I chose to go with the ECU Master: EMU Black standalone unit for engine management. This post will breakdown some of the features and reasons for going with this unit over others.
The EMU Black is a standalone ECU designed and manufactured by ECU Master. It retails for $1099 at time of writing and is one of the best bang for your buck standalone units today. It is packed with features and tuning capabilities usually only found in units costing twice as much. Let's take a look at what makes this unit so attractice for a serious build.
Real world proof
ECU Master has not been around as long as some of the other standalone manufactureres; however with 10 years of proven experience they have proven to know what they are doing and how to make quality speed available to everyone. They are a European founded brand and are partiualry popular with the Australian market; and any car modder knows if you want to see some insane and fast build you look towards the Aussies. ECU Master has taken a short time to prove themselves as a respected brand in every tier of autosports and racing.
Features to price ratio
Below I have gone into some of the features of this unit that I personally find useful when going standalone on any project.
The tuning suite
Anyone who has put standalone on car before knows that an ecu is only as good as the ability to tune it effieciently. Dyno days and tuning shops charge money for their time and if it takes them less time to do their job that is money that stays in your pocket. To extend on that this also makes things simpler for the owner in terms of modifying parameters about their ride, diagnosing possible issues, and keeping watchful eyes on critical components during high stress driving. I have used quite a few tuning suites throughout the days and the tuning sofware that is free to download for the EMU Black is simply fantastic. The panels and windows that are setup with a base file are clean and easy to manuever. With minimal tweaking they can be easily customized to suit any style of tuner or owner.
The ECU Master tuning suite is a Windows only application. I do not own a Windows machine but have managed to quite easily get this running in a virtual machine that is compatible with most every other operating system. For step by step directions click here.
You can download the latest version of the EMU Black tuning software here: http://www.ecumaster.com/files/EMU_BLACK/EMUBlackSetup_2_066.exe
I am a big advocate for closed loop boost control systems. They provide a more responsive and powerful boost delivery which equates to better throttle response and more overall power. The EMU Black makes setting up this system incredibly easy. Simply wire in the (sold separately) electronic boost control solenoid. Plumb the boost reference to your EMU Black. Set your parameters and away you go. Not only will the EMU Black give you incredible control over your boost curve but also extra features such as variable boost limits and boost by gear mapping.
Drive by wire
This is probably the number one feature that you don't see on an ECU at this price point. Drive by cable setups are getting rarer by the year and subsequently parts for any swap are getting pricier and harder to find. The option to keep a swap or even factory drive by wire setup is in my opinion what can put the EMU Black on top over other choices. ECU Master has made this easy to wire and simple to tune. Through the tuning suite you have a myriad of parameters to dial things in and have that throttle pedal feeling just like factory.
Inputs and outputs
Now every standalone unit has inputs and outputs. The EMU black is no exception with 6 dedicated ignition and injector ouputs. However, what I really like about this unit are the extras that come along side these standard connections. This includes six 5A outputs and nine 1023 bit analog inputs. With full mapping ability of how these I/O channels are triggered right inside the tuning suite it really opens up some options for custom features. Want a shift light and need an output? EMU Black has it. Need a button input to override your boost by gear settings? EMU Black is way ahead of you. ECU Master has even gone the extra mile and has built in MUX switching capabilities. With such finite control over every channel of the system the possibilities for custom functionality are endless.
I hope this post helps you make a decision when it comes to using ECU Master and specifically the EMU Black for your build. I am happy to answer any questions you may have below in the comments. And if I don't have the answer I will be sure to find it for you. Cheers!