Affordable Data Logging with Innovate's SSI-4 PLUS

August 28, 2017 / by Evan Smith

Coastal Chassis Dyno installed an affordable data logger, the SSI-4, along with some plug and play sensors on a 2001 Mustang Cobra. Check out the install here.In the world of high performance, technology never rests. Enthusiasts crave the most up-to-date cams, turbos, induction and engine control computers. But what good is having the most efficient turbo or a cam with perfect specs if you can’t dial in the tune to maximize horsepower and torque?

Innovate Motorsports SSI-4 PLUS comes with everything you’ll need to get started with data-logging. The unit can record up to four channels and installs in a matter minutes. In addition to installing the SSI-4 PLUS, we also wired in Innovate’s PL-1 Pocket Logger, which allows quick and easy transfer of data from the SSI-4 PLUS to a laptop computer.

Reaching your power goal and maintaining reliability requires information, so you’ll need a way to keep tabs on the running condition of your engine. And the smartest owners get their information fast. Years ago, racers evaluated the “tune” by reading the spark plugs and/or inspecting internal engine parts during disassembly. Pistons, head gaskets, valves, cylinder walls and bearings all tell a story. But today it’s unacceptable to wait until you take your engine apart to know if it’s running rich, or lean.

Nowadays, we can open a virtual window and assess operating condition quicker, easier, and without disassembly. One way to “look inside” your engine is with Innovate Motorsports’ SSI-4 PLUS, an easy-to-install and affordable data logger with the ability to capture four channels of data logging. Think of a “channel” as one parameter, such as engine RPM, throttle position, coolant temperature or oil pressure.

Innovate offers a wide range of plug and play sensors for the SSI-4 PLUS. These include fluid/air pressure sensors, fluid/air temperature sensors, and a MAP sensor.

The SSI-4 PLUS can be used on any year vehicle, so it’s a nice option for carbureted cars, pre-OBD-II vehicles, or even the most current models. And when coupled with Innovate’s PL-1 Pocket Logger, you’ll have everything needed to download/transfer the data quickly and easily.

Affordable Logging for any Application

The SSI-4 PLUS (PN 3914) retails for about $135.00 and comes with a serial program cable, Molex-to-Molex Patch Cable (to daisy chain with other MTS compatible devices), and a clear instruction manual. Innovate offers a variety of plug-and-play sensors to simplify operation, and the unit connects easily to most existing Innovate gauges. Some common frequencies to log would be engine RPM, driveshaft RPM, speed sensors, and you can record 0-5V references like MAP sensors and pressure transducers, which can be used for boost, fuel pressure, oil pressure, etc.

Following the detailed instructions, we connected the sensor wiring to the SSI-4 PLUS along with power and ground. No pinning is required - simply loosen the flat head screw and install the wire with a stripped end.

The SSI-4 PLUS can be integrated with other Innovate Motorsports MTS (Modular Tuning System) products to create a log chain. Using the SSI-4 PLUS's serial ports you can daisy-chain other Innovate devices such as the MTX-L, LM-2, LC-2, TC-4 PLUS, and a few others. Or, it can work as a stand-alone data-logging system.

Installation on a Mustang Cobra

Recently, we followed as Sam Lippencott of Coastal Dyno in Tampa, Florida installed the SSI-4 PLUS in a 2001 SVT Cobra Mustang. The Cobra had been heavily modded with a fully built, turbocharged 4.6L DOHC engine, aftermarket suspension and wheels, and its look was updated with a 2003 SVT Cobra front fascia and custom Grabber Blue paint.

Both the SSI-4 PLUS and the PL-1 were installed in this wicket 2001 Cobra that we modified with a serious turbo 4.6L making 750 RWHP.

“The kit is super-easy to install,” said Lippencott, “it takes only a few minutes and it gives you some very nice capabilities. I like that Innovate offers a variety of sensors so it gives you many options for recording different parameters. And I like that it ties nicely into its gauges.”

The SVT Cobra was already fitted with an Innovate Motorsports MTX-L digital air/fuel ratio gauge.

We wired up the SSI-4 PLUS kit along with the 10 BAR pressure sensor, which has the capability to measure fluid or air pressure. We tapped into one of the intake manifold vacuum/pressure lines and used the sensor to record manifold pressure (boost). Our test vehicle was also equipped with Innovate’s MTX-L air/fuel ratio gauge, which simply plugged into the SSI-4 PLUS, giving us two channels of data. We only used these two channels for this test, but later on Lippencott wired up the TPS and the Mass Air Meter.

In addition to the SSI-4 PLUS, we connected Innovate Motorsports’ The PL-1 Pocket Logger. This PL-1 is small in size and features a SD card slot and a few simple plug-in connections. The PL-1 makes your life easy whether you have an LC-2 and SSI-4 PLUS, MTX gauges, or any other combination of Innovate Motorsports MTS devices by integrating seamlessly to record all the data from the connected devices.

Next we spliced into one of the vacuum lines, inserted a T-fitting and installed the sensor in the line. Then we fed the wiring through the firewall and connected the sensor and the harness to the SSI-4 PLUS. Amazingly, it’s that simple to wire and install one channel on the unit. Another common log is engine RPM. This can be measured on channel one or two and a signal can be acquired from the negative lead on the coil, ECU output, negative lead on an injector or from an aftermarket ignition such as an MSD.

Don’t let the size fool you, it’s capable of recording 32-channels of Innovate MTS compatible devices with a sample rate of 12 times per second, it logs directly to SD card (included) 2GB SD, for 580 hours of recording. Features include positive lock on the cables, MTS “in” port and trigger recording with optional remote push button. Playback is handled using Innovate’s powerful LogWorks software, which is available for download.

Amazingly, installation took less than an hour and we went from guess about the state of tune, to having the ability data log and see what are engine was really doing. And we love that the system has the ability to grow with our needs and our budget.

For easy downloading, we also went with Innovate Motorsports PL-1 Pocket Logger. This unit fits in the palm of your hand and when connected to the SSI-4 PLUS, allows easy transfer to a SD card. There are three ports on the back of the PL-1: Remote is the input for a separate cable that can start and end recording; MTS (Modular Tuning System) can be connected to any Innovate MTS device that can be daisy chained to the PL-1; and Power is self-explanatory, providing power to the unit. Of course you’ll want to install the PL-1 within easy reach so you can access the SD card for downloading.
This graph shows some of Innovate’s options for data logging with a variety of sensors and gauges.

Topics: featured, TUNING TECH

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Written by Evan Smith

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