What Is the Engine Control Unit?

With the increasing popularity of automobiles, it must be mentioned that the engine control unit ECU is that the brain of recent vehicles. Its most elementary function is that the main computer of the many vehicle engine performance and driving performance. The ECM obtains information from various sensors of the engine and uses this information to calculate and adjust the engine spark and fuel to get maximum power and efficiency. Let’s understand together what’s the engine control unit, its working rule, and failure phenomena.

Posted on Jan 22,2021 by Sharon Wen
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What is an engine control unit?

The engine control unit (ECU) is that the core of the car engine system. It can provide the engine with the simplest air-fuel ratio mixture and therefore the best ignition time consistent with the various working conditions of the engine, in order that the engine is usually within the best working condition. The performance (power, economy, emission) is that the best.

It is equivalent to a standard computer, consisting of a microprocessor (MCU), memory (ROM, RAM), input/output interface (I/O), digitizer (A/D), and large-scale integrated circuits like shaping and driving. composition. during a sentence, “ECU is that the brain of the car”.

How the engine control unit works

The voltage working range of ECU is usually 6.5-16V (there may be a voltage stabilizing device in key internal parts), the working current is 0.015-0.1A, and therefore the working temperature is -40℃~80℃.

It can withstand vibrations below 1000 Hz, therefore the probability of ECU damage is extremely small. within the ECU, the CPU is that the core part. it’s the function of calculation and control. When the engine is running, it collects the signals from the sensors, performs calculations, and calculates The result’s transformed into an impact signal to regulate the work of the controlled object. It also controls the memory (ROM/FLASH/EEPROM, RAM), input/output interface (I/O), and other external circuits.

The program stored within the memory ROM is compiled on the idea of knowledge obtained through precise calculations and an outsized number of experiments. This inherent program is consistently compared and calculated with the collected signals of the sensors when the engine is functioning. The results of comparison and calculation are wont to control multiple parameters like engine ignition, air-fuel ratio, idle speed, and exhaust gas recirculation.


4 major engine control unit ECU failure symptoms

1. The car cannot start

One of the symptoms of ECU failure or malfunction is that the vehicle cannot start or is difficult to start out. If the ECU fails completely, it’ll leave the vehicle without engine internal control and thus won’t start or run. The engine can still be started, but it’ll not start without important input from the pc. This symptom also can be caused by a spread of other problems, so it’s best to possess an entire diagnosis by a knowledgeable technician to accurately determine the cause.

2. Check whether the engine light is on

A bright check engine light may be a possible symptom of a drag with the ECU. When the pc detects a drag with any sensor OR circuit, the check engine light usually lights up. However, in some cases, the ECU will activate the engine light by mistake, or there’s no problem. Scanning the fault code within the computer can help reveal whether the matter is on the ECU or elsewhere within the vehicle.

3. Engine performance issues

Engine performance problems are another symptom of possible ECU problems. If the ECU has any problems, it’s going to abandon the engine’s timing and fuel settings, which can have a negative impact on performance. ECU failure may cause the vehicle to scale back fuel efficiency, power, and acceleration.

4. Engine stall or misfire

Another symptom of ECU failure or malfunction is unstable engine behavior. A malfunctioning computer may cause intermittent problems like stalls or fires. Symptoms may come and go and don’t appear to possess any sort of frequency or severity.

Since ECU plays an important role in engine performance, any problem may cause major problems within the overall function of the car. Since the pc systems found on modern vehicles are very complex and sophisticatedthey’re also difficult to diagnose. Therefore, if you think that there’s a drag with the ECU of the vehicle, please have a knowledgeable technician inspect the vehicle to work out whether your vehicle must get replaced.

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