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FAQS


Q1: How long has TFX been selling engine pressure analyzers ?

A1: Staff have been involved with this type of equipment since 1993. TFX has been selling engine pressure analyzers since 2001.



Q2: Why haven't I heard of this technology before ?

A2: This technology has been available for over 25 years, but in the past the cost was so prohibitive that only companies with extremely deep pockets could afford the equipment. There was no trickle down effect to the masses.

There are a handful of companies offering this technology, TFX is one of them. Many if not all of the other companies, market a variety of unrelated products and engine pressure analyzers are just a sideline for them. TFX markets only engine pressure analyzers, and in the most cost effective way possible, with the goal being to make the technology not only accessible to everyone, but useful to all.



Q3: Is this equipment just for dyno test cells, or can it be used in-car too ?

A3: All 10 of our analyzer products are extremely portable and rugged. They can all be used in the dyno cell and in the race car.



Q4: Similar systems on the market seem to have more bells and whistles, 4" TFT screens, warning lights, pushbutton controls, external outputs, special connectors etc. TFX analyzers look a bit plain. Why is that ?

A4: We are not selling IPads to kids, we are selling bulletproof pressure analyzers to hardcore racers. Bells and whistles do not tune engines, the cost of bells and whistles would have to come out of the end user's pocket one way or another, and hardcore racers will break bells and whistles. Its just that simple.

All 10 of our analyzer products are built tough enough to be installed indefinitely in a Top Fuel car, irregardless of their intended use. The end user can run over our analyzer with their car and it will still work. They can drop it on the test cell floor on any of its sides and it will still work. In almost 13 years of selling this equipment only one analyzer ever had a failure, and that was our fault.



Q5: I have an electronics background. It would be cheaper for me to buy my own logger, some plotting software and some pressure sensors.

A5: That is correct it would be cheaper and in fact we could sell the very same, but we don't because that sort of setup is next thing to worthless. Our combustion analyzers not only analyze combustion pressures, burn rates, volumetric efficiency, intake and exhaust port pressure etc., but they also HP and TQ for each instrumented cylinder, for every single combustion cycle of the race. Its just like having a dyno bolted right onto the race car going down the track.

The data analysis is used to optimize the engine and in fact each cylinder of the engine, for the next race. Everyone knows that what happens at the track is not necessarily the same as what happens on the dyno, and our equipment is so fast it misses nothing. Remember this type of equipment necessarily collects data more than 1000 times faster than conventional brand name data loggers.



Q6: How can this equipment help us at the race track?

A6: Our combustion analyzers not only analyze combustion pressures, burn rates, volumetric efficiency, intake and exhaust port pressure etc., but they also HP and TQ for each instrumented cylinder, for every single combustion cycle of the race. Its just like having a dyno bolted right onto the race car going down the track.

The data analysis is used to optimize the engine and in fact each cylinder of the engine, for the next race. Everyone knows that what happens at the track is not necessarily the same as what happens on the dyno, and our equipment is so fast it misses nothing. Remember this type of equipment necessarily collects data more than 1000 times faster than conventional brand name data loggers.



Q7: How fast is your equipment ?

A7: Up to 3,600,000 samples per second total throughput. Very high sampling speeds are required to record this pressure data per degree of crankshaft rotation, or per fraction of a degree of crankshaft rotation.

Most conventional brand name logging systems are 50 to 1000 samples per second/channel, which is fine since the sensors attached to conventional logging systems such as EGTs, O2 sensors etc. are slow speed sensors. The high speed pressure sensors that are used with our equipment require very high speed data logging.

Conventional data loggers and engine pressure data loggers are two entirely different entities. Just about any sensor that can be connected to a conventional data logger can also be connected to an engine pressure data logger, but the reverse is not true.



Q8: Can this type of equipment be used on diesel engines? How about 2 stroke engines and rotary engines?

A8: Absolutely. TFX analyzers can be used on any engine. Diesels are prime candidates as there are so many parameters involved such as high boost, water injection, nitrous, propane, injection rate shaping etc. etc.

2 stroke engines, in particular tuned pipe spark ignition 2 stroke engines, are also prime candidates as so many factors are extremely interrelated. It is critical to record in port pressures (IPP) on these engines in addition to in cylinder pressures (ICP).

Rotary engines and other unique engines represent a much smaller market and database, making the data that comes from these engines even more valuable to the end user.



Q9: Would someone who has been building and tuning engines for 20 or 30 years actually get anything useful out of using this type of equipment ?

A9: An experienced engine builder/tuner stands to gain knowledge from this type of equipment even faster than a novice. There is no substitute for experience and they have more unanswered questions, theories, and ideas to try, floating around in their heads than anyone else. Typically the only thing that gets in the way of an experienced person making out like a bandit with this equipment, is the fear of unknown, unfamiliar, modern technology.



Q10: Well then, would someone who has a lot of interest, but not much experience building and tuning engines actually get anything useful out of using this type of equipment ? Should they wait to gain more real world experience first?

A10: There is no time like the present as the saying goes. The experienced engine builder/tuner is not going to say "I'm glad I waited 30 years for this", but rather "I wish I had this 30 years ago". There is no substitute for experience, but experience is gained most quickly, by gaining access to as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. Sticking one's head in the sand and ignoring what's out there is not the way to go.



Q11: If I get involved with this technology, what is the learning curve like? What sort of background do I need to use the equipment?

A11: The prerequisites for using this equipment are :1) knowing a bit about engines, 2) knowing how to perform simple tasks ona computer such as locating a file, saving a file etc.

The learning curve, it is never ending, for those with lots of ideas and a desire to test them. Getting started and making some initial progress is straightforward. Not everyone has the same goals, at one end of the spectrum some end users wish to use the equipment so they can set the AFR and timing perfectly, for each cylinder for the entire rev range, in just a few tests then move on to the next vehicle. At the other end of the spectrum some end users get involved in things like combustion chamber design, custom intake and exhaust design, minimizing engine failures when using extreme power adders, etc. etc.

Most end users fall in the middle. Anytime an engine is tested there will be a benefit to looking at, and more importantly understanding, what is happening on the inside of the engine with sensors that are so fast they can keep up with the moving parts in real time. In-cylinder pressure (ICP) sensors and in-port pressure (IPP) sensors can do that.



Q12: The software page says that the software is easy to use, but the screenshots look a little intimidating. Is the software just for engineers or can anybody use it?

A12: We do have engineers on staff and they have always been involved in both the hardware and software aspects of our pressure analyzers. Many of our customers are universities, engineers, technologists, and technicians. However, most of our customers are better defined as engine builders, engine tuners and those with a thirst for knowledge.

Clearly we have to cater to a broad spectrum of end users. TFX has accomplished this by making the software do all of the engineering work automatically, behind the scenes, then presenting the software in a way that even someone with very little computer experience can move around in, with ease.

Typically commercial software programs and most electronic devices have a myriad of capabilities, most of which are buried in menus so deep the average user only ends up using a fraction of their capabilities. One only has to look as far as their cell phone, video camera and TV to see that.

TFX has bucked this trend and placed everything in clear view. All of the plots and numerical values can be accessed from any screen by simplying clicking a couple of the labeled and color coded buttons along the bottom of the screen. There is no need to search through menus, help functions, and manuals, everything is in plain sight. Time is money.



Q13: How long do sensors last ? I've heard of sensors failing in certain applications.

A13: TFX does not manufacture sensors. There are about a half dozen combustion sensor manufacturers in the world and we have access to all of them.

Sensors are designed to survive hundreds of millions of combustion cycles. Sensor failures are infrequent and in most instances are caused by careless handling of the sensor when it is out of the engine, improper installation in the engine, or improper sensor location in the engine.

That being said, some intense applications are best served by additional sensor protection, above and beyond what the sensor manufacturer offers. Additional protection is something that TFX has undertaken recently, to improve upon the worldwide sensor mfg. offerings.

It is in no one's (sensor mfg., TFX, customer) best interest to have even a single sensor failure.



Q14: Simulation software for engines is pretty common these days. Do you offer simulation software and how does it compare to offerings from other companies ?

A14: TFX does not sell any type of simulation software. All of our products record actual data from the end user's running engine, and our software analyzes that data.

Simulation software has its place and can be useful for some things. When modifications are not radical, one can "calibrate" simulation software to get it to generate values that are fairly close to the recorded values. The more radical the engine and engine modifications are, the less likely it is that simulation software can simulate the real data.

Though we do not sell simulation software of any sort, but we can guide the end user to a good simulation software provider, if they wish to use simulation software in conjunction with our pressure analyzer equipment.



Q15: Do you mass produce your own analyzers in house or are they manufactured offshore ?

A15: All TFX products are produced in house. Though we have 10 standard analyzer products, each analyzer/customer combination is considered to be distinct, in that we can very easily customize the "standard" hardware and the "standard" software for any customer.

Many companies in recent years have taken to mass producing batches of their products in 3rd world countries, or at least not in their own country. I think we all know what the inevitable downside is to that approach.





 














































Last Updated by TFX Nov 25, 2016

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