System 32 Seen at Reno

Heart of the new System 32 engine management is its ECU. The blue anodized aluminum housing contains one complete computing unit along with its associated cable terminals and an SD card reader. There are two of these boxes per system; they can be mounted piggyback if desired.

Introduced late last week, the first look at the brand new EFII System 32 engine management system hardware is possible in the pits at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada as of today.

For years the southern California company owned by Robert Paisley has offered a basic electronic engine management system for traditional aircraft engines. Assembling ignition and fuel system components from the aftermarket, Canada-based SDS, as well as their own supporting hardware, the legacy EFII system has been fitted to over 400 aircraft.

But now EFII has unveiled an entirely new digital engine management system 100 percent of their design and manufacture. It is a huge step forward in capability, accuracy, manufacturing, ease of installation and upgradability.

Like the rest of the system, the all-new System 32 ECU was designed by and is built for EFII. Each blue box contains one ECU and associated connections, so each of the two boxes can run the engine independently of the other.

Called System 32 after its 32 bit RISC processor, EFII says it is the first engine management system designed specifically for experimental aircraft. It has at least 50 times the processing power of EFII’s previous system from its fully redundant dual ECU layout and besides providing start-and-forget engine management–no more mixture control–it has the channels and processing power to optionally control boost pressure, ADI flow, up to three oxygen sensors, TECAT torque sensing and real time telemetry. System 32 does not control constant speed propellers, but it can operate up to 12-cylinder engines.

Unlike the 2-dimensional legacy system, System 32 boasts 3-dimensional ignition and fuel software maps for more refined engine operation. Much more appropriate fueling and sparking is promised throughout the engine’s operating range.

Designed to fit in a standard 2 ¼-in. instrument panel opening, the EFII System 32 controller allows instant fuel and spark tuning along with super-simple upgradeability via its SD card slot. It employs the same display as same-sized Garmin units to blend into popular instrument panel designs.

System 32 is built around five new major components: the ECU, cockpit controller, wiring harness, crank trigger and fuel injector mounting. We’ll have a fully detailed report in KITPLANES soon, but suffice to say the visually handsome new hardware–and presumably the equally upgraded software–brings System 32 to the forefront of experimental aircraft engine technology. The cockpit controller is especially full of promise thanks to a screen identical to Garmin hardware and super easy system initial set-up and in-flight trimming of ignition timing or fuel mixture. Taking up very little space fore-and-aft in a standard round panel opening, the shallow new controller displays alarm and annunciator functions for ECU power, fuel pump power, two battery voltages, plus an air/fuel ratio graphic display and offers easy updatability via an SD card port. Access to the entire system is thus immediately in front of the pilot, and should upgrades be necessary they’re equally accessible via the SD card reader.

EFII designed a new crank trigger mounting for System 32. It fits much closer to, and curves to more accurately fit, Lycoming flywheels.

Paisley says the new System 32 will plug into existing EFII wiring harnesses, so customers already running EFII’s legacy system can update to System 32 without rewiring their airframes if desired. This backwards compatibility is also giving EFII the needed beta testing of the new ECU, but Paisley says he expects most customers will update to the new wiring harness to gain the new bulkhead connectors and built-in fusible link protection among other things.

System 32 is priced identically as the legacy system, at least initially. That older system has ceased production but will “absolutely” be supported by EFII.

System 32 employs one ECU per aluminum housing, and is offered only as a dual ECU system, so there are two blue boxes per System 32 installation. Pricing for a complete fuel and spark 4-cyl. System 32 is $6,195; a 6-cyl. complete system is $7,695.

System 32 uses a new wiring harness with unique, mistake-proof terminal ends, Tefzel wire and round bulkhead fittings with fusible links so one shorted injector or coil wire doesn’t take out the whole circuit.

Later an ignition-only derivative of System 32 will be available at $2,750 for the 4-cyl. ignition and $3,395 for the 6-cyl ignition. Like the complete systems the ignitions will be 2-box ECU installations. Paisley says he elected to keep the two ECU’s in separate boxes because it allows easier troubleshooting and maintenance.


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