Dynos at Mercury Racing are almost always in use. Mercury Racing technicians will often build the engine, instrument it, rig it on the dyno, run the dyno, and calibrate or develop the engine. The dyno is a primary development tool for Mercury Racing engine programs.
“Performance predictions, analysis in GT-Power, and computer simulations are qualified and refined by dyno data so that future predictions are more accurate,” said Mercury Racing Development Engineering Manager Chris Jenks. “A moderately instrumented engine for calibration will have about 40 thermocouples in air, exhaust, and water, and 20 pressure transducers reading everything from air-intake pressure at multiple points to exhaust back pressure to water pressures in the block and cylinder heads. Air, fuel, water, and blow-by flow rates are all measured. There are eight in-cylinder combustion pressure transducers that can be used for real-time monitoring of cylinder pressure in .10-degree increments, a useful tool for balancing cylinders and working to the edge of normal combustion. Typically, there are more than 400 raw or calculated channels of data are being recorded, reviewed, or monitored as shutdown limits as we work through development or are optimizing the calibration for an engine. The dyno allows us to run the engine consistently, week after week, at every operating point at which a customer can run the engine, and at some they can’t.”
Jenks explains that calibrating an engine is a circular process that is similar to painting a car, in which each layer of paint is followed by wet sanding and buffing to make the entire surface smoother. It’s a complex, time-consuming process. For example, there are 916 maps or required control inputs that build the calibration in the ECU (engine control unit) that operates the Mercury Racing 450R outboard. Sixty-three of those are considered base maps, whose foundation is relied on for the rest of the calibration. Those base maps contain 18,207 cells that represent roughly 7,000 discrete running conditions (rpm, load, engine temperature, ambient conditions), which are run on the dyno to rough map, check, and re-check for errors and interactions. Final calibration checks before production will go through each of those 18,000 cells point by point.