Mythbuster/Does-it-work? Spark plug cables

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Mythbuster/Does-it-work? Best I-Cable spark plug cables


As some of you may already know, I'm a huge DIY junkie and if I can do it, I will. This has presented me with a problem - skepticism. I am one of the biggest skeptics known amongst my friends when it comes to car modification voodoo. So hence this new article.

Welcome then, to episode one of my many soon to come future 'mythbuster' / 'does-it-work' type of features where I'll dissect (where possible), provide unbiased critique and where possible scientific data on anything that I come across. I'll be purchasing most of the items myself (otherwise donated) so there will be no twisting of words just to favour the product, manufacturer or seller.



First up, Best I-Tech's spark plug cable. In the market these days there are so many aftermarket cables that claim the world and each brand has their own market. But to date my question "How is your cable better and why?" is only responded with marketing hype without any scientific proof or any logical reasoning on how it works. That was until I came across this video :


<center><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GZnonRjy3_4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center>


Just by changing the cable your spark energy is increased by that much? I had to do my thang and asked the combo trio "what, how and why". Surprisingly, Best I-Tech's big kahuna, the inventor and patent holder for this cable responded to my query and even agreed to a meetup to discuss technicalities of his product. Dr Joe Lam, a Canadian Chinese (I think), the mild manner man but has great technical know-how on all things automotive as well as electrical. After a good hour of discussion on his product (I could go in-depth about what we discussed but it would be too long and too boring) I was still not convinced.

Essentially what his product does is what MSD is doing with their powerful aftermarket coils : making the spark bigger and way stronger. The only difference is this Best I-Cable (as Joe called it) is easily one quarter the price of a MSD coil.

Not bad.

Joe explained that he holds the patent for this cable design so his product is unique. He's also approached several OEM manufacturers and offered his product to be installed in their factory output cars, just so they have, I quote : "Better emissions, better torque, better power and cheaper to operate in the long run". Save the catcons!

He offered a loaner cable for testing purposes with no strings attached. Whether it worked or not I'd publish my findings here in ZTH. Yes - a loaner. Meaning I have to return it. Meaning I can write whatever I find out whether good or bad and their reputation will be put on the line.

Big balls! I like that.

Ok! Challenge accepted.



I had it installed on my Wira since it's easier to plug and play compared to the COP (coil on plug) Myvi which required some modification to my stock cables which I wasn't keen on doing since this was just a test. Bright red silicon sleeves and shiny black ends with what seems to be copper/brass connectors. I'm totally digging the colour scheme. Did I ever mention I am a closet Ah Beng? Bring on the bling babeah!

First impressions was.... nothing felt different. Now, Joe explained earlier that since the spark is a lot stronger, I'd need to tune the car to make use of stronger spark, much like what I'd have to do if I were using a MSD coil. But since my car is using the stock ECU (Siemens VDO), I'd just have to wait for it to self adapt.

Now at this point I must mention that my car has been setup to run on RON95 but it'll knock during higher revs. A little aggressive ignition timing mods, hello-kitty camshafts, stroker, oversized pistons, high compression, the works. Everything NA I could have possibly DIY-ed (sorta), I have already done so. So essentially any differences in performance would stick out like a sore thumb, for me anyway.



The next day I decided to take the car for a Dyno test. My car had been dynoed at GT-Auto sometime ago and the figures from then-stock to now-modded is about 15~20whp so imagine my surprise when I saw my A/F so majorly screwed up. The two lines you see is blue line - stock Proton spark plug cables and red line - Best I-Cable.

2ps difference? That's it? GT-Auto's Thomas at that point adjusted my AFPR for me and re-tested with the Best I-Cable.


Better. Unfortunately at that time it started to rain and I had to rush back to attend to a personal matter and I wanted to avoid the massive jam usually associated to Federal highway, PJ and rain.

At this point I wasn't sure what was what. Perhaps my ECU hadn't adapted? Siemens VDO on the Wira usually takes a day or 2 to adapt to changes in A/F which is why air chargers don't work with Wiras running VDO ECUs. They just adapt and make your RM100+ purchase redundant.



Picture courtesy of Ahjun Soo

I recently had the best time revving the crap outta my car at the 4G1Series Dato Sagor track day (which I'll be writing about later) and that gave the car plenty of time to get used to the new cables.

This is where it gets interesting.

After almost a month of using the Best I-Cable I could not for the life of me feel any difference, until I decided to swap back to my original Proton cables. My car was sputtering during idle, revving was significantly slower, car felt sluggish, the works! Just to make sure it wasn't just a placebo, I got my wife who's significantly butt-dyno numb to try the car with the stock cables. After which I reinstalled the Best I-Cable and lo-and-behold, she told me it felt faster and was significantly better to drive.

I didn't tell her what had changed because that would've been pointless. She can't tell the difference between an oil filter and an oversized piston, so why bother?

But the unscientific evidence was irrefutable. The car was more responsive, had better power, better acceleration and even idled better with the Best I-Cable. The car had adapted to whatever it was the Best I-Cable gave it and damn was it good.

Once I find the time this month or next, I'll bring the car to GT-Auto again for another dyno-run. Best I-Tech themselves have their own Dyno test results too if you're interested.

Until then I'll leave you with these closing remarks :

Does it work? Hell yes. Caveat is you need to have your ECU tuned to work with the cables. In my case it was self-adapting. Once tuned, it'll work nicely.

Would I buy it? Are you kidding? How can I go back to stock after this?

Who should buy it? Anyone with spark plug cables.Apparently they cater for COP as well.


Their website : best-itech.com
 

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peterj

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where to get such brand cable btw?
 

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where to get such brand cable btw?
may i know where is the dealer for this cable?
The website has all the information. I've also mailed Joe to have a look at this post so if he decides to create an ID for himself, he'll respond here. Otherwise suggest to mail them directly via the website "contact us".

impressive, how much is a set ni?
I honestly can't remember. And mine were loaners so I can't really tell you what the price is.
 
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D7zul

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oh ya.. forgot to include plug cable in my 1st stage modification.. hehe..

anyway, it's good to have an aftermarket plug cable.. but u also need an aftermarket distributor and/or coil to go with it as well :wink:


Air + Fuel + Spark = Power

More Air + More Fuel + More Spark = More Power

:biggrin:
 

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ive seen this cable before...if not mistaken the owner is a malay guy...
he had a kiosk at the proton gathering somewhere end of last year...he offered a demo....was quite interesting,
exactly the same cables like wat Izso showed, he also claimed somewhat it was close to MSD coils....for pv6 it costs RM400++ on promotion, normal price RM600++......i wanted to buy but didnt have $$$$

---------- Post added at 10:36 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 10:33 AM ----------

izso...
how much u go for dyno + tuning at GT auto?
blackhowling got give u discount ah? hehehe...
 

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oh ya.. forgot to include plug cable in my 1st stage modification.. hehe..

anyway, it's good to have an aftermarket plug cable.. but u also need an aftermarket distributor and/or coil to go with it as well :wink:


Air + Fuel + Spark = Power

More Air + More Fuel + More Spark = More Power

:biggrin:
Not so sure about the coil part. I'm using stock coil so I don't see the need to upgrade it if the spark energy is that much stronger. For small fry mods like mine, I don't think I'll need the MSD anytime soon. If I do get it, I wonder if it'll work with these cables. Joe did mention that it's possible but I'd like to test it myself to see for myself.


ive seen this cable before...if not mistaken the owner is a malay guy...
he had a kiosk at the proton gathering somewhere end of last year...he offered a demo....was quite interesting,
exactly the same cables like wat Izso showed, he also claimed somewhat it was close to MSD coils....for pv6 it costs RM400++ on promotion, normal price RM600++......i wanted to buy but didnt have $$$$

---------- Post added at 10:36 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 10:33 AM ----------

izso...
how much u go for dyno + tuning at GT auto?
blackhowling got give u discount ah? hehehe...
No malay guy. Joe Lam is confirmed 100% Chinese and he openly claims ownership for the patent and is the inventor. I don't think you can lie about that! Unless the malay dude you met was a distributor. Joe has a few distributors in M'sia but I'm not sure who exactly they are.

As for dyno, I didn't go for a tune, I just went for baseline figures. It just so happened we discovered I was running way too rich so he reduced the fuel pressure there only.

As for BH, he doesn't know me la. We've indirectly met but he doesn't know me. Everyone on the other hand knows BH. :biggrin: I didn't know he was related to GT-Auto? Thomas' price was pretty anyway and gave me a pretty good deal for a before and after dyno test so I'm not complaining.
 

DanzEterna

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i dont think the malay guy is a distributor cos he said its his own invention...
its also installed in his track honda...i'll try to find out his name as i threw away his namecard...:biggrin:
 

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Different guy I suppose.

But anyhow, this Best I-Cable works. I'm quite keen to redo the dyno again.
 

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After almost a month of using the Best I-Cable I could not for the life of me feel any difference, until I decided to swap back to my original Proton cables. My car was sputtering during idle, revving was significantly slower, car felt sluggish, the works! Just to make sure it wasn't just a placebo, I got my wife who's significantly butt-dyno numb to try the car with the stock cables. After which I reinstalled the Best I-Cable and lo-and-behold, she told me it felt faster and was significantly better to drive.

I didn't tell her what had changed because that would've been pointless. She can't tell the difference between an oil filter and an oversized piston, so why bother?


Item #1
Would it be safe to say that the ECU was NOT adapted to the stock cables thus the sputtering, slower revving and sluggishness?

a cable that measures the same, would perform the same. a cable that doesn't, well, doesn't perform similarly. being different doesn't necessarily means better.

also, its safe to assume there's a margin of error between dyno runs, maybe +/- 5%? I'm not sure as I don't own one, but its standard for any measurement device.

Item #2
You mentioned the creator approach OEMs, so is any car manufacturer using it? Just curious.​
 

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how much it costs u for the cables?
They're loaners. I'm returning them. F-O-C.

Item #1
Would it be safe to say that the ECU was NOT adapted to the stock cables thus the sputtering, slower revving and sluggishness?

a cable that measures the same, would perform the same. a cable that doesn't, well, doesn't perform similarly. being different doesn't necessarily means better.

also, its safe to assume there's a margin of error between dyno runs, maybe +/- 5%? I'm not sure as I don't own one, but its standard for any measurement device.

Item #2
You mentioned the creator approach OEMs, so is any car manufacturer using it? Just curious.
Correct. If the Best ICable was worse than stock, it would've stuttered after 1st time installation. But since (my assumption) it's better than stock, current (at that time) ECU state still worked fine except it could have worked even better if it readapted. Having left my car to adapt for a month, going back to stock instantly there was a power loss. If the cables hadn't provided some performance gain my car wouldn't have lost that much power.

And that's also why I'm keen to re-do the dyno. I'm expecting significant improvement in figures. And agreed again, + or - 5% is acceptable tolerances when doing a dyno so I won't judge 5% increase as a performance gain. Only if it's significantly more like perhaps 8 to 10 ps then I'll consider it a performance gain.

Right now though, butt dyno tells me stock cable is crap even after adapting!

Item #2, I'm not sure. I'd be interested to know who would have bought into his product too.



Care to try Firestorm Ignition Booster and share the result with us?
If you're bold enough to give me a set for testing then I'd be more than willing to test it. But as I mentioned, it may or may not be beneficial for the sellers of this product. If it works wonders then great, if not I can be pretty negative.
 
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for an NA to increase 8 to 10 ps is no easy task. Then again i've heard that dynojet and dynodynamics yield a 20% difference , so in the event you 1st dyno in dynodynamics , then go dyno again in dynojet ( similar car ) doesnt mean u gain 20% power
 

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for an NA to increase 8 to 10 ps is no easy task. Then again i've heard that dynojet and dynodynamics yield a 20% difference , so in the event you 1st dyno in dynodynamics , then go dyno again in dynojet ( similar car ) doesnt mean u gain 20% power
That's why I go back to the same place I did the 1st dyno. I'm not particular about the result, just the difference in results when comparing is interesting!
 

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They're loaners. I'm returning them. F-O-C.

Correct. If the Best ICable was worse than stock, it would've stuttered after 1st time installation. But since (my assumption) it's better than stock, current (at that time) ECU state still worked fine except it could have worked even better if it readapted. Having left my car to adapt for a month, going back to stock instantly there was a power loss. If the cables hadn't provided some performance gain my car wouldn't have lost that much power.

And that's also why I'm keen to re-do the dyno. I'm expecting significant improvement in figures. And agreed again, + or - 5% is acceptable tolerances when doing a dyno so I won't judge 5% increase as a performance gain. Only if it's significantly more like perhaps 8 to 10 ps then I'll consider it a performance gain.

Right now though, butt dyno tells me stock cable is crap even after adapting!

Item #2, I'm not sure. I'd be interested to know who would have bought into his product too.
Fair observation, and agreeable. Looking forward to your dyno, since numbers walk the talk.

Personally I won't invest so much in cables since over time they will corrode/oxidize.. and more interested in active spark amplifiers such as those that raise the voltage for spark plugs or something like okada projects.. not sure how those works.
 

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oh ya.. forgot to include plug cable in my 1st stage modification.. hehe..

anyway, it's good to have an aftermarket plug cable.. but u also need an aftermarket distributor and/or coil to go with it as well :wink:


Air + Fuel + Spark = Power

More Air + More Fuel + More Spark = More Power

:biggrin:
In my opinion, the first stage modification should consider to choose a suitable spark plug cable, which determines the spark energy for the engine.

As in the Dynamometers Testing of engine types with various designs of ignition system, for examples, carburetor, Coil- Distributor and Advanced Injection. BEST I Cable had been tested as a direct replacement of OEM cable (use OEM distributor and coil) without adjusting of any ignition parameters showed higher LAMBDA value (Air / fuel ratio) at all engine variable speed (2000 -7000 RPM) which means improved the fuel combustion efficiency, that in line with its strong spark energy of BEST I Cable, which gives faster conversion of burning fuel to vehicle power, no misfire, quicker acceleration, smooth and quiet idling. It provides the best support for the high out-put engine, and reduces the risk of engine over-hauling, maximize the service life of the Coil, Spark Plug and Catalytic Converter.

---------- Post added at 01:45 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 01:34 AM ----------

for an NA to increase 8 to 10 ps is no easy task. Then again i've heard that dynojet and dynodynamics yield a 20% difference , so in the event you 1st dyno in dynodynamics , then go dyno again in dynojet ( similar car ) doesnt mean u gain 20% power
visit the best-itech.com, the success stories of the Technical Bulletin.

---------- Post added at 01:57 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 01:45 AM ----------

Fair observation, and agreeable. Looking forward to your dyno, since numbers walk the talk.

Personally I won't invest so much in cables since over time they will corrode/oxidize.. and more interested in active spark amplifiers such as those that raise the voltage for spark plugs or something like okada projects.. not sure how those works.
I agree the cable with metal conductor will corrode / oxidize, but BEST I Cable does not use metallic conductor. Cable does not contain electronic component. Spark amplifiers electronic device may deteriorate after performance ageing under high under-hood temperature. It still rely a spark plug cable to conduct the high voltage current for the spark plug.
 

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Erm, I don't understand your lambda part. If lambda higher, AFR = higher rite?
If AFR high means you are running lean
When you lean out, you have more heat than usual
When you have more heat than usual, you ignite your fuel before it can spark hence knocking?
Then furthermore, if you rev high, the high heat = piston meltdown?

Surely if you use a car which the mixture is rich (most stock ecu) you may feel its a bit laggy, but its to increase the lifespan of the engine. But yours lean it out? Then the ECU eventually will compensate (of course up to a certain extent). Then that may explain why when Izso put back the stock cables it started to feel like dying because the engine i choking on too much fuel?
 

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lkeong88 : interesting theory. Meaning my car has been pumping in more fuel to compensate for the higher lambda readings? Having said that however my FC did not decrease. Still at my usual 13km/L to 15km/L range.
 

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Erm, I don't understand your lambda part. If lambda higher, AFR = higher rite?
If AFR high means you are running lean
When you lean out, you have more heat than usual
When you have more heat than usual, you ignite your fuel before it can spark hence knocking?
Then furthermore, if you rev high, the high heat = piston meltdown?

Surely if you use a car which the mixture is rich (most stock ecu) you may feel its a bit laggy, but its to increase the lifespan of the engine. But yours lean it out? Then the ECU eventually will compensate (of course up to a certain extent). Then that may explain why when Izso put back the stock cables it started to feel like dying because the engine i choking on too much fuel?
LAMBDA data is recorded at the exhaust of the car during the Dyno test, not before the exhaust. LAMDA data is therefore a measure of the fuel combustion efficiency. BEST I Cable has higher LAMBA data than stock cable throughout the complete spectrum of engine speed (2000 - 7000rpm), it can provide better support for the lean burnt engine due to its stronger ignition spark energy. As for lean burnt engine, design of exhaust system will be different to conventional one.

As for the explanation of Izso's observation, its more easy for the ECU to adapt improvement during the swifting of the stock cable to BEST I Cable, however, the actual feel of power improvement will be gradual until the ECU shall be fully adjusted according to the property of BEST I Cable. During the swifting of BEST I Cable back to the stock cable, ECU may be more difficult to adapt from sudden loss of vehicle power. You may say, its more easy for poor guy to adpat rich style of living, however, its quite difficult for rich guy to adapt poor style of living.
 

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I still don't understand your Lambda part
I derived my explanation from here:

Air–fuel ratio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do not mean to offend anyone but since this is a mythbuster, I am more interested in the real science to explain it rather than just hearsay. I am not an engineer or mechanic, but I am a science student, so I am keen on scientific proofs.
 

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lkeong : so far the discussion is healthy, so no need for apologies. And interesting discussion. Perhaps this just a matter of terminology?
 

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I still don't understand your Lambda part
I derived my explanation from here:

Air–fuel ratio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do not mean to offend anyone but since this is a mythbuster, I am more interested in the real science to explain it rather than just hearsay. I am not an engineer or mechanic, but I am a science student, so I am keen on scientific proofs.
I am a scientist. You can read from the textbook related to automotive engineering, its well being recognized :
1) Air / Fuel ratio ( about 14.7 :1) keeps where LAMBDA =1; wherein the Catalytic Converter to function the best for emission.
2) Air / Fuel ratio of 12 - 13: 1 seemed to maximise the power performance.
3) Air / fuel ration of 15 - 16:1 seemed to be minimum fuel consumption, in this case, the Manifold and Muffler shall be designed to reduce the back pressure due to the input and exhaust air.

In most of engine design, Air / fuel ratio is keep below 14.7:1, and the ideal LAMBDA value is 1 for environmental issue. BEST I Cable improved the LAMBDA data, but without exceeding value of 1.

I hope that explain what you want to know.

---------- Post added 03-22-2012 at 01:19 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was 03-21-2012 at 10:29 PM ----------

Item #1
Would it be safe to say that the ECU was NOT adapted to the stock cables thus the sputtering, slower revving and sluggishness?

a cable that measures the same, would perform the same. a cable that doesn't, well, doesn't perform similarly. being different doesn't necessarily means better.

also, its safe to assume there's a margin of error between dyno runs, maybe +/- 5%? I'm not sure as I don't own one, but its standard for any measurement device.

Item #2
You mentioned the creator approach OEMs, so is any car manufacturer using it? Just curious.

A few car manufacturers showed the interest in BEST I Cable.
 

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diff spark plug had diff char which need diff tuning, cannot really saying the cable was doing all the works but it's the setting also took a lot of measurement as well~

just my 2-cents~ cheerio~
 

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diff spark plug had diff char which need diff tuning, cannot really saying the cable was doing all the works but it's the setting also took a lot of measurement as well~

just my 2-cents~ cheerio~
I agree with you, proper choice of the spark plug type (e.g. hot type / cold type, spark plug tip gap, and etc) is important to optimise the engine performance, the function of the spark plug cable is just to conduct the high voltage current from the ignition coil to the spark plug. Spark plug cable has stronger ignition spark energy that enable to have the self cleaning of the carbon deposits from the spark plug, especially when the vehicle is running at a speed of exceeding 80 Km/Hr, that can reduce the carbon fouling of the spark plug avoiding the misfire problem.
 

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I've got something in my mind. What does the ECU adapt to, when we have a bigger spark? The controllable parameter to the ECU is fuel. When less air going into the chamber, the ECU adjust accordingly to it. But when we have a bigger spark or misfire, as far as I understand, the ECU does nothing to counter it as it has not control over them other than providing signal to give electricity at the right time. Unless I am wrong. Any bro can clarify?
 

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IMHO, ECU control fuel & spark timing

It detects air by AFM, MAP, etc & inject fuel according to the programmed air fuel ratio

And it checks with knock sensor & oxygen sensor

Then it adjust the fuel & spark timing accordingly

VTEC, VVT, etc has another set of programming n sensors

This is from my knowledge la. I could be wrong :biggrin:

---------- Post added at 01:19 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 12:54 PM ----------

I've got something in my mind. What does the ECU adapt to, when we have a bigger spark? The controllable parameter to the ECU is fuel. When less air going into the chamber, the ECU adjust accordingly to it. But when we have a bigger spark or misfire, as far as I understand, the ECU does nothing to counter it as it has not control over them other than providing signal to give electricity at the right time. Unless I am wrong. Any bro can clarify?
ECU didn't detect a bigger spark. It just detect knock & oxygen

If it detect knock, it will inject more fuel & retard spark timing

If it detect less oxygen, it will inject lesser fuel & advance spark timing

In the case of bigger spark, the oxygen has been burn completely..

So, ECU will reduce the fuel & u'll get better FC :biggrin:

I stand corrected :biggrin:
 

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I agree that spark timing is to avoid knocks..I get the theory of bigger spark results in better combustion i.e. a more complete burning. But I personally do not think that it affect or being effected by AF ratio. Of course, with bigger spark, better combustion, thus more power and smoother ride. I think it actually improve the burning efficiency instead of providing more fuel/air.

I believe that a good ignition cable can improve the car responsiveness and "smoothness" we called...berapa RM sebiji btw?
 

achelone

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achelone

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when the burning is complete, how more complete can it be? if your ignition is weaken then replacing worn part will get the original performance back....but it will never obtain more than original....this excludes tuning topics and etc.....that another story...
 

Veloc

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Veloc

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IMHO, ECU control fuel & spark timing

It detects air by AFM, MAP, etc & inject fuel according to the programmed air fuel ratio

And it checks with knock sensor & oxygen sensor

Then it adjust the fuel & spark timing accordingly

VTEC, VVT, etc has another set of programming n sensors

This is from my knowledge la. I could be wrong :biggrin:

---------- Post added at 01:19 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 12:54 PM ----------



ECU didn't detect a bigger spark. It just detect knock & oxygen

If it detect knock, it will inject more fuel & retard spark timing

If it detect less oxygen, it will inject lesser fuel & advance spark timing

In the case of bigger spark, the oxygen has been burn completely..

So, ECU will reduce the fuel & u'll get better FC :biggrin:

I stand corrected :biggrin:

Agree with this. Besides burning more completely and the ECU injecting less fuel, the increase response and torque will also result in less throttle input giving better FC.
 

InitialD

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InitialD

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Anymore reviews? Any update on the dyno chart?
Anybody else using this Best I Cable?

How much is a set (4 cables)?
 

GEFORCEXTREME

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GEFORCEXTREME

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cvkit17; said:
I agree that spark timing is to avoid knocks..I get the theory of bigger spark results in better combustion i.e. a more complete burning. But I personally do not think that it affect or being effected by AF ratio. Of course, with bigger spark, better combustion, thus more power and smoother ride. I think it actually improve the burning efficiency instead of providing more fuel/air.

I believe that a good ignition cable can improve the car responsiveness and "smoothness" we called...berapa RM sebiji btw?
You believed yourself that a stronger spark leads to more complete burning. Complete burning on the other hand means AFR is affected. So ECU read sensor readings, and adjusts according to the tune and adjust its output potentially leading to better performance.