If you own an auto repair shop that improves or rebuilds engines, or if you simply rebuild engines in your garage as a hobby, you may be considering buying an engine dynamometer, also called a dyno. This tool allows you to measure the engine torque, which ultimately allows you to determine the horsepower of the engine and whether your engine is safe and ready to be used after being rebuilt or upgraded. Without this tool, you may further damage the engine, or other parts in the car, if you have not properly rebuilt the engine and don't realize it. However, not all engine dynamometers are the same. Doing your research and learning what factors you need to consider will help you select the dyno that best meets your needs and fits your budget. Here are a few factors you need to consider when buying this tool.
Mechanical Versus Digital
One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to purchase a mechanical or digital engine dynamometer. Think of both of these tools like a scale. A mechanical dynamometer has a series of numbers on it, with an arrow that moves to the specified number when the torque changes. A digital one simply displays the reading, just like a digital scale does. There are pros and cons to both type of tools. A digital scale gives an accurate reading without you having to closely watch the arrow and try to figure out what numbers it falls between. However, a digital dyno is generally more expensive, takes more time to calibrate and requires you to replace the battery as needed. On the other hand, a mechanical dyno is cheaper but allows for human error in interpreting the results.
Computerized Data-Acquisition Electronics
If you select a digital engine dynamometer, you will need to pay attention to the computerized data-acquisition electronics features it is equipped with. This type of tool tracks the data from the engines you are testing, allowing you to see how performance increases after each repair or modification you make. If you are using one of these tools at your home, you may only need a device that tracks performance on three to five engines. However, if you own a car repair shop, you may need to track multiple engines at once based on the number of customers you have at once and how quickly your shop can rebuild or upgrade engines. Ultimately, this electronic device is similar to a computer. The more memory it has, the more expensive it may be. Therefore, you want to find a dyno that fits your needs without overdoing it, or you may spend more than you need to.
The last factor you need to consider when purchasing an engine dynamometer is what additional features the dynamometer may track or measure. Some of the additional features that a dyno may be able to track for you include the following:
- Airflow metering
- Block-mounted thermistors
- Exhaust and cylinder head temperature thermocouples
- Fuelflow turbines
- Weather data and how different weather elements affect the engine
While a dyno's job is to measure the engine torque, you may be interested to see how other elements affect the engine. Finding a dyno that allows you to monitor and track these other features may reduce the amount of time you spend monitoring these factors with other tools or help you to troubleshoot problems with the engine. Always carefully consider what features you would like your dynamometer to track for you and whether it is something you can afford.
There are many factors you need to consider when purchasing a dynamometer. Educating yourself on these factors and then researching them will help you make an informed decision as to which dyno will best meet your needs.