Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to use a crank angle encoder?
No. You can use a production 36-1 or 60-2 tooth sensor. A hall sensor can usually be used directly with the NI hardware, although opto isolation is recommended. A variable reluctance sensor (VRS) would need some type of processing. Either some zener diodes to limit the voltage (analogue input) or to process the signal to a TTL levels (digital input).
What if I don't have a 36-1 or 60-2 sensor?
It is possible to configure the software for different pattern sensors including using the camshaft pattern for synchronisation. For example, catoolRT supports a 20 tooth crankshaft trigger wheel with a 4-1 camshaft, it also supports the Subaru 36-2-2-2 trigger wheel. Please contact support for further assistance.
I have a crank angle encoder. What resolutions are supported?
There are no fundamental limitations in resolution. If the resolution is not listed in the configuration it can be entered manually. The resolution is specified in Pulses Per Revolution (PPR) and therefore supports resolutions that do not divide into one degree, for example 1000 PPR. Very high resolution such as 14400 PPR are supported.
What National Instruments hardware is compatible with catoolRT
Please see here for a list of compatible hardware. This list is not definitive so please contact support if you want to use something not mentioned.
Do you support any DAQ hardware not from National Instruments
catoolRT is architecturally designed to use any suitable DAQ hardware. Please contact support with your specific requirements.
What kind of PC do I need to run realtime combustion analysis?
catoolRT supports 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. A 64-bit operating system with 8Gb of more of RAM is recommended.
The processing power required for online analysis depends very much on the number of cylinders being acquired, the acquisition resolution and the statistics being requested. catoolRT will utilise multiple CPU cores so more are better. Contact support to check what your current or proposed hardware is likely to support. As a rule of thumb a dual core processor with a CPU Mark greater than 1000 will suffice.
What sort of cylinder pressure transducers can be used?
Any of the sensors from leading manufactures such as AVL, d2t, Kistler or Optrand are compatible. These also include adaptors for use in spark or glow plugs. Pressure sensing glow plugs such as those from Beru (Federal Mogul) can also be used.
Cylinder pressure transducers are very expensive. What else can catoolRT do?
catoolRT can help with many areas of engine development. It can be used to process injector, camshaft and spark signals to help diagnose, confirm or reverse engineer what the ECU is commanding. It can analyse the knock sensor signal to give an indication of knock intensity. It can also analyse intake and exhaust pressure waves to determine how valve timing and manifold geometry affects engine performance. With a linear position sensor it can measure static or dynamic camshaft profiles.
Can catoolRT integrate proprietary analysis routines?
Yes, catoolRT comes with 5 hours of included programming support. This is usually enough to include your analysis into the software. This can occur in a number of ways:
- inclusion in the open-source catool software
- inclusion in the closed-source catoolRT
- inclusion only in a customer specific version of catoolRT
- calling a customer supplied DLL
- calling a MATLAB .m or .mex32/64 file
Contact support if you want to discuss your requirements further.
What cylinder pressure analysis routines are available?
You will find anything supported by other combustion analysis vendors such as AVL IndiCom, Kistler, d2t or Dewetron.
Go here for a full list of capabilities
How can I exchange data with other systems/software?
Raw data can be imported in AVL IFile format. It can be exported in CSV, MATLAB or AVL IFile formats. Individual diagrams can also be copied to the clipboard either as a graphic to paste, for example, into Word or as the raw values to paste, for example, into Excel.
Cyclic data can be exported in real time via CAN interace. Kvaser, Vector and PEAK CAN hardware are currently supported. Other CAN interfaces can be supported if required.
CAN data can also use the Kvaser or Vector virtual interfaces to log data in CANalyzer, CANape, INCA, ATI VISION, NI LabVIEW, MATLAB, etc.
An ATI VISION interface allows you to log ECU parameters along with combustion data. This can also be used to determine the start of combustion.
New Feature: catoolRT acts as an XCP slave on Ethernet or CAN to deliver time aligned combustion data to calibration tools: INCA, ATI VISION, CANape etc.
How does catoolRT integrate into a test bed/engine dyno?
catoolRT is reliable to use over many hundreds of hours continuous use in a dyno environment. In addition it includes an AK protocol interface over CAN, Ethernet or RS232 allowing remote control of data acquisition and recording. Alarms can be configured to provide on screen warning, digital output or CAN signalling when a certain trigger is latched, such as maximum cylinder pressure or excessive knock pressure. These can be used to ensure safe unattended operation of a dyno in an automated environment, i.e. AVL PUMA/CAMEO.
Can I log channels at a lower rate, i.e. thermocouples, pressures, etc?
Yes, using either a CompactDAQ chassis or additional PCI/USB interfaces you can log at a cyclic, rather than crank angle, rate. Crank angle channels can also be configured to calculate minimum, maximum and mean values as a generic channel type. The low speed DAQ also allows input of digital, PWM or frequency based measurements.
Do I need to purchase any extra toolboxes or licences for all this functionality?
No. Everything is included. There are no additional software costs associated with injector or knock analysis, multiple cylinders, two-stroke support etc. catoolRT is a standalone software package, it does not require NI LabVIEW, MATLAB, etc.
I need help choosing the right NI hardware, pressure transducer, encoder, wiring, etc
This is not a problem. Please contact support for assistance. We can help recommend the right hardware or put you in touch with suppliers who can.
I'm looking for a turn-key solution like AVL IndiCom, TFX, Plex, etc
Please contact Xtreme-DI for a full software/hardware solution.
Who is this software aimed at?
Once the exclusive domain of the OEM, catoolRT aims to make combustion analysis more affordable to a number of markets. University research, motorsport teams and engine tuners are some of the clients that choose catoolRT as their cylinder pressure analysis tool. However, because of its low total cost it is also used by some OEMs to complement their existing investment in AVL hardware. Reseller discounts are also available if you want to integrate catoolRT into a turn-key system. Contact sales for further information.
What discounts are available?
Educational establishments receive a 20% discount. This includes Formula Student/SAE teams. Discounts are also available for resellers and as an enterprise, multi-seat licencing scheme. Contact sales for further information.