Arduino Mega drives custom ECU for diesel engines

Sven and Juho are working to perfect a custom ECU (electronic control unit) for diesel engines using an Atmel-based Arduino Mega (ATmega1280).

“[Hobbyists often] take the engine from a newer car with a modern direct injected diesel engine, with all the cables, sensors and motor controller and adapt it to their beloved old car. A ‘new’ electronically controlled engine is used to replace the old worn out engine – and with that follows better power, less pollution and way better fuel economy,” the duo told Zoe Romano of the official Arduino blog.

“[However], this takes time and is a complex project. You have to adapt the [cables], install the ECU (the motor controller) and must be sure that all the peripheral sensors sitting all around the engine is brought over to the new car and is working. You might also have to adapt the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel to make all the warning lights and gauges to work again.”

Fortunately, there is a viable alternative to the above-mentioned process. Indeed, the duo’s Arduino-powered controller is more than capable of managing the engine with pre-existing (engine) sensors.

“By doing this, the motor swap is reduced to a weekend project and everything in the [vehicle] is working as it was before,” the two added.

“No instruments modification, no need for external valves and sensors, no adapted cables. Just the Arduino.”

Sven and Juho have managed to implement partial functionality for the project, including:

  • Integrated control map editor
  • Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) memory
  • Fuel map (RPM vs. TPS)
  • Boost map (MAP vs RPM)
  • Torque limiter map (MAP vs RPM)
  • VNT / WG control map (IQ vs RPM)
  • Pump advance map (IQ vs RPM)
  • Cold start and idle map (RPM vs. Temperature)

Future functionality is slated to include:

PID based idle stabilization
  • EGT sensor support
  • Fuel trim maps for compensation intake air temp or fuel temp
  • HDK actuator support
  • Cruise control
  • Traction control
  • Optimized EEPROM structure

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here and Zoe Romano’s Arduino write up here.

5 thoughts on “Arduino Mega drives custom ECU for diesel engines


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