In the beginning


Prototype-ECU Read the story about this ECU

EMS Prototype ECU


The Aftermarket Fuel Injection Industry began around the mid to late 1980s. Australia was leading the way with emerging companies like MoTeC, Microtech, EMS and Haltech.


In 1987 two young friends, Peter and Peter, still known in the industry as the “guys at EMS” or “Big Pete and Little Pete” were looking for a way to overcome the problems using carburetors with turbos. They looked at some new fuel injection systems on the market and saw that they could not achieve what they needed. Big Pete was an electronics engineer that designed control systems incorporating robotics and little Pete worked in mechanical engineering building machinery for the automotive industry. Straight away both knew how to approach the problem and this is how the first prototype EMS ECU started. Both Peters recognized that you cannot tune an engine by twisting potentiometers. You needed a set of 3D tables. This is why the first prototype EMS ECU used a hand controller to adjust fuel and ignition tables as well as setting other engine parameters.


Peter and Peter still own the company and are involved with product development. Over the years EMS have designed and perfected signal processing algorithms and hardware aimed at minimizing the standard error deviation of the output signals. This is why EMS ECUs have the smallest ignition and injection standard error deviation compared to other ECUs on the market. All of the development knowledge gained over the years has stayed with the company. This is evident when you hear an engine running an EMS ECU. It’s like the experienced mechanic that can diagnose an engine just by listening to it or smelling the oil. It’s this level of mechanical and electronic understanding that went into designing the current range of EMS ECUs.


Since the beginning of aftermarket fuel injection systems EMS has lead the way with many innovations. Some design features you see in other ECUs were implemented by EMS first. Below is a short list.


  1. First to have true zero crossing magnetic sensor triggering
  2. First to have live automatic magnetic sensor calibration, no need to set sensor voltage thresholds.
  3. First to read magnetic or hall sensors on the same input wire
  4. First to have battery voltage compensation for injection pulse duration
  5. First to have dual tune maps
  6. First to have built-in 60 psi Manifold Pressure Sensor
  7. First to have 8 ignition and 8 injector outputs
  8. First to have SD Card Data logging
  9. First to have programmable engine fail-safe protection
  10. Second to have Ethernet. MoTeC was first.
  11. First to have Ethernet auto configuration. No need to set IP addresses



ECU Evolution


First phase



EMS Dualsport ECU

EMS Dualsport ECU


After the prototype was tested and proven to work. The first T-Series ECU was released to the market. By today’s standards this was a very basic ECU but compared to carburetors and other ECUs of the day it was very advanced. This ECU was programmed using a hand controller not a screwdriver and had features like injector voltage compensation and dual tune maps.

After the T-Series came the Q-Series ECUs. These had quad maps, more auxiliary outputs and inputs, sequential ignition, true zero crossing magnetic crank and cam sensor input, selectable trigger patterns for different model cars and many other features. By this time other aftermarket ECUs appeared using 3D tables to tune fuel and ignition curves using DOS based tuning software. EMS responded with the Dual-Sport ECU. This was the next generation of EMS ECUs offering more inputs and outputs as well as more firmware functionality. With the Dual-Sport ECUs also came the first true windows based tuning software. This was not DOS based software running in windows. This software was developed form the beginning to work under MS Windows 95.



Second Phase


 Motorsport and Stinger

Motorsport and Stinger ECU


The Dual-Sport ECU was now quite sophisticated (for the day). A new simpler ECU was needed for those on a budget. This is why the Stinger ECU was designed. This ECU was based on a more powerful microprocessor but features were cut down to reduce costs. The Stinger ECU also became the control ECU for the Saloon Car Racing Association. This new microprocessor also formed the platform for the Motorsport range of ECUs. First came the 8860 then the 6860 and 4860. Each model was suited to a 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engine. The 8860 ECU offered up to 8 sequential injector outputs and 8 direct fire ignition outputs and for a long time the 8860 was the only ECU on the market to offer 8 direct fire ignition outputs and 8 injector outputs together. The new processor used in the motorsport ECU provided a good platform to build many great features like engine fail-safe protection, Flex fuel ready, Trans brake nudge control and many other features not seen in previous ECUs.


Third Phase


EM-Tech ECUs

EM-Tech ECUs


By now engine manufacturers are adding even more sophistication like electric throttles, Knock control, CAN bus communication and more. This is why EMS developed their new EM-Tech range of ECUs. This new platform is split into 2 levels. The EM-Tech EM70 and EM80 for entry level and EM140, EM160, EM180 and EM100OEM for more advanced needs. The EM70 and EM80 incorporate a new dual-core processor and the EM140, EM160 and EM180 have 2 dual-core processors. This new processor platform allows these ECUs to have features like DBW, Knock control, Ethernet communications, SD card data logging, CAN bus communication and more. By using dual-core processors EMS was able to use the minor core for tasks like data logging to the SD card, Ethernet communications, Auxiliary output control and other functions not critical to running an engine while leaving the main CPU core to run the engine. This ensures that critical engine management functions like ignition timing and injection pulses are accurate and perfectly timed to the crank rotation of the engine. This eliminates the possibility for one ignition pulse being slightly out of synchronization causing a retarded or, even worse an advanced ignition fire.




Other EMS Products


ECUs are not the only product EMS design and make. We also make ignition systems, racing dashes and electric throttle controllers.


Ignition systems



 EMS IDI 350


Back in 2009 EMS developed a CDI ignition system but soon realized that with today’s ECUs and fuels, Capacitor Discharge Ignition is not the best ignition solution. Capacitor Discharge Ignitions had a purpose in the 1960s, 1970s and even the 1980s but not now. Today’s ECUs can provide full dwell time to each coil making CDIs redundant. However, sometimes the power from a standard battery is not enough to ignite plant based fuels such as ethanol at very high compression pressures. This is why EMS designed a new ignition system that uses an inductor to energize the coil instead of a capacitor. This type of ignition system is more reliable than a CDI because it operates at a lower voltage and allows the coil to receive the full dwell time required. The energy from one of these systems is hot enough to ignite paper. EMS have 3 models, IDI175, IDI250, IDI350 each suited to different applications.


Racing Dashes


EMS Race Dashes

EMS Race Dashes


Here is another first. EMS is the first ECU manufacturer to release a colour screen race dash. Now there are a number of other companies doing the same. However, the EMS racing dash is the only one that has fully configurable gauges. You can select from a number of different gauge types and change size, colouring and position for each gauge. Each screen can display up to 10 gauges.


Stand-alone Electric Throttle Controller


EMS Dual Throttle Controller

EMS Dual Throttle Controller


Many crate engines now have electric throttles. These engines are being used in many hot-rods and race cars. EMS recognized there was a market for electric throttle controllers. However, we didn’t just make a throttle controller, this system also does closed loop idle control.