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Thread: Megasquirt and BMW's

  1. #1
    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    Megasquirt and BMW's

    Greetings from BC, Canada. Well into our Thanksgiving weekend here.
    I have a thought for a post, to offer information regarding the enhancement of a BMW with an alternate engine controller than the Motronic standard issue item.
    I thought I would test the waters for interest pertaining to this, there is no wish to downplay any part of a stock bike, or claims that one thing is better than another. Simply - that there is a method available and I'd be happy to present aspects which I have learned and tested on my bike. I have met many in recent years that have expressed interest in applying such upgrades to their rides, and as well I have been participating in some posts offered for example by "Roger 04 RT" where he is pressing the boundaries of determining and working with the Motronic engine management and bike performance.
    The Megasquirt product is not something I have a vested interest in, but do take every opportunity to mention it to any like minded tinkerers that seek excellence and functionality while maintaining a tight budget.
    Equally, this is not for the faint of heart, or at this time a "Plug'n Play" approach.
    Yes, I have applied this to an airhead but the reality is that oilheads (and other models in fact) would be that much easier to work with already being controlled by a computer and having sensors and components in place that otherwise need be fabricated and integrated properly.
    Again I would like to stress this is not in any way meant to detract from the marvelous BMW product, and at the end of the day the object is of course to take your bike out and have a pleasant ride.

    I'll keep this post short and free of specifics pending interest then.
    Regards, Lorne.

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    I think the first place to start would be to get some failed ecm and learn how to open, access the connector and then house the megasqurit in the housing. Then you could fit a wideband O2 sensor in each leg and do back to back tests.

    Rod

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    Oh no, someone's encouraging this guy!

    Quote Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
    I think the first place to start would be to get some failed ecm and learn how to open, access the connector and then house the megasqurit in the housing. Then you could fit a wideband O2 sensor in each leg and do back to back tests.

    Rod


    Agreed, although transitioning to the "plug'n play" item I myself would set as a down the road target, I'll offer why.
    Initially, most "squirters" attempt to purchase the bare MS ecu, then interface required sensors etc., and finally set about developing the required tune (all functions are programmable, and admittedly this is where most people find a greatest challenge gaining settings that provide for a performing engine) Many of the maps that come pre programmed can be used as starting points etc., and there are "self correcting" tuning tools and software available (free) that take the VE tables for instance to very accurate states. This is all academic and is very much like child rearing "What you know by time they are grown up would certainly have helped during those initial years" - so most people that have successfully navigated a megasquirt project on a car, boat, or bike tend to have a significant tuner comfort level developed by the end of the 1st project.
    Roger 04 RT previously had raised a pertinent point and concerns relating to the development of the ignition timing map which is admittedly the one template that is hardest to gain from scratch, and routinely requires some dyno time invested. I offered the following method to cheat that:

    a) Piggy back a gen 2 or 3 MicroSquirt (smaller ecu than Megasquirt) with the stock oilhead system and components in place.
    b) Add certain sensors to allow a seamless co-existence of the second controller, such as MAP/ CLT/ O2/ TPS. The 2nd TPS might be plumbed via mechanical similar to the split throttle cable units well used and proven on BMW's. Key would be picking up the stock ecu ignition trigger signal(s), and on this chapter I can attest to many numerous ways being available to "skin the cat" as they say.
    c) Tuner Studio logging via a lap top on bike. This is where it gets controversial, I've utilized one on my tuning efforts mounted to a light aluminum bracket system atop my fuel tank - one needs to avoid distraction while in motion.
    d) The MS controller would be going along for the ride and logging would allow capture of the stock Motronic treatment of ignition timing versus rpm's, load and throttle states to cheat that portion of the MS tuning required.
    e) An ignition map is agreeably one of the harder files to gain on your own and without some proper dyno time. All the other numerous files (VE & AFR tables/ enrichments/ corrections/ etc. etc.) are much easier to tip toe through and gain results. The Motronic Ignition Table would arguably be a "good starting point" to resume bike operation and improve from there. There is always room for improvement.
    f) Logs taken under all conditions, and including cold starts, warm ups, modest cruise, transitions, heavy acel, you get the idea would provide the back drop to cheat a really good starting "MSQ" for the MicroSquirt controller to be commissioned and take over as main controller.

    I expect that a pretty good base line tune might be developed and if made available to share amongst participants, would allow even a novice tuner to plug the MS onto their bike and drive away - with modest final tweaking performed via further operation and logging. Unfortunately, most people want to have that right out of the shipping box, and megasquirt is not a finished product in that regard (at this point). It is amazingly affordable however.
    I can provide numerous links to nice visuals and data, just "idling" comments at this point.
    Regards,
    Lorne

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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    It's certainly true that one has to burn more fuel to create more power.

    Usual ways are increases in displacement, physical modifications to intake system, etc.

    It's all physics.

    So is the stoichiometric ratio.

    The notion of just increasing the fuel-air ratio is quite limited.

    Its biggest advantage is that it's cheap, as bigger cylinders and head/cam work are expensive.

    You'll get what you pay for.

    (And, one wants to ask BMW's what? Nothing in the English language is made plural by adding apostrophe-s. It's just BMWs.)
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    It's certainly true that one has to burn more fuel to create more power.

    Usual ways are increases in displacement, physical modifications to intake system, etc.

    It's all physics.

    So is the stoichiometric ratio.

    The notion of just increasing the fuel-air ratio is quite limited.

    Its biggest advantage is that it's cheap, as bigger cylinders and head/cam work are expensive.

    You'll get what you pay for.

    (And, one wants to ask BMW's what? Nothing in the English language is made plural by adding apostrophe-s. It's just BMWs.)
    I appreciate your attention to detail, and proper grammar. I'll be the first to admit that my spelling is atrocious, I can type 60wpm accurately however if that somehow makes a difference.
    I am not sure I understand Kent, what you are saying relative to air fuel ratios? "Increasing the AFR" - can you clarify?
    As I know you know, a stoichiometric 14.7 ratio is desirable at certain times, richer and leaner numbers can and are utilized depending on operational state (again this is all academic).
    Via this post and consideration, I'm not proposing to merely shift to another ratio from that which Motronic offers, but modify the entire fuel map or VE table to suit that which the rider seeks, and the engine will accept or benefit from. Making more power is perhaps a dividend that "might" result from improvements in ignition and fuel management and such with Megasquirt, but most definitely allowing certain perhaps unusual characteristics to be addressed, such as "surging", "first start laziness", and perhaps other topics on the forums here are the things on the table to be affected, perhaps even improved (did I write that down, I was thinking it). If someone decides to venture down that pathway, then this information was being offered as a help towards that.

    However, discussion is useful and any thoughts, comments are a good thing (perhaps excepting if this degrades to the point of argument over for example, 1 or 2 pounds of air in your tires).

  6. #6
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    For the reasons you mention, this looks like an interesting project for the right person or people. I've given it thought from time to time. I like the idea of setting up a Megasquirt to record the performance of the Motronic. One area where we have found, with the help of LC-1s on several bikes, is that the most surge prone area (a few degrees of throttle, 3000 to 5000) is one where the BMW fueling strategy is Open Loop, and quickly going from acceleration enrichment to deceleration enleanment. This is an area ripe for improvement.



    The stoic ratio, which varies from fuel to fuel, is often referred to as Lambda = 1, and as everyone knows is the ratio of actual AFR to stoic AFR for the actual fuel being used. Anyhow, stoic is a theoretical ratio where exactly all the fuel and all the air in the combustion charged get consumed--perfect combustion. It turns out however that there is always air not consumed in the charge at lambda =1. It is also the hottest exhaust gas, called peak-EGT as opposed to stoichiometric by pilots.

    As a result, pilots know their planes will fly faster, with cooler exhaust valves, if the mixture is richened. It works on our bikes too. And it also turns out that leaner than stoic gives you better gas mileage and cooler exhaust. So if you're an exhaust valve stoic is the worst spot. So there can be a lot of value to 3-10% shifts in mixture.

    Also as most reading this thread know, there are power increases to be had from timing changes.

    All to say this project looks like a lot of fun if you have the time.
    RB

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    "Power Increases to be had from Timing Changes"

    Roger, your points are as always, well founded and researched. On your mention of the relationship between fueling ratios and engine temperatures and aircraft, I am inclined to now add "water injection" into the consideration. The following link is a very interesting read on well kept secrets from WW2:
    http://www.rbracing-rsr.com/downloads/NACA_H2O_2.pdf
    Of course WI becomes significantly more attractive when forced induction is being utilized, but I am just slightly amazed that it is not exploited more with traditional natural aspiration. A couple of points extracted from a list of "knowns" from data posted by RB Racing below:

    - Water or Water / Alcohol to Fuel Ratios are between 12.5% to 25%. This means Air to Fluid Ratios are between 11.1:1 and 10.0:1 with water injection.
    - Maximum water delivery should be in higher load low to mid rpm ranges tapering somewhat at peak rpms where load is less.
    - Atomization of the water mixture is directly related to it effectiveness. Finer droplets cool the inlet charge better and with less mass they navigate the inlet plenum easier for
    more equal water distribution.

    Those heavy bombers developed significantly increased HP for take off utilizing WI.
    During testing, I'm noting ability to lean out mixtures under more areas of operation including of course high load, where ignition timing can be advanced, and fuel octane rating can be reduced. This for me is a sideline project to pursue valid aspects for improved fuel economy, where water injection is utilized. I have a miniature Peerless 12vdc diaphragm pump about the size of a small slot race car DC motor, which provides 60cc/min fluid while @ 80psi. That provides pretty good atomization through small SS finely orificed nozzles (McMaster Carr naturally). I have a 4L water tank hidden within the rear upright upholstered seat back, currently injection is signaled any time 5psi manifold is surpassed. Many, including racers utilize alcohol mixtures with added benefits but I didn't want to deal with the corrosion issues that can take place so have stuck to H20.
    There are some interesting ways to proportionally administer water such that a gradual lead in is possible. That would be a good point to embark from for naturally aspirated engines, being as how our bikes are not able to carry vast amounts of water on board as a rule. So, much more power might be available for rather light investment through such technology. Are there down sides, of course. If you run out of water watch out (and should have a warning system or redundancy). I have watched for oil distress where water might make its way into the base and not boil off, but haven't noted change.
    This digresses from original post, but is a really interesting chapter to venture into.
    Regards,
    Lorne.

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    Ignition Trigering on Oilheads

    Slight editing applied.

    I've read some previous posts on the Hall sensors for Oilheads, mostly to do with potential failures with wiring and such.
    Couple of questions:
    a) One earlier oilhead article describes the TDC Hall sensor, and the 180 degree Hall sensor, as located on end of crank under alt belt shive. Can someone shed light on the job of each of these? (example, one pertains to ignition, the other fuel control, or - 180 degree orientation having some bearing on individual cylinder firing pulses.)
    b) The above rendition of twin Halls on a plate, is this common (or replicated but with alternate parts) for a range of bikes? (K models, hex heads, cam heads, wetheads)
    Last edited by R100RTurbo; 10-18-2013 at 08:17 PM.

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    Potential Install Investigation

    Not to leave this thread hanging, and the intent was to provide a "modicum" of insight towards the acquisition of Motronic program files and settings as a "safe" starting point for the usage of a MegaSquirt, or MicroSquirt (smaller brother version) to fully control all ignition, fuel, and potentially other systems as found on an oilhead platform - I believe there is every indication of numerous approaches and methods to get that happening. I'm not substantiating this by having actually done it, but by reason of experience I've gained to date I suggest its an achievable goal and not that time consuming either. (having worked such a process through on an airhead which is both simpler, and more challenging too)

    Although I haven't gained much theory of how the Motronic is treating the twin Hall sensors, that type of signal is very common and workable to the MS systems and I believe would both afford a "piggyback" signal for logging, as well provide the basis to utilize wasted spark with no hardware changes on the engine components. In order to transition towards "sequential ignition and fuel control, a cam signal might be sourced from an added sensor within one of the heads perhaps (hard to speculate without actually having the iron to play with).
    As mentioned before, certain sensors would not be happy sharing their readings during the "piggy back" logging process (coolant and inlet air temp for example) and would require a temporary addition of 2nd sensors while the said logging was taking place. Those logs captured would be a helpful aide towards creation of a safe "MSQ" or tune, but many (myself included) have taken that task on head first and developed every map and setting from the standard inserts that MS provides or generates (required fuel generator, or VE table generator for example) and then fine tune things one step at a time.
    What could result then would be a potential for a "plug and play" ecu (perhaps taking an old Motronic case to use the plug over, or just locate that form of plug for stock bike harness), with a very reasonable MSQ loaded on wasted spark format. Some other items like ABS pose a different challenge, and whether that can be integrated onto the MS system would probably be something I'd seek help on from others on the MS forums (where there reside multitudes of significantly intelligent tuners who offer help freely). If nothing else, piggybacking the MS onto the original controls to allow a couple of such systems running concurrently would be quite possible.
    Hopefully this can help when someone decides to embark on such a project,
    Lorne.

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    Registered User R100RTurbo's Avatar
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    And Regarding the Name

    One final point for those looking at the name "MegaSquirt" and rolling eyes , I agree in the somewhat obscure nature of that brand name.
    Rest assured however, "MS" has and is becoming the choice for a significant number of drag racers, high performance shops, and Salt Flat record seekers, as it delivers! What was once a casual curiosity by many towards the appearance of machines sporting the "MS" name, has shifted towards recognition and endorsement of a remarkable tool that allows casual low budget participants to beat out and surpass performance of other vastly more expensive & known products.

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