Logging from an FM ECU with a PalmPilot


NOTE: the latest software from Flyin' Miata for the ECU logs in a binary format. I do not know of any software for the Palm which will allow this to be logged and analysed. I have left this page up for those who are using the Link software (inferior to the FM stuff) or old FM code.

A very convenient and inexpensive way to log data from your FM ECU is using a PalmPilot. Advantages are:

Of course, a Pilot won't do a number of the things laptops will, but they're very well suited to the job at hand.

As with a laptop, you can log the revs, MAP, mixture, throttle position, ignition timing, battery voltage, engine temperature and more. This is ideal for tuning your ECU for the most efficient operation. You cannot use the Pilot to program the ECU, however. It's currently for logging data only. Watch this space, however. The programmer for the ECU software is working on it.

To connect to the ECU, you will need the SerialLink adaptor, a null-modem cable for the Pilot, and the proper adaptors to get them to plug together. I used a HotSync cable similar to the one that comes with the Pilot because it was smaller, and a adapted a 9-pin gender-bender to work as a null-modem adaptor. This was an easy modification, and allows me the simplest connection at the lowest cost. The SerialLink connects to the ECU with the supplied ribbon cable, then the null-modem adaptor connects the HotSync cable to the SerialLink. This connection may be seen on the seat of the car in the photo above. The Pilot itself is just in front of the gearshift, while the relatively large ECU keypad sits on the ashtray. You can't use both at the same time, however.

Mike Inman has written some custom software for this purpose: AnaLink. I used to use AccessIt to log the data, and Aportis Doc Reader to read it. Both of these are free, but AnaLink simply blows them away with analysis capabilities and ease of use. If you don't want to support Mike, you can simply use AnaLink to display the logs in real time, without the logging capabilities. You can get your parameters displayed in a graph for easy understanding.

The total cost for the equipment is as follows:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Keith Tanner

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