Which Innovate Gauge Is Right For Me? The Full Guide Inside

July 20, 2017 / by Stephen Kim

Picking the right gauge combination for your project can be a daunting task. Do you go digital or analog? Combination or single sensor gauges? What do you plan to do with the project down the road? While many of these questions you’ll have to answer yourself, we will walk you through Innovate’s popular gauge lineups and explain what you are getting with each option.

Analog Gauges

The easiest place to start is at the analog gauge line. Innovate’s foray into the analog gauge line started with their G-series gauges in the mid 2000s that provided an 8 to 18:1 air/fuel ratio display. The analog gauge line evolved in to the MTX-A line that includes: 

  • Air/fuel ratio
  • Two vacuum/boost (20 psi and 30 psi)
  • Exhaust gas temperature (EGT)
  • Fluid temperature sensor that can be used for oil or water
  • Fuel pressure sensor
  • Fluid temperature sensor

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Mechanical Versus Electronic 

It’s important to understand the differences between the two main types of analog gauges – electrical and mechanical. With mechanical gauges, the gauge itself will use an integrated thermistor (resistor based) sensor or a physical supply to the gauge. This means that a mechanical oil pressure gauges works by supplying a line of oil to the back of the gauge to make it work.

All Innovate gauges are 2-1/16” (52mm) electronic, meaning that an external sensor is used to measure the value of what you’re monitoring, sends that signal through the wiring, and to the gauge. Not only are electronic gauges known for being more accurate, you don’t have to worry about running into the possibility of developing fluid or vacuum leaks along a line.

Features

There’s a wide range of features that make Innovate’s analog gauges attractive. Right off the bat you’ll notice the response rate of the needle. A high performance, high torque, direct drive, 270-degree stepper motor comes standard in all of the MTX-A gauges and is extremely durable. Some gauge designs use a gear-type movement that is susceptible to failure in high shock conditions or if debris (such as dirt) were to enter the gauge. 

The Modular Tuning System (MTS) allows you to daisy chain multiple devices together via the serial IN and Out connectors to form one synchronous log. MTS log chains can consist of a single unit connected directly to a laptop, all the way to 32 paired channels. The serial interface will also allow you to use Innovate’s LogWorks software for enhanced data logging capabilities. Best part of all? Street price on all analog series gauges are in the low to mid $200 range.

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MTX-AL Wideband Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge: Neatly integrate a DirectDigital wideband O2 sensor controller into an analog gauge, and the result is the Innovate MTX-AL. Based on a Bosch LSU 4.9 wideband oxygen sensor that offers full data-logging capabilities, the gauge displays a broad 8.0:1- to 18.0:1 range of air/fuel ratios. To maximize accuracy, the sensor can be free-air calibrated at any time throughout its life cycle.

MTX-A 20 PSI Vacuum/Boost Gauge: Don’t let the analog interface fool you. With a display range of -25inHG to 20 psi, the MTX-A Vacuum/Boost gauge packs many advanced functions into a traditional-looking package. Using a laptop and Innovate’s LogWorks software, the gauge provides an over-boost warning by flashing the backlight at a user-defined pressure level. LogWorks also offers an altitude compensation function to ensure accurate boost readings as ambient air pressure changes.    

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MTX-A 30 PSI Vacuum/Boost Gauge: For forced induction combinations that exceed 20 psi of boost, Innovate’s MTX-A 30 PSI Vacuum/Boost gauge is the perfect solution. It offers all of the same great features as the MTX-A 20 PSI gauge, like an over-boost warning light and an altitude compensation function, but with a broader display range of -25inHG to 30 psi.

MTX-A Water/Oil Temperature Gauge: Coolant, oil, and transmission fluid work best when warm, but not too hot. With a display range of 120-280 degrees Fahrenheit, Innovate’s MTX-A Water/Oil Temperature gauge makes it easy to verify that fluids are operating in their sweet spot. To safeguard against sudden temperature spikes, the gauge features a programmable warning indicator that flashes the gauge’s backlight at a user-defined temperature point.

MTX-A Exhaust Gas Temperature Gauge: As forced induction continues growing in popularity, so does the need to closely monitor EGTs. With a display range of 32-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, Innovate’s Exhaust Gas Temperature gauge is an essential tool for preventing turbos and exhaust valves from overheating. A high-torque, direct-drive stepper motor ensures that the needle reacts quickly to temperature changes. The gauge can also flash the backlight to provide a high-EGT warning at any temperature programmed by the user.

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Going Digital and Multifunctional

Digital, multifunction gauges have become increasingly popular over the last few years. It allows companies like Innovate to integrate one to four gauges in a single gauge. The OLED versions are clear to read and are bright regardless if it’s day or night. Similar to the analog gauges, all digital versions utilize the Modular Tuning System and analog outputs.

DLG-1: DLG stands for dual lambda gauge, or a gauge that powers two wideband O2 sensors. A DLG-1 is a must for V-type and boxster style engines. The dual sensors allow you to monitor what’s going on with both sides of the engine. Intake manifolds with bad distribution or race engines can especially benefit with this gauge by knowing exactly what’s going on with either side of the engine. With logging capabilities, the DLG-1 can also hone in on misfires by bank. The DLG-1 will display in either air/fuel ratio or lambda.

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PSB-1: The PSB-1 is the perfect gauge for boosted applications up to 43.5 psi. The boost and air/fuel ratio readouts work in conjunction with each other and can trigger the gauge’s PowerSafe function. When activated the PoweSafe feature can cut a boost controller solenoid’s circuit and allow the turbo to only run at wastegate pressure. A valet mode works in a similar fashion to keep any foreign right foots from becoming overzealous. A built-in shift light illuminates between the two push buttons.

PSN-1: Think of the PowerSafe Nitrous gauge as a nitrous version of the PSB-1. Instead of boost the PSN-1 monitors bottle pressure and has the ability to cut power to the nitrous solenoids if the air/fuel ratio is greater than the pre-set value. Nitrous is not as forgiving as running too much boost and we’d consider a PSN-1 a required install for anyone running nitrous.

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Boost Controller - SCG-1: If monitoring boost is good, increasing boost at the touch of button is even better. By combining a digital boost gauge with a wastegate solenoid, the SCG-1 monitors boost up to 43.5 psi and serves as a standalone boost controller. The boost solenoid is fully programmable using the interface buttons on the gauge, or with a laptop using Innovate’s LogWorks software. Making the SCG-1 an even more powerful tool is an integrated wideband oxygen sensor and controller. By utilizing feedback from the O2 sensor, the SCG-1’s user-defined boost cut feature provides an extra margin of safety. To top it all off, the SCG-1 offers a programmable shift light as well.

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MTX-D – Dual Function in a Large Variety

The MTX-D was Innovate’s first digital gauge line. By incorporating a numeric display in the center of the gauge, along with an LED “Digital Needle” that sweeps along the outer perimeter, MTX-D gauges make it easy to read two sets of engine parameters simultaneously. That means drivers can spend less time looking at the gauges, and more time focusing on driving.

Fully customizable with a laptop, both the center numeric display and the Digital Needle can be programmed to flash as warning indicators at user-defined thresholds. The needle also changes color from green to yellow to red as engine rpm, oil temperature, battery voltage, EGT, fuel temp or fuel pressure increase. As part of the Modular Tuning System (MTS), all MTX-D gauges offer data-logging using Innovate’s LogWorks software.   

MTX-D Boost/Shift Light Gauge: Since optimizing the performance of any engine requires shifting at the right time, and every forced induction engine needs a boost gauge, Innovate combined both functions into a single gauge. With a range of -1 to 3 BAR (-29 inHG to 43.5 psi), the Boost/Shift Light gauge can display boost in either psi or BAR. User-defined thresholds determine when the numeric boost display transitions from a solid digital readout to a flashing over-boost warning. After programming the shift rpm with a laptop, the Digital Needle’s LED lights illuminate progressively from left to right as rpm increase, then flash once the shift rpm has been reached. Alternately, the Digital Needle can be set to trace the boost pressure, then flash at a user-defined shift rpm.  

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MTX-D Oil Pressure/Temperature Gauge: Any application that warrants keeping a closer eye on oil pressure can probably benefit from monitoring oil temperature, too. Innovate’s Oil Pressure/Temperature gauge makes it easy to do both. The center numerical readout displays oil pressure from 0-145 psi, and also functions as a warning indicator by flashing once pressure falls below a user-defined level. Oil temperature, measured from 120-280 degrees Fahrenheit, is displayed on perimeter LEDs that illuminate from left to right as temperature increases. These LEDs also provide a high-temperature warning by flashing at a user-programmable level. Alternately, temperature changes can be displayed as a single LED point as well.

MTX-D Water Temperature/Battery Voltage Gauge: Even in stock applications, accurately measuring water temperature is imperative to ensuring engine longevity. Likewise, the increasing use of electronics in cars puts extra stress on the electrical system. Innovate’s Water Temperature/Battery Voltage gauge keeps tabs on both of these basic yet vitally important engine parameters. It measures water temperature from 120-280 degrees Fahrenheit, which is displayed in a numerical center readout. A programmable high-temperature alert can flash the numeric display as a warning indicator, providing an extra margin of safety. The outer LEDs sweep back and forth as voltage changes, and also serve as a low-voltage warning by flashing at a user-defined level.   

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MTX-D Exhaust Gas Temperature Gauge: In boosted applications, subtle changes in ignition timing and air/fuel ratio can dramatically impact exhaust gas temperature. Innovate’s EGT gauge tracks even the smallest changes in a user-friendly numeric display that reads from 32-1,999 degrees Fahrenheit. Outer LED lights can be configured to illuminate as a single point, or progressively as a fill bar, making it easy to read EGT at a glance during the heat of competition. After programming a user-defined temperature threshold, both the perimeter LEDs and the numeric display flash to provide a high EGT warning. The gauge can also be set to measure CHT, which offers finer resolution than the EGT range.

MTX-D Fuel Pressure: Losing fuel pressure at the wrong time can sacrifice horsepower or, worse yet, an entire engine. Simply adding an Innovate MTX-D Fuel Pressure gauge can eliminate these potential woes by diagnosing fuel system issues before they become terminal. An industrial-grade pressure sensor reads between 0-145 psi, and can display pressure in either psi or BAR in the gauge’s center numeric display. Outer LEDs light up progressively as pressure increases, or sweep across the perimeter of the gauge as a single point. In the event of sudden pressure loss, a programmable low-pressure warning flashes the outer LEDs as well as the numeric readout.   

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MTX-L PLUS Advanced Digital Wideband Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge: Building upon the success of Innovate’s long line of wideband air/fuel ratio gauges, the new MTX-L PLUS is seven times faster than its predecessor and more accurate than ever. Innovate’s proprietary Advanced Sensor Control samples sensor feedback at a faster rate, and optimizes sensor heater control. Analog output speed has been vastly improved as well. The result is a blazing response time of just four milliseconds, which means that both the gauge and the data logger receive air/fuel ratio changes much more quickly. The improved heater control improves sensor precision and durability, particularly in applications that run rich. Like all of Innovate’s wideband gauges, the MTX-L Plus’ Bosch LSU 4.9 O2 sensor can be free-air calibrated for maximum precision. Air/fuel readings are displayed in both the center numeric display, as well as the gauge’s outer LEDs.  

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Ethanol Specific Digital Gauges – Don’t Guess, Measure

E85 is quickly becoming the budget race fuel of choice for race cars and street cars alike, but the ethanol content in E85 can vary widely from tank to tank. Innovate’s lineup of ethanol gauges solves this guessing game by directly measuring the ethanol content in E85 and other ethanol-based fuels. Additionally, these slick gauges take multi-functionality to the next level by also monitoring parameters such as boost, air/fuel ratio, and fuel temperature.

MTX-D Ethanol/Fuel Temperature Gauge: Even the most basic of Innovate’s ethanol gauges offers lots of functionality in one versatile package. The dual-function MTX-D Ethanol/Fuel Temperature gauges features a center numeric readout that displays ethanol content from 0-100 percent. The gauge’s outer LEDs sweep across the perimeter of the gauge as fuel temperature increases. A programmable high-fuel temperature warning can be set to flash the outer LEDs at any point between -40 to 257 degree Fahrenheit.

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ECB-1: The glorious combination of boost and high-octane ethanol in street/strip engines has quickly created the need to monitor boost and ethanol content in a single gauge. Enter Innovate’s ECB-1—which measures boost up to 43.5 psi—in addition to ethanol content (0-100 percent). The four-in-one ECB-1 doesn’t stop there, as it also includes an integrated wideband oxygen sensor and a fuel temperature gauge. Other highlights include an over-boost warning indicator LED, peak boost hold, and a Boost Vision function that calculates a maximum boost limit based on the gauge’s measured ethanol content. As part of Innovate’s MTS system, the ECB-1 offers full data-logging capabilities.

ECF-1: For naturally aspirated engines, or forced induction applications that already have a boost gauge, the ECF-1 offers many of the ECB-1’s key features. The primary difference is that the ECF-1 measures fuel pressure instead of boost. That means it shares the ECB-1’s same four-in-one form factor, as well as the ability to monitor ethanol content, fuel temperature, and air/fuel ratio. Fully programmable via laptop, the ECF-1 features a warning indicator LED that illuminates in the event of fuel pressure loss. 3903.jpg

Topics: featured, TUNING TECH

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Written by Stephen Kim

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