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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ultimate ZZ Power FC FAQ and Information Resource

Ultimate ZZ Power FC FAQ and Information Resource

In creating this, it was my hope that I would be able to provide a one-stop resource for everyone on the MR-S forums here, from the novice considering the Power FC all the way to the guy who’s been playing with it on his car already for a while, but hasn’t quite learned everything about it. If anyone feels there is something I should add, update, or change in this thread, please bring it to my attention via PM.

This FAQ was inspired by the FAQ created by Paulr33 of the Skylines Australia forum (linked below). While his FAQ is good, I thought the ZZ engine crowd could use a more platform specific resource that takes advantage of the knowledge contained in our very own forums.

Notes:
• “PFC” is the common abbreviation for the APEX’i Power FC.
• “CEL” is the common abbreviation for your vehicle's Check Engine Light.
• “MWR” is abbreviation for Monkeywrench Racing, a commercial reseller popular with our platform, which I have no affiliation with.
• APEX’i Japan went bankrupt in 2008. A’PEXi USA (yes, they moved the apostrophe) is still going strong. Apparently, the Power FC has ceased production for now, but according to MWR there is an ample supply of 1zz and 2zz units for the foreseeable future. Also consider that bankruptcy does not mean the business is done for good, apparently the car parts division in Japan was doing just fine and is reportedly continuing operations in some form.

About me: I have been collecting this information for a long time now, but it still seems like there is something new to learn every day. I am among the first in the ZZ engine platforms to get my hands on the Power FC, the FC Datalogit, and to successfully apply forced induction. I owe much of what I have learned over the years to the great collective membership we have here at Spyderchat.

STOP! Before reading further, is this your problem?
Most Common Problem / Question:
#19. “My car won’t idle, what gives?! It’s running roughly, surging, and/or stalling.”
See below for answer.

General Power FC FAQs/info that apply
Up-to-date, universally applicable Power FC FAQ
http://www.paulr33.com/powerfc-faq/powerfc-faq.htm

Jesse IL’s 1zz/2zz-specific FC Datalogit FAQ
http://www.newcelica.org/forums/showthread.php?t=258454

Interesting explanation of universal PFC functions in Wikipedia style
http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/index.php?title=A'PEXi_PowerFC_(deleted_20_Apr_2008_at_01:52) (note: the knock scale is not 0-100 as it claims; also see Kevin Bean's post below in this thread for other errors noticed)

Database for Kevin Bean's CoPilot, English PFC manuals, and more
http://www.mr-s.org/copilot/

“I haven’t bought it yet, not sure if it’s right for me.”
#1. “What does the Power FC really do, or let you do, and how can a guy like me take advantage of its capabilities?”
#2. “Which engine management should I choose? Why the Power FC?”
#3. “But isn’t the PFC tuned for Japanese octane, something like 98 or 100?”
#4. “Does it work with SMT?”
#5. “Does it require any extra wires, plugs, or peripherals? In other words, is it completely plug & play with the OEM wire harness?”
#6. “How long does it take to install or uninstall in order to go back to stock ECU?”
#7. “Is it OBDII compliant? Will I get any CEL (check engine light) codes if anything with the car is wrong?”
#8. “Are there any drawbacks to the Power FC compared to other engine management?”

“OK, I’m convinced, what should I order and where at?”
#9. Order Power FC + FC Commander (handheld controller)
#10. “What is this Datalogit thing and should I get it?”
#11. “What about the FC Commander Pro?”
#12. “Do I need a wideband O2 sensor?”
#13. “Which wideband is compatible with the Power FC?”
#14. “I’m going broke, do I need anything else?!”

“I just bought it.”
#15. “Are there any install tutorials?”
#16. “Are there any English manuals for this thing?”

“I've installed it, now what?”
#17. “Are there any good, pre-existing maps I can download from a database?”
#18. “When I start the Datalogit software, it says ‘Interface not responding,’ is something wrong?”
#19. “My car won’t idle, what gives?! It’s running roughly, surging, and/or stalling.”
#20. “I’m driving the car now, but I noticed the CEL (check engine light) flashing. What does that mean?”
#21. “How do I see the numerical knock value on the FC Commander?”
#22. “How do I interpret the knock value?”

“My car has forced induction too, what other things should I consider?”
#23. “What boost controller should I run with a PFC?”
#24. “Will the Power FC Boost Controller kit work with the ZZ Power FCs?”
#25. “Can I replace the MAF sensor with a MAP sensor instead?”
#26. “What happens if I hit a Load cell in the 20th Load row? Does that mean the MAF is maxed, that the ECU will cut fuel/ignition off, or some other problem I need to worry about?”
#27. “I’m worried about maxing out the MAF or the fuel injectors, or I think I already have!”
#28. “What are my options if I have maxed out the MAF? How does airflow rescaling work?”
#29. “How should I adjust VVTi for boost?”
#30. “I plan on beating my car hard on a race track and I’m worried about not having ignition retard if I get detonation from superheating everything. What are my options?”

“OK, it idles and drives, what’s the next step?”
#31. “Should I take it to a dyno tuner now?”
#32. “What’s Power Excel?”
#33. “How can I find a Power Excel dealer near me?”
#34. “What if I can’t go to a Power Excel dealer?”

“I got a Datalogit and I wanna play around with tuning it myself.”
#35. “I’ve got a Datalogit, but I’m a bit overwhelmed. Where should I start?”
#36. “How can I learn how to tune on my own?”
#37. “I know I need a wideband, are there any resources for the install and getting it to work?”

Miscellaneous & Advanced Topics
#38. “Is there a way to autotune? What’s this CoPilot thing I’ve seen mentioned?”
#39. “How much fuel economy can I expect? Is there a way to improve it?”
#40. “How much higher is it safe to raise the rev limiter?”
#41. “How do I rescale for a different size MAF tube or a different MAF?”
#42. “What does the second ignition map (IGT) shown in Datalogit do?”
#43. “How do you tune VVTi or VVTLi?”
#44. “The Datalogit manual isn’t very helpful, how can I gain a better understanding of all the functions?”
#45. “Is there a way to have electronic knock retard like the OEM computer?”
#46. “Does the Power FC rev limiter cut fuel or ignition?”
#47. “Does the Power FC use all of the stock O2 sensors?"
#48. “Anything else?”
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
“I haven’t bought it yet, not sure if it’s right for me.”
#1. “What does the Power FC really do, or let you do, and how can a guy like me take advantage of its capabilities?”
“Learn me on the PowerFC:”
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32565

#2. “Which engine management should I choose? Why the Power FC?”
Determine what fits your needs:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34227
PFC vs Hydra vs ?:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30526
PFC vs Dastek (Unichip):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14466
PFC vs Emanage:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29138
Why the PFC?:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28121

#3. “But isn’t the PFC tuned for Japanese octane, something like 98 or 100?”
Short answer is no, it's not what you probably think it is.
What “Japanese octane” really is:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29609
details about the PFC default map:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27646
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27646

#4. “Does it work with SMT?”
Short answer is sadly, no. For a while, there was a glimmer of hope with the discovery of the modified “Brashboy” PFC, but it didn’t pan out too well so the Greddy Emanage is still the Engine Management of choice for SMT owners.
The Brashboy test:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15412
The Brashboy verdict:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33064

#5. “Does it require any extra wires, plugs, or peripherals? In other words, is it completely plug & play with the OEM wire harness?”
No and yes, respectively. (See post #29):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34227&page=2

#6. “How long does it take to install or uninstall in order to go back to the stock ECU?”
You need to have the plastic storage bin behind the driver’s seat (U.S. spec) removed in order to gain access to the ECU. Assuming you already have that taken out, it takes approximately 1 minute to swap between the Power FC and stock ECU. It’s a matter of unplugging and plugging back in the wire harness.

(See post #9 and below for info):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34227

#7. “Is it OBDII compliant? Will I get any CEL (check engine light) codes if anything with the car is wrong?”
No and no. While you won’t get any codes, the CEL does temporarily flash when certain warning thresholds are surpassed, such as excessive knock.

#8. “Are there any drawbacks to the Power FC compared to other engine management?”
It doesn’t retard ignition timing if it detects knock (a.k.a. pinging, detonation, spark knock, etc.) as the stock ECU is able to. By most users’ accounts this is the main arguable downside; however, it does give you a display of how much knock is occurring, which allows a capable tuner to make it a non-issue with proper tuning. It is also possible to piggy back on top of the Power FC with something like a J&S knock controller if that level of protection is desired.

A few users have expressed frustration because the Power FC cannot be easily made to work with a MAP sensor, but a proper MAF setup is more than capable of handling enormous amounts of power. It is a fact that a pure, MAF-only based setup is superior to a MAP-only setup; MAFs are easier to create maps for and automatically compensate for light modifications as well as changes in weather, unlike a MAP.

“OK, I’m convinced, what should I order and where at?”
#9. Power FC + FC Commander (handheld controller)
It appears that after production ceased, retailers no longer sell these two separately; seems it’s now a package deal (unconfirmed.) Consider purchasing the unit used if able (not much advantage to buying it new). There is a separate, "turbo version" of the Power FC available from some vendors in Japan, but the only known difference is that it comes preloaded with maps for the A'PEXi turbo kit; in other words, there is no difference in the hardware. The A'PEXi turbo maps are widely available and can be easily loaded onto the "standard version" of the Power FC, so it seems to be of little benefit to go through the trouble of getting the "turbo version."
"Standard version" cost: 78,400 yen for the set at Teiwa ($828 as of 08/01/09): (choose from drop down menu)
http://www.teiwa.co.jp/main/frame.asp?mid=1&bid=9
Info about the "turbo version:"
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35105

#10. “What is this Datalogit thing and should I get it?”
If you are going to tune the car yourself or you just want to ability to play around with all the settings on your own, you need a Datalogit. It is a small box that plugs into the Power FC ECU and comes with PC software called FC Edit, which unlocks the full potential of the Power FC. Don’t attempt to tune it yourself without this, the FC Commander is woefully inadequate.
Cost: $379 in USB or Serial form at MWR (as of 06/17/09):
http://store.monkeywrenchracing.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_68_82&products_id=34

Here’s the manufacturer website:
http://www.fc-datalogit.co.nz/
A thread discussing what Datalogit is and does:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2823

If you have Datalogit, you also need a laptop to install the software on in order to log and tune (any will do, but small ones are nice for portability inside a car) or a tablet PC. A desktop computer won’t cut it for logging, but you can run the software offline on your desktop.

More info on tablet PC’s:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17450

If you can make it to an Apex’i Excel dealer (tuner), then you do not absolutely need a Datalogit. (Enter your info to find a dealer near you):
http://www.apexi-usa.com/dealers/

#11. “What about the FC Commander Pro?”
A’PEXi released this after they realized that Datalogit was taking their potential customers away. The Datalogit seems to cost slightly more these days, but supposedly has access to extra features that the “Pro” doesn’t. The Datalogit also has multiple inputs for extra sensors like a wideband, temp sensor, MAP sensor, etc. that can be logged alongside your other parameters; the “Pro” cannot do this. The ability for the Datalogit to log your wideband allows you to easily correlate wideband data with RPM and Load cells, which makes tuning much easier.

#12. “Do I need a wideband O2 sensor?”
It comes down to whether or not you are gonna DIY some of your own tuning. If you are, then you need it, but if you’re in that crowd you probably already knew that. If you aren’t going to tune anything yourself, you don’t need it because any tuner will have their own for use on the dyno.
(Pay particular attention to post #6 and on):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14564

#13. “Which wideband is compatible with the Power FC?”
None are directly compatible with the PFC. You need a Datalogit to hook up and log wideband data with the Power FC. It is compatible with any type of wideband kit:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34308
Here is a wideband compilation with some popular choices:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34831

#14. “I’m going broke, do I need anything else?!”
Don’t forget to save money to pay the tuner/dyno operator!! Tuning can cost anywhere from $100-$150 per hour, give or take. It usually costs from $300-$500 for a “complete tune,” sometimes as much as $800! It depends on how in demand the tuner’s services are, how thorough a job you want them to do, and how complex your setup is. Some people who understand the importance of this are even willing to pay all expenses to fly a well known tuner out to them in order to get things done right.

“I just bought it.”
#15. “Are there any install tutorials?”
For install tutorials, pay close attention to Kevin Beane’s posts and the links he provides in post #2. Make sure you read post #5 before you starting getting your hands dirty though. http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28480
Another oldie by Kevin:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28480

#16. “Are there any English manuals for this thing?”
There are a couple translated PFC and FC Commander manuals available online, which are originally for Honda and Mazda platforms, but the vast majority of the information is the same that applies to us. All the information for FC Datalogit is in English. Thank Kevin Beane for hosting them.
http://www.mr-s.org/copilot/PowerFC_Manuals/

“I've installed it, now what?”
#17. “Are there any good, pre-existing maps I can download from a database for FC Edit?”
The short answer is no, not at this time. As long as you can get the car to idle fine and fall back to idle without stalling, the default PFC maps will work for you just fine to drive to a tuner. For turbo guys, the newest versions of FC Edit (universal software version) include a variety of sample maps, one called the 1ZZ-FET, which is the same maps that came with the Apex'i turbo kit. That will work for you to drive to the tuner (do NOT boost prior to the tuner) and as a decent tuning starting point rather than the default PFC maps, which are based on an N/A configuration.

Using ANY map that was not tune for you specific vehicle can often be no better than starting with the default map and could even potentially be dangerous to your engine. NEVER drive the car hard on someone else’s map without having taken your own car to be professionally tuned first. The best thing to do is to get the car to idle and drive at light Load with the default map, then drive it to your tuner. If you have forced induction installed, again...don’t even think about it before getting it tuned properly.

We tried to make a map database here a few times, but it never got off the ground:
(ref: http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14075 )

There *is* a map “database” hosted by the newcelica.org crowd and I will post it here for reference ONLY, but I recommend not trying it, no matter how tempted you are for the reasons mentioned above:
http://www.newcelica.org/forums/showthread.php?t=269058

#18. “When I start the FC Edit software, it says ‘Interface not responding,’ is something wrong?”
Did you read the manual? Well did ya?! ;) OK then, here’s your answer:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14226

#19. “My car won’t idle, what gives?! It’s running roughly, surging, and/or stalling.”
First, ensure you enter correct settings for aftermarket injectors before you even start the car, this affects idle as well as all fueling:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32684

Make sure you did the idle learn procedure correctly. The procedure is in the manual, access it here (you did already read all the manuals right?!):
http://www.mr-s.org/copilot/PowerFC_Manuals/
Also, read post #2 in this thread:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28480

If you load a different map and the idle degrades, make sure you follow idle learn procedure again:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28482

The most common cause of poor idle with a PFC is that the default fuel map is too rich for the idle range. Leaning out the fuel in that area and raising idle RPM a bit usually resolves the problem. More information in the following threads:
Default map:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9569
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17936
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27646
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27280

Idle issues with the “MWR map” and after the car was taken to a tuner:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32673

Information on how a lightweight flywheel affects idle:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29968

(Advanced) Other potential affects on idle:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34249

#20. “I’m driving the car now, but I noticed the CEL (check engine light) flashing. What does that mean?”
When the check engine light is flashing at full throttle:
1. Lift completely off of the throttle immediately!
2. Never assume what the cause of the CEL was.

There are 3 reasons the CEL flashes:
1. Fuel injectors at 98% or greater duty cycle (as an aside, for reliability reasons, you shouldn’t purposely surpass 80% DC on injectors), 2. The knock registered is 60 or greater (this number can be changed on the 2zz version with knock threshold function), 3. The MAF sensor is reading close to maximum voltage (5.0-5.12v) and cannot meter any more airflow.

If you only have the handheld FC Commander hooked up when driving around, it should always be set on Monitor mode (showing knock, MAF v, and Injector duty at a minimum until you are comfortable with your tune). On the Monitoring screen, variables should always be set to display “peak hold” values, this is done by pressing the right arrow key on the FC Commander on the Monitoring screen. This way, when you’re driving along and the CEL flashes, you can go back afterwards and verify which of the 3 variables caused the light to flash instead of just guessing.

Of course, if you have a laptop hooked up and you’re logging all these things while tuning, it’s much easier to go back through your logs and see when the variables were exceeded, where on the map it happened, and how many times. This can be helpful in eliminating the problem in the case of knock.

It is not unusual to max out the stock fuel injectors on the default fuel map before the rev limiter under full throttle (without forced induction). You will not max out the MAF unless you have forced induction and you should not have greater than 60 knock without forced induction unless you altered the default PFC maps to be very lean and/or have too much ignition timing.

Injectors maxing out on default fuel map:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29169
(2zz) Setting the knock threshold value:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30371
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12251

#21. “How do I see the numerical knock value on the FC Commander?”
To see the numerical value on the FC Commander, turn on “peak hold” as described in the previous question.
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10937

The knock “bar” on FC Commander and knock explained (pay particular attention to Littlerocket’s post, #22):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23858

#22. “How do I interpret the knock value?”
What the knock number represents and what a “normal” range is:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13800
Real knock vs Fake knock:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27544

“My car has forced induction too, what other things should I consider?”
#23. “What boost controller should I run with a PFC?”
The short answer is that it doesn’t matter much:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34313

#24. “Will the Power FC Boost Controller kit work with the ZZ Power FCs?”
No, it works with OEM turbo cars only:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7458
See post #8 and below for info from Datalogit support group and Web 3.0:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12749

#25. “Can I replace the MAF sensor with a MAP sensor instead?”
No and to a lesser extent, yes. The ZZ versions of the Power FC do not directly support it; however, anything is possible with enough money. With that said, this isn’t an easy conversion and there are no well-known documentations I am aware of it having been done. It is technically unnecessary once you learn how to address what seem to be the initial shortcomings of our stock MAF. While tuning on boost with a MAP may seem like an easy solution at first, creating proper VE mapping for a pure MAP setup is much more challenging and time consuming than simply tuning a MAF for boost:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25020
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28382

An interesting new device has been brought to our attention that may make such a conversion possible, for those dead set on it. The MAF emulator:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34600

#26. “What happens if I hit a Load cell in the 20th Load row? Does that mean the MAF is maxed, that the ECU will cut fuel/ignition off, or some other problem I need to worry about?”
The 20th Load row seems to vary a little bit, depending on the source of the default maps in your PFC. I have seen both 15,000 and 18,000 as the default maximum value for the 20th Load row. Be aware that once you introduce a little boost, these Load values can be easily surpassed, depending upon how much air your engine is sucking in and power you're making.
http://spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?40699-powerfc-setting-please-check-thanks!

I have run my car into the 20th Load cell and "beyond" many times; it doesn’t mean the MAF is maxed and from my experience it doesn’t cause anything odd to happen like a fuel or ignition cut.

Each of the 20 rows for Load has a maximum value by default. With laptop software, these values can be changed and rescaled. Load is mainly calculated by a formula mainly based upon airflow measured by the MAF. If you hit the 20th cell with the default scaling, the ECU will continue to register and log Load values beyond the maximum value for the 20th cell, but the ECU will be constrained to outputting whatever fuel, ignition, and VVT values are in that particular 20th Load cell it is stuck in. The engine will continue to run as normal, but as airflow may continue to increase, the fuel output will be stagnated, which will lead to a lean condition if not addressed. This can be dangerous if not monitored closely. This problem is solved by rescaling Load with software (FC Edit or CoPilot). Read more here (see post #13 and below):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33212

#27. “I’m worried about maxing out the MAF or the fuel injectors, or I think I already have!”
***(I’m going to repeat something I wrote earlier in the FAQ for anyone who skipped through.)***
When the check engine light is flashing at full throttle:
1. Lift completely off of the throttle immediately!
2. Never assume what the cause of the CEL was.

If you only have the handheld FC Commander hooked up when driving around, it should always be set on Monitor mode (showing knock, MAF v, and Injector duty at a minimum until you are comfortable with your tune). On the monitor window, variables should always be set to display peak values. This way, when you’re driving along and the CEL flashes, you can go back afterwards and verify which of the 3 variables caused the light to flash instead of just guessing.

Of course, if you have a laptop hooked up and you’re logging all these things while tuning, it’s much easier to go back through your logs and see when the variables were exceeded, where on the map it happened, and how many times. This can be helpful in eliminating the problem in the case of knock.
***(End of repeated portion)***

Remember, there are 3 causes for a flashing CEL, which happen to coincide with 3 of the main things to be wary of when tuning a car for forced induction. Unfortunately, by the time it flashes and you have time to lift your foot off it could be too late in the case of knock. It’s best to take things slow and know what to expect *before* you find the light flashing at you.

If the MAF becomes maxed out, you run similar risks to maxing out the Load scale on the PFC; airflow continues to increase, but it isn’t being metered and so more fuel isn’t being added to compensate, which can cause a lean condition. If the injectors become maxed out or "static," then simply put, you run the risk of running lean and engine destruction as a result.

How to know if you’re maxing out the MAF or if you might be getting close:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15928
What to do if injectors are maxed out:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34806
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?p=580118

#28. “What are my options if I have maxed out the MAF? How does airflow rescaling work?”
Assuming that you have seen the MAF voltage hit 5.12 and the check engine light came on at that time, you have two choices. Go to a larger MAF tube (if you need just a little more room) or get a MAF with a larger scale (preferably WRX or Supra):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19870
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17545

Airflow settings and MAF rescaling discussion:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32855

#29. “How should I adjust VVTi for boost?”
Turbo setups and supercharged setups will vary slightly depending on the characteristics of the boost onset. Supercharged setups should be easier to tune in this regard.

Take note: a value of 0 on the VVTi map is full advance, full retard is in the neighborhood of 55.

This is a generalization, but what should generally work best for turbos is to advance intake valve timing at low to mid RPM (during spool), which increases overlap. Once on full boost, max retard should produce the best results, which gives minimum overlap and doesn’t allow precious charge air to escape the combustion chamber through the exhaust valves. In between these two extremes should be a brief, smooth transition area from advance to max retard:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29896

#30. “I plan on beating my car hard on a race track and I’m worried about not having ignition retard if I get detonation from superheating everything. What are my options?”
First, make sure your system is installed properly with all the needed peripherals, i.e. proper heat ranged spark plugs, correctly torqued and gapped, etc. as described in WTS's Power Quest document (see #46 for more on that).

Next thing I have to say is: tuning, tuning, and more tuning. I emphasize that the tune should be more conservative than the tune used on a typical street car, which usually only see boost for a few short 5-15 second stints. Once you’ve had it tuned thoroughly (all Load/RPM/acceleration combinations) by the best tuner you could find, proceed to other means. Running race gas on race days might be a worthwhile investment as well.

There are many other things that can be done to keep engine bay temps down. The lower the temps of fluids (oil & coolant) and the lower intake temps are, the less likely that detonation will occur in the first place. This places an emphasis on designing the car to take advantage of airflow and cooling. Think ceramic coatings, air ducting, heat shielding and wrap, oil coolers, radiator improvements, fans, etc. Changing your coolant out for 80% or greater water instead of the standard 50% can aid in cooling as well.

You can also always use water or alcohol injection as added form of insurance for redundancy. Just make sure you get a real nice setup with a low-level indicator and such if your engine’s well-being depends on it. Water injection works so well that WTS used it to run completely stock ignition timing on his turbo setup:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16304
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15883

If you're able and willing to go inside the engine, porting the combustion chamber can further reduce hot spots that lead to detonation. To take it a step further, you can virtually bulletproof your engine to detonation here and there if you wanna spring for forged pistons.

If you still insist on an electronic means to keep knock in check, you may have to do a lot of digging. The J&S Safeguard used to own this market, stopped production for a while, and now it appears they are slowly coming back to it as of Fall 2009:
Future of J&S:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31477
http://spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?31477-J-S-safeguard-went-out-of-business/page6
Other alternatives:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33309

“OK, it idles and drives, what’s the next step?”
#31. “Should I take it to a dyno tuner now?”
If you are not knowledgeable on how to properly tune engine management systems, do yourself a favor and save yourself the tears and money by taking it to a professional.

It is my utmost recommendation to take your car to an official, licensed A’PEXi Power Excel dealer if possible.

More details about driving to the tuner with an “untuned” car (pay close attention to post #20):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32673

#32. “What’s Power Excel?”
Description: http://www.apexi-usa.com/info/?id=2539

#33. “How can I find a Power Excel dealer near me?”
(Enter your location): http://www.apexi-usa.com/dealers/

#34. “What if I can’t go to a Power Excel dealer?”
Even if it’s a whole state away, I recommend you make the trip if possible. As long as you are driving like a normal commuter (no hard acceleration) you won’t hurt your car on the trip there, provided that you got it to idle ok and it seems normal under average driving conditions.

If you are unable to go to a Power Excel dealer, you absolutely need Datalogit.

“I got a Datalogit and I wanna play around with tuning it myself.”
#35. “I’ve got a Datalogit, but I’m a bit overwhelmed. Where should I start?”
Try to read the entire manual (.pdf) it came with all the way through at least once before you try to start using it.

Even though you’re not going to a Power Excel tuner, make sure you find the most reputable tuner you can who has Datalogit experience if you are not doing the tuning yourself.

Get the new software version before you use it! It has new, useful features. (Yes, the universal version, not the platform specific.):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32740

If you wanna learn the nitty gritty about most of the Datalogit functions, Jesse IL’s Datalogit FAQ posted at the top under the FAQ’s section is a good start. It will be a good idea for you to understand what settings the tuner is changing when you take it to him.

#36. “How can I learn how to tune on my own?”
It is highly recommend not try “on the job training” unless you have someone very knowledgeable and experienced directly mentoring you. Attempting to learn by tuning your own car can lead to a destroyed engine, especially if you have forced induction. Any number of things can happen from detonation destroying your ring lands to melting a little piece of a spark plug that scores up your cylinder walls and destroys your rings or much worse, like a hole somewhere there shouldn't be one. Don’t mind rebuilding what you can salvage of the engine? Then go ahead…not many people learn anything without breaking stuff along the way.

You need to do a lot of reading before getting your hands dirty. This post written by Web 3.0 is a good primer:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14114

If you’re not lost yet, you need to purchase a few books and really immerse yourself in it. It is much better to learn from what accomplished tuners have published instead of trying to learn from some forum dude’s posts. Threads to point you in the right direction:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9147
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33627

#37. “I know I need a wideband, are there any resources for the install and getting it to work?”
Install LC-1 along with PFC & Datalogit install (LordTakuban write-up):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24711
“Official” Innovative LM-1 Install for universal Datalogit application:
http://www.innovatemotorsports.com/resources/powerfc_tutorial.php
Making AEM UEGO work with Datalogit:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18495

Miscellaneous & Advanced Topics
#38. “Is there a way to autotune? What’s this CoPilot thing I’ve seen mentioned?”
Check out Copilot, FC Edit’s evil twin (written by our own Kevin Beane). It has an insane number of features, autotuning is just scratching the surface. If you thought FC Edit was complex…beware, trying to learn how to use all of Copilot’s functions is not for the faint of heart:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23414

#39. “How much fuel economy can I expect? Is there a way to improve it?”
Discussions about gas mileage and tuning for fuel economy:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28678
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16121

#40. “How much higher is it safe to raise the rev limiter?”
On a stock head, the answer is roughly 300 RPM or so, depending on how adventurous you are. Without forced induction or cams and porting, you won’t be making much power above 7000 RPM anyway. Also, don't forget that the RPM will inevitably end up surpassing your rev limiter setting by a few hundred RPM:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4303

#41. “How do I rescale for a different size MAF tube or a different MAF?”
While the Airflow rescale function is fairly well understood, the concept of changing the MAF scaling has not been completely mastered yet with any ZZ applications to my knowledge. Here’s a thread with advanced mumbo jumbo theory about it:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32855

#42. “What does the second ignition map (IGT) shown in Datalogit do?”
Short answer - we don't know for sure, nothing has been proven, but some things ruled out (i.e. we know it doesn't allow for ignition retard.)
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17391
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22313
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33212

#43. “How do you tune VVTi or VVTLi?”
General discussion:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12749
VVT functionality within the PFC (and turbo VVT):
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29896

(For general reference, external “how to”):
http://www.newcelica.org/forums/showthread.php?t=275485

#44. “The Datalogit manual isn’t very helpful, how can I gain a better understanding of all the functions?”
Datalogit functions & usage clarifications:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24156
More importantly, see Jesse IL’s FAQ on newcelica.org (linked in the top FAQ section) for a bunch of good explanations on many of Datalogit’s functions.

#45. “Is there a way to have electronic knock retard like the OEM computer?”
I covered this topic in forced induction section, primarily because I feel that on N/A applications, serious knock should not be an issue with proper tuning. There is really little to no reason to need ignition retard on N/A application if tuning is properly done and especially if you're not driving your vehicle on a race track.

***(I’m going to repeat something the section from the forced induction section of the FAQ.)***
If you still insist on an electronic means to keep knock in check, you may have to do a lot of digging. The J&S Safeguard used to own this market, stopped production for a while, and now it appears they are slowly coming back to it as of Fall 2009:
Future of J&S:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31477
http://spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?31477-J-S-safeguard-went-out-of-business/page6
Other alternatives:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33309
***(End of repeated portion)***

#46. “Does the Power FC rev limiter cut fuel or ignition?”
It cuts fuel only on 1zz and 2zz PFCs. This is as opposed to the stock ECU, which cuts ignition. It is considered a flaw of the Power FC's design by some.

There have been some claims, limited in scope and difficult to verify, that the fuel cut of the PFC's rev limiter resulted in engine damage after prolonged bouncing off of the rev limiter (e.g. in drifting). The theory is that the fuel cut causes a lean condition and heat buildup, resulting in internal damage/melting. http://www.mr2spyder.net/spyderweb/index.php?/topic/519-pfc-rev-limit-spark-or-fuel/

Another side effect of the PFC's fuel cut rev limit is that it allows for the RPM to surpass the set rev limit by several hundred RPM. For example, if you set the rev limit to 7000 RPM, you may see a peak recorded value around 7300 RPM when you check your data after running a gear to rev limiter.
http://spyderchat.com/forums/showth...ell-OaksRacing&p=698964&viewfull=1#post698964

#47. “Does the Power FC use all of the stock O2 sensors?"
No. In the 1zz, the PFC only uses the two O2 sensors that go in the OEM exhaust manifold, not the 3rd one after the cat. In the 2zz, there are only two total O2 sensors, the PFC only uses the one that comes before the cat, not the one after the cat. These O2 sensors are used by the ECU to determine fuel trim adjustments that need to be made in closed loop driving in order to maintain 14.7 AFR. Of course, the PFC does have an option to "Turn Off O2 Correction," which negates the need for these O2 sensors as well. This means it is possible to run the car on the PFC without any O2 sensors plugged in whatsoever.

The O2 sensor that was originally placed after the main catalytic converter is not used by the PFC because the only purpose it serves is to let the stock ECU know to trigger an OBDII CEL if the "main catalyst is below efficiency." Since the PFC is not OBDII, it has no use at all for this O2 sensor.

#48. “Anything else?”
If you haven’t done it yet, do yourself a huge favor and learn more about performance modding of ZZ engines in WTS’s Power Quest document:
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27384
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Major revision history:

25 July 2009 -
Added "CEL" explanation under notes.
Added brief "about me" after notes.
Added CoPilot database to FAQ's section.
Added info about "turbo version" of PFC.
Added question about PFC English manual.
Split question #21 & #22, previously written as one question.
Moved question #35 to the Datalogit section.
Updated J&S to reflect current known status.
Added discussion about ignition retard for non-turbo users in Misc. section.
Various wording revisions and sentence expansions.
Added several links to give expanded examples on various topics, including:
Wideband compilation
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34831
Maxed injectors
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?p=580118
Kevin Beane’s install/adjust/idle learning etc how to in various spots
http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10937

31 December 2009 -
Added content / verbage to #3, #8, #17, #29, #30 and #45 (updated J&S status information).
Various other wording revisions for clarity and error correction.

24 May 2010 -
Updated FAQ section links and added Most Common Problem / Question.
Updated #26 and #40 with additional info.
Added #46 and #47.

02 October 2010 -
Updated #47 with corrections in reference to differences between 1zz and 2zz O2 sensors. Also corrected mistaken reference to open loop.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
that's a lot of info. My brain hurts and I probably already know most of that. Thanks for mentioning Copilot and linking to the topic.
I was going through the entire Performance forum looking for important EM threads so I figured I'd use the opportunity to compile useful PFC threads. This whole thing was just kind of spur of the moment and is stuff I came up with in the last week or so, so if there's anything you have to add, please let me know!

And I think no PFC/Datalogit topic would be complete without mentioning all the hard work you've put into CoPilot. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Content added and revised. Changes reflected in post #3.
 

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Interesting explanation of universal PFC functions in Wikipedia style
http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/index.php?title=A'PEXi_PowerFC_(deleted_20_Apr_2008_at_01:52) (note: the knock scale is not 0-100 as it claims)


O2 feedback threshold
The O2 feedback threshold and associated control function uses the narrow band lambda sensor output to modify the current air to fuel ratio (AFR[16]) to achieve the target defined in the INJ Map
If only it worked that way! No, the O2 feedback threshold works like this:
For parts of the Inj map that are below this threshold, it is closed loop. In closed loop, the PowerFC will target 14.7:1... or at least what it thinks that is based on the switchover point between rich and lean of the narrowband sensor. It can't target any other AFR.
 

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For parts of the Inj map that are below this threshold, it is closed loop. In closed loop, the PowerFC will target 14.7:1... or at least what it thinks that is based on the switchover point between rich and lean of the narrowband sensor. It can't target any other AFR.
That's true.


But there's a way around it, because the PFC only targets the changeover voltage from the O2 input pin. If you have a wideband with programmable output, like Innovate, you can program the changeover voltage to any AFR you wish and the PFC will then target that. Very useful if you want to save a little fuel and cruise at leaner mixtures. :)
 

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Yes, it will adjust the injector pulse width to keep it crossing over wherever the O2 sensor says to - only when O2 feedback is enabled. As soon as you disable it, it will go back to using the Base*Inj maps and the various corrections for other things. And if the O2 sensor is bad, even if your Base and Inj maps are perfect, it won't run right when feedback is enabled.

---

There's also a formula in there for Injector pulse width that begs a little explanation:

Injector Pulse Width (PW)
PW = (SFR x TFR x WTC x ATC x IFC) + ((TPC x TPO) + BLO + ILO + ECO) (msec)
SFR → Stoichiometric AFR pulse width(msec)
TFR → Target (Air) Fuel Ratio given by the INJ Map pulse width correction
WTC → Water Temperature Correction
ATC → Air Temp Correction
TPO → Throttle Position Offset or Accelerator Enrichment
TPC → Throttle Position Correction or Enrichment Correction
IFC → Injector Flow (%) Correction
ILO → Injector Lag Offset
BLO → Battery Voltage Offset
Injector Pulse Width controls the length of time (msec) each fuel injector is open and is proportional to the fuel delivered at the current fuel pressure
SFR is just what's in then Base map (interpolated)
TFR is just what's in the Inj map (interpolated)
SFR * TFR is Base*Inj

IFC comes from the injector size (flow) correction factors - something you can change in FC Edit - so they should be right for your injectors if they are a different size than stock. If they aren't, and you auto tune the fuel, you'll end up with a larger or smaller Base map. That could be OK, but then you can't really do a simple comparison between your Base map and someone else's. If you forgot to enter the right correction factors, you could divide your whole base map by the correction factor, then enter the right one.

I can't attest to the correctness of the rest, but I do know that some variables are multiplied and some are added because I've seen something similar before.

Unfortunately for me, the Inj mS (pulse width) in the Advanced Data packet is not equal to this PW. Otherwise I could compensate for those variables in Copilot and that would allow auto tuning to be done quicker. It works pretty well as it is, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Made a few additions & updates. Changes reflected in post #3.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Made corrections to #47. Changes reflected in post #3. Thanks goes to Curt.
 

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Hi everyone

I am kinda new here and did try to search the forums for this topic not sure if it was me or I am just stupid but I did not find the information I was looking for.

I have an Apexi Power FC ZT231 part number 414-T007 but my FC Commander is broken and I am trying to find a replacement. I know I can get the new EL Type commander new but the price tag is a bit too much for me right now.

I know someone who is selling a Apexi FC Commander 3 which he was previously using with his power FC for an evo 6 and based from Apexi FCC3 should be compatible with my box.

Anyone here running on power FC and is running the FC Commander 3 with their box? Any help would be much appreciated. TIA
 
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