Cosworth XB
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 Data Acquisition

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The following are a couple of screen shots from the Motec data acquisition dash that is installed in all the cars.  I looked at using the original PI systems but found they were way too complicated for vintage racing.  In addition, PI had no desire to support the older systems and, in the case of the 99, I was told by PI that they would not sell a system nor would they repair one returned for service.  Lastly, the PI stuff was terribly expensive!  I believe Pi has and is making and effort to improve their support of vintage racing.  Over the past few years, I have been told by several people that they have become much more flexible in how they deal with the vintage community.  In addition, I have been contacted directly by Adam Boyer of Pi to emphasize their commitment to the vintage community.  I have included his email as it contains all his contact information.

Although the chassis are set up for shock travel and pushrod loading on all four wheels in addition to steered angle, the following data was obtained using the ECU data stream, a three axis accelerometer, one wheel speed sensor and a lap beacon.  The ECU provides all pertinent engine related data including fuel usage, gear, and all automatic boost control parameters.  For the XB, the Motec dash is connected to the Cosworth communication box which takes the ECU data stream and breaks it up into the proprietary Cosworth link used to monitor and reprogram the ECU and the data acquisition data feed.  Motec had already provided support for the Cosworth HB.  Given that the HB fuel control is used on the XB, it was simply a matter of building a software data stream definition for the dash which matched the format of the XB controller.  The XD proved to be a bit more complicated.  Ultimately, I built a small 8051 microcontroller board which sits between the XD fuel control and the Motec dash.  This controller receives the XD serial data and reformats it in XB compatible format.  Building a matching template on the dash side completed the project.  The conversion board measures about one inch square and easily fits within the data cable assembly in the car.  The final solution consists of the Motec dash and a very simple harness.  The display provides all the information the driver may want, drives the shift tree and has a very advanced alarm capability.  Alarms can be programmed for just about any possible condition or sets of conditions.  In addition to the normal over-rev, temperature and pressure alarms, I have obscure alarms like one that advises the driver if the boost control set point differs from the actual boost by more than .1"  at 80% throttle and above and above 10,000 RPM.  The Motec system is remarkably flexible.

The availability of the Motec Dash 2 with its extended data templates has allowed a direct connection between the Motec data acquisition dash and the Cosworth ECU.  The Visteon car has this new dash which also supports download via USB instead of the more bulky parallel port based CAN cable.  The new Dash makes for a very clean installation.

Chassis setup on a ChampCar is turning out to be remarkably complicated.  2005 will mark the introduction of pushrod load sensors, shock travel sensors and laser ride height measurement to the data acquisition system.  Shock pots are used to determine, amongst other things, damper speed at any position on the track.  Combine this information with shock dyno plots to determine which adjustment (low or high speed) will have the greatest affect on the car.  Ride height and pushrod load let you look at aerodynamic balance, load transfer while cornering and tire spring rate (compression) amongst other things.  Lastly, knowing where the suspension is and where the car is with respect to the ground allows proper adjustment of the third springs.  I have been told countless times that I need to make sure the car is not on the third spring in fast corners as this can affect grip and may lead to the car flying off the road!

There is more information about Motec's ability to do lap comparisons and such on the PERFORMANCE page.

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