Family Software Newsletter #6 - April 5, 2000


1. The Difference in EGT Systems
2. Using your EGT Kit - Tips
3. FREE Software Download
4. REAL World Technical Support
5. New Digital Altimeter

-- The Difference in EGT Systems --
There are several Exhaust Gas Temperature Kits on the market, so it can become difficult to make the right choice for your first purchase. Of course, once you have purchased and used one (or several) of the units that are out there, you'll discover for yourself which ones work and which ones don't. The trial and error method however, can get very expensive. We'll discuss some of the pros and cons of the available units and explain why Family Software's Digital EGT Kits are by far, the best buy for your hard earned dollar.

First, there are some analog units available. An analog unit is similar to the water temperature gauge on your dash board. It has a needle that moves higher and lower with the temperature being read. Unlike, your water temperature gauge though, the resolution of the markings are far closer together on the face of the gauge. So, it is very difficult to see the difference between say, 1200 or 1300 degrees. And, that's sitting still! Because the analog gauges do not have a memory recall, you have to watch the gauge all the way down the track in an attempt to read the highest temperature on the run. This is definitely a very bad idea. Let's forget the analog units and move on to the digital meters with memory recall.

The sampling rate for a good digital pyrometer would be 3 to 7 samples per second. With a quick reacting sensor probe there is really no benefit to be obtained here. Any of the above sampling rates will provide adequate temperature measurements. However, some of the new ads I've seen in National Dragster are advertising units for a couple dollars less, that only have a sampling rate of less than one (1) time per second. (They don't advertise the sampling rate, I wonder why?) This is not a good sampling rate for this application. Please be careful and ask questions before you buy!

Except for Family Software's #8801-K and #8803-K, all of the other digital units on the market are overpriced by a long shot. Someone is sitting on the beach in the Bahamas and spending your hard earned dollars on Bahama Mamas! No, I'm not kidding. We know how much profit each of our competitors is making on his system and it is an unbelievable amount. These guys are out to cut your throat and take your wallet.

The 'Computech style' unit was not manufactured for drag racing purposes, as their new ad boldly proclaims. In fact, none of the available digital EGT meters were made for drag racing. They are just digital pyrometers, or temperature meters. It doesn't matter that they are not designed for drag racing, because they work anyway. This unit is manufactured and sold by Jenco in San Diego, California, and it is available off the shelf, just like all the others. And, it is a very heavy unit because it uses old fashioned circuitry containing large components on its printed circuit board. What is wrong with large components? I'll tell you. The G forces simply pull this meter apart. My own personal experience with this meter is that the unit began to 'rattle' after only a couple of months. The rattling was the loose components that had been torn from the board by the G forces. Shortly after, the unit died. During the time that this meter functioned, I had to install a new battery in it every weekend. Why? Because this antiquated unit does not have an automatic shut off feature. So, if you forget to turn it off (and you will!), the 9 volt battery will be dead the next time you want to use it. This style unit costs about $70.00 more than our #8803-K and only has ONE (1) INPUT! Our #8803-K unit has TWO (2) INPUTS. I'm not sure what a case of alkaline 9 volt batteries cost, but with this system, you should figure on buying one of those too! Comes with one (1) exhaust probe.

The 'Percy's/ARC style' unit is also a very heavy one. It is hard to mount a heavy unit with Velcro because the G forces will pull it off and it will end up in your lap. You can use Velcro and tie wraps together. However buyers beware! Though advertised that it monitors two cylinders simultaneouly, IT DOES NOT! It does not report the MAX temperature for both cylinders on a single run. That is what they would like you to believe. Just like our 8803-K, it will show you the DIFFERANCE between the two inputs (T1-T2), but that is all. Another problem with this particular unit is the location of the meters input jacks. Rather than being located on the end of the unit, where they belong, they are located on the front (face) of the unit. Therefore, the probe leads must come out from the front before bending them to go where you wanted them to go in the first place. You can't mount this unit in a dragster roll cage like you would want to, because the probe leads will stick out and interfere with your arm and helmet, etc. I personally don't like this unit because of this one feature. This unit will cost YOU about $40.00 more than our #8801-K, yet it doesn't cost anymore from the manufacturer. It comes with one (1) exhaust probe.

The 'Barry Grant style' unit is the most pricey unit you'll find and doesn't have any additional features. Comes with one (1) exhaust probe. Another round of drinks?

The #8801-K Digital EGT Kit from Family Software has the lowest price of them all. It is also the lightest unit you'll find anywhere at just 7 ounces. It's light because the circuit board uses modern technology and miniature components. And because of this, G forces cannot bother it. Model #8803-K has TWO (2) INPUTS, so with an extra probe you can monitor a cylinder in each bank if you want to. It has an AUTO OFF feature to make sure your battery will last. Just like your PC at home, if you don't press one of the keys on the keyboard, after 30 minutes the unit will turn itself off. The original 9 volt battery in the unit installed on my car is now three (3) years old and going strong! Our sensor probes are manufactured in the United States, not Korea! Our probes are the best you can find and are rated at 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. In three (3) years of selling these units, with this particular probe, we have never had a single probe go bad, ever! Why does our unit cost you less? It's really simple, we don't make as much profit! No drinks here!

-- Using your EGT Kit - Tips --

Question: Bob, I just installed my new EGT gauge, can you give me any tips on usage. I run a SBC with 11:1 comp on gas. What I am looking for is repeatability. What should I expect to see on the gauge during a run and how about idle? Is it recommended to just use the MAX button during a run? Thank you for your excellent service.

Answer: You don't have to use the MAX button, but it is highly recommended. You can watch the gauge, but it is hard to drive and watch at the same time. Press the MAX button prior to staging your car. The meter will still display real time data, but will freeze the highest reading recorded on the run. That is the number that is most important to us. Look for this number to vary only slightly from run to run under the same air conditions. When the air conditions change dramatically, so will your EGT number. This helps you to jet your carburetor for various conditions without wasting time runs.

You want the engine to be slightly rich in order to predict ET accurately. I like to richen the carb until the car runs its best MPH in standard air, and then use the EGT number recorded as my reference point.

Your idle adjustments will also effect the EGT number at engine idle. I can't recommend any specific number here, but when you have a clean and crisp off idle response, record that number and refer to it. With methanol, I can adjust my idle EGT temp to about 450 degrees. The motor will not run hot and will not use excessive fuel while idling.

A normal range for exhaust gas temperature is between 1100 F (rich) and 1400 F (lean). In order to be able to predict ET accurately, an engine must be rich enough to burn the varying amount of oxygen content in the air. Methanol produces a lower EGT temperature than gasoline. There are many variables such as compression ratio that effect EGT temperature, so I cannot recommend a specific temp for your engine. However, our own experience and customer feedback reveals the following:

Normal Range - - - - Preferred - - - - Induction/Fuel
1300 - 1400 - - - - - - - 1350 - - - - - - - Carbureted/Gasoline
1200 - 1300 - - - - - - - 1250 - - - - - - - Carbureted/Methanol
1100 - 1200 - - - - - - - 1150 - - - - - - - - Injected/Methanol

-- FREE Software Download --
Our DataMaster Analyzer software, Version 2.0, is available to you as a FREE download on our web site. You don't need a data recorder to test the software and see exactly what a DataMaster Sportsman Computer does better than any other data logger system in the world! If you have any older version of this software, download this as a FREE update.

-- REAL World Technical Support --
With Family Software, you'll get better technical support than anywhere on the planet. Why? Because, I design and program all of Family Software's products and I use them all on my own very competitive SuperComp dragster. All of my experience and knowledge is available to you and our other customers. Try to find that information at any one of the other companies selling EGT kits. You won't be able to, I guarantee it! Family Software cares about the racer and his/her success as a racer. The other companies just want your money!

-- Secure Ordering --
You can safely order directly from our web site. All of your information is handled on our Secure Server. We have established a privacy policy and it is posted on the web site. Our company has now been registered with the Public Eye. You can check our ratings by clicking on the Public Eye link on our Home Page or Order Form.

If you have questions or topics that you would like to see covered in this newsletter, please Email them to me.

Bob Kodadek
SC 1596
Family Software - Drag Racing Computers and Software - 610.497.5561(Voice/Fax)

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