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Fuel injection - Programmable ECU's and Direct Ignition

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I've been doing some research on Fuel Injection and was hoping to get some opinions on ECU choices.


The plan is to spend some dollars on getting a programmable EFI system running on my stock L28 engine, before going through a complete engine rebuild (chasing Torque and Hp). That way the fuel system shouldn't need upgrading for when the bigger, badder engine comes along.


So, I've found three different options for programmable ECU systems that could work with ITB's:








From what I can tell, all these systems would run semi-sequential injection for a L28 6-cylinder. However, it seems that full sequential injection may need systems with more than 4 injector drivers. Does anyone have an opinion on semi sequential vs full sequential injection? If I'm planning on using ITB's, I'm wondering if this needs 6 injector drivers (being 6 cylinders).


Once the fuel delivery is sorted out, my next question is ignition. I've researched that proper ignition management can make some Hp gains as well, which is optimised with an electronic ignition rather than dizzys and gap points. Some of these ECU's have ignition management capabilities, but does this still require the use of something like a 280ZX electronic dizzy?


The Electromotive ECU system also has 3-coil direct fire units (DFU's) which drives 2 spark plugs each (using a waste-spark ignition setup). From what I've read, this kind of system means no need for a distributor, and reduced demand on the coils (as there are now 3). That ALSO means bigger and hotter spark in the ignition system, leading to better burn and (ultimately) better performance.


Does anyone have any experience with the Electromotive or the other ECU systems list above? I'd appreciate any advice on these systems, or any other similar products available in Australia. NOTE! This is not a EFI versus Carby discussion, so please don't hijack this thread!


At this stage it appears the Electromotive system would give me the perfect Fuel and Spark management out-of-the-box, but I'm keen to hear the forums opinion on this kind of setup.




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Hey, Theres heaps of ecu options out there its just finding the right one at the right price. Im using a Haltech platinum sprint 500 on my L28. Im running individul throttle bodies and a rb30 ccrank angle sensor. Like you said its only got 4 injector and ignition outputs, so its setup for semi sequential and using 1 coil through the distributor. I modified the standard 280zx distributor housing to fit the rb30 pickup, the pickup will support direct fire, and full sequential if i decide to change ecus in the future.

Any decent ecu will be fine, its the way its tuned, the really light throttle stuff is always the hardest to get right, especially with itb's.


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Sequential injection is only good for idling/low rpm range; anything above that and the injectors are pretty much all firing most of the time. Unless you will be using the car for daily services, I wouldn't bother chasing a full sequential ECU. I'm running a Wold V500 that is running a wasted spark config and ITB's without a dizzy (using a 280ZXT optical; similar to RB30 unit but bolt in) and it was easy to setup. Plus getting rid of any mechanical means of distributing spark makes it more accurate at higher rpm than a mechanical switch.  When you are running  high compression and advanced timing, last thing you need is a miss in the ignition system at high rpm!

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as was said, you really arent going to get any benefit from a full sequential setup.

Pretty much all of the OEM ECU's that do it, are set up like that to get better emissions control, smoother idle and better fuel economy in low rpm/cruise scenario's.

Which when you think about it, is a LOT of the time when 45yr old joe smith is driving to work and back.

For any sort of performance, it goes out the window. As it is, i know of a few OEM's that switch to a batch fire config once you start driving it hard.


For your ignition, Ideally you want 1 coil per cylinder, individually fired at each time.

This will give it maximum charging times, equaling a bigger fatter spark every time.

Next up is the waste spark setup, which in itself is a VERY robust system.

For 95% of performance vehicles, you wont notice any difference between the individual coils or the waste spark.


As Dimitiri said, you can use the 280ZX optical dizzy (commonly known as the Turbo Dizzy in the states)

It'll bolt straight into your motor.

In standard config you get an outer ring with 720 Degrees of reference, then the inner ring with 1 reference for each cylinder.

If you require a home signal you can use the inner disc from a Z31 300ZX.

Most aftermarket ECU's will use that setup to get an engine position reference and a home signal all in one setup, otherwise you'd have an engine position reference from the dizzy and a cylinder/home reference from a crank trigger.

Many OEM's will use this setup, instead of a dizzy though it'll be a compact cam sensor, like on the front of the RB20/25/26 motor for example


My setup is a 280ZX optical dizzy using the Z31 chopper disc, connected directly to a Haltech E6X, running batch fire injectors and a Ford AU waste spark coil pack.

To fire the coils the ECu will output to ignition modules, which are basically high load electronic switches.

You can set up 1 module per coil pair (this is how mine is done, because i allready had some modules)

Or you can use a single module with 3 drivers built in (Audi have a nice unit off their V6 motor)


If you need any help with this, or if you have any questions, just pm me, im happy to help out.

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Cheers guys,


Sounds like full sequnetial injecton doesn't add alot of value, save for some low RPM fuel efficiency and smoother idle.... next question is, is there any loss in running full sequential? The first 2 ECU's I listed only have 4 outputs for ignition and therefore are not able to run full sequential injection (I'm guesssing this reverts to semi-sequential/ batch fire).


The interesting one is the Electromotive ECU, which covers injection and ignition... this ECU can handle full sequntial on a 6 cylinder, and also has an integrated 3 coil system which provides a waste-spark setup on a 6 cylinder engine. As far as I can tell this gives 1 single coil shared between 2 cylinders, which means big, fat spark (with minimal waste) combined with precision fuel delivery via a single injection driver. Am I reading that right?


If that is the case, does the Electromotive require no dizzy whatsoever and could manage ignition timing using a crank-angle sensor and/or cam sensor?


The Haltech Platinum 1000 and the Wolf V500 are both priced at circa $1900 with wiring looms, but no coil packs, sensors, etc. The Electromotive kit is $2,200 (from what I can find on US websites) but comes with 3 x coil packs, angle sensors and a few other bits and pieces. From what I'm reading, the extra $300 will provide better injection and ignition control at low end RPM, as well as more accurate fuel/spark when the foot goes down = Best of both worlds. Has anyone here had experience with these kits?


Hopefully I'm reading this right, but I'm pretty new to programmable ECU's and ignition systems... just want to get the best bang for my buck (yes, pun intended).





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Personally i dont think its neccesary to run a sequential injection system.  As its others have said its only really handing for cleaning up idle quality and emissions, which with a decent size cam are going to be out the window anyway. More gain and smoother running can be had by a good tune, I wouldnt be paying the extra just for sequential unless theres more inputs and outputs that the basic ecu's dont have, things like onboard wideband, nitrous control, rotational idle ect.

Your pretty well right with the wasted spark, one coil will fire 2 cylinders at the same time. 1+6, 2+5 and 3+4, are fired in pairs, when cylinder 1 is on compression it will fire number 1 plug, but will also fire number 6 at the same time, because number 6 is on overlap, the spark will be wasted. No cam position or 720 degree signal is needed, only crankshaft referance.

Hope this helps


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you still need a cam reference signal, no matter what.


All good having an ECU tell the engine to fire the plug at 22' BTDC, but it wont do much if the ECU doesnt know exactly where that is.

You need to have a real close look at any sensors that are included with an ECU package, make sure they'll actually fit your engine.

The Electramotive system looks like it uses the 'motec style' crank trigger wheel. It also seems to source predominately GM Sensors and parts as its components.

i know that quite a few people on Hybridz have used a similar style for the megasquirt systems. from what i have seen on there, it either bolts onto the front of the crank (with mods) which means you have to adjust and set base timing every time the fan belt comes off, or with quite a bit of difficulty, it can be modified to fit on the backside of the crank pulley. I vaugely remember someone making a kit to suit the L series?

You'd probably find the one that would be supplied is a 'universal' one, and may or may not require a lot of modification to fit on.

When on the other hand, there is allready a fine resolution optical solution from factory that fits our motors.

Would be a shame to spend an extra $300 to find out that you cant use most of the extra's you got for that, considering you can get a waste spark 6 post coil pack for $120 new, or as low as $30-40 second hand.

There is also no point paying extra for functions that you'll never use.

Do you need NOS control? are you going to put NOS on your motor? That would be something most would never use, however if it can be re-assigned to another function then it becomes practical.

Bear in mind, though, many manufacturers will claim that the ECU can do all these fancy things, NOS, PWM wastegate control, Launch control, shift lights ect ect, Make sure you read the fine print, usually it'll have a set number of outputs, eg 4 PWM outputs and 2 Digital on/off outputs, that you then need to assign to each function.

In a typical setup, you could have a thermo fan (1 output), a IAC motor (2 outputs) A/C compressor (1 output), Torque converter lockup solenoid (1 output) and shift light (1 output)

You can see how all of a sudden you end up with not many spare outputs.

In some ECU's they have 4 outputs for injectors, if you only have 2 or 3 batched injectors you can sometimes use that last output as something, in other setups, it cant be used.


I would also strongly suggest looking around at where you'll get it tuned, and what system they use.

While most ECU's are the same when it comes to tuning, you'll get a better, faster and cheaper result if your not asking the tuner to learn a new system and all its intricate quirks.


So, while im dribbling rubbish, here's a couple of Ebay links to give you a few suggestions.



Falcon Waste spark coil pack, 4 pin plug, 1 pin is power in, the other 3 are the triggers for each coil, pretty damn easy, anything will control it.



Ignition modules, simple 'dumb' style. these are a copy of the Bosch '124' module. reliable and cheap, the bosch ones can easily cost $200 each.

for this style you'll need 1 per coil pair, so, for a 6 cylinder you'd need 3 of them.



this one on the other hand, is an example of a 3 channel ignitor, it'll run the whole coil pack from the single module.



looking through the Electramotive users manual, i cant actually see where the ignition module is?

It appears to connect the coil direclty to the ECU, so before you buy that ECU, you need to contact them and ask exaclty how its set up.

Is the ignition triggering module built into the unit? (needing to be sent to them if you cook it, which is easy if you get a few settigns wrong)

Or is it all built into the coil pack assembly? If thats the case, you need to find out how 'available' and how expensive that coil pack is, because it'd be quite difficult to find an equivalent to swap it with if it were ever to develop problems.

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Gee dudnt realise the Haltech and Wolf are at those prices, makes the brand new Autronic SM4 i have at $ 2100 seem very readonable ( new price is $2700)

It is complete with loom, pc interface, instructions, and will do more, and better than the Haltech or Wolf

With excellent back up from Autronic.

PM me if interested.

Btw it was never fitted to a car!, quite virginal.

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You know what Simon i can only sugest that most simple and easiest programed system for your set up would be a screwadjustable early motec  system if you can find one , i knew of a engineer in glen waverley and it was set up for a stroked L28 but i think he sold it to a member of the ndsoc

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