Engine Control Unit Project

I am currently studying an MSc in Automotive Electronic Engineering, and am now beginning to work on my final project. The main goal of the project is to build an engine control unit. I’m now at the prototyping stage where I just want to get something working to that I can make sure that everything is possible. I’m hoping to eventually get to a stage where I use an in cylinder pressure transducer to infer the air to fuel ratio of the engine and use this instead of a lambda sensor as an input to my ECU to control my fuel injection.

I’m currently developing my ECU on an Arduino since it’s quick and easy, and will probably port it to a Freescale PowerPC at a later date (I have already build a PowerPC ECU for another project assignment).

I’m also building an engine simulator using an Stellaris Launchpad, and programming it using the Energia IDE (which is very similar to Arduino IDE). So far, the Launchpad simulates an engine by receiving a throttle position from a Serial port, and then calculates the torque and engine speed. It produces a missing tooth signal output on one of the pins which correlates to the engine speed.

The Arduino ECU reads the missing tooth output to determine the engine speed and crank angle position (in 6 degree resolution). It then drives one pin which will be connected to a fuel injector for a single fuel pulse per revolution (currently no cam position sensor) and another pin which will drive the ignition coil for one spark per revolution (wasted spark). The fuel injector timing and duration and ignition timing and duration are both variable via a serial connection between the Arduino and a computer.

Next step is to read in the fuel and igntion pulses on the engine simulator and then add an AFR calculation and output.

2 thoughts on “Engine Control Unit Project

  1. Nigel


    This looks like a great project that I have just started to follow. I am just wondering what your time frame is? Is your MSc final project multiple years? Do you know what happens once you are finished? i.e. will it get picked up by another student?.. or will you continue it on?..

    Keep up the good work, I imagine there are heaps of really interesting projects going on around the world that no one hears about, good on you for letting people in on what you are doing.

    1. Scott Snowden Post author

      Hi, thanks, that’s what I always think too, and I like reading about these sorts of things. I have finished the project now, it was a 1 year course. It may be carried on if someone else wishes to do the same project. I may pick it up again one day, I like the idea of installing fuel injection on an old car and using my own ECU to run it. Now I have a job working on engine controls, so don’t get much time to play around with it.


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