AEM Infinity EMS: The Power to Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control
by Joe Popovits and Chuck Johnson
Photos by Joe Lu
When it comes to building cars, I've always tried to maintain a “keep it simple, stupid” approach. With this approach and an “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” philosophy, I managed to produce a stable of solidly performing, competitive cars. At the center of my dead reliable formula was my factory re-flashed ECU. At the cost of a few hundred bucks, I gained a super reliable system and more importantly, the knowledge and experience of one the industry's best Nissan tuners. I clocked hundreds of thousands of miles on my re-flashed factory ECU with dead reliable performance, hot lapping at Willow Springs on the weekend and commuting to office during the weekdays. It was the perfect set up.
When I decided to get serious about land speed racing, I took this same set up with me and set two land speed records at Bonneville and El Mirage. With each mile per hour faster Project 240SX LSR traveled though, came an exponentially growing need for more capability. I reluctantly dug my heels in denial, touting my “keep it simple stupid” argument. Ironically, that very argument was what would convince me to finally make the change to a standalone ECU. It comes down to this one question. Is a race car running a re-flashed ECU in tandem with a plethora of standalone systems for boost control, wide band sensors, variable valve lift, and data logging really simple? No.
What Team Moto IQ needed was one sole system that provided the ability to define, measure, analyze, improve and control every element of the engine regardless of whether we were on the dyno or on a dry lake bed. Some of you might recognize the terms define, measure, analyze, improve and control as the six sigma problem solving methodology known as the DMAIC process. This article isn't about DMAIC or six sigma though. Instead, it's about a true motorsports grade ECU that utilizes a modern 32 bit floating point, 200MHz processor and a real time operating system capable of delivering an 400 million instructions per minute. Enter the AEM Infinity 8 EMS.
The capability of the AEM Infinity EMS' processor and operating system goes far beyond just a bunch of sophisticated marketing jargon. The level of processing speed and OS strategy allow an ECU to not only respond more quickly to more inputs, but do so without any negative effect in processing speed. This is the value of such a system. Further, a real time operating system allows users to make changes to features that will not affect other features, which isn't the case with fixed point math operating systems. This higher resolution can mean higher accuracy, which can mean more power in the right hands. More specifically, in our hands.
To help us get started we attended a two day course at AEM which covered the ins and outs of the Infinity EMS system as well as the InfinityTuner software.