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Help me understand this rule - 5.3 ECU Communication


loftygoals

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5.3 / Remote and/or wireless connection to the ECU

Any hardware that allows a competitor to wirelessly connect to the ECU at any time during

competition or post-competition impound is strictly prohibited, regardless of whether such

hardware is external or internal to the ECU.

 

Isn't this rule too broad and prohibitive? This means using an OBD2 bluetooth or wifi adapter with an app like Harry's Laptimer or RaceChrono Pro on my smartphone to log RPM, throttle position, etc is illegal.

 

Even a RaceKeeper data acquisition system would be illegal because it plugs in to the ODB2 dataport and the can broadcast the data over wifi to a iPhone or Android device for the dash display.

 

I don't think that is the intent of this rule. Thoughts?

 

-bj

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the rule was copied from ST, and the intent is to keep people from being able to monkey with the maps in impound without touching the car before or while it's on the dyno.

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the rule was copied from ST, and the intent is to keep people from being able to monkey with the maps in impound without touching the car before or while it's on the dyno.

 

 

Yep, I get the intent. I cross posted in TT because of the similar rule in TT, PT, and ST.

 

The problem is the rule is too broad. "Wirelessly connect" is very vague. It makes common things illegal such as smartphone based data acquisition (Harry's Laptimer, RaceChrono, etc) and systems like Race-Keeper and RaceCapture illegal because they capture data via the OBDII port and then transmit it wireless to a smartphone for display. The rule doesn't cover a multitude of other ways to alter power output, though.

 

Why not write the rule so it more accurately covers the intent. Honestly 5.2 and 5.3 both need a rewrite.

 

5.2 / Cockpit adjustable engine management systems

All adjustable engine management systems must be declared on the Dynamometer Certification

Form. Failure to do so will result in disqualification of all timed sessions for the weekend.

Adjustable engine management systems include but are not limited to systems such as MoTec

and MegaSquirt that can upload and download from external computers, potentiometers, diodes,

and switches (to include remote RF switches) that can alter signals from engine sensors and

other factory installed devices such as traction control that change engine performance when

non-drive wheels are stationary.

 

 

In today's world, you can modify maps on a stock ECU, not just standalone EMS. Take for example the BMW MSS54(HP), the OEM ECU for the S54 from the E46 M3. It is a OEM ECU so excluded in 5.2. I can make it switch maps with a flip of a switch, though. This can be done with most modern ECUs.

 

Neither of these rules cover external manipulations, either. On a drive by wire car it is fairly easy to manipulate the potentiometers on the gas pedal. One could make it so even though the gas pedal is fully depressed the engine never receives a WOT signal. This of course would decreased measured HP, but is not prohibited in the rules.

 

Another example is to use a resister on a switch to alter the OEM temperature sensor. Almost every OEM ECU will pull timing based on engine temperature. Thus by manipulating the temperature signal you can reduce power output on a dyno. This isn't covered in 5.2 or 5.3, either.

 

 

Some one will argue with me about what 5.2 says, I'm sure so let's brake it down:

 

"Adjustable engine management systems include but are not limited to systems such as MoTec

and MegaSquirt"

 

So this statement provides the scope to a class of ECUs by providing examples of MoTec and MegaSquirt. These are aftermarket EMS. Effectively this makes OEM ECUs out of scope. If OEM ECUs are to be considered in-scope, then all ECUs are in-scope and need to be declared. Since we don't require declarations for all ECUs, I believe my interpretation is correct.

 

The scope is further defined as systems such as Motec and MegaSquirt that can upload and download from:

 

  • external computers
  • potentiometers
  • diodes
  • switches (to include remote RF switches)

 

that can alter signals from engine sensors and

other factory installed devices such as traction control that change engine performance when

non-drive wheels are stationary.

 

So this is where the rule really gets to be a mess. It says that the EMS must be able to upload and download from each of those devices in the list and that the devices in the list must change performance when the non-drive wheels are stationary.

 

So I know that isn't what the intent of this rule, but it is what it says. Under 5.2, almost nothing would be considered "adjustable engine management systems". 5.2 was written inclusive using "ands". This means that use have to meet all of the criteria for the rule to apply.

 

Can we agree these rules need to be rewritten?

 

-bj

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Can we agree these rules need to be rewritten?

 

-bj

Feel free to suggest a better wording if you think it needs changed. Submissions for 2015 close on November 15.

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Feel free to suggest a better wording if you think it needs changed. Submissions for 2015 close on November 15.

 

Scott, I was hoping to start an open discussion about this. This seems very important in a power to weight class. I'm happy to author something, but I was hoping to get more input from others. I'm sure there are more exceptions than I can think of on my own.

 

I'm going to email some other GTS racers for opinions and get something submitted before the 15th.

 

-bj

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I am surprised to see that the section in the GTS rules regarding dyno testing are pretty barren. I would think it is a no-brainer to adopt the more fulsome language from the ST/TT rules (Section , which specifically attempts to forbid any dyno tricks.

I think it certainly makes sense to allow the usage of an aftermarket ECU's data logging functions, but it seems to be impossible to enforce Section 8's "no engine map changes" during competition rule if the USB/data port is not sealed. Which I don't think is a bad thing. As long as a car is compliant I don't see any issue with forbidding a map swap during competition.*

 

*= obviously this does NOT mean on-the-fly map switching or anything of the sort that would circumvent compliance with class rules.

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The minimum weight calculated from the declared HP in the beginning of the weekend. As per Dyno Declaration Form multiple maps must be declared as well as a method of switching. I am not sure what you mean by saying "I don't see any issue with forbidding a map swap during competition"? Driver can certainly switch to a lower setting ('rain setting"), but can not claim the lower "adjusted" min weight - will still need to meet the "declared" weight. It would certainly be illegal to switch to a higher HP map. Different Regions may have different ways to deal with switching classes between races - we generally don't allow it here in the NE, unless there is a special circumstance.

 

Michael G.

NE GTS Dir.

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Would it be illegal to swap to a higher HP map that is still compliant? Like, in the off chance that a car was dyno tested at a regional event, and it turns out that it was 20hp down vs the declared HP limit. Upon seeing this, the driver swaps in a new map, pays for 3 pulls, and the result is a 3 compliant pulls, 2hp down from the declared HP limit. Should that be forbidden? Why?

 

The declaration process does pick up the type of dyno "tricks" that were proposed. But it also seems to stop short - help me out - where in the rules does it say that you cannot swap tunes?

1 - driver declares the map adjustment (thus compliant with 5.2) and it is not wireless (thus compliant with 5.3)

2 - driver races and uses his declared map switching method and indeed uses various maps as necessary to beat his various arch rivals (rules are silent)

3 - driver pulls a compliant dyno using the settings specified his your dyno form (thus compliant with impound testing and dyno form)

 

Under the GTS rules, on what basis do you DQ this competitor, even if he freely admits to map swapping?

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I am not sure I understand - help me out here.

What is declared HP limit? Also,

"swap to a higher HP map that is still compliant" - Higher HP would change the min weight. Min weight is determined based on the declared HP at the registration prior to first P session. At that point all the Min weights entered into the impound scales computer.

If the dyno is available at the track and driver decides to use it for certification prior to the race - he needs to dyno using the declared map at which point the switch must be sealed. In your example - all the maps are lower in power than initial declared HP, which usually is not the case. If it is the case - which min weight would you propose to be considered at impound?

 

Michael G.

NE GTS Dir.

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Even though, the GTS Rules allow multiple maps, boost controls and different restrictor plates, etc, As per Dyno Declaration Form, each method needs to disclosed and clearly identified, as well as supported by corresponding Dyno Graph. The selected setting must be declared. The HP from this setting will determine the Minimum Weight, which clearly makes switching between maps or turning the boost nob illegal, unless you declare the highest setting and only play downward. The minimum weight will be calculated from the highest setting the driver declared anyway.

 

Michael G.

NE GTS Dir.

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Even though, the GTS Rules allow multiple maps, boost controls and different restrictor plates, etc, As per Dyno Declaration Form, each method needs to disclosed and clearly identified, as well as supported by corresponding Dyno Graph. The selected setting must be declared. The HP from this setting will determine the Minimum Weight, which clearly makes switching between maps or turning the boost nob illegal, unless you declare the highest setting and only play downward. The minimum weight will be calculated from the highest setting the driver declared anyway.

 

Michael G.

NE GTS Dir.

 

 

Michael,

 

You are reading what you think the rules say, not what they say. I agree that your understanding is what the authors probably intended, but that is not what is stated in the rules.

 

Nowhere does the rules state that you can't switch to a higher power map during competition. It defines a cars class by a "minimum allowable weight (as the car would exit the track with the driver) will be determined by multiplying the appropriate class weight ratios by the vehicle's power." So this clearly says that weight has to be a function of power, but how is power defined?

 

 

4 / Classification

 

...

 

"Power," as used here, will be determined from a minimum

of three consecutive dyno pulls, and shall be defined as:

 

a) the at-the-wheels horsepower...

 

or,

 

b) the average of horsepower and torque...

 

So that is the only way power is determined. Furthermore, the rules state

 

The following table shall be used to determine each car’s class based on the calculations

determined using the above methods.

 

 

So, here the rules say this procedure is the only method of determining class. Thus you have to establish "power" on a dyno. This section doesn't even make reference to the dyno testing procedure in section 6, nor does it state that the dyno power has to be reflective of the power level during competition. Section 4 simply says that you have to have a dyno report showing a minimum of 3 consecutive runs and that the car minimum weight as it exits the track is a function of the power reported by that report, not necessarily by what is on the certification form.

 

Tell me where the rules say anything about power on the track? The certification sheet asks about how to verify settings, but it doesn't ask how to verify that is what was used on track.

 

Again, your understanding is what would make sense, but it is certainly not what the rules state.

 

 

I wish the problems end there, but they don't.

 

Another problem is that in section 6 / Engine Power Testing/Protest Procedure it provides a more specific method of dyno testing. This has to match what is on the GTS Declaration & Dyno Certification Form, but that form isn't used for classification as I pointed out above. So, you could technically use 3 pulls on a Dynodynamics dyno to establish your class, and then use a Dynojet to meet the requirements of the certification form for section 6. The testing under section 6 can simply be used to verify the number on the certification form, but doesn't preclude a competitor from using a different dyno report for classing.

 

Section 6 is called "Engine Power", which isn't what is used for classification in section 4, either. Section 4 uses the term "Power".

 

There are also other problems with definitions. Section 4 defines WHP as "at-the-wheels horsepower". WTQ has no definition. And in all honesty, "at-the-wheels" is an incorrect description of what a DynoJet does. At the wheels would incorporate the actual amount of work done by the tire. This is specific to tire size, gearing, transmission gear, etc. A DynoJet actually tries to calculate flywheel HP less parasitic losses. It attempts to calculate and remove gearing from the equation.

 

 

I know I'm kind of picking the rules apart. I'm not doing this because I have a beef with a driver, was protested and I'm disgruntled, or anything like that. The fact is, I think 98% of NASA racers are there to play fair and have a good time. And the 2% that want to cheat are going to cheat. I just think if we are going to have rules and try to create some sort of level playing field, then we need to do it right.

 

To that point I'm going to try and not just complain, but offer a solution. I will work on some revisions that I think would shore up the rules, allow things that make sense like wireless data displays, and make the rules work the way I think we could all agree that they were intended to work: 1) You have to weigh no less than the weight calculated by multiplying your DynoJet measured, certified power by your declared class's weight to power ratio. 2) At no time during competition, post-competition impound, or compliance testing can you exceed the power declared on the DynoJet measured, certification form.

 

-bj

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BJ,

 

I agree, the wording can be improved (hopefully, you will help), but as you correctly noted - the intent is there.

As NE Regional GTS Director, I've seen inconsistencies between the Declaration Form and Dyno graphs and worked on a better clarity in definition, part of it resulted in more elaborate Declaration Form adapted couple of years ago.

You are right - nowhere in the Rules states that the driver is prohibited from switching maps, but the Declaration Form requires to have one Dynograph presented and declared as official for the given race.

I had drivers showing up with 3 or 4 different dyno's linked to different settings and would require them to select one, preferably highest.

I hope we can work on improving the wording, to support the intent.

 

Michael G.

NE GTS Dir.

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