smiller Posted May 12, 2006 Share Posted May 12, 2006 I bought the Power Commander... from Larry (ldrider) who originally bought the Power Commander but due to some bad mechanical fortune was unable to try it out. So... got it installed on my 1996 R1100RT tonight. The Power Commander (www.powercomander.com) unit is similar in function to the Techlusion but is a good deal more sophisticated, i.e. instead of simply adding some extra fuel the Power Commander employs a wideband O2 sensor and will allow the bike to run in closed-loop operation at any specific air/fuel ratio set by the user. (Standard narrowband sensors such as the original equipment on BMW motorcycles and most all other vehicles cannot determine an actual A/F ratio, only indicate whether the mixture is richer or leaner than stoichiometric.) The basic ECU fueling map map can also be altered to set a desired mixture at any given rpm and throttle position (all this is done via a slick PC interface.) You can even add an air/fuel ratio gauge as an option if you like to observe such things while you are riding, but since the unit can automatically maintain any A/F ratio you desire it isn't really necessary unless you want to get into tuning. Dynojet (who makes the Power Commander) runs each stock bike application on a dyno and supplies a optimized map with the unit so no there's no real need to experiment if you don't want to, but of course you can further optimize should you go to any non-stock components. This latter function can be quite important for modified sportbikes but obviously no so much with an oilhead. My main objective is simply to maintain closed-loop operation at known mixture rich enough to make the bike run as it should but without having to resort to simply adding fuel in the blind and hoping for the best (i.e. by playing with cat code plugs, enrichment add-ons, etc.) Installation of the Power Commander is pretty simple, just install the wideband O2 sensor inplace of the original and otherwise it's a plug-in affair (Power Commander connections go to the bike's O2 sensor input, TPS, and both injectors.) I had the minor and expected PITA getting the old O2 sensor loose but no other issues. Once installed I plugged the Power Commander into the USB port on my laptop and brought up the software which instantly recognized and started communicating with the unit. I loaded Dynojet's map for the R1100R/RT and did a quick procedure to make sure that the Power Commander properly recognized my fully open and fully closed TPS, then... held my breath and started the bike. Luckily, no drama... the bike started right up and settled into its usual idle. The laptop display was reading rpm, throttle position, A/F ratio (neat!), whether the ECU was in open or closed-loop operation, and the current status of the O2 sensor. I immediately noticed the the A/F ratio was rather rich, like around 12:1. What's up? Oh, that's right... the engine is cold, it's supposed to be rich. After a few minutes warm up the bike went into closed-loop and the A/F ratio locked onto my desired setting (double neat!) A little digression about choosing a cruise A/F ratio... it is generally thought that the best compromise for both power and reasonable economy for non-cat street applications is around 13.8:1, however a precise stoichiometric (14.7:1) mixture is required for efficient operation of the cat on cat-equipped vehicles. This latter setting is rather lean and does involve some measure of a performance and driveability cost (as detailed in the attached graph), and unfortunately the oilhead design is somewhat sensitive to being run on the lean edge like this, resulting in the lean surge issues of which all but a lucky few of us are aware. Anyway, my intention is to test from 13.8:1 to 14.7:1 and see if I can find the leanest the bike can be run (and thus closest to the efficient operation range of the converter) while still achieving good driveability. (I should comment at this point that this post is intended as a review of the Power Commander and to address any related operational questions and is not intended to seed any emissions control/personal responsibility discussions. If you want to discuss this aspect (yet again) please do so in a separate thread. ) Will start the road tests tomorrow and will report back, but I'm pretty impressed by what I've seen so far. I'm really not expecting anything dramatic of course, just (hopefully) improved driveability closer to what the bike should really be capable of. If you're interested, stay tuned. Link to comment
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