While automobiles are indispensable addition to man's life, they suffer from one major setback, which is the fuel consumption. This element is very troubling especially during times when fuel prices are too high for the ordinary vehicle owner. As a result, cars today are powered either by engines charged through electrical current while some come with hybrid engines, which is a combination of the regular fuel engine while using also alternative fuel sources. While the end goal is to save on fuel spending, electrical engine have by far been the more promising.
Difference between Electrical Engines from Fuel-operated Engines
Fuel operated engines are the more conventional layout in the sense that they require a fuel input with an internal or external combustion engine and a transmission system to power the wheels. With an electrical engine, things are a bit different although much of the mechanical aspect of the operation is still present.
One major difference that distinguishes an electrical engine from a fuel engine is the presence in the former of the engine control module or ECM. It is essentially an electronics control unit that decides the amount of fuel, the ignition timing, and other parameters in order to keep the vehicle moving. Although greatly beneficial in electrical engines, the ECM is also of great help for internal combustion engines. In essence, an ECM is a computer that helps modern engines maintain optimum output through efficient and accurate analysis of their working environments as well as the desired inputs to keep them running.
To distinguish engines equipped with ECM from ordinary engines, the mixture of fuel and air as well as other critical elements are controlled by pneumatic actuators. The ECM reads the gauges and multidimensional performance maps to perform the necessary adjustments.
Functions of the Engine Control Module
An engine control module is also known as the power-train control module (PCM) or the engine control unit (ECU). Some of the revolutionary features of the ECM have are very helpful especially in the following areas:
- Control of fuel injection. In engines with fuel injection features, the ECM determines the quantity of fuel that will be needed to inject into the engine to keep its optimum function. This is important because the ECM does not only monitor the fuel consumption but also the amount of air that is mixed with the fuel. In case the engine is not yet warmed up, the ECM system will inject more fuel until such time when enough air has been injected whence the amount of injected fuel will be reduced.
- Control of ignition timing. In ordinary engines, a spark is required to initiate combustion in the combustion chamber. With an ECM system around, the exact timing of the spark (ignition timing) is determined to avail of the best condition to provide better power and economy.
- Idle speed control is also part of the ECM system. Here, the RPM of the engine is monitored through the position of the crankshaft, which minimizes occasions when there are problems related to irregular crankshaft speeds.
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