Infinity-6/8 is designed for up to six cylinders and V8s with high-impedance injectors. The Infinity can process 400 MIPS, which marks a colossal leap forward in processing power.

Ezerioha said the key to the Infinity’s power is its processing speed. He points out that most engine management systems are capable of six to 12 MIPS, or millions of instructions per second. The AEM Infinity can process 400 MIPS, which marks a colossal leap forward in processing power. What that means to the racer is that the system can make tuning adjustments at light speed — or thereabouts.

“So in terms of being able to process information very quickly, I have yet to come across a system that is as quick as this,” he said. “It’s just overkill, but it’s very important in terms of safety.”

That processing speed and element of safety allows tuners like Bisimoto Engineering to extract as much power from a given engine as possible without fear of stepping over the edge into insidious engine phenomena. Those include, but are not limited to things like over-boost, knock control and failsafe protections.

AEM engineers incorporated air flow models into the software, which determines a base fuel injector pulse width. All a tuner needs to do is answer questions about displacement, number of cylinders, injector size and fuel type, so initial start-up is a simple process as is precision tuning.
AEM engineers incorporated air flow models into the software, which determines a base fuel injector pulse width. All a tuner needs to do is answer questions about displacement, number of cylinders, injector size and fuel type, so initial start-up is a simple process as is precision tuning.

“Knock control is extremely important, especially in high performance, especially when you have high rpm and high compression ratios or high boost,” he said. “You have a very narrow tuning window in terms of making sure the engine is safe from detonation and preignition and so forth.”

In the past, engine management systems have only been able to make global corrections for knock. For example, say you’re running a car on the track, and cylinder No. 3 starts to knock. In the past, the computer would add fuel and retard timing to all cylinders. With AEM Infinity, its processor and how the hardware and software is set up, it can determine knock in a given cylinder even if you have one knock sensor and make the corrections specific to that cylinder. How?

Based on feedback from things like the crankshaft position sensor and ignition timing, the Infinity would detect which cylinder is detonating, then add fuel and retard ignition timing to that cylinder, which protects the engine from harm while minimizing power loss. And it’s able to make those corrections in milliseconds because of the Infinity’s processing speed.

“So, what that means to the enthusiast, if you have a knock in one cylinder, the AEM can add fuel and retard timing in that one cylinder and not lose as much performance” Ezerioha said. “You can imagine with older hardware and software if you have global change in fuel and timing, it would change the performance of the car quite dramatically.”

In the software, there are tabs in which a tuner can define fail-safes and what those values should be, and shut the engine down or return it to an idle speed to prevent engine damage.
In the software, there are tabs in which a tuner can define fail-safes and what those values should be, and shut the engine down or return it to an idle speed to prevent engine damage.

The Infinity also lets you set any number of engine failsafe parameters that will protect the engine when the driver’s attention is diverted away from a warning light or a gauge. For tuners like Bisimoto, setup is fairly simple and straightforward.

For example, in the base map, there is a basic feedback mechanism in place, but you can define what AFR you want to be too lean based upon what load. You can define what boost pressure you don’t want to exceed. You can define what oil pressure is too low at different loads. Those are just a few examples of failsafes. The Infinity also can handle drive-by-wire throttle, and communicates with UEGO hardware and software, so you can measure the air-fuel ratio of each cylinder.

The failsafes saved an engine on one Bisimoto’s project cars, a Hyundai he set up for the OEM. One of the fuel lines got knocked loose. The Infinity immediately saw the dip in fuel pressure and compensated. Even so, the car still ran and drove to its destination, but the engine wasn’t harmed. It’s so advanced that it essentially only needs to be tuned once and the system adjusts its maps from there based on sensor readings.

For example, Jeremy Croiset’s Honda Challenge 2 CRX used to need different maps based on the different elevations of the tracks he would visit. With AEM’s newly released Infinity-6, Bisimoto outlined all the parameters and failsafes he wanted, and the speed of the processor adjusts everything based on inputs from things like manifold absolute pressure and barometric sensors. The conversion from the previous engine management system to the Infinity-6 was simplified further by AEM’s plug-and-play adapter harness, which AEM makes for Hondas and other applications, with more in development.

What’s interesting is that the cost of the Infinity with a PNP harness is only a couple of hundred dollars more that that of AEM’s old Series 2 ECU in many cases. That means the user gets the most advanced architecture and software on the platform AEM will continue to develop. As AEM enhances the feature content, Infinity owners will be able to upgrade their systems at no cost.

“So whether he’s at Mid-Ohio or whether he’s at Fontana, he never has to touch that ECU at all,” Ezerioha said. “In the past, when he’d go to tracks at higher elevations, I’d have to email him a map with let’s say 10 percent less fueling, to allow him to compete safely. Now, with the AEM Infinity, that’s no longer a challenge.

“For engineers, like me who love data, you can get over 60 gb of data from the Infinity, with tons of parameters,” he added. “Everything the ECU sees, you can data log. It’s pretty frightening. I’m shocked they can sell this at the price point that they have.”

RESOURCES

http://www.aemelectronics.com

http://bisimoto.com/2014/

Comments
Images courtesy of AEM PHOTO, Jeremy Croiset and Brett Becker