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View Poll Results: Which EMS should I buy?
Hydra Nemesis PnP 12 70.59%
Autronic SM4 PnP 5 29.41%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-15-2006, 03:48 PM   #1
thejean
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Default Hydra or Autronic?

Hey Everyone. I am looking into standalone EMS and am down to the Hydra Nemesis or the Autronic SM4. For the next two years, I plan to keep my car as a daily driver and then prepare it for rally when I have enough funds saved up. In the meantime, I plan to attend as many rallycross events as possible.

Anyway, as I understand these are some of the pros and cons:
  • Hydra is a little cheaper than the Autronic and for a little less money you get a wideband O2 sensor with it. With the Autronic, you are greatly limited in what O2 sensor you can use.
  • Both offer PnP solutions but with the Autronic you don't have to mess with stepper motors and such because it's a motherboard replacement as opposed to a total standalone.
  • Autronic doesn't currently have a good knock control module but I don't know how well the hydra knock control module really works either. Autronic is supposed to have a good module coming out in the future.
  • Both have autotune features and I understand that the Autronic one works very well. How well does the hydra autotune work?
  • Hydra has a 32x32 table whereas Autronic has a 32x16 table but the autronic does more interpolation.
  • The Hydra anti-lag setup is somewhat limited in the max boost it can sustain but this is to be rectified by August.

Any advice, impressions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, JC
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Old 07-15-2006, 04:12 PM   #2
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good questions... now i want to know too!!
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Old 07-15-2006, 05:37 PM   #3
rac
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Are you looking at tuning it you self ? if so and haven't already, download the software from each and have a play each.

I haven't used a hydra(but had a look at the software) but the sm4 software is just so nice to use, the datalogging and the way you use it to tune makes it so simple.
For the fuel map you wont find you need anywere nere 16 load sites to get the fueling very nicely mapped.
The timming will need more but 16 is still heaps.
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Old 07-15-2006, 05:50 PM   #4
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If they are both plug and play, I say SM4, I have had an SMC and now have a hydra(was my only solution because autronic wouldn't help me make a SM4 work for my H6). I would have gone autronic, I do like their interface better, so I say autronic, although the hydra is nice in its own right and the high resolution i do like.

Ben
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Old 07-15-2006, 06:05 PM   #5
thejean
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Does anyone know if the Autronic can support cruise control on a non-DBW car?

How much success are you guys having with the knock control modules?
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Old 07-15-2006, 06:29 PM   #6
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If your talking about the sm4 knockcontrol then unsure as its not released yet. Maybe some dealers have it for testing? That would be good to here about if its true.

as anyone would say reall if its mapped well it shouldn't need it anyway, but it would be great for logging and tuning.
Unsure about the cruise control but the amount of things that you can get the sm4 to do with its spare wires would shock most people.
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Old 07-15-2006, 08:39 PM   #7
thejean
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Ray Hall from Autronic just informed me that it does not support cruise control.
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Old 07-15-2006, 08:41 PM   #8
thejean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rac
If your talking about the sm4 knockcontrol then unsure as its not released yet. Maybe some dealers have it for testing? That would be good to here about if its true.

as anyone would say reall if its mapped well it shouldn't need it anyway, but it would be great for logging and tuning.
And while I agree that if its mapped well it shouldn't need it. I just would be willing to pay extra for the insurance aspect is all.
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:59 PM   #9
STi_Drift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejean
Hey Everyone. I am looking into standalone EMS and am down to the Hydra Nemesis or the Autronic SM4. For the next two years, I plan to keep my car as a daily driver and then prepare it for rally when I have enough funds saved up. In the meantime, I plan to attend as many rallycross events as possible.

Anyway, as I understand these are some of the pros and cons:
  • Hydra is a little cheaper than the Autronic and for a little less money you get a wideband O2 sensor with it. With the Autronic, you are greatly limited in what O2 sensor you can use.
  • Both offer PnP solutions but with the Autronic you don't have to mess with stepper motors and such because it's a motherboard replacement as opposed to a total standalone.
  • Autronic doesn't currently have a good knock control module but I don't know how well the hydra knock control module really works either. Autronic is supposed to have a good module coming out in the future.
  • Both have autotune features and I understand that the Autronic one works very well. How well does the hydra autotune work?
  • Hydra has a 32x32 table whereas Autronic has a 32x16 table but the autronic does more interpolation.
  • The Hydra anti-lag setup is somewhat limited in the max boost it can sustain but this is to be rectified by August.

Any advice, impressions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, JC
If you aren't doing the tuning yourself, it doesnt really matter too much what you get as long as it ensures that there is driveability. I can tell you nothing beats the stock ecu, unless you have done so many mods you just can't use it. I can honestly say the more you piss with the car, the less reliable it is and the less a daily driver it becomes. I bought a second car now to ensure i have a car to drive since i need one.

Hydra autotune is ok for off boost tuning so you can get a basemap to smoothout.

The hydra has the highest resolution out, which I think is pretty damn good

The hydra knock control seems to work great IMO. I have a second MSD knock sensor installed to validate that. It's in dash so i use that to real time monitor and I let off if i see knock.
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Old 07-17-2006, 04:08 PM   #10
PHATsuby
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Having knock control is essential IMO, even if it is tuned properly it shouldn't need it but what about tuning to that point without it?

Also, just FYI they were working on that knock control module since like at least January and said it would be out shortly....

Ben
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:29 PM   #11
thejean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHATsuby
Also, just FYI they were working on that knock control module since like at least January and said it would be out shortly....
That is my fear otherwise I probably would have gone Autronic and not thought about it any longer.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:22 AM   #12
Drac9
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Quote:
Hydra is a little cheaper than the Autronic and for a little less money you get a wideband O2 sensor with it. With the Autronic, you are greatly limited in what O2 sensor you can use.
In engine managemnet you get what you pay for. See my previous PM about using a less expensive 02 sensor with the autronic unit.

Quote:
Both offer PnP solutions but with the Autronic you don't have to mess with stepper motors and such because it's a motherboard replacement as opposed to a total standalone.
Correct, the autronic has provisions for these items- but their use is not required.

Quote:
Autronic doesn't currently have a good knock control module but I don't know how well the hydra knock control module really works either. Autronic is supposed to have a good module coming out in the future.
Knock control is NOT essential. If you tune the vehicle properly on a load bearing dyno you will reach MBT before you reach knock.


Quote:
Both have autotune features and I understand that the Autronic one works very well. How well does the hydra autotune work?
Personally I have found the hydra's wideband to be off by as much as a point in several cars I've tuned. I would not trust it for autotuning.

Quote:
Hydra has a 32x32 table whereas Autronic has a 32x16 table but the autronic does more interpolation.
utronic does not require huge tables to run the engine. THis is because the autronic unit builds a backround VE table that you never see. The base fuel table is simply used to make corrections to the automated VE table. If you look at most autronic fuel maps you will see that most of the values are very close to each other- this is evidence that the system works very well. Now- here's something cool the autronic will do- say you're having an issue at 200kpa and 6250 rpm, but your table does not have either of these values. Simply hit the insert key and add a load or rpm axis anywhere you want.

Watch this video:
http://www.autronic.com/movies/Autronic1cell.mov
Right click on link and select "save target as..." to download the video.
The file size is 4.5MB
Let's see a hydra do that.

Quote:
The Hydra anti-lag setup is somewhat limited in the max boost it can sustain but this is to be rectified by August.
The autronic anti-lag system works great.

THe main thing you forgot is the ease of use of the autronic software vs the opposite on the hydra software. I can't stand tuning the hydras- the software crashes what seems like every 2 minutes. If you don't save every 10 seconds you'll never get it tuned. The hydra hardware is capable- but the software sucks balls IMO.
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Old 07-18-2006, 09:41 AM   #13
thejean
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Thank you Adam for your insights.
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Old 07-18-2006, 10:31 AM   #14
STi_Drift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac9
In engine managemnet you get what you pay for. See my previous PM about using a less expensive 02 sensor with the autronic unit.



Correct, the autronic has provisions for these items- but their use is not required.



Knock control is NOT essential. If you tune the vehicle properly on a load bearing dyno you will reach MBT before you reach knock.




Personally I have found the hydra's wideband to be off by as much as a point in several cars I've tuned. I would not trust it for autotuning.



utronic does not require huge tables to run the engine. THis is because the autronic unit builds a backround VE table that you never see. The base fuel table is simply used to make corrections to the automated VE table. If you look at most autronic fuel maps you will see that most of the values are very close to each other- this is evidence that the system works very well. Now- here's something cool the autronic will do- say you're having an issue at 200kpa and 6250 rpm, but your table does not have either of these values. Simply hit the insert key and add a load or rpm axis anywhere you want.

Watch this video:
http://www.autronic.com/movies/Autronic1cell.mov
Right click on link and select "save target as..." to download the video.
The file size is 4.5MB
Let's see a hydra do that.



The autronic anti-lag system works great.

THe main thing you forgot is the ease of use of the autronic software vs the opposite on the hydra software. I can't stand tuning the hydras- the software crashes what seems like every 2 minutes. If you don't save every 10 seconds you'll never get it tuned. The hydra hardware is capable- but the software sucks balls IMO.

Knock control is essential regardless if it is tuned right. All you need is one bad tank of gas and you will detonate - dyno tuned or not.
The solution is get an external knock sensor - it's plain good sense

auto-tune is fine. The hydra wideband IS off by at least one point, consequently I have a FJO wideband and I calibrated my Hydra wideband to match it. Now it is bang on

thejean - if you are going to tune it yourself i would say choose something that is widely supported and a lot of ppl use it near you. The new Utec I hear is good and you have a good group of guys to help you through it. Getting a full EMS like Hydra takes a lot of work esp if you don't have anyone to help you. I guarantee your car will run pretty crappy to annoying for at least a year while you are learning how to tune and learning the system (throughout the 6 months the tune will get better though)

All i am saying is don't go paving a new road if there is a good one here that you can drive on already
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Old 07-18-2006, 10:48 AM   #15
thejean
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Thanks for the heads up Justin. I've been talking to Pat Richard and Cam at Lightspeed in Red Deer as well as at least one Autronic owner near me so I know what I've got plenty of support if I go that route. I think I have decided to wait for the Autronic knock control module before I go standalone though. I can stick with this piggyback stuff in the meantime and have all of the daily driver safeties. I'm not so worried about having a car that doesn't run perfectly. In fact, one of the main reasons I wanted to go standalone was so I could tinker with it and learn how to tune an engine. For that exact reason I think its best for me to wait for a good knock control module before I drive down that road, so to speak.
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:28 AM   #16
thejean
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What do you guys mean when you say the wiseband is at least one point off... do you mean plus or minus 0.1 lambda?
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Old 07-19-2006, 10:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac9
THe main thing you forgot is the ease of use of the autronic software vs the opposite on the hydra software. I can't stand tuning the hydras- the software crashes what seems like every 2 minutes. If you don't save every 10 seconds you'll never get it tuned. The hydra hardware is capable- but the software sucks balls IMO.
I've never had the Hydra software crash on me.

I'm not saying it's perfect (there are more than a few improvements I'd like to see), I'm just saying that it doesn't crash at all on my computer.
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:30 PM   #18
Drac9
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I mean + or - 1 full afr point- like it miht say 11:1 when it's really 12:1. The couple of hydras that I have tuned were older boxes- so perhaps they've fixed the software since then. However, that was VERY annoying. Also I found the software to be very slow at actually implementing changes. IE I hit a key and it takes almost a full second for the vlaue to actually update. THis is on a very high end laptop too- so I know it's not an issue with my computer.
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac9
Also I found the software to be very slow at actually implementing changes. IE I hit a key and it takes almost a full second for the vlaue to actually update. THis is on a very high end laptop too- so I know it's not an issue with my computer.
Are you using a USB-to-Serial adapter? If so, what brand?
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:44 PM   #20
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Nope- direct serial connection.
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac9
I mean + or - 1 full afr point- like it miht say 11:1 when it's really 12:1. The couple of hydras that I have tuned were older boxes- so perhaps they've fixed the software since then. However, that was VERY annoying. Also I found the software to be very slow at actually implementing changes. IE I hit a key and it takes almost a full second for the vlaue to actually update. THis is on a very high end laptop too- so I know it's not an issue with my computer.
I agree the Hydra has crappy refresh rates and it reads slow on my p4 2Ghz. As for the WB you can reconfigure the wideband to read correctly. I have the first or second batch hydra
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:29 PM   #22
thejean
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All the rest of you guys voting for Hydra, can you provide some basis for your vote please and thanks?
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drac9
Nope- direct serial connection.
Wow... I use a IOGear adapter and notice no such delay, unless I'm making changes to a *large* area of the map (I get same bar graph that you get when interpolating with F5 or F6).

I'm using version 2.17.
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:23 PM   #24
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autronic + LC1 + $60 special cable FTW
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:36 PM   #25
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You Autronic users, how viable an option is this for a daily driven vehicle? I have been debating over whether to wait for the knock control module or just say the hell with it and buy it now.
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