Electronic Solutions for Motorsport

Auto Tune Ignition Timing – Experimental Product Research

4 min read

Find the optimum ignition timing of your engine as you drive the vehicle. MoviChip is developing a product that can help auto tune ignition timing fine tuning as the vehicle is driven.

Video summary of the research so far

The product (assuming it makes it to production), will not allow the user to start with a blank ignition table, rather it will allow fine tuning of an existing ignition map in real time, automatically, while the vehicle is in motion.

The calibrator will be able to use the datalog (which includes the input signal from this new product) from the engine ECU do determine the possible direction to change ignition timing for peak torque at various load points.

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If you have been a follower of MoviChip you may remember in the past we looked into developing a product that would also “auto tune” ignition timing but the concept that was used turned out to be unviable.

This new “potential” product uses a vastly simpler concept which also has the “potential” to be vastly more accurate.

What This Product Might Look Like

The idea of this product is that it will piggyback on to an existing engine ECU (with a spare 2D correction table) to expand the ECU’s capability to allow the user to fine tune the ignition timing of an engine when it is being driven, automatically.

The idea is MoviChip would supply this peripheral ECU product and the user will purchase the additional parts required.


This product will absolutely need to be used by experienced persons because the potential for catastrophic engine damage is huge if the settings in the correction table of the existing engine ECU are not set up correctly.

Aftermarket Knock Detection Systems

This product will also require a knock sensor system which can be relied upon completely to safeguard the engine.

MoviChip manufacturers a knock sensor controller, the KSC2, however this product is intended as a tuning aid whereas the knock detection required for the auto tuning of ignition timing needs to be a product that can be relied upon to safeguard an engine, not merely help the end user identify engine knock. In short, we do not recommend the use of the KSC2 with this product.

No manufacturer of aftermarket knock detection systems will say their product can be relied upon solely to protect an engine against knock/detonation. Generally manufacturers say it is up to the end user to choose a suitable way to protect their engine against knock and they should use more than one method/system to protect their engine.

With regards to knock detection systems, Andre at High Performance Academy has experience of a wide range of aftermarket knock detection systems and I think I am right in saying that he believed the Plex Knock Monitor was the most accurate product he had used.

More About This Potential Product

No name as yet but ITA (Ignition Tuning Assistant) is in the running.


If the ITA makes it to release, it will require an external sensor and also fabrication in order to mount the sensor. More details on this part will be available if and when we are close to releasing this product. What I can say at this point is this type of sensor is widely available and can usually be sourced for less than 50 dollars.

So Far

At the moment we are running a prototype product to understand it’s limitations and viability as a tuning tool. So far, things are looking promising.

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Installation & Setup

As mentioned above, for the successful use of this product it will be critical that the 2D correction table in the car’s existing ECU is setup correctly and safely. It will also be extremely important that the axis in the ignition table are setup to work with the ITA.

Release & Feedback

The goal is to release the most basic product possible that achieve the target. ie help the calibrator fine tune their ignition timing map as the car is being driven.

We will be seeking feedback from the first customers to help us develop the product further and to iron out any teething issues.

News & Updates – A product to auto tune ignition timing

If a product that can help you fine tune ignition maps while the vehicle is being driven is of interest to you. Subscribe to the MoviChip newsletter to receive updates when we have them.

General Information

How to order


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