Last Updated on March 06 2017

Life F88R

This information has been gathered during my ownership of the Mygale EcoBoost, which came fitted with an F88R. This is a non-GDI ECU, but it was fitted with the necessary electronics to drive GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection). For the 2016 season, I ran with the 170BHP map, which was replaced in August 2016 with the Ford 200BHP map, and during the year, I struggled with lack of power compared to my team mate's 225BHP and lighter car, and the power of the V6 and V8 engined cars in the above 2.0 class.

In October 2016, I started modifications to the car, which would see weight reduction, fitment of an engine driven alternator, a more powerful Revo turbo, plus the addition of a Syvecs X10 expansion module. The X10 device, provides an additional 10 input and 10 output channels, and is designed and built by Life, but marketed by both Life and Syvecs as their own X10 module. They can be bought for around £500 second hand. The reason for fitting an X10 is to give me more inputs, to allow rear wheel speed sensors for launch and traction control, and steering wheel mounted switches for paddle gear changes. The outputs are to control the pneumatic valves required for making automatic gear changes, and to control the Turbo Technics recirculation valve.

One of the biggest challenges with the Formula Ford EcoBoost cars, was the lack of a wiring diagram. Ford refuses to release the diagram, as its considered their Intellectual Property (IP). So armed with a spare wiring loom, a voltmeter, some measurement probes and a few hours of spare time, I've produced my own diagram, which incorporates all the engine and chassis connections. And there are a lot of them.

Mygale FF200 wiring diagram, click for larger image

This is also available in PDF format.

Also I've shown all of the connections, and the pinouts of not only the ECU and chassis split connector, but also the connectors used on the engine wiring loom and the chassis loom.

Connecting in the Syvecs X10 expansion module

You will need to connect the X10 not only to a suitable fused 12V power connection, but also more importantly, the CAN #2 HI (F88 pin 80) and CAN #2 LO (F88 pin 79) signals from the F88R. This will mean taking the Life 'hairdryer' 88-way connector apart, and fitting two pins, with wires, to allow the CAN #2 connection to be joined to the X10. The crimp terminals required for the F88R are available from RSWWW.COM.

Note: There is no termination resistor required for CAN #2. This is a high speed CAN bus, dedicated specifically for the X10, and not meant for connection to other CAN devices. Therefore the F88R and the X10 already have the termination resistors built in. So do not add a termination resistor to either end of the connection as this will lead to errors.

Parts for the X10

The X10 connector is made by TE Connectivity, and can be bought from RSWWW.

Part number

As can the TE crimp pins for the X10 connector.

Part number

Parts for the F88R

The crimp pins for the F88R come in two different sizes, depending on the position of the pin inside the connector.

These are the larger, higher current connectors.
Junior Timer crimp receptacle,15-20 AWG
Part number

These are the lower current connectors mostly used for inputs to the F88R.
Contact female 0.3-0.75mm² Micro-Timer I
Part number

Adding wires to the F88 ECU 'hairdryer' connector

I needed to connect the X10 to my F88R, so I ran a twisted shielded cable from the X10 to the ECU, and joined the two together. The pinouts for the X10 are here.

Start by cutting and removing the heatshrink cover from the back shell

Next undo the small screw from the end of the connector that holds the connector inside the shell. Do not loose the screw, it is an unusual thread.

With the screw and the heatshrink removed, push the cable in to the backshell and at the same time carefully pull/ease the connector out. Be very careful not to damage the mass of wires that are inside the backshell. They are tied together in bundles, but you still need to take care.

Feed your wires through the backshell, and in to position. Mark the connector with a marker pen if you like, to identify which holes the pins are going to be inserted in to. For CAN#2 you will need to use pins 79 and 80.

The crimps can be pushed in to the connector, until you feel a positive click.

Cable tie or use lacing chord to fasten the new cable to the rest of the cables inside the back shell.

Carefully feed the connector back inside the back shell, whilst pulling the cables back out the rear of the shell. Once the connector has gone back in to its position, you can replace the fixing screw removed earlier, and then cable tie the rear of the shell to make sure that it stays together. Ideally, you would replace the heatshrink removed at the start of the process, with a new piece.

Adding calibration switches

In order to control the boost (4 stages) and launch and traction control, we must add three rotary switches to the X10. These need to produce unique voltages for each switch position, and the simplest way to do that is to use a resistor ladder.

Simply, a chain of resistors is soldered as a series to the connections on the rear of the switches, and the switch is also provided with 5V and 0V. As the switch is turned, the number of combined resistors in the ladder changes, and the voltage returned is proportional to the switch position. The ECU is taught the voltage for each switch position and it never forgets these voltages.

I've used 12 position Grayhill switches, and miniature 470R 0.25W resistors, wired in to use the 5V Sensor and Sensor Ground connections from the X10. My three switches are wired in to a Deutsch DTM 6 way connector, and this allows the easy removal of the switch panel. The cable from the X10 to the switch panel connector actually contains 8 wires, only 6 are used by the switch panel, and the two spares are diverted to the steering wheel for the paddle switches (together with the 12V and 0V so in total four wires go to the steering wheel).

So six of the eight wires in the cable go to the 6 way connector for the switch panel. Only five of the wires are needed (5V, 0V, Inputs 1,2,3) but using a spare Input wire might be handy in the future if I need to add an additional switch.

I've still got the Pit Lane limit switch spare too, so I can always use that on the steering wheel if needs be. One idea I had was to turn that input in to a Boost button, mounted on the wheel, which would override the Cal switch, and just select Map 1 at that point for maximum power.

February 2017 Upate

My car was tuned at Northampton Motorsport on 27th Feb, and we tested and calibrated all of three rotary switches that I made. They all have the end stop set to prevent the switch from going from position 12 to 1, so in order to select 12, I have to turn the switches clockwise a full rotation.

The CAL switch has four positions that I can use. The 1 O'Clock position, Map 1, gives me 313BHP and position 4, Map 4, gives me around 100BHP less. This is essential for wet weather conditions. For the CAL switch, I've also fitted a second end stop at position 4, so I can only select positions 1 through 4.

The Launch switch has 12 positions, and 1 through 11 are used to set the launch RPM. Switch position 1 is for 3000rpm, 2 is for 3250, 3 is for 3500 etc. If I give the throttle more than 60% when in first gear, with the speed < 2MPH, launch mode is selected. The ECU only opens the throttle around 16% whilst it holds the engine revs at the set engine RPM. I then dump the clutch and keep the throttle nailed, and the ECU limits wheel spin as the car accelerates. Once 40MPH is reached (in first usually) the launch mode is transferred to Traction Control, and I just go up through the box and accelerate as normal. If I put Launch switch in to position 12, it turns off Launch altogether.

Traction control on the third rotary switch, works in a similar way. I have 11 switch positions to select from, and each one alters the strategy that the ECU uses for Traction control. If I turn the traction switch to position 12, then traction is turned off completely.

Making the switches

I soldered a chain of 470R 0.25W resistors (CFR16J470R from RS) to the Grayhill rotary switches (56SD30-01-1-AJS/440-7685 from RS), and connected Sensor 5V to pin 12, and 0V to pin 1, and the output is taken from the centre of the switch.

Rear wheel speed sensors

The sensors used on the car are part number XS608B1NAL2/198-554, from RS. They have an amber LED in the end where the wire exits the barrel, and the LED illuminates as the heads of the metal bolts pass the sensor, which is great for diagnostics.