Is traction control cheating? | Haltech’s Drag specific torque management system

Is traction control cheating? | Haltech’s Drag specific torque management system


– It’s Andre from High
Performance Academy, and we’re here at World Time Attack, Haltech stand with Nathan from Haltech. And I wanted to take some
time to chat to Nathan about some of the advanced functions with the Haltech Elite
Race Expansion Module. Now, we’re seeing this
Race Expansion Module used primarily on some of the
higher horsepower V8 cars where the Elite 2500
on its own isn’t enough to function stage injection
on a V8 engine, correct? – Correct, yes. So a lot of these cars are
using a lot more functionality to get down the track
as quick as they can. – Now, aside from the ability
to then run stage injection, stage sequential injection and
direct-fire ignition on a V8, which is essential just to get
enough fuel into the engine and then create the spark. Really the aspects we wanna
talk about, though, today are some of the more advanced
functions that are being used really specifically in
this drag application. And one of the ones that
I’m really excited about is the torque-management
that you’ve got here. Now, this is nothing particularly new, there’s a lot of the
U.S. competitors already running products such as the MSD Grid, and I think a U.S. mentality,
even I’d go so far as to say is adding on additional modules and boxes into these cars to do specific functions, and you’re getting rid of all of that with the Race Expansion Module, bringing everything into the one place, and the first aspect we’ll talk about is this torque management. So can you give us a little rundown on how the torque management
works in the Elite? – Yeah, definitely. So the torque management is monitoring the driveshaft speed of the vehicle. So that has a pre-determined curve, that’s mapped out from all of
the engine data that we get and all of the data logging, then you can go through and
map it out a desired curve. And then what the ECU does is
actually monitor that curve, how it’s driving along
it, and then, basically, it’ll start to pull out
ignition timing if it needs to, or even drop cylinders if it needs to. And it’s doing that on
basically every pulse that’s coming through, so it’s actively going through
and monitoring that signal. – Now, for those who maybe
aren’t quite understanding exactly what this really
means, let’s break it down. Really, if we wanna call
it what actually is, it’s traction control, isn’t it? – Yeah, basically what it
is doing is limiting slip. So slip, once the tire’s already started to slip significantly, the run’s over. So what you’re trying
to do is preempt that by looking at the speed of the vehicle and how that’s changing
using derivatives over time, and then basically making some adjustments as quick as possible to
get on top of the tyre so it’s not going to slip. – So what we’ve got here, this ability to monitor
the driveshaft speed, which in this instance
the wheel spin obviously is directly related to driveshaft speed. So then, what we’re doing based on data, presumably from a perfect, or exceptionally good
pass with no wheel spin, and use that data on
driveshaft speed versus time to give what is the
ideal driveshaft speed. And then anytime the driveshaft
speed goes above this line during a pass, what this
means is that the car is then suffering from wheel spin. Then the ECU can start
taking preemptive measures to reduce that wheel spin? – Exactly. So you do have that ideal
curve that you want to run. And the good thing about drag racing is it’s very repetitive, so you know what the car
should be doing for that track. You can make some mild adjustments, but pretty much that curve’s gonna be what you want the car to do. – So in mild cases,
where we’re just starting to see the driveshaft speed
creep just, just above that predetermined line, we can reduce the engine
torque and thereby reduce the wheel slip by
reducing ignition timing first? – Yes, so these engines
are quite large capacity, big powered engines, so obviously a retard is gentler on them
and has a significant impact. Dropping cylinders does upset
the vehicle quite a lot, so it’s usually if you’ve
gotten to that point, it’s, you’re way off, so usually
it’s a retard that’s used to bring it back into
line and get that traction right where it needs to be. – And I think it’s probably
worth also pointing out particularly with these pro mod style car, more often than not,
they’ve got more power than they can put to the
track just about at any point. So really one of the big challenges which might not be
obvious from the outset, is getting these cars to go down the track in the best time possible is really a fine balancing act for the tuner, in order to match the amount of power the engine’s developing
to the amount of traction at that particular point on
the track, is that fair to say? – Yeah definitely, definitely. And there’s so much going on, so not only are these high-powered cars, but you have such a
short time-span to react. So from the time when you’ve launched through to hitting the traps, there’s only five seconds
that’s gone through. A lot of stuff’s happening in that time, so you’ve gotta be really,
really quickly in on it. We’re also running a lot
of really small tyred, high-horsepower cars, x275 cars, so it’s even worse for them because the tyre contact
surface is so much smaller. So we’re having great results with guys running this type of technology
and using the Haltech to get them down the track quicker. – Now moving on, the other
function I wanted to talk about, or another function I wanted to talk about is your CO2 boost control. So can you give us some
insight into how that works, and how we can make use of it? – Yeah, so basically, the CO2 control is doing
closed-loop control on the top hat and the wastegate, as opposed to doing it
from the intake manifold, and that using CO2, so using
a known pressure source to monitor and map that boost control. We also do that because we can map it over the drag race itself, so along with the torque
management strategies you can also go through and progressively fade
that power in over the run. – So, here what we’re doing
rather than directly monitoring and controlling boost pressure, the pressure in the wastegate ends up affecting our boost pressure, so it’s sort of a cause-and-effect. The other thing with that as well, and probably not such an issue with these big-tire cars
with reasonable traction, and certainly I had this problem with my own four-wheel drive drag car, where there’s a finite range that we can run from the minimum
wastegate spring pressure through to maximum boost pressure, and maybe if we’ve got
a traction-limited car where we need to launch with
relatively low boost pressure, perhaps 15 or 20psi, then at the deep end of the
track it’s going to limit how much boost we can get in, so using CO2, maybe regulated
to a higher pressure, maybe 80 or 90psi, that gives us a wider range that we can vary the boost across? – Yeah, you’ve got a wider range there. You’re also trying to regulate
a smaller area, you know, you’re using that little hat, so basically you can have
a little bit finer control, and it then does relate to
what the manifold is seeing. So the engine, obviously,
once you’re launching, and it’s so dynamic, that
a lot can be going on, so trying to control a
smaller area is always easier. – Now another function that you’ve brought to the Haltech Elite is the ability to control the pressure in shocks. Again, really related
purely to drag racing. And again, this is another
area where we saw another external control box that was
based off a timer to do that, so you can now bring this
in house, into the Elite, and control it all from the one place. – Yeah, and definitely the theory behind the Race Expansion Module and
the Elite range in general, is to reduce the chance
of problems in drag cars. So traditionally, those same
cars would have, you know, up to ten boxes controlling
all these different functions with different timers, and switching this and switching that, and the wiring was mess, so
when something went wrong, where do you start to look? Now you’ve got one connexion to one ECU that has everything in front of you. They’re all geared off the same timer, we have a race timer built in to it that’s triggered off by one single event, so essentially the tuner can actually tune and manage the whole car. And that’s from the traction control, through the engine management,
through to the boost control, the shocks, the gearshifts, you name it, it’s all done through one system. So, where there’s sort
of been this mentality that no, no, nothing’s fast enough to be able to go and handle
all those functions at once, the Haltech is. – Let’s just talk about
that, that processing speed, cause I think this is a sticking-point, and I know that a lot
of these manufacturers of these add-on boxes use
this as a really big drive for their marketing of how
quickly these add-on boxes can look at an input, calculate,
and then decide what to do. The reality that I think
often is lost there is, particularly if we take it back to basics and look at the torque
management or traction control, it doesn’t really matter how fast we’re looking at that driveshaft
speed and processing that, what’s really important
is we can’t do anything until the next time the engine fires, so for you to say that’s
our limiting aspect? – Yeah, well you’re controlling an engine. That’s ultimately what you’re doing, and you can’t affect it until
the next cylinder event, so as long as you can handle
everything that has to be done before that next event, then you’re fine. So, where you get into problems if something is running lower, or you’re doing too many things
that you run out of time, and you miss an event, or
two, or an engine cycle, yeah, the race is lost. So, we’re well within those
limits and doing more everyday, so it’s not a problem for the
Haltech Engine Management. – And nitrous as well, I know
that you’ve done a lot of work with the nitrous control
strategy with this unit, so can you tell me a
little bit about this, is it six stages now? – Yeah, so we do up to six
stages of nitrous control. So, that’s basically a dry system control, so there’s only nitrous, or nitrous banks of nitrous solenoids, we do all of the additional
fueling through the Haltech. That’s along with everything
else that’s happening. So, once again reducing
the number of boxes, and also improving the control you’ve got. So, we’re able to map those. We have multiple configurations
the user can change on the fly to vary the amount of nitrous. So, for a lot of guys that
are doing no prep racing, they can switch on and off various stages. So they may only wanna
run, say, two stages instead of three states of nitrous. We’re doing stuff on
big, big nitrous builds, where they’re banking the nitrous, so we’ll actually turn the nitrous on on the left bank before the right bank, to help introduce the nitrous cleanly, and, yeah, just the sheer amount that they’re trying to
run through these engines. So, the nitrous coming
on is like you’re boost. That’s their additional,
that’s their power add-on. So, the more finer control
you have over that, the better the car’s gonna perform. Once again, with traction
being a big limiting factor, you want that to come on
as smoothly as you can, and get as much as you can
into the engine safely, and that’s where the Haltech
adds that extra tunability. We’re doing the engine
management completely, including the power adder of nitrous, so all in the one box, we’re doing all of the thermo control, all of the thermo-couple monitoring, safeties that are built into there, we’re monitoring nitrous pressures, we’re monitoring closed-loop
AFRs while that’s happening, so it’s all in the one system. It makes it so much easier for the tuner. – I mean, yeah, definitely. From a tuner’s perspective
it makes perfect sense. You’ve got control of
everything in the one module, there’s no confusion between
modules not talking properly, and it simplifies the whole system, and when reliability’s key, obviously, that’s just so important. Now if someone wants to find
out more about the Elite range and this Race Expansion Module, how can they find out more? Where should they go? – Yeah, you could
definitely go to the website to find more information
on the Haltech Elite series as well as the Race Expansion Module. If you’re building a car to that calibre, we probably suggest that
you do give us a call, and then we can go
through the pros and cons for all the different setups and help you with what you need. – Perfect. Look, thanks for taking the time to talk us through that product, Nathan. – Yeah, anytime.

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  1. Q: Is traction control cheating? A: no, it's called "protecting one's investment". watch a ProMod (or any car for that matter) break loose mid track after a ton of momentum's built up and take a hard turn into the wall (or into the guy he's competing against) ending up on it's roof and you'll see more clearly. you don't have to watch racing very long to see a lot of beautiful cars turn to COMPLETE TRASH over a small loss of traction.

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