The FADEC System – Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

in Engine Ignition and Electrical Systems

An ECU is assigned to a pair of engine cylinders. [Figure 4-23] The ECUs control the fuel mixture and spark timing for their respective engine cylinders; ECU 1 controls opposing cylinders 1 and 2, ECU 2 controls cylinders 3 and 4, and ECU 3 controls cylinders 5 and 6. Each ECU is divided into upper and lower portions. The lower portion contains an electronic circuit board, while the upper portion houses the ignition coils. Each electronic control board contains two independent microprocessor controllers that serve as control channels. During engine operation, one control channel is assigned to operate a single engine cylinder. Therefore, one ECU can control two engine cylinders, one control channel per cylinder.

The control channels are independent, and there are no shared electronic components within one ECU. They also operate on independent and separate power supplies. However, if one control channel fails, the other control channel in the pair within the same ECU is capable of operating both its assigned cylinder and the other opposing engine cylinder as backup control for fuel injection and ignition timing. Each control channel on the ECU monitors the current operating conditions and operates its cylinder to attain engine operation within specified parameters. The following transmit inputs to the control channels across the low-voltage harness:


1. Speed sensor that monitors engine speed and crank position
2. Fuel pressure sensors
3. Manifold pressure sensors
4. Manifold air temperature (MAT) sensors
5. CHT sensors
6. EGT sensors

Figure 4-23. Electronic control unit.

Figure 4-23. Electronic control unit.

All critical sensors are dually redundant with one sensor from each type of pair connected to control channels in different ECUs. Synthetic software default values are also used in the unlikely event that both sensors of a redundant pair fail. The control channel continuously monitors changes in engine speed, manifold pressure, manifold temperature, and fuel pressure based on sensor input relative to operating conditions to determine how much fuel to inject into the intake port of the cylinder.