Category Archives: Arduino ECU

This project was undertaken as the final project and dissertation for my MSc in Automotive Electronic Engineering. The projected aimed to develop a simple engine control unit for a single cylinder port injected 4-stroke gasoline engine. The ECU has been developed on an Arduino Mega board and the project primarily focuses on the software rather than the electronic interfaces.

The code is available to view and download here

ESP8266 Arduino `.text’ will not fit in region `iram1_0_seg’ Error

I’ve been writing some software for a Wifi based CAN data logger for the ESP8266 in the Arduino platform, and have been getting a bit of a strange error. It appeared to be related to using the std::string functions in my code – and although I have used this in other sketches without issue, I suddenly received the following error as soon as I simply declared a std::string variable:

c:/users/scott/appdata/local/arduino15/packages/esp8266/tools/xtensa-lx106-elf-gcc/1.20.0-26-gb404fb9-2/bin/../lib/gcc/xtensa-lx106-elf/4.8.2/../../../../xtensa-lx106-elf/bin/ld.exe: C:\Users\Scott\AppData\Local\Temp\build525647f6f8500d071cfab5cccf314276.tmp/ESPCANLogger.ino.elf section `.text' will not fit in region `iram1_0_seg'

collect2.exe: error: ld returned 1 exit status

A bit of googling appears to show that this is something to do with where those std libraries are stored in the code memory of the ESP8266 (I don’t fully understand the details of the chip). The issue is described in this issue in the Arduino ESP8266 github issues log:

There is a fix shown in this pull request

I had a bit of trouble locating the file referred to, because the Arduino boards manager doesn’t appear to store the added boards in the Program Files location anymore, but these are now located in the AppData folder in your user profile (on Windows 8)


The line which appears to fix it all should be added around line 163:

*libstdc++.a:(.literal .text .literal.* .text.*)

So my file then looked like this:

*libsmartconfig.a:(.literal .text .literal.* .text.*)
*libstdc++.a:(.literal .text .literal.* .text.*)
*(.irom0.literal .irom.literal .irom.text.literal .irom0.text .irom.text .irom.text.*)

There is some more detailed explanation about memory inside the ESP8266 here:

Video Explanation

I’ve made a video of the whole system explaining all of the sensors, actuators and interfaces, and some of the more advanced indicating equipment that I’m using.

A more detailed explanation of the closed loop ignition timing control is given here:

Closed Loop Ignition Timing Control

I have been busy over the last few weeks with various things, but have now completed most of the practical work on my project and am now at the stage of writing up the report/dissertation. I have successfully managed to achieve closed loop ignition timing control by using the Stellaris Launchpad development board to directly interface with the optical encoder on the engine and the pressure sensor charge amplifier (this replaces the AVL IndiSet 620 in my system).

ECU in black on left, angle of peak pressure and optical encoder interface on right. Connected together via serial

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Exhaust heat exhanger

In order to run the engine inside, I had to set up an external exhaust to get the fumes outside. This had been done with a big exhaust manifold attached to a flexi rubber marine exhaust hose, and then poked through a hole in the wall. This was ok operating the engine at idle and under low loads, but the rubber hose would get extremely hot under high load high speed conditions. It then began to melt internally and was causing the whole building to smell of burning rubber.

Copper pipe exhaust cooler (not good…)

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High Speed ADCs and Interfacing with Texas Instruments ADS8321

I needed a high speed ADC for sampling in cylinder pressure for my ECU, and settled on trying a few from Texas Instruments. I am using an optical encoder on the engine which provides 720 pulses per revolution . If I took a sample every pulse, then at 6000 RPM (100 Hz) then I would be looking at about 720 * 100 Hz = 72,000 Samples per Second (SPS) or 72kHz ( although I realise now that I could take a sample on each edge, resulting in 1440 samples per revolution, or 144,000 SPS). That’s pretty high speed, considering most ADCs built into microcontrollers take a few microseconds to perform their conversion which results in a sampling rate of perhaps up to 50,000 SPS max for the Arduino for example. DSP chips or higher end micros probably have better performance, but for the sake of learning, I fancied trying to use an external ADC anyway.

8 MSOP breakout

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Getting High Tech

Just a quick one on what I’ve been up to the last few days. I now have the engine set up inside so that I don’t have to keep pushing it outside or waiting for the rain to stop. I’ve also set up an optical encoder, in-cylinder pressure sensor, and AVL IndiSet high speed data acquisition unit to capture data on a 0.25 degree crank angle resolution.

Extended exhaust manifold for indoor running

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Adding a load

More progress made today, I connected up the alternator to the engine to begin testing it under load. This was pretty successful, and the ECU all performed as expected, with only a few tweaks to the PID controller parameters to improve the AFR control. I restricted the range of fuelling down to as restricted as possible to prevent the system setting wildly large or small fuelling amounts under certain conditions. I finally managed to get the PID to maintain the AFR slightly rich within a few percent under steady state conditions.

Belt drive to alternator

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