Innovation is the cornerstone of the FuelTech philosophy of product development. The company has used its crystal ball to create products that will help racers in ways they didn’t know were possible. Case in point, the new FT700 and FT700 Plus are more than ECUs, they are the next generation of vehicle control units (VCUs) that will change how racers control their vehicles.
The first thing people will notice about the FT700 and FT700 Plus are their large and powerful touchscreens. The FT700 features a 7-inch screen, while the FT700 Plus has a massive 12-inch display. These screens are a key feature because they make it easy to see the VCUs 3D maps, whether inside or outside the vehicle. The screens offer high resolution, and that makes it easier for users to change settings on the VCU, or make tuning adjustments.
FuelTech has built a powerful multi-platform interface into the FT700 VCUs that is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS operating systems. What that means is the FT700 software can be run on cell phones, tablets, and notebooks. The FT700 can also connect to devices through WiFi or Bluetooth connection protocols — this will allow a user to connect to the FT700 while the vehicle is running or being driven and make real-time changes.
The FT700 VCUs will be easy to connect, however, that doesn’t mean your data isn’t secure. FuelTech has integrated robust levels of end-to-end encryption into the FT700’s software. Unique user identification and login credentials will control who can connect to the VCU. This means that only devices authorized by the user can open and manipulate the FT700 at any time.
You can expect to see the typical fuel injection control methods of maps by an injection timetable, or volumetric efficiency in the FT700 VCUs. The FT700 and FT700 Plus will have built-in conditioners for two wideband oxygen sensors. Bosch LSU 4.2, 4.9, 5.2, or NTK oxygen sensors will work with the FT700’s onboard conditioners.
FuelTech is really looking at the future of what will power high-performance vehicles, so it added EV controls into the FT700 VCUs. The VCUs will be able to control fully electric or hybrid vehicles. FuelTech has built-in electric-motor controls, and inverter controls, along with battery and charger management systems in the FT700 line of VCUs.
The FT700 will have up to 64 gigabytes of internal storage so you can save up to 600 hours of data logging in the VCU. FuelTech designed the FT700 VCU to acquire data at 1,000 samples per second — that’s five times faster than the FT550 and FT600 units. You can open and view the logs directly on the VCU’s screen in real time. That allows the user to see data on the screen as its captured by the VCU so instantaneous adjustments can be made.
According to FuelTech’s Anderson Dick, the FT700 VCUs can do more than just make analyzing data logs easier.
“The big news in data analysis is the integration of the data logger with the adjustments. This means it will be possible to adjust the map settings on the same screen where a log is analyzed and, with that, virtual channels that replicate these changes will be displayed and updated in real time, allowing an early analysis of the changes made. That means it will no longer be necessary to make a new run to obtain the data for the changes you made. This will limit wear and tear on your high-performance engine when making adjustments to your vehicle.”
The FT700 hardware has short-circuit and overload protections built into all of the inputs and outputs. FuelTech selected a state-of-the-art multi-core processor to control the VCU that provides ultra-fast responsiveness to its functions. The increased control resolution that’s a part of the FT700 provides more accurate engine readings and sensor data to be processed much quicker.
FuelTech listened to its customers when it came to the LED layout for the FT700. There are multiple LEDs on each side of the screen along with 12 configurable RPM LEDs. FuelTech added a USB-C port to the front and rear of the FT700 to expand what users can do with the VCU. There’s also a multimedia connection on the FT700, which gives users the ability to add cameras and audio devices.
The FT700 is a step above FuelTech’s current line of ECUs, but there is a certain level of compatibility that will be available between them. Luis de Leon from FuelTech explains how the company is making it easier to integrate the FT700 into a vehicle that currently uses one of FuelTech’s other ECUs.
“The FT700 can use the current wiring harness connections that the FT line of ECUs utilize. That means you don’t have to send your car in for a total rewire if you decide to move to the FT700. You’ll only need to add wiring for the additional features of the FT700 if you want to integrate. If you don’t want to add any additional inputs or outputs, you will be able to use the software features of the FT700 right away.”
When you’re working with a complex race car, you’re always looking for more data to analyze or ways to control devices around the vehicle. The FT700 VCUs will have 36 inputs that can be configured for sensors. These input channels can be logged and displayed on the VCU’s screen in real-time. FuelTech has set up eight of these inputs for high-speed applications that will have resolution readings of 400 kilohertz a second.
Here’s a breakdown of the additional input and outputs that will be available on the FT700 VCU:
- 6 VR inputs: two of these inputs are used for engine trigger and phase reading, the other four inputs can read inductive or speed sensors, including original vehicle wheel speed sensors.
- 22 half H-bridge type outputs, the well-known yellow outputs, with their high current capacity and versatility in terms of activating loads by positive or negative activation.
- 16 injection outputs and 12 ignition outputs for the most advanced projects. This will include the possibility of controlling up to three injection stages.
- Reading and conditioning of up to two broadband lambda sensors with the possibility to select Bosch 4.2, 4.9, NTK, and even new 5.2 probes.
- Four CAN ports, to enable communication with FT modules, original ECUs, and even panels.
- 11 SENT communication ports, one LIN port, and one automotive ethernet port.
50 configurable outputs:
- 16 x Injection outputs (Blue outputs)
- 12 x Ignition outputs (Grey output)
- 22 x half H bridge (Yellow outputs)
- 36 fully configurable inputs: 12-bit analog, digital, frequency
Specific hardware for:
- 8 x 400 kHz high-speed analog input
- 6 x inductive sensor inputs
FuelTech anticipates that the FT700 and FT700 Plus will be available sometime during the summer of 2023. The estimated price of the FT700 will be $3,999 USD and the FT700 Plus will be $4,999 USD. Make sure you stay tuned to FuelTech’s website right here as more information is released about these groundbreaking VCUs.