This article describes how to get started with an Adaptronic Modular ECU
Firstly, it’s important to understand that getting the initial setup right gets the you most of the way there. The better the initial settings and map, the easier the tune will go.
The first step is to install the Eugene software. You can download the full version from the Downloads section of the Adaptronic website or just click here Download Page. (See image below)
a. Click on the link.
b. Install the downloaded software.
Once done, open Eugene.
c. Click open file.
If you’re using a plug and play ECU, you can start with the base map that best matches your application. You can find these in the Modular_Basemaps directory after you’ve installed the software. Sometimes one ECU will have multiple base maps, so you’ll need to pick the best one for your vehicle. For example the Skyline ECU has base maps for the RB25 GTST, the RB26 GTR and the VG30 300ZX.
If you’re using a wire-in ECU, there may also be a base map suitable for your engine, or Adaptronic support team might be able to make one.
Otherwise, if you’re making a base map from scratch, you’ll need to start with a generic base map and then set up the particulars of the engine.
Generic base map is located under Documents>Eugene>Basemap > Modular > and its name is “Modular ECU basemap”
Step 1 – Load the base map, either a generic base map or one for your plug-in.
If you’re setting up a different engine then I need to set up the basics of the engine – so read on
For this example open Modular ECU basemap.
1.a Select Modular ECU basemap.
1.b Click open.
Then this window will appear. It will just take seconds to configure depending on your computer specification. (See image below)
“Classic Page View” of Eugene software will appear.
To activate “Custom View”, just click on the “Switch to Custom Page View” button. (See image below)
Step 2 is to change anything in the base map that’s different in your car compared to the factory car, that the ECU needs to worry about. This might include, but not be limited to:
- Engine capacity, if you’ve bored out or stroked the engine
- Injector type
- Fuel pressure, and fuel pressure sensor if you’ve added one of those
- In fact any other sensors you’ve added, air temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, ethanol sensor, etc
- Stoichiometric ratio, depending on the fuel you’re using. 14.7 for gasoline / petrol and 10.000 for E85.
- Target idle speed, for example if you’ve enlarged ports or changed cams you may want to change this
- Any other outputs you’ve added on or are using for another purpose
There are other articles to explain how to do each of these in more detail, if I included them all here it would an hour long explanation and most people will only need to reference some of these.
2.a Click over buttons on the top of the pane and make changes.
Step 3 – go to the wiring page (from the “Home” ribbon) and you will see all the inputs and outputs on the ECU, and which pins they go to. Not all of these will be used, and if you have a plug and play ECU, the names of the pins will be the those used by the factory ECU. So for example if you are using a plug-in ECU on a race car, with no air conditioning, and you’re using that digital input for pitlane limiter or boost selection switch, you should change that pin description in the wiring. It’s good manners because someone, which could be you, or it could be someone else, will more easily be able to follow it later.
3.a Click home button then click Wiring and Installation guide.
3.b Select pin/s subjected to change (in this example Dig in 1). Double click on left side column of Dig in 1 to change wire display name then set custom name pane will appear.
3.c Type the name to display.
3.d Click OK.
3.e Single click on the change wire color button.
3.f Pick color/s.
3.g Click apply wire color.
It is now changed and appeared something like this. (See image below)
Step 4- now you have a functional base map for the ECU. Create a new directory on your laptop and save it with a sensible version number eg, FullySikCar_001. Write this to the ECU, by connecting the ECU to the PC and loading the file, and confirming that you want to “write-all” to the ECU. You don’t need the ECU wired in to the car to do this, it can be read and written to just with the USB connected.
4.a Create a new directory. In this example create a new folder with name “Personal”.
4.b Make a sensible name for the basemap. (eg, FullySikCar_001)
4.c Click save button.
Step 5- now it’s time to either wire up the ECU, or perform any wiring modifications to the factory loom as part of the ECU installation. I mentioned what some of these might be before (for example extra sensors and outputs). You can use the wiring information from the screen in the software as a guide.
Step 6 – Once it’s wired up, you can provide power to the ECU. It’s a good idea to check all the inputs are working correctly at this point, for example temperature inputs, voltages and so on. Assuming they are OK, you should now calibrate the TPS. Just be aware that on some cars like the RX7s, the wax pellet holds open the throttle slightly when the engine is cold so this will need to be recalibrated when the engine is hot.
Step 7 – Knowing that the inputs are OK, you can check the outputs. Normally I like to invert each of the auxiliary outputs and verify that the actuators at least click, for example idle speed, boost control, and so on should all click when switched on and off. Some output functions such as fuel pumps and thermofans will be obvious when they are enabled so you can check those easily.
I also recommend checking the injector outputs, by pulsing the injector outputs and checking the waveforms, and pulsing the ignition outputs and verifying that you can hear a click with each pulse.
Step 8 – If everything so far is good, you can attempt to start the engine. If the trigger system is selected correctly, then it should fire up pretty easily. With correct fuel pressure and injector selection, engines generally start quite easily. If it doesn’t, then you should check the triggering and ignition setup before going further.
By this I mean that if you have an ignition setup or a trigger problem, it’s not a good idea to put fuel in and to be trying to set fire to it at the wrong time. This can cause all kinds of problems; I’ve seen it cause the engine to kick back and even push starter motors off engines and skip timing chain teeth, both of which can cause mechanical damage.
So in that case, either disable the injectors or unplug them, or disable the fuel pump output. Crank the engine and watch the RPM – the RPM during cranking should at least be stable, and correct. If not, then you should use the built-in scope to watch the crank angle sensor inputs during cranking, and also the current engine angle. The current engine angle should be a stepped waveform that climbs from -360 up to +360 degrees and then immediately back down again and start again. If you see multiple jumps in the current engine angle, then it either means that there’s a bad signal or the wrong trigger mode has been selected in the software. If the current engine angle is increasing over the range, but the RPM always shows 1, then it means that the ECU is seeing the crank trigger events, but it hasn’t found TDC yet (for example it hasn’t seen a missing tooth, or hasn’t seen the reset single tooth trigger on the cam).
Sample of built-in scope for Nissan 6 cylinder system
Zoomed built-in scope for Nissan 6 cylinder system
If the current engine angle is advancing correctly and you have good RPM, then the ignition timing should be stable also. So if it’s back firing or not firing up nicely, check the firing order in the ignition outputs menu.
Thank you and happy learning!