Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"CHIPS: Small engines get greener"

Until recently, small displacement gasoline engines used in everything from motorscooters to lawn mowers were exempt from the same stringent regulations that apply to modern cars. As new regulations come into effect (in the U.S. by 2015) small engine makers are scrambling to find analog chips scaled down from the multi-cylinder chips used in cars. Freescale claims to have the first of these chips for converting one- and two-cylinder gasoline engines into green machines. Look for greener motor scooters, lawn mowers and more as early as next year. R.C.J.

Emissions from small gasoline engines could be reduced using a new analog chip that Freescale Semiconductor just announced. Using an engine control unit (ECU) with fuel injectors, instead of a carburator, the analog MC33812 IC is said to cut emissions on one- and two-cylinder engines used for lawn mowers and scooters. To help small engine makers meet stringent new emission regulations while also increasing fuel economy, Freescale designers created a chip to control all analog functions. The chip is said to bring small engine control on a par with car engines. The MC33812 chip allows small engine manufacturers to eliminate spark plugs, carburator and distributors for spark coils, fuel injectors and a crank-position sensor.