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Emerald ECU problems

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  • Emerald ECU problems

    My car is still in the shop four months later (!), and in the final stages (?) of the engine rebuild. They went over the bill with me today, and basically for the price of this old beat-up seven, parts upgrades, and engine rebuild, I am coming close to the price of a new caterham. And it still is rusty, tired, and needs some work! I'm sure I won't feel so bad once I get it back on the road.

    They are having trouble with the Emerald ECU. They can't get the com light on the ECU to come on, and can't communicate between their laptop and the ECU at all. It has no pre-programmed map, so until we can sort this out we can't start it. It does fire up the fuel pump and injectors when the ignition is on, but that's all. They have been corresponding with Emerald, and still working on a fix. Anyone familiar with these systems? I'll give Woody at MSI a call later, but just curious to hear if anyone has experienced the same thing.

    Thanks,

    Justin


    Done so far:

    pre-98 Zetec rebuilt to race specs with:
    - blueprinting, match and balance, deburring, oversize valves
    - original kent cams
    - Jenvey throttle bodies
    - Emerald ECU
    - new wiring harness

    Sitting in the garage waiting to install:
    - Freestyle motorsports damper/springs, sway bars, adj. ball joints, shims
    - RIF aeroscreen and mirrors
    - Caterham aluminum hub upgrade kit
    - rear spindles, brake pads (need to have discs resurfaced)
    - FIA rollbar and strut

  • #2
    Hey Justin, sorry to hear about this mess.

    Your system is very close to my setup, although I don't have oversized valves. Is this the M3K model ECU or the new one (whatever that name is)?

    IIRC you are in San Diego? If so I will be down there next Monday or Tuesday and could come along with my laptop to try get it communicate and load my map as a starter (will surely need some tweaking). Barring an ECU malfuction there is nothing why that should not work.

    What fuel pressure are you running and which size injectors (I have 40.5 psi and 30# injectors)?

    Gert

    Comment


    • #3
      Gert,

      I'm running 30 psi injectors, don't know the fuel pressure. We ordered the ECU direct from Emerald, so I assume it's the "K3" listed on their site. The shop is learning all about these along with me! I'm ashamed to admit how much they ended up charging me to build a wiring harness!

      I'll be out of town next Monday and Tuesday, but I'd love to pick your brain sometime on how yours is programed. Emerald sent us a starter file which they made for this setup. Our plan was to load this, dyno it to make sure it's relatively safe, and then do a full dyno run after driving for a while. Once we get it to communicate at all, of course!

      Justin

      Comment


      • #4
        YHM (that is a Private Message)

        Comment


        • #5
          Is your shop dealing directly with Karl at Emerald in the UK, or the shop in Florida that resells Emerald here in the States? If they are dealing with Karl, then you are in good hands. Has he provided any insight to the problem yet? Assuming he isn't in the picture yet, then here are a few things to check with the shop:
          • Did they try to hook up the laptop using something other than the Emerald supplied serial cable? The Emerald serial cable is not a standard RS-232 configuration, so using one of those can damage the ECU.
          • Are they connecting the Emerald to a serial port on the laptop, or are they using a USB adapter? If the latter, a lot of them seem to have problems communicating with the Emerald. Karl recommends this unit, which has worked for me on both XP and Vista systems.
          • Is the shop certain that they are getting power to the unit? It might be worth confirming that the plug end of the wiring harness is supplying 12v+ to pins 11 & 28, and that you have a solid ground to pin 29.


          -John
          Westfield SEiW
          2.0L Duratec
          Throttle Steer

          Comment


          • #6
            sdcat

            Ping me if you cannot get a cable to work. If I can get the pinout spec from the Emerald, I can probably build a cable. I also have two or three different USB serial interfaces laying around, and would be happy to lend them to you.

            /Magnus F.
            (@Manhattan Beach)

            Comment


            • #7
              Magnus,

              I have the pin-out specs. Emerald provides the info in their operating manual.

              -John
              Westfield SEiW
              2.0L Duratec
              Throttle Steer

              Comment


              • #8
                Can you scan the page and mail it to me?

                /Magnus F.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Magnus, YHM
                  Westfield SEiW
                  2.0L Duratec
                  Throttle Steer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the advice. They have been able to get it to communicate, and I think loaded the file, but the car won't start yet. I think some problems with sensors now.

                    Justin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This ecu problem is killing me! I've been trying to give the shop advice, but I got a little frustrated on the phone last week with the time and expense it is taking, and now they don't seem too eager to talk about it. They were going to try and get a crank sensor vs a cam sensor, thinking that sensing the rpm was the problem, but apparently still can't get it started. They've been corresponding with Emerald, so I assume they are trying all the right things.

                      The shop has had the car for 4 1/2 months now, to rebuild the engine and put on the Jenveys, Emerald ECU, and build a new wiring harness. I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't just ask for the car back and try to figure it out on my own, but I'm afraid that it might still take a lot of time to sort it out, and I've paid them a lot of money already. They don't warranty their work, since it's a "race engine," but I figure if I took it now without it ever running they would be less likely to provide any help if there are problems with the work they have done.

                      Boy how I wish I would have just bought an engine with wiring and intake from Caterham USA, and done it myself, but now I seem to be committed to this route.

                      Just venting!

                      Justin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As an aside to anyone considering buying a 7: Ask us and usa7s.com before you write a check to anyone for a car. A lot of experience (good & bad) resides among the owners and we are extremely willing to help guys that want to buy a 7. Much of this $$$ could have been avoided with one or two questions posted on this website PRIOR to purchase.

                        Justin, you are not the first guy in SD county to buy a car without asking for advice from the local owners and end up writing a 5 figure check that is largely UNnecessary. I am very sorry that this has happened to you, especially because we like to help other 7 guys and know that you are a good guy.

                        There is not really a dealer network; it's the owners helping each other when there is a problem. THAT IS what makes owning a 7 so much fun: the comaraderie among the owners whilst driving/wrenching/lying about 7s.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Something about this situation sounds fishy to me. Have you confirmed that they are speaking directly with Emerald in the UK as I suggested above? If so, then ask who they are dealing with over there. It should either be Karl or Dave, and most likely the former. I would then ask the shop to relay exactly what Karl or Dave has suggested they look at. Given the time difference for us, support from Emerald generally happens through e-mail, so asking for copies of those exchanges doesn’t seem unreasonable. After all, you need to understand what the shop is trying and why.

                          Given that they built the loom, that could also be the problem. I built one for my Duratec and given all the connections, it isn’t that hard to either run a wire to the wrong ECU pin-out, or to have a bad crimp. Do you know if they have done any troubleshooting there? To my mind the keys are to check the 12V+ and ground I mentioned earlier and then do a continuity and or resistance test on the leads involved in the starting process. If you want to learn about the installation process, so you can have a more informed conversation with the shop, then download the Emerald User Guide here. It is for the previous version, but the basics are the same (e.g. a wiring harness for this version works with the new K3 hardware)

                          -John
                          Westfield SEiW
                          2.0L Duratec
                          Throttle Steer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Justin,

                            You have PM.

                            -John
                            Westfield SEiW
                            2.0L Duratec
                            Throttle Steer

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              John,

                              Thanks for the tips and manual link. I'll read it tonight and then have a discussion with the shop about the troubleshooting recommendations you've given. Despite my familiarity with engine computers and wiring, I'm about ready to tell them just to give it to me and let me try to figure it out!

                              Justin

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