Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

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Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by gearheadgreg » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:31 pm

Just wondering if the Vanagon Digifant (later 2.1 wasserboxer), which has integrated ignition control, could be run without the ignition hooked up?

I'm looking at running a different ignition system, and would be great if I could just disconnect the dizzy and keep the ecu driving the injection.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Steve Arndt » Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:47 pm

The hall sensor in the distributor triggers the ECU as an RPM input. You need that to run. You could disconnect power from the coil and run your choice of ignition controller I believe.

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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by gearheadgreg » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:33 pm

So, potentially, if I ran an earlier digijet dizzy with a Hal sender, sending the rpm signal to the ECU, it might work?

Not sure about signal wave shapes or anything like that yet...
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Steve Arndt » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:17 pm

You have lots of learning to do. I won't bother to answer all your questions yet.

What ignition controller do you plan on running?

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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by gearheadgreg » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:31 pm

I'm the first to admit that. That's why I'm here.

I was wondering about using the Digijet or even just a 205 dizzy with MSD or even pertronix type points replacement, so I can get a boost retard. Don't think it's possible to run a boost retard with the digifant setup with integrated ignition.

The more I look at it, the more it looks like Megasquirt would be a better solution.

This was a quickie engine install that has turned into a top end build that has turned into a possible turbo that has turned into a possible fuel injection swap.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Piledriver » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:37 pm

You can run one of the earlier dual vac can versions bolts right in, points should even work fine.
Just disable the mechanical advance and rig the vac can to only work under boost.
(involves a check valve and a calibrated leak to atm)

A megasquirt is probably a much better plan, but aircooled.net may still be able to get a "turbo" programmed chip for the Digifant.
John ran such a setup for years and may still. You will need more fuel after all.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by gearheadgreg » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:49 pm

Ironically, this is John's old kit I'm thinking about buying. I contacted him, but he has refused to give any information on setup or tuning he used. He says VW people are too cheap and he doesn't want to help. :roll:

Anyway, I was hoping a rising rate fuel regulator would be OK for low boost, but trying to wrap my head around the boost retard.

I've got an older MS 2 built in a box, with a tune for a turbo 1.8 8V water cooled VW loaded into it, and some Ford EDIS stuff laying around, but really wanted this to be a quick-n-easy swap. Never is, I know.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Piledriver » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:03 pm

If you already have a MS2, I would not bother with hacking the digifant unless you must for emissions reasons.
(Early Digifant it's not ODB1 or 2 compatible, so I doubt they would know if you did a good job)

The MS2 (set up with extra firmware) would be the saner way to go, it can even work with the AFM, or a MAF if you would like, the current MAF code is usable, got a lot of code backported from MS3 recently.
It can also be set up to run a hybrid with a MAP sensor on the second channel and adjust for boost, or simply run speed density, and ditch the AFM.

The factory manifolds etc work great, you can easily adapt a TPS to the Vanagon TB.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Steve Arndt » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:28 am

John was going to loan that kit to me to try on my Syncro. I guess I wasn't fast enough.

A single channel J&S safeguard was my plan. I have it in a box sitting here :) It has adjustable boost retard and knock retard and works straight away with the digifant.

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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Piledriver » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:01 pm

Steve Arndt wrote:John was going to loan that kit to me to try on my Syncro. I guess I wasn't fast enough.

A single channel J&S safeguard was my plan. I have it in a box sitting here :) It has adjustable boost retard and knock retard and works straight away with the digifant.

Steve
It will work with many EMS as well, even COPs, the LED output can be used for a knock input.
It is synchronized, can be used as per cylinder signal if the EMS supports it.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by MarioVelotta » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:04 pm

You already have the MS, pull the dizzy and just use my new oxy boxer crank trigger setup :D

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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by gearheadgreg » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:12 pm

Steve Arndt wrote:John was going to loan that kit to me to try on my Syncro. I guess I wasn't fast enough.

A single channel J&S safeguard was my plan. I have it in a box sitting here :) It has adjustable boost retard and knock retard and works straight away with the digifant.

Steve
Sorry Steve - no idea. I know John has a great site and all, but hasn't impressed me with his friendliness.

I remember old J&S units being in the $200 range - the new ones seem to be around $600. Waay too much for me on this project. Esp since i've already got a MS2 and a fuel injected base engine.

Mario - that looks good (as do all your products), but I'm planning a very low-boost, almost stock setup. Couldn't I use the dizzy to signal the MS?

Side question - could your mini cam sync be used to signal the ignition instead of the crank trigger? I know I'm loosing some accuracy with the dizzy drive, but again, it's a low-boost thing. Almost stock.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by Steve Arndt » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:23 pm

I got the back story direct from John. He can't really provide after sales support when something is passed down from one seller to another on down the line.

He only ran extra enrichment with the kit, and didn't run boost retard. Not ideal as you know but it worked for a while.

Just go full engine management and ditch the digifant.

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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by MarioVelotta » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:36 pm

gearheadgreg wrote:Mario - that looks good (as do all your products), but I'm planning a very low-boost, almost stock setup. Couldn't I use the dizzy to signal the MS?

Side question - could your mini cam sync be used to signal the ignition instead of the crank trigger? I know I'm loosing some accuracy with the dizzy drive, but again, it's a low-boost thing. Almost stock.
Thanks!

You sure could use the dizzy to trigger the ECU since it's already a hall based. It would be setup as "Basic Trigger". You just have to do a little work to get the trigger edges setup. For it being such a simple option I have a hard time setting it up every time and I'm not sure why...

My current Cam Sync cannot be used in place of the crank trigger, it's only providing a single pulse. I've been designing a new one though. It will have multiple trigger wheel options, single pulse, toothed wheel or a 50/50 wheel to use the poll level for a faster sync time. It's still a ways out but would be perfect for this application.
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Re: Vanagon Digifant - can run with Ignition disconnected?

Post by ps2375 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:24 pm

gearheadgreg wrote:
Steve Arndt wrote:John was going to loan that kit to me to try on my Syncro. I guess I wasn't fast enough.

A single channel J&S safeguard was my plan. I have it in a box sitting here :) It has adjustable boost retard and knock retard and works straight away with the digifant.

Steve
Sorry Steve - no idea. I know John has a great site and all, but hasn't impressed me with his friendliness.

I remember old J&S units being in the $200 range - the new ones seem to be around $600. Waay too much for me on this project. Esp since i've already got a MS2 and a fuel injected base engine.

Mario - that looks good (as do all your products), but I'm planning a very low-boost, almost stock setup. Couldn't I use the dizzy to signal the MS?

Side question - could your mini cam sync be used to signal the ignition instead of the crank trigger? I know I'm loosing some accuracy with the dizzy drive, but again, it's a low-boost thing. Almost stock.
Try this for the MS for knock sensing, I had one but never had the chance to install it and the motor it was intended for.http://www.viatrack.ca/

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