Beginner needs some advice
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Author:  miamitraffic [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Beginner needs some advice

Hey guys,

i've recently heard about freeems, so i worked my way through all web sites and forum topics. Its a great project and i wonder why only such a small number of cars is running on this open source EMS...

Anyway i want to equip a BMW 318is engine (M42B18, 4 cyl, 1785ccm) with 4 single intake throttle bodys, each 40, 42 or 45 mm in diameter, for some more horsepower and torque. Therefore i want to use freeems to run the entire engine.

I've already read the temporarily forum threads that give some advice on how to start with freeems.

But now i'm stuck with the hardware. I don't manage to get an overview about which hardware is available, where to buy the components and which work has to be done to get the hardware ready.

Can anyone help me out?

Thanks a lot!


Author:  Fred [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

Hey Steve, welcome to the forum :-)

There's a few reasons why it's under used:

1) My "bad" attitude has driven various people away over the years. I require honesty and a genuine amount of effort. I think that's a fair request, but I'm a kiwi, so my view may be skewed on those items.

2) Technology choice, the platform is a bit dated now, still capable and still a good choice, but not popular. Two other projects have gained similar traction in a fraction of the time with that on their side and really not much else, save maybe a different attitude :-)

3) Hardware is hard. And by that I mean that anyone can install PC software, even from source, on some obscure Linux, it's accessible and easy because of the commodity hardware - well blazed trails. With this, you have to have special hardware which alone is a barrier.

4) Risk. PC software is low risk, controlling your engine with firmware written by some guy on the internet could be deemed high risk, especially if you aren't 100% up to speed with how every aspect of the system and your engine bay works and how best to configure/setup/optimise all of that.

5) XYZ feature that user cannot live without - you may fit this category because factory 60-2 support is not great in FreeEMS at the moment and that's what almost all BMWs use, unless retrofitted with something else. In most cases, XYZ feature is not needed and they could have helped with testing/dev and eventually gained that desired item.

6) Testing turn around. Relying on even the best people for quick testing is a slow cycle process. So I stocked up on cars and promptly ran out of time to implement FreeEMS on all of them. Catch22.

7) Satisfaction. There are two types of DIY tuners: Type A tunes their car well enough, or not even well enough, is happy, and forgets about it forever. Type B continuously tweaks their tune until the day they die. Type A gives feedback, for a few weeks. Type B gets fed up without feature XYZ and replaces with something else.

8) Many people think the project is dead from lack of public progress, it's not. Though it has been slow going... Recent firmware runs cars pretty well, but isn't available to the world, yet, for a variety of reasons. See this vid (and others) for a demo:

Probably lots of other reasons, but a fair question none the less. :-)

Now, hardware, not much, only Andy's basic ECU V2 which AFAIK no one has tried, yet. I have one, but have not had a chance, so far. Last I heard he hadn't either, but that was a while back.

The reason for a lack of hardware info is mostly just time/effort related, but also because there have been many many hardware variants, and each person wants something a bit different.

The majority of existing installs are Jaguar variants: A3, 0.4-alpha, 0.6-alpha, 0.7-alpha etc. This is what runs my "hotel" when I get a chance to pour some water in it and do a lap of the block.

May I just say that I really appreciate your taking the time to poke around and read, especially given how needle/hay stack it is. This is the bit in 1 that I called "genuine effort" :-)

Being in Miami (I assume) puts you fairly close to two FreeEMSers (Tampa, Atlanta) with which you could gain a bit of hands on experience in advance, if you want, and they're up for it.

Author:  miamitraffic [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

Hey Fred,
thanks for all the information. I can completely understand nr. 1)-8). And i can deal with that, it was clear for me from the first moment on.
Anyway i am still interested. I realised on Andys website, that the jaguar boards are no longer available? So basically the only helpful option ist to buy the assembled basic-ECU V2 box from him?
Oh and btw, im from europe ; )

Author:  Fred [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

No worries :-)

Yeah, the basic V2 is the only current commercial option. I think he plans to offer PCB only Jaguars but not currently available because the last batch ran out and new one hasn't been ordered (or possibly even finished).

When I said "with that on their side and really not much else" I was being nice/gentle. There's a bunch of reasons not to go those ways that I won't elaborate on here.

I stalked your IP and see that my self-stated assumption was wrong. There's a couple of Germans active on here, one keen but not using, the other one ran his French car briefly before we realised that special code is required for the pattern on it. There's also a Dutchman to the west who's active.

I'm curious about your forum name's etymology now :-) Care to share?

Author:  miamitraffic [ Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

Well, i would not mind to solder things up myself. But therefore i would need a schematic, a tested/verified PCB and a list of components. I think i have seen the documents on Andys website... But where to get the PCB/components ?

Oh, and where can i find , which advantages freeems has? ;)

Have a nice weekend

Author:  Fred [ Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

Jaguar is a pain to build/use, but works well if you bother. It has no connector, so you need to supply that aspect/design yourself and hook up all the connections through to it. Cases are available, but that's not ideal either, as again, you need to figure out how to get all those wires out. Jaguar, on the other hand, is heavily peer reviewed and latest/greatest versions are pretty rock solid design wise.

Components come from digikey and I think there is a BOM available to drop into their setup so you can just get a shipment of the whole lot.

Advantages of FreeEMS? I'm somewhat subjective, by nature, but: Not written by someone who isn't a very good software developer. It's more accurate and precise than both other FOSS options, too. However IO limitations mean over 6 cylinders is not ideal, as a result. Also, unlike the other ones, drive by wire has been implemented and used. Not in any sort of safe way, but... it's there and could be pushed further (I have all the hardware, just need motivation and time). It also uses a proper physics based model, which isn't true of the ardu one which is a M$ clone design wise, not sure about the other, but from what I've read, I doubt it's good. The code isn't great, but it's not bad, and pretty well documented. Various people have added things like decoders, two-step launch, paddle shift control, etc, and never with too much difficulty. IE, the code is hackable.

I wouldn't recommend testing DBW on an automatic vehicle or high power vehicle, but anything manual and 150hp/tonne or so should be safe enough, if interested (which it doesn't sound like you are).

Author:  miamitraffic [ Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

Morning and thanks so far.

From that point of view it seems to be much easier to just buy the basic ecu v2 instead of getting a jaguar board running.

I will think about that. I think these two hardware options are the only ones think about, am i right ?

And for me it looks like freeems does not have a knock detection implemented?

Intake throttle Bodies will be DIY of course and therefore not dbw. Car does now have 140 HP at 1800ccm, with new cams, modified cylinder head and intake throttle bodies we should end up somewhere over 180hp.

I will think about the Options i have for a few weeks. Some other work has to be done as well...

Author:  gyro [ Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

I found FreeEMS by accident today, so know little about its history or availability.
Is there a primer or page on what hardware is required/available?
I am familiar with EMSs generally and am a programmer by trade.


Author:  Fred [ Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

The short answer is that there's something of a lack of hardware availability at the moment which is a bit of a party killer, but there are ways of getting around it.

Basically anything with the XDP512 processor and suitable clock circuitry is okay, but anything that isn't a bespoke board may need mods and WILL be a lot of work.

For personal use you can print a Jaguar, but then you need SMD soldering skills and a USBDM device to program the CPU once it's far enough along. I think someone had some boards printed recently and would likely ship you one for cost if that's the route you want to go.

Andy has a little proprietary design that he can sell you, too. I have one, but have not had a chance to try it, yet. I should, as I'm currently sharing one old Jaguar 0.6 between two cars! Not ideal.

Hope that helps!

Author:  miamitraffic [ Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Beginner needs some advice

It does. Im looking forward to start the process around November this year.

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