Given the rather complicated set of coordinated control inputs which are necessary to control a spark ignition engine, primary control system development and evaluation can be a very difficult task. It is also difficult to develop microprocessor systems which are flexible enough for rapid system reconfiguration. In this paper it is shown that a Personal Computer (PC) provides an excellent solution to this common problem.
Possible execution time problems are avoided by the use of a special multitasking environment and simple external hardware. The external hardware takes care of the cycle to cycle fueling and spark advance timing calculations. The PC itself uses its execution time only for calculating new fueling pulse widths and spark advance angles when the operating point of the engine changes. There is also extra computing capacity available for system simulations, condition monitoring, fault detection or perhaps driver information.
Because of its mainframe architecture the PC allows the development systems to be programmed directly in a higher language which minimizes development costs and difficulties. In addition PC's are supported by a multitude of readily available software tools and facilities which can be applied to engine control and monitoring.