Element Hydra Tuning Guide 1

Getting Started With Your Element Engine Management System
Thank you for purchasing one of the most powerful engine managements systems, the Element Hydra EMS. Every effort is made to offer tuned maps for your specific set of modification but some minor adjustments may be necessary to perfect the mapping. Every car is unique and most likely there are areas that can be fined tuned and improved specifically for your car.

It’s better to be safe than sorry so if you do not understand what you’re changing or the effects your changes make, please contact Element Tuning for technical support.

Upload

After installing your Element Hydra EMS and connect the serial port to your laptop. Turn your ignition key to the start position but do not start the vehicle. Before you can make any changes to the programming you must first select “Upload from ecu” so you can view the mapping in your unit.

The default com port is “com 1” but if you are using a USB to serial adaptor you must specify the com port. It is not recommended to use a USB to serial adaptor but if you have no choice then a slow speed adaptor such as those for the older Palm Pilots will work (a high speed will not work). The best option is to have your laptop fitted with a standard serial port.

Select “Upload” and once the upload process is complete the menu will disappear and you can select “Maps” to view the file. Here is what you will see:

Throttle Position

The very first thing you must do is to set your throttle range from 0% to 100%. Click on the menu bar “Select/Settings/Throttle” for the TPS calibration.

With the ignition on and the car not running simply select “calibrate zero” and you will see the value change under “IDLE”. This value will be about 2 higher than what was in the “TPS CAL” box. Now press the accelerator to the floor to calculate WOT by selecting “calibrate WOT.” Click on the enter button for both “IDLE” and “WOT” to make these changes active. Select “Ok.”

Save and Download

To make your changes permanent you must save these changes to your laptop and download them to your Element Hydra. Select “Maps” on the menu bar and then select “Save.” Logically name the file and save it to your hard drive.

Close the red tuning screen to view the “Download” screen. Select “Download” and then “Download” again using the appropriate com port. Once the download is complete you can select exit.

The last and most critical step is that you reset your Element Hydra ECM by turning the ignition to the full off position to reset the ecu. This usually takes 10-15 seconds. Your changes are now permanent.

Here are few areas that are the most difficult to understand but may need to a tune up for your particular car. It’s better to be safe than sorry so if you do not understand what you’re changing or the effects your changes make, please contact Element Tuning for technical support.

Idle Control

These settings allow very finite control over the closed loop idle control system. Each of these settings is not cut and dry and some overlap occurs, requiring harmony among the settings. Always make very small adjustments while fine tuning the idle control system.

Proportional: Controls how active the closed loop system reacts to an off target idle. If the idle is oscillating then it’s likely the proportional value is set too high and the system is too active. Lowering this value should lessen idle oscillation.

Integral: This controls “spike” up of the idle such as when the car is started or if the idle drops below the target idle value set in the Idle Speed Target map. The value should be adjusted so that the idle jumps to about 1600-1800 rpm at start up. If you find “spike” up is more than 1800 lower the Integral and vise versa.

Derivative: This controls how much oscillation is allowed before the system corrects to reach the target idle value set in the Idle Speed Target map.

Max Vacuum: Leave this to the default Element Tuning setting.

AC Step Up: This determines how much the idle control solenoid increases when the AC is turned on. If you find your idle dropping or the system is struggling to maintain a stable idle then increase this value. It is likely your idle will need to be higher than your target idle while the AC compressor is on.

Vehicle Moving Steps: Increases the idle speed with respect to vehicle speed. If you find the car has a tendency towards stalling while decelerating up to a traffic light for instance you may need to increase this value. If the idle is too high pulling up to the traffic light you may need to decrease this value.

Min PWM Duty: This is the minimum duty cycle the idle control solenoid will operate at. If you find the idle higher than the target idle value set in the Idle Speed Target map, this value may be too high. Lowering the value will allow the idle to decrease. While you want to set this value low enough to attain the desired idle level, setting this too low may cause the car to stall or the idle to oscillate. The goal is to set this just low enough to maintain your lowest idle setting under various intake temperatures.

Boost Control

The Element Hydra EMS uses a closed loop boost control system and offers very fine adjustment. Each of these settings is not cut and dry and some overlap occurs, requiring harmony among the settings. Always make very small adjustments while fine tuning the boost control system. Be cautious of running boost levels higher than your turbo, fuel octane, fuel system, ignition curve, engine, and transmission can handle. Just because you can tune for a higher boost level without detonation does not make it ideal.

Boost Control Start RPM: This value determines when the boost control system turns on. Setting this too low a) is noisy and b) won’t help spool the turbocharger any quicker. For optimal control and smooth operation you should set this about 1000 rpm before your Boost Target level can be achieve by your turbocharger. Doing this will allow the boost to ramp up smooth and quick. Under this value boost will be relegated to wastegate spring pressure.

Proportional: Controls how active the closed loop system reacts to off target boost pressure. If boost pressure is oscillating then it’s likely the proportional value is set too high and the system is too active. Lowering this value should lessen boost oscillation.

Integral: This controls boost “spike” or when boost pressure exceeds the target boost value set in the Boost Target map. The value should be adjusted so that boost pressure ramps quickly to your target boost value without overshooting. If you encounter boost “spike” then lower the Integral. If boost response is too slow then increase the Integral value.

Derivative: This controls how much oscillation is allowed before the system corrects to reach the target boost value set in the Boost Target map. If the Derivative value is set too high then the boost may oscillate but if the value is set to low then the system may not correct for off target boost levels.

Boost Target: Even if you’re not using the Element Hydra boost control system make sure you set the Boost Target. This is the desired level of boost you want to tune the boost control system for. Over-boost fuel cut is 3 psi over the Boost Target so make sure to set this appropriately regardless of the boost control system used.

PWM MAP 4:

This map controls the duty cycle of your boost control solenoid. It is ideal to get the duty cycle as close to your target boost level so the closed loop boost control system has to perform only minimally to maintain your Boost Target.

The simplest explanation I can give is that you’re adjusting the duty cycle of the solenoid based on the effort required to attain the Boost Target. PWM Map 4 is defined by load sites 0% – 100%. When the boost control system is off such as when you are under your Boost Start RPM the load site will be 0% and when the system is active but under the Boost Target the system will be in the 100% load site. Once the system reaches the Boost Target the load site will start to decrease from 100% to 90%, 80%, 70% and so forth.

Our next discuss will be fuel tuning. Click the link to view Element Tuning Guide 2

Stay tuned!

Phil Grabow
www.elementtuning.com

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