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5 Must-Have Features to Look for When Choosing a Dynamometer for Your Auto Tuning Shop

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Dynamometers are the latest and most powerful tool available for fine-tuning performance engines, whether your customers take their cars on the track professionally or just want a better street-driving experience. If your tuning business is finally ready to upgrade, make sure you're getting the best test results possible to keep your customers coming back by looking for the right features. These five cutting-edge features are all worth spending a little more on when buying a dynamometer for testing automobile engines:

1. Condition Calibration

For accurate results, a dynamometer measuring the power of a car's engine must take into account the various conditions of the air around the vehicle. The factors affecting the apparent horsepower of an engine include

  • barometric pressure, the measurement of the weight of the atmosphere, which changes on an hourly basis.
  • the air temperature, which affects the engine's cooling and maximum power.
  • humidity levels, which also interfere with fast cooling and can fluctuate greatly during the test itself.

Automatic air condition sensors help the dynamometer product accurate results without constant adjustments from a skilled and experienced operator. With built-in weather adjustments, it's much easier for tuning shop employees to adapt to using the new equipment. Dynamometers used to be used in tightly sealed and controlled rooms with precise humidity and temperature settings, but today's testing equipment is advanced enough to use in an enclosed part of the average tuning shop.

2. Compatible Software

How are you planning to have your employees interface with the dynamometer equipment as they run tests on customers' vehicles? It's enough work to train them to set and interpret the equipment, but requiring them to learn a brand-new computer interface makes the process take much longer. Look for dynamometers that connect to the usual shop computers running the current operating systems everyone's familiar with instead. With advanced and compatible software, your employees can calibrate, track accuracy, set up custom tests, and store customer information all in one convenient place.

3. Fine Control

When you're serving regional- and national-level race car drivers and other professional drivers, you need to maintain as much control as possible over the vehicle during testing to make sure you don't damage equipment worth thousands of dollars. Eddy current models offer more fine control over the testing process than AC and DC electric dynamometers. They're definitely a better choice than water brake models, which feature the least control of all types. It's easy to find both direct engine- and chassis-testing models featuring eddy current power control designed for use in automotive shops.

4. Sensor Tracking

Modern engines are packed with almost as many sensors as advanced dynamometers, and this fact makes it hard to get a precise and accurate reading of an engine's peak potential horsepower. With enough sensor connectors to track and change the controllers that adjust temperature and fuel levels in the engine, you can work around the engine's usual responses to load and see how it really performs on the road. For example, you can simulate real-world braking and coasting scenarios with a dynamometer that supports engine sensor integration.

5. Automatic Calibration

Finally, a precise and delicate piece of testing equipment like a dynamometer is only useful when it's properly calibrated. With all the vibration and heat generated by engine testing, it's not surprising that even the best models eventually get a little out of calibration. If you want to ensure every test result comes out correctly with minimal work on behalf of your testing crew, consider investing in a dynamometer that calibrates itself automatically.

The process usually requires running a test without any load to see how far the results skew away from the 0 point, then adjusting the settings upwards or downwards to reach 0 again. An advanced control unit can handle all that work on its own, resulting in a dynamometer that needs much less maintenance.

For more information and tips, contact a dynamometer manufacturer in your area.