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Wiring Fundamentals: ECU, Sensors, Actuators

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ECU, Sensors, Actuators


00:00 - The ECU can be considered to be the brain of our EFI system.
00:04 Its job is to continuously interpret signals from an array of sensors and make decisions on how to control the EFI system actuators.
00:11 At its most basic level its function is to track engine position, fire the fuel injectors to deliver the correct air fuel mix, and trigger the ignition coils to spark the plugs and ignite that mix at the right time.
00:24 Modern EFI ECUs are capable of much more than just this however.
00:28 And they may control many other aspects of the engine and vehicle.
00:31 Such as cruise control, launch control, anti lag, boost level on a forced induction engine and much much more.
00:39 What the EFI ECU is controlling will differ for each particular application but it needs to be decided before the wiring harness design and construction takes place.
00:48 If the ECU is going to control something, we're going to have to run wires to it.
00:52 And adding in additional wires to a harness after the construction is complete, while not impossible, can become a big job in and of itself.
01:01 For the ECU to be able to make decisions about how to control the EFI system actuators, it needs a clear picture of how the engine is currently operating.
01:09 It gets this picture by continuously reading the values from various sensors fitted to the engine.
01:15 At a bare minimum, these will typically include an engine temperature sensor, an engine speed sensor, intake air temperature sensor, manifold pressure sensor, and throttle position sensor.
01:26 There are countless other things we can use sensors to monitor however and decisions about which sensors we need to fit, are once again closely linked to the decisions we've made about what the ECU is going to control.
01:37 We can't ask the ECU to control something if it doesn't have any information about it.
01:42 It's important that the actuators and sensors we're going to use are physically fitted to the engine or vehicle before we start our wiring harness design.