Computer controlled engine (ECU) on a go kart

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Hello, new young member here

I have a 1999 Murray Explorer with a 301cc 1cyl Harbor Freight (Predator) engine and wondering if I could use a ECU controlled engine possibly from a Snowmobile. I am planning a computer network for monitoring and other functions as I want to learn more about how computers are used in modern automobiles. It would be interesting to be able to load profiles onto the ECU on the fly like how some modern pickups have a "Tow Mode".
 

Snaker

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Sure you can, its a ignition system with a end goal of providing a spark.
There are challenges though

Power: They use power, a relatively large amount of power from engines that may not supply a whole lot.
A battery is a must.
They usually need very clean power, a diode off a lawn mower engine wont cut it

Timing advance: This may or may not be the biggest mystery.
You have to know the advance curve of your ECU AND the desired curve of your engine.
Usually 2 strokes and 4 strokes run vastly different curves
Sometimes the data is hard to find
A programmable/adjustable ECU would be best, but you still have to match what the engine needs, either guidelines or lots of trial & error.

Parameters: Seems like there is a variety in the parameters available.
I guess you shop for the one that covers your preferences.
But you have to source sensors that are compatible with the ECU
Some of the sensors use power so add that to the ECU requirements
 
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As there is going to be 10+ computers running throughout the kart, power regulation and battery is already considered. The ECU programming will be done on a separate computer on the go kart. Modification may be needed for on the fly map switching depending on what ECU is used. Hopefully there is available data for what ECU I encounter.
 

65ShelbyClone

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I have a 1999 Murray Explorer with a 301cc 1cyl Harbor Freight (Predator) engine and wondering if I could use a ECU controlled engine possibly from a Snowmobile.

"ECU" refers to engine control unit, which generally means something that controls fuel and spark. Are you planning to use EFI?

The only way you'll be able to repurpose an OEM ECU is if there is a way to fully reprogram the fuel and spark tables. That's ignoring any other possible hurdles like the cylinder count, triggering scheme, etc.

Also, don't try to use a two-stroke timing curve on a four-stroke. They're very different.

I am planning a computer network for monitoring and other functions as I want to learn more about how computers are used in modern automobiles. It would be interesting to be able to load profiles onto the ECU on the fly like how some modern pickups have a "Tow Mode".

You mean something like a CAN? Your ECU will have to have hardware support for that as well.
 

65ShelbyClone

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Yeah, I've done it with MegaSquirt too, but we need more information before that could be a recommendation. Of the three versions, an MSI kit is only ~$260 but is obsolete and doesn't natively support CAN(you'd have to build your own hardware adapter). MSII supports CAN but is likely to become obsolete. MS3 supports CAN, but is going to be at least $800 to get started with. The CAN protocol they use is also not OBD2 "compliant," so neither of them will talk to standard automotive interfaces. It is fully documented though.
 

jmaack

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Havent looked in to them too much but what do the efi generators use for control?
 

65ShelbyClone

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Doesn't matter if it can't be reprogrammed. Even if it can, you would need either the factory/dealer software for doing it (good luck acquiring that) or to make a software interface yourself or to make a definition file that other software(like Tunerstudio for MegaSquirt) can use to tune it. That's assuming it uses a standard hardware interface that doesn't require opening the ECU case to access. The OP hasn't been back since this thread was posted anyway.
 

Budget GoKart

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id build a test 212 and run it with arduino and make it run efi but that would be alot of work also a tunable coil would probably have its own program to run im not big into computer stuff anymore
 

Joe-405

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Have you checked on the Ecotron efi kit for these small engines yet ?

 
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