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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    584

    Default Is the market saturated?

    As a few of you know, I used to work for a fuel injection company, but we closed our doors december 31st. Now, a couple of us are talking about starting over with a whole new design from scratch, but at least one ex-employee holds a firm opinion that the EFI ecu market is saturated. What do you think? Is there room for yet another ecu alongside the BS3, Gen7, Commander950, and FAST, to name a few? If so, what is missing from all of those that a new ECU would have to have to be successsful? Lower Cost? Simpler tuning? More flexible support for different platforms? Features? Other?



  2. #2
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    Jul 2005
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    Online tuning service.

    I plug my laptop into the car log into your server and you tune it from wherever you are.
    True T.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    East Coast Florida
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    510

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    Fuelie -
    If you can get it to work properly, cost is always the factor that shows up as the number one reason why people use carbs.
    Ease of programming fuel/spark curves would probably be number two.
    (Opinion of course)
    Project "Freebird"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    584

    Default

    We already had a prototype system in place where we could remote-view a customer's vehicle, with remote tuning being the end goal of that, but it got scrapped. There are a couple of pretty large safety issues, we have to make sure that corrupted data in the event that you lose connection doesn't stall your engine and put you in a ditch. We were thinking about making it "dyno use only".

    On the subject of cost: we can lower costs on the ECU, but that usually results in reduced features. Is it a problem if we can't offer 3 stage nitrous, staged injectors, anti-lag, etc? What features are rarely used, and what are must-haves?

    Unfortunately, the majority of cost with EFI is in the system, not the ECU. Intakes, injectors, fuel systems, wiring, etc all cost a lot, so that's a continuous source of frustration no matter what.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    515

    Default

    My .0002 for what its worth.

    Ive been messing with the stock sy/ty/sunbird turbo ECM for quite a while and while it works for the most part Ive burned a LOT of midnight oil to learn what little my computer challenged self can. In that time Ive found that using an aftermarket boost control and just using the ECM for spark/fueling made things much simpler. Skip ahead to a few months ago when I decided to switch to a 4L80E trans to cure durability issues at the power level Im at but this required another seperate control system to be installed, tuned, and monitored. At this point the inside of my vehicle is looking like somethig out of a B scifi movie gone horribly wrong. The search was on for a single aftermarket efi unit that could do three main things with a few extra options and those three things would be...timing/fueling control, transmission control, and finally boost control.

    To get to the point Ive found a few systems but they are outragiously expensive (IMO) or if the price was more along what I can swallow then key features were left out (important stuff like knock sensor capability!! WTF?). So, if you could bring something to market that has software that is fairly easy to navigate, high or low impedence injector compatible, electronic trans control, boost control (thats not mandatory but would be REALLY nice), uses a knock sensor, and is ~$2k I would deffinately want to look at it.

    Theres a LOT more that I dont have time to type out but to sum it up the BigStuff 3 was on the verge of being ordered by me when I noticed the latest gen units dont have the capability to use a knock sensor ( ). Why hell would I spend $2k+ for a DFI system only to have to pull the plugs and read them every time I filled up with gas? Prolly not an issue for track only cars that run 114 octane all the time but for a street car that is fueled up at gas stations across the country this could be disasterous the first time I got a load of 93 octane that had been sitting in the storage tank going stale for a few months.

    The search continues but if you come up with something to offer drop me a PM or email.
    GMC Syclone (currently wrecked thanks to the typical rubber headed VA driver not paying attention to his red stop light...oh and he didnt have insurance either)
    #614 11.9 @ 113
    New stuff finished 08/06:
    4L80E trans w/TCI PCM
    Front: J&S UCA/LCA, QA1 coil overs
    Rear: Caltracks/Belltech drop leaves
    Empire drive line alum drive shaft
    Polished 17x9 F/17x11 R ZR1s with 275s/315s
    Syclone
    Tow rig

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Patterson, NY
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    791

    Default

    Here's my view:
    Cost is very important, along with ease of use. Make something that is easy to tune and relatively low cost and more beginners will buy into it.
    From what I've read from EFI tuners it seems that the ease of use is what makes a name for a product. There are a few different approaches out there and once someone gets used to one they don't like to learn a different system. If it is straight forward and easy to figure out it will seem like a better product.
    Unfortunately, selling a product that does not have the extra features will backfire on you. People will want some of them and won't like the fact that if they want to upgrade they can't.

    I think you might want to come up with a simple system that is almost self-tuning and inexpensive. A beginner's system. It should be able to control some of the other minor systems, like torque converter lockup and charcoal cannister purge. The Megasquirt systems almost cover this niche, but I think it is a little too DIY.

    Come to think of it, for tuning I wonder if there are "rules" that could be followed to set up baselines. Something that would get the curves close enough so a knock and O2 sensor could fine tune the curves without having to make major adjustments. Kind of like Edelbrock's system.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    maryland
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    there's a hole in the mid priced market.
    only commander 950's really there, on even a lower end, prebuilt megasquirts.
    build something with all the major features of the big players, retail it for a grand or less, and you'll have something.
    must run wideband and self tune.
    offer the "exotic" features (3 stage n2o, etc) as either a ala carte options, or with a small secondary box that's optional and plug/play.
    pricepoint is everything to grab enough customer base to live and profit, and the huge majority of users don't need or want the extra stuff as noted above.
    personally, i'd love to see a MAF based system rather then speed density, but that complicates the average install quite a bit, and makes it really tough on multiple TB systems, like weber lookalikes, dual quads, etc.
    like others noted, just my opinion.

    hey myclone, how ya doing?
    my sy is alive again!
    -mike

  8. #8
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    Rockville, the reason why the highly tunable and configurable systems are expensive is because they are highly tunable and configurable. Seems like it would be awfully tough to give the options of a FAST system at a pricepoint lower than a Commander.....at least if profit is part of the biz plan.

    You did hit on an interesting point. There is very little in the way of entry level on the market. I think a lot of people just want a good smooth running car that wont eat tons of gas and that will run as well in San Jose as it does when they drive to Reno for Hot August Nights. They don't need or want a ton of options just something that works better than their double-pumper.

    I think if a company offered turn key "power packages" for given displacement engines they might be able to tap into that market. You offer heads, cam, manifold, throttle body, injectors and ECU that go with a 350, another kit for a 383 etc. with the ECU pre-programmed for those parts on that size engine. Bolt on and go.
    True T.

    Whats new with Project 1/2-Trak?


    Follow my wisecracks on Sports, Food, Politics and other BS on Twitter.

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    When they kick out your front door, How you gonna come?
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  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    westchester county new york
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    Default

    I agree, a system that would be the next step up from carbs in terms of price and performance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Colorado
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Damn True
    Rockville, the reason why the highly tunable and configurable systems are expensive is because they are highly tunable and configurable. Seems like it would be awfully tough to give the options of a FAST system at a pricepoint lower than a Commander.....at least if profit is part of the biz plan.

    You did hit on an interesting point. There is very little in the way of entry level on the market. I think a lot of people just want a good smooth running car that wont eat tons of gas and that will run as well in San Jose as it does when they drive to Reno for Hot August Nights. They don't need or want a ton of options just something that works better than their double-pumper.

    I think if a company offered turn key "power packages" for given displacement engines they might be able to tap into that market. You offer heads, cam, manifold, throttle body, injectors and ECU that go with a 350, another kit for a 383 etc. with the ECU pre-programmed for those parts on that size engine. Bolt on and go.

    Accel does that. EFI setups for popular crate engines. You can also download their calibrations for the crate engines to use as start points.

    BS3 does not have KS capability??? I guess thats not really worse than the gen 7 that uses the 1985 vintage TBI KS modules. I would love to see adaptive DSP based knock sensing in an aftermarket ECU.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    lancaster california
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    3

    Default

    I agree its all about cost. I am sitting on a project that is 99.9% done i just haven't purchased a ECU. Im having a hard time justifying 2500.00 for a FAST XFI or comparable system. At this point I just want to get the car on the road. We need a base system that can do just that, give us the basics we need to tune the car and get it going then if down the line we want to have some of the high end features we should be able to pick up the phone and purchase the addon.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Central Valley, CA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EFI69Cam
    BS3 does not have KS capability??? I guess thats not really worse than the gen 7 that uses the 1985 vintage TBI KS modules. I would love to see adaptive DSP based knock sensing in an aftermarket ECU.
    The knock sensor question is quite valid (and I've love to have the capability on my car), but one thing to keep in mind is a lot of aftermarket ECU's are being installed in very "noisy" engines-- aggressive cams that often don't close the valves gently, superchargers hung off the front of the engine, etc. Makes it much more difficult (although not impossible) to have an effective knock sensor when the background noise levels are so high.

    There's always the J&S Safeguard as a proven effective add-on unit, but seeing a *good* DSP-based knock sensor capability built into an aftermarket ECU would be a very good thing (hint, hint!)
    My 1969 Chevelle - Procharged/Intercooled/EFI 353 SBC, TKO 5-speed, ATS/SPC/Global West front suspension, Global West/Edelbrock Rear suspension, C6 Brakes & hydroboost, and other goodies including a crappy paint job.

    Twin Turbo VVT LS2 in progress.

  13. #13
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    Dec 2000
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    NE Florida
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    2,487

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    Don't forget that some companies hold patents on various data-logging and staged features. Each time you buy that feature on one 'box' from company F, company A gets royalties. It's still hard for some to grasp the concept of intellectual property- some guys put years into the development of the systems you see on the market today.

    Just wait until the Chinese Motec knock-offs make it here... you'll be able to get a $299 kit at Wally World (just kidding).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    467

    Default

    Just wait until the Chinese Motec knock-offs make it here...
    Yes, it will be called Motecc, or Mottec. Their company will offer "Credible Expertise in the World of Electronic Auto!".

    Instructions include:

    Danger!
    A dangerous device. This device is made for the extreme priority of the good looks. The little part which suffocates when the sharp part gets hurt is swallowed is contained generously. Only the person who can take responsibility by itself is to use!

    My friend recently stayed in China on business, at the 'Hyatte'!!! It has nothing to do with the 'Hyatt'. They are shameless.

    Jim



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