The Engine Control Unit (ECU)

14th Mar 12 15:59<< Go back to news

The Engine Control Unit (ECU)

The ECU is a type of electronic control unit that controls a series of actuators on an internal combustion engine by reading values from a multitude of sensors within the engine bay and using the data gained and referenced to a multidimensional performance maps and adjusting the engines actuators accordingly.

There was a time when the modern day ECU wasn’t around and air/fuel mix, idle speed and ignition timing were all mechanically set and controlled by mechanical and pneumatic means.

In the late 1980’s analog/digital hybrid ECU’s were popular, the analog elements were used to measure and process input parameters while the digital ROM chip yielded precomputerised output values.   This systems had many disadvantages including the in ability to compensate for wear, un like todays systems with adaptive learning functions.

The hardware in modern ECU’s are made up from electrical components on a printed circuit board (PCB), the main component of which is a microcontroller chip or CPU. This is where the software for the ECU is stored,   the microcontroller, thus enables the CPU to be re-programmed by uploading updated codes and replacing chips, this is also known as the Engine Management System (EMS).

The ECU not only communicate with the engines sensors, but also receives input signals from places such as the turbocharger, ABS, ESP and the transmission control units. The Controller Area Network or CAN bus automotive network is often used to achieve communication between these devices.



If you are interested in learning more about Engine Management, why not try the following courses

VSG2- Engine Management; Spark Ignition & Diagnosis
VSG5- Engine Management; Diagnosis of Universal Components

These 2 day courses can be found at most regional venues cost £300 +VAT per person. to find out your nearest course click on the link provided 

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