Pico Technology ensures Triumph engines don't miss a beat

Racing engines today involve hi-tech engineering to optimise their potential power, torque and driveability. Every aspect requires quality testing which means data logging. Such data logging is Pico Technology's expertise. John Wilcox, Managing Director of John Wilcox Competition Engines Ltd had used this expertise and Pico Technology was able to develop a data logging unit which precisely suited his requirements.

The Pico Technology equipment has been crucial in the development of a close relationship with Wilcox's neighbour in Hinckley, Leicestershire, the reborn Triumph Motorcycles Limited. A Pico Technology datalogger unit was installed in the design department of Triumph's highly automated factory, enabling Wilcox engineers to work closely with the Triumph design team in developing and testing engines for future motorcycles.

During development work on a Triumph engine a requirement arose for a means of recording the pressure inside the combustion chamber and of determining where in the engine cycle this occurred - and doing all this while the engine was running at 9500 rpm.

"Once again," says John Wilcox, "a phone call to Pico Technology produced the solution. The new Pico Technology ADC 200 high speed virtual instrument allowed us to use a standard PC as a Digital Storage Oscilloscope." Wilcox engineers connected one channel of the DSO to the engine's crankshaft sensor and the second channel to record from a pressure transducer fitted into the cylinder head. "Using the ADC 200 allows us to freeze the traces at any point and print out or take measurements whenever we want to. The facility to overlay successive traces was also very useful, as this allowed us to see maximum and minimum fluctuations in these pressures."

A further facility offered by the ADC 200 was the ability to print out a 'bad trace' when problems such as misfires occurred. Wilcox engineers were able to fax the trace to other parties before discussing the problem. "It's a lot easier than trying to describe to someone the shape of an ignition pulse," says John Wilcox.

The ADC 200 is the latest 'virtual instrument' from Pico Technology Ltd. Designed to be simply plugged into the parallel port of a laptop or desktop PC, the ADC 200 enables the computer to be used as a 100 MHz Dual Channel Digital Storage Oscilloscope, a spectrum analyser or a multimeter. For less than half the price of the cheapest benchtop instrument, the ADC 200 gives you all the useful features of an oscilloscope: in addition, it provides FFT analysis, waveform storage and printing that are normally found only on the most expensive models.

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