05 Feb

What you need to know about the car Engine Control Unit(ECU)

The engine control unit of the car also known as the Brainbox of the car is one of the most powerful components of the car. The ECU is described as an electronic device that regulates and monitors several functions within the vehicle and it also has a direct impact on the performance of the vehicle.

It consists of electronics which are designed onto a multi-layer circuit board. The basic functions of the car which the ECU manages are the ignition, fuel injection, and emission systems, transmission systems etc. it basically accepts information from various engine sensors and generates output signals to various parts like the control relays etc.

You can treat the ECU as a small computer that looks after the proper working of the engine for a rough understanding. However, it has some factors which differentiate it from general laptops or desktops. Firstly, the ECU is actually what we call a system-on-chip. All the parts of the computing system like the processor, memory and supporting peripherals are made small enough to be mounted on a single tiny circuit board or chip. Secondly, the ECU does a job repeating the same set of functions while general purpose computers perform a variety of tasks aiming at different functions. Thirdly, the ECU works in real time, its failure could lead to serious issues as it is responsible for managing several critical processes within a car’s engine while such failures in general purpose computers rarely result in any bad consequences.

The ECU can be located at various parts of the vehicle but it is mostly found in the engine bay or can sometimes be found under the seat.

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