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Established 23 years


Alternator tested

I thought that the alternator would work under ECU control; it would, just not in the way that I'd wired it. I'd used the 12V signal from the Cartek Isolator as a pull-up, using a 3k3Ω resistor, with the X10 used to pull the line low when the alternator was to be turned off. But it just wouldn't work. It looked like the alternator needed a higher current on the IG pin than the 4mA that the 3k3Ω resistor was supplying.

So on Sunday I removed the resistor, and wired in a solid state relay, which connects the IG pin directly to the 12V wire from the Cartek isolator, and it started working properly. With the engine started the alternator is turned off until the engine has been running for 10 seconds (I can change that interval), and if the engine rpm drops below 750rpm, the alternator is again turned off, which acts as a helper to prevent the engine from stalling. If the battery voltage then drops below a set value, the ECU uses Recovery Mode, which forces the alternator back on until the voltage has risen above another threshold. Sounds complicated, but its going to be worth the effort of connecting it all up if I can free up a few horsepower.


Alternator now under ECU Control

I wired the IG input on the alternator to one of the X10 outputs on Saturday, and rewired the knock warning LED on to a different output, though I didnt manage to test it to see if it still glowed. There's no rush. The alternator control section in the ECU is quite comprehensive. Lots of options to play with.

Life F88 Alternator control options

I also picked up a new crimp tool, this time for the battery crimp terminals. I'd bought one of those hydraulic ones previously, but they tend to muller the crimps, they put so much hydraulic force through them. This tool seems to work well with the test crimps I made on Sunday; I've a few long heavy duty cables to remove and replace with shorter ones, to remove more weight from the car.

Crimp tool

Speaking of removing weight, I've dropped 3kg in the past three weeks, through exercise and diets. I've been on the exercise bike daily, racking up 25+ miles a day, and its paying dividends at the moment. My target for the first event, is to be at 80Kg. Only 7kg to go :D

Cycling activities


Knock warning LED

I tested the 12V knock warning LED by assigning it as an output when the up paddle is pulled, and the LED illuminates when the up paddle is pulled, as you'd expect. But when the X10 turns off the output to the LED, the LED still glows. I've wired it across the 12V supply, so the X10 turns the LED on by switching the output low. But when the X10 output goes high, or in other words, open circuit, there is current flowing between the 12V rail through the LED, which is why it is glowing. I've rewired the knock LED to use a different output, and I'll test it again tomorrow, just in case the output I chose (which I'd not used previously) is faulty.


X10 loom fitted

Over the weekend, I removed my original X10 loom, and connected the new one up. The first task was to swap the CAN bus cable that runs from the ECU, and then connect the power leads to the chassis supply. With those connections made, I plugged the loom in to the X10, turned the power on, and checked that the laptop could see the X10, and it could. Then it was a case of connecting the pneumatic solenoids, and checking the paddles still operated them with the clutch switch closed, and they did. The front wheel speed sensors were then connected, and the IO assignment changed to use the SLAVE inputs. This flagged up an error, since I had filtering enabled on the front speed sensors, and the X10 didnt support filtering, so I turned that off. I then connected the front and rear damper potentiometers up, and noticed that when I fully extended the potentiometers, a Voltage Limit and Voltage Failure error occured. I had the input type set to 5V, and changing it to Thermistor and changing the Default Voltage High to 5.0V (it was 4.995V), sorted the errors out.

Damper Inputs error messages
Damper warning error

With the error resolved, these are the damper inputs all working
Damper inputs all working

So I can now linearise the Damper inputs, setting the mm per mV, and I'll do that soon. I've wired in the 3 way Deutsch plugs to the rear speed sensors, and they're connected. The gear change warning buzzer is plugged in, as is the knock warning lamp. So I'm pretty much done. All thats left is to connect the alternator to the X10, via a 3k3Ω pull up resistor, and I can then run the engine and test that everything is OK.

Damper pots fitted and working

I've also changed the gearbox oil breather outlet, from a banjo fitting and braided hose, to a 6mm plastic pipe, which looks much tidier. It needed an M10x1.25 to 1/8 NPT adaptor, which then allows the G1/8 fitting to screw in to the top.

Gearbox oil breather pipe changed


Date changes

Its looking more and more unlikely that the Great Western sprint is going to run in March, and due to the Pandemic, Longton has wisely moved the Anglesey date in April to the end of May. So it now looks like the first two rounds will be the Blyton double header in May, which would be a great way to start the season, straight in to a weekend event. And one of my favourite circuits too.


50 days to go

Its 50 days until the first sprint of the year, and the opening round to the 2021 British Sprint Championship, The Great Western Sprint at Castle Combe. With the current lockdown, and the coronavirus still not under control in the UK, I doubt Motorsport UK will issue any permits for events running in March. So although I have my fingers crossed, I doubt it will run. If entries do open, I will 100% enter the event, but its not looking likely at the moment.


X10 wiring is complete

I've finished the new X10 loom off, having had to wait for heatshrink and a few DT connector parts from Ebay. I've replaced the connectors on the front sensors, with 3 way DT connectors, having again figured out the wiring. For some reason the XS608B sensors have brown, blue and black wires.
Brown +12V
Blue 0V
Black Signal

Anyway with that out of the way I moved to the Geartronics Pneumatic actuator block, which now also has a 3 way DT connector fitted. The wiring to the two solenoids is far simpler, with a 12V feed from the X10 power supply, and a pair of wires that connect the solenoids to a pair of outputs on the X10.

With that done, I then wired up two looms to connect the front and rear damper pots to the X10, these both use 4 way DT connectors.

So I'm all ready to swap the two looms over. It was freezing cold in the garage on Saturday so I'll wait for this cold snap to go before starting on the work.








This is the section in the ECU where the four dampers can be setup, once the analogue inputs from the X10 have been assigned to the four channels.


I'm also wiring the Alternator to be under the control of the ECU. This will allow the ECU to turn the alternator off when starting, and when the engine is running flat out, to save a few horsepower. The alternator needs a 12V signal on the IG line, to enable it, so the X10 pin needs a pull-up resistor to provide the 12V. There are a fair number of ways of controlling the alternator. For example I can switch it off when rpm is above 6000rpm, when throttle is open 100%, and also only allow it to be turned off if the battery voltage is above a set level. Lots of parameters to play with.



Exhaust CAM sensor wiring

An explanation as to how I wired in the exhaust cam sensor, more for my benefit really. In LifeCAL, I unassigned AN#09 (C1-39) and AN#12 (C1-10) from the front wheel speed inputs. I assigned AN#09 to Input : Cam (Exhaust 1 Variable Valve Timing), and with the vvt1ExRaw gauge displayed in LifeCAL, with the engine turning over I can see the signal trace move as the camshaft rotates. Before it would detect movement however, I had to change Sensors > Defined Sensors and Trip Setups > Camshaft Position > Variable Valve Timing Sensor Exhaust 1 > Sensor Type to Thermistor (It was 5V).

The sensor needed power from the 5V Sensor supply, so I had to use the spare Sensor 5V supply that was in the Deutsch 6 pin DT "Spare Inputs" connector, which feeds the two brake pressure sensors, and the steering wheel angle sensor.

Once I'd established that the sensor was configured correctly in the ECU, the next job was to program the ECU to operate the Exhaust Camshaft Ti-VCT solenoid, which is wired in to the rain-light output that used to go to the big LED rain light at the end of the gearbox. This is accomplished by setting the Output : Variable Valve Timing 1 Exhaust A to use Fuel #08 : (C1-49)


X10 progress

More progress with the X10 loom. I bought an indent crimp tool (Part #7533) from Laser for the Deutsch crimps, and it does an admirable job given it only costs £30 off eBay. I'm waiting for some more connectors which are in the post, and then I can swap it out for the one on the car. For the Knock Warning LED I'm going to use a 12V LED indicator that I last used on my dashboard in the Fiesta. I'll fit it to the cockpit once I've wired it up and proved that it works.


The connectors are for the front and rear suspension potentiometers, front and rear wheel speed sensors, calibration switches, pneumatic solenoids, knock warning lamp, and helmet gear-change buzzer.


X10 re-wiring

The X10 connector is now built. I simply need to swap it over with the one on the car, and run additional wires in to the suspension pots.



Additional wiring

I'm just in the process of rewiring my Syvecs X10 expander, to allow the four suspension potentiometers to be wired in, so I can monitor and log the suspension movement. I'm swapping out the current Ampseal 35 pin connector for a new one, which is simpler than trying to add pins to the current connector which sits behind the drivers seat, above the fuel cell. I've had to order more 718-1507 16 gauge crimp pins from RS and they should be with me on Wednesday so I can fully populate the replacement connector and then swap the connector over and connect it to the F88 ECU.


Merry Christmas 2020

Stay safe and good health to all my friends, new and old.


2021 Promotional Video


Photo update




I've ordered the vinyl lettering for the car. I'm going for two sizes, using a font I downloaded called Sequel Black, which is identical to the Yokohama Advan typeface. I've also been playing with the EGT settings on the Car. Pete Goulding now has his ECU fully unlocked, and wired in a pair of Type-K thermocouples to the dedicated thermocouple inputs, hoping to just assign the inputs to the EGT1 and EGT2 channels. Sadly, the ECU reports that it doesnt have the Exhaust Gas Temperature capability, which is a surprise.


We always thought that they were capable of monitoring EGT's, but the ECU's really were built on a budget, and do not appear to have the circuitry on board to work with Type-K thermocouples. So I tried assigning two of the EGT-CAN channels that the EcuMaster EGT-CAN box provides, to the EGT channels, but alas, the unitless values that the EGT-CAN board produces, arent understood by the ECU, so its just not possible to have the ECU monitor or react to EGT's.

This is where the customisable 3D maps come in. In Lifecal, there is a feature where you can assign variables to axis, and then change values according to the values of those variables. For example, I can monitor RPM and Exhaust Gas Temperature over CAN, and reduce the DBW throttle position if the temperature exceeds a set value. This would work well to protect the engine from damage, should the temperature exceed a threshold.


In Lifecal, select View Custom, to show the Custom maps section. In this example, I edited CM301. I have assigned EGTCAN_R08 to the Y axis. This is the variable for the Turbo exhaust gas temperature. I've assigned RPM to the X axis (default) and I've selected DBW Target Limit as the value to control.

Now if we click View Custom again, the standard map view will return, and now if we look at Configurable Purpose Maps, 3D, the CM301 3D graph will allow us to set the thresholds for temperatures and DBW throttle limits. First we need to set the EGT breakpoints, and then we can edit the data table.

Now there are other things we can control, based on the Turbo EGT temperature. We can reduce the boost pressure target, to restrict the load on the engine/turbo. We can also retard the ignition to save the exhaust valves from burning out. But we cant trigger limp mode, which is a shame as that would be quite useful, and the car can still be driven to the pits without further damage.


Pictures of the new color scheme

It rained solidly all weekend so I had to take pictures of the car in the garage rather than out on the drive, but you can still see the overall effect.


Javelin ran their first winter sprint at Cadwell yesterday, including several night time laps in the dusk/dark, and by all accounts it was a great success, despite the rather damp conditions. Well done Javelin for trying something different. What a great idea. Not suitable for open seater cars, but for the tin tops, theres never a better time for a roof, windscreen, and a heater.


Vinyl complete

I've finished applying the red vinyl to the car, with the completion of the 2nd side pod. I bought just enough vinyl, this pod used the last big piece, and all I'm left with now are various small offcuts. Once the white lettering has been ordered and applied, I'll roll the car out of the garage and get some photos'.




Reluctance ring used on a Force HC

Good to see customers send in photos of the reluctance rings being used on their race cars. This example is the 83mm ring fitted on a 1.0 Force HC single seater, and sensed by an XS608B reluctance sensor. The car is using two rings on the rear axle, for launch and traction control via a DTA S80 ECU

Reluctance ring


First side pod finished

I've completed the first side pod, using the 3M finish line knifeless tape to cut and then remove the unwanted strips of vinyl. I've now marked out the opposite side pod, and I'll use the same technique to cut the vinyl.




BSC 2021 Calendar

Drawing on the HSA Sprint Leaders 2021 dates that were published this week, whilst we wait for the BSC dates to be finalised, I'd say we're at the same rounds, so I'm pencilling these in for next year, Covid permitting of course.



PC upgraded

I upgraded my Manor F1 desktop PC yesterday, by fitting a second Intel Xeon processor to the motherboard. Ansys is much quicker at processing the calculations now :D



Using Powershell to start Lifemon

This Powershell script, starts Lifemon, and turns off the menu by sending the F1 key to the application. A user on the Life/Syvecs group asked if the Menu could be turned off automatically, and this is as close as we can get to that.

The sendkeys script is saved with a .ps1 extension, and can be run from powershell, by running .\sendkeys


If Windows denies access to the powershell script (which it normally does by default), then you need to run Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Scope CurrentUser from the Powershell to remove that restriction.