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14point7 iDash 
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QFP80 - Contributor
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Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:47 am
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I tried to do as much research as I could about this unit, I had spied it a while ago and recently had an application for a friend and customer who needed to check his AFR and EGT’s at the track, as it seemed he was super rich on the track but perfect on the dyno, and if he leaned it out on the track to get some response and pull out of the corners then when he put it back on the dyno the operator freaked out that it was too lean.

So we needed to see what it was doing on the track, as it was obviously very different to sitting in a dyno cell.

The car in question is a dirt track car, 4 cylinder on methanol. I considered that after he had finished with it would very likely be utilised in other temporary installs, so decided on a Dual Lambda version for future-proofing.

Ordering…

I ordered the iDash unit on the 10th of November, thinking 2 weeks should be enough time to get the unit and install for testing, factoring in an evening for wiring.

The next day I see an email with a tracking number, saying 1x iDash Dual Wideband O2 has now shipped. I check the link to tracking, and see that a shipping label has been created and item is awaiting collection. It remained like that until the 18th when I sent Alan To (the owner of 14point7.com) an email asking if tracking is glitched and it’s actually been sent, or if it really hasn’t left yet?

His reply is that he intended to send it last week but no, it hasn’t gone yet. My reply outlined that I considered I’d left enough time by ordering when I did; and he sent using express USPS and I actually had it within a week from that email. He didn’t charge extra for express shipping, though I expected to not have to seeing as it hadn’t been sent within a reasonable time from ordering it.

I guess that’s a reasonable result from what happened, considering I still needed the unit.

The fun part…

Initially I planned on a sealed box with the required wiring coming out of it, however space is at a premium so that idea was scrapped.

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We ended up situating the unit in a position that gets no/minimal mud or water and allowed tidy routing of wiring. We ran RPM, a single Lambda, 4x EGT. We added wiring for TPS but ran out of time to mount it on the throttle linkage setup, so ran without initially.

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Because I’m a cabbage, we did zero sensor calibrations and everything looked reasonable. Oh, except the rpm multiplier we changed to 0.5 to read correct, and set AFR to methanol scale. It ran for a meeting that way and everything looked okay.

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Before the next meeting we did a calibration on the EGTs and set up a throttle position sensor on a linkage to the carbs. The joy of web based (and wireless) tech is I can do most things from my phone besides view the datalogs.
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Datalogging and WinLogView

Starting and stopping the iDash logging function worked fine from a single device, but we found that if we started from a phone, then stopped on the laptop, it had no data recorded. If we started and stopped on same device it worked fine. I could even start/stop logging from my phone, and download the log file to phone, then transfer to PC to view the log. Well, convert to a readable .csv from the .dat file it downloads using the supplied converter program, and then actually open the log in WinLogView.

We currently have an issue with noise on the EGT inputs, and are working to eliminate that but we can still see trends and set it to discard outliers by setting a range that looks reasonable from a scan through the log in Graph View.

You can see the trend in the bottom lines of the below graph, plus the spikes. Default filtering is set to average across 2 records, I set it to 1 to identify why my data looked funky and found this below. I have a couple of tricks to try yet including moving power suppy and earth point, could be the CDI right next to everything no helping too... The probes are ungrounded junction exposed tip, but are not from 14point7.

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Once I had viewing the log files sorted (I found out how to get it to save fields to view so I didn’t have to manually select and set scale for each one every time – File/Save Graph, FYI), I then looked at Matrix Mode to try and see trends easier.

Throttle position (Vin1 raw voltage) vs RPM and plotting AFR seemed to be a good ideafor a start. You can set colours start and end points, and it blends between the values to allow easy viewing of trends.Here red is lean, green is rich. So yeah, there’s a bit of a tuning issue there. If you mouse over each cell, it shows the max, min, and average, and sample number. There are a bunch of settings to tweak to get the data to be useful for you.

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Conclusion


I think it’s an awesome unit for the price; initial customer service let him down – though I understand this is likely a side-business considering the pricing (I'm just guessing based on my own experiences), and I wouldn’t hesitate to get another unit if needed. I would just allow more time for it to get to me and/or be more proactive about following up if I see shipping not tracking any movement.

It does everything we need, price is right, and so far I’m very impressed aside from the odd non-recording of logs which I believe is from changing connected devices.

I would recommend the unit, taking these things into consideration.

Disclaimer: This review is posted in aid of the rebate advertised on 14point7 website.

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Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:42 pm
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Very, very, nice review. Also glad to see you using Canvas Gauges in such a manner.

The shipping delay concerns me in this way: When a problem occurs, Alan responds very generously (upgraded shipping for free, replaced units for free, etc.). He makes great products, but I hope he can keep up with the demand and turnaround before reactive generosity cuts into the bottom line too much. It is likely a very difficult balancing act for him to create these products and manage all of the business dynamics.

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Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:12 pm
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QFP80 - Contributor
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Agreed. I'm often on the other side also and I end up losing out because, well, I should to keep it fair. Being fair doesn't make you money though, and he replied to my email regarding review promptly so maybe it was just a bad time for him over the period I ordered. If it was made clearer how long shipping might take I would have been more understanding as to my need to order sooner.

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Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:33 am
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Finally had a chance to read this and have a few comments:

0) Photobucket is horrible. JS pig on each page, no direct image viewing on click through. Open 3 and ff goes from zero CPU to max. Icky.
1) Why blurred data? :-p
2) If the noisy traces are EGT (I can't tell due to blur!!) then you may like to put some small capacitors across them at the input to the device - may already have them internally? Not sure.
3) I think it's Alan's full-time gig, but I think he's solo and it's grown a lot. He can correct me if I'm wrong or further clarify, if he wants.
4) Plus one on "good review" :-)

Cheers!

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Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:45 am
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QFP80 - Contributor
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It was late, photobucket was the only thing I could remember my pw for and wife was nagging me to keep working on the house, so pffft! Sorry Fred, I know it's horribad.

Noisy traces are EGT, I have posted on his support forum but it appears to be a unit fault as the unconnected EGT inputs also have spikes to max. They are not all at the same time, and happen when the engine isn't even running. Have also sent an email and am awaiting reply.

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Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:54 am
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What do you get if you connect a 0.22uF cap to the floating inputs? Try it. You may be surprised. My noise experience was in a house with zero noise producing equipment nearby. Some carefully placed caps almost cured it completely with good response. But you have only got the input side of things to try. You should definitely try it, they're trying to measure millivolts as something meaningful, remember, doesn't take much to make a lot of noise.

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Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:39 am
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Thanks yeah I will, don't think I'll have a chance to get any before the next meeting which is on Monday, but I'll report back once I've tried it.

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Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:33 am
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I thought I'd report back now we've had a few more race meetings and I've gained a bit more experience with the unit, and with methanol.

I emailed Alan regarding the EGT spikes and he asked me to send it back, but as I can read the data and filter out the spikes with my eyes we'll keep using it for now. I believe it is ignition interference, as everything crammed in a small area with CDI high tension passing near it can't be helping the cause. I'll try it in a normal car with inductive ignition and the HT leads further away at a later date. It does what we need for now.

The unit has proven invaluable, combined with driver feedback and reading plugs it is an awesome tool, especially at the price point. We've worked out we appear to be in uncharted territory that no one seems to run a methanol engine quite like we do (and have data on it), and we need to run it relatively fat (phat :mrgreen: ) to get it to stop melting plugs. The reason is no one else seems to hold and engine wide open for a minute and a half - which appears to be when the spark plug electrode gives up and melts into a ball and/or exits the chamber. The setup of the car means that if he's out front (which is common) he can throw it into the corners and keep his foot hard up it.

So initially we were going on what we'd been told and research seemed to back up, to run it between 5.5:1 to 5:1, which is around λ0.86 - 0.79.
Occasionally spark plug earth strap or ceramic would go AWOL. So we progressively added more fuel (it's carb'd) and under WOT ended up with around 5.1:1 - 4.1:1 (λ0.80 - 0.64) which incidentally is where the unit stops reading afr!
To be fair, I've never run anything that rich - but on methanol it loves it and keeps making power. Which means it must have been massively rich to be bogging after it came off the dyno!

It's also a compromise using a carburetor, as it obviously is most efficient at around 7500rpm where it's leanest at λ0.80 and drops off to λ0.64 by 9500 rpm - though it does run up to 10,500rpm reasonably regularly.

Just thought some of you might find this interesting. I'll try and get some screenshots of the logs up if I remember at some stage.

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Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:37 am
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I do. Thanks. And hello from the high seas! :-)

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Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:41 am
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QFP80 - Contributor
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Have some screenshots of logs if anyone is interested. http://imgur.com/a/GPvIL

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Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:40 pm
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