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Nigel

A cheap EBC that works!!! A full review of the HDi SBC-D-SE

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I've been using a Hallman Classic manual boost controller for almost 8 years now, and it's served me very well. However, it's inconvenient not being able to set the boost from within in the car, and now that I've got my turbo sorted out and I can run higher boost, I've been wanting something that allows me to switch between a high and low setting. Fifteen pounds of boost is fine for the drag strip, but on the street, I rarely ever get to use it. So it'd be nice to switch to a lower setting for around town, but to still have some fun.

 

However, until recently, all of the electronic boost controllers that I've seen have been big $$$ ranging from $300US to over $1000US! And even dual stage MBC's can be over $200US. My single stage Hallman MBC was $80US back in January 2002.

 

I decided to see what is available on Ebay, since it's typically a good place to get a quick look at a variety of products. It was there that I came across the SBC-D-SE, an EBC made by a company called Hybrid Development International (HDi) out of Australia.

 

http://www.hybrid-power.com/

 

It's sold by d2power on Ebay and shipped from Hong Kong.

 

http://stores.shop.ebay.ca/search-d2power__W0QQ_armrsZ1

 

It is a very basic controller, much like the old Greddy Profec B controller, with two dials for low and high boost, and a selector button to switch between them. But it's a fully closed-loop controller, with automatic gain adjust, a temperature compensated pressure sensor, and a quality USA made MAC solenoid. The best part is that it's only ~$150US! However, I was still somewhat skeptical that something this inexpensive relative to the other controllers on the market would work well. Even used Profec B controllers sell for over $200. I searched on-line to see what kind of experience others have had with this EBC and there wasn't much, but what I did find was positive. So, I decided that for $150, it was worth the gamble.

 

tn_full_HDI_SBC-D-SEjpg_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

It took about one and a half weeks to arrive from Hong Kong. It was packaged in an unpadded envelope and the box was crushed, but the contents appeared ok, with the exception of a missing T fitting, which I didn't need anyway.

 

tn_full_DSC04793JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

The controller is a compact 1/4 DIN form factor.

 

tn_full_DSC04796JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

The included manual was easy to follow, but the installation is very simple regardless. Here's a link to the manual:

 

http://photos.imageevent.com/kadepunk/hybridinstallationguides/HDi%20SBC-D.pdf

 

There is a short harness on the back of the controller with two connectors. The solenoid plugs into the small connector, and the main harness plugs into the big one. Only three wires on the main harness need to be hooked up for the unit to work... constant hot, ignition hot, and ground. There are other wires in the harness for an optional add-on controller module (nitrous/CO2 trigger, turbo timer), which I don't believe is available yet, digital boost gauge, and an overtake (scramble) boost switch which bumps up the boost by ~10%. But I'm not using any of that for now. There's also a port on the back of the unit for the pressure signal. I just T'd into the line for my boost gauge rather than run a second line into the car.

 

tn_full_DSC04842JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

No mounting bracket is included for the controller, so I used some double sided tape to stick it to the bottom of the dash.

 

tn_full_DSC04804JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

Hook your wastegate up to the solenoid following the diagram in the manual relevant to the type of wastegate you have; internal or external. When plumbed properly, the solenoid defaults to a position so that if the controller fails, you get whatever the actuator spring pressure provides. So, in the case of a stock 280ZX Turbo actuator, this is about 5 or 6 psi. In fact, if you hook up a switch in line with the ignition hot wire, you really get a 3 stage boost controller... wastegate spring, low and high.

 

tn_full_DSC04819JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

Here's a tip for getting the solenoid cable into the passenger compartment. The connector on the solenoid cable is pretty small, but you still need a sizeable hole to fit it through the firewall. However, you can easily remove the wires from the connector housing to pass the cable through a smaller opening. Using an unfolded paper clip you can depress the barbs that hold the connector pins in the housing.

 

tn_full_DSC04829JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

Once the barb is depressed, the pin just slides right out. Once you get the cable into the car, bend the barbs on the pins back out a bit, and reinsert them into the connector housing. You can use the mating connector as a reference for the wire location. Just match up the colours.

 

tn_full_DSC04841JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

With it all hooked up, now came time for the moment of truth. Setting the controller is very simple. Use the SEL button to toggle between the LO and HI boost range, push the appropriate dial so that it pops out, turn it and push it back in to prevent it from accidentally being adjusted.

 

tn_full_DSC04878JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

I turned both dials fully counter clockwise so each range would be set to minimum and went out for a drive. With the unit set for LO boost, I accelerated and noted the boost... ~6psi. I then turned the low dial a bit and accelerated again. I repeated that process a few more times, and at first I was becoming somewhat worried as it seemed that nothing was happening. I was still only getting ~6psi. But I couldn't really see how far I had turned the dial, and I was only moving it small amounts to be safe. So, I kept at it until low and behold, I got 8psi! A bit more and a bit more and before long it was at 10psi. Hey! It works!

 

I discovered that the low and high dials are scaled differently, so don't expect to get the same boost with both knobs in the same position. I found that for 10psi, I needed the LO knob turned to about the 2/3's point, and the HI knob at about the halfway point for 15psi. Keep in mind these settings will vary depending on the wastegate you are using.

 

So, my initial tests were positive, but I really wanted a clear picture of exactly what the controller was doing and how it would compare to my old Hallman manual boost controller. I dug up some old datalogs with my Hallman boost controller for reference. I found one 10psi run that I did up to about 5200 rpm.

 

The colour code is as follows:

 

Red: Manifold Pressure

Dark Blue: Throttle position

Light Blue: RPM

Green: Air/Fuel

Yellow: Air Temperature (deg. C)

 

Hallman MBC, 10psi, 3rd gear:

Hallman10psi.gif

 

Here's a 13psi 1/4 mile run with the Hallman.

 

Hallman MBC, 13psi, 1/4 mile run:

Hallman1313.gif

 

I then hooked up my laptop and datalogged several runs using the HDI boost controller with various settings outlined below. As a reference, I data-logged a 3rd gear run at full throttle from ~2000rpm to ~6000rpm with the EBC disconnected.

 

With the EBC off, the solenoid defaults to a normally open position, so boost is controlled strictly by the OEM 280ZX actuator. Peak boost with the OEM actuator is around 7 psi, but you can clearly see the knee at ~5psi where the wastegate is being forced open early, delaying peak boost.

 

HDi EBC off, Stock Boost (7psi), 3rd gear:

5psig.gif

 

I data-logged 3rd gear runs at full throttle from ~2500rpm to ~6000rpm with the EBC connected and set at 10psi and 15psi. Below is the 10 psi log. Right away, you can see that the HDi EBC does a good job of blocking the pressure to the wastegate actuator for as long as possible. Peak boost is reached quickly, and yet, it still keeps overshoot to a minimum. Furthermore, it manages to hold boost steady right to the red-line.

 

HDi EBC 10psi, 3rd gear:

10psig.gif

 

The 15 psi log is below.

 

HDi EBC, 15psi, 3rd gear:

15psig.gif

 

To see how the HDi EBC handled rapid throttle transitions, I logged some 1/4 mile drag strip runs. This is a 13.5sec, 10psi run. Everything looks good!

 

HDi EBC, 10psi, 1/4 mile run:

HDI135.gif

 

So, I think it's safe to say that this electronic boost controller does everything that it's claimed it can do, and at a fantastic price! It's performance is dead even with the Hallman manual boost controller, and it costs less than the Hallman in-cabin adjustable controller.

 

As I mentioned earlier, this EBC does have an overboost (or scramble) mode that raises the boost by about 10%. However, it would be handy to be able to switch between the LO and HI boost modes remotely on the fly rather than fumbling to hit the tiny button on the controller itself. This way, at the drag strip, you could run a lower boost for launch to limit wheel spin, and then switch to the HI boost mode for say, 3rd gear and up.

 

I removed the four (very long!) screws from the back of the controller and pulled the circuit board out. In theory, one should be able to solder a pair of wires to the pins indicated in the picture on the back of the controller SEL switch and connect a remote push button in parallel. Be careful not to unsolder the yellow capacitor. It acts a a switch debouncer. Run the wires to a convenient location where a momentary push button can be mounted that can be hit while driving. The steering wheel or shift knob would be best. I have not personally tried this yet, so I make no promises that it will work.

 

tn_full_DSC04855arrowJPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

Here's the business side of the circuit board. When I removed the board, I discovered that the two nuts that hold the pressure sensor (lower right corner of the board) were very loose. The design of the sensor makes it difficult to tighten the nuts without risking damaging the sensor, and impractical to use lock washers. The nuts really need to be secured with some threadlock compound.

 

tn_full_DSC04852JPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

So, in conclusion, if you're looking for an inexpensive electronic boost controller I don't think you can go wrong with the HDi SBC-D-SE.

 

Nigel

'73 240ZT

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Nigel any updates? getting ready to order one of these.

 

Evan

 

 

 

Sorry for the delay in posting. I didn't get an e-mail notice about your last post. As for updates, I can't think of much new to report. I'm still really happy with the controller, and have absolutely no regrets about buying it. I got in one track day at the Mosport Driver Development road course before I put the car away for the winter. The boost controller worked like a charm. No weird behaviour or hiccups. The only issue I've run into is that the double sided tape isn't holding the controller in place under the dash, so I'm going to have fab up some kind of bracket. I didn't get around to wiring up a remote boost level switch that I talked about in my original post, but I hope to get something wired up before the car goes back on the road this year. I might also wire in an on/off switch for the controller so that I can have "stock" boost in addition to the two adjustable levels. I've found it handy on a few occasions to have the controller off (like letting friends run the 1/4 mile), but it's a pain having to grope around under the dash in order to disconnect the harness.

 

 

Nigel

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My Greddy controller seems to max out at 16psi - I think it's got a 2 bar sensor. I wonder if this unit can control a higher boost level....

 

The half way point on the Hi Boost knob is 15psi with the stock 280ZX internal wastegate actuator, so if the adjustment is linear, then in theory it should be able to go to at least 30 psi (I believe the pressure sensor has a range up to 50psi). But like sq-creations indicated, it has a lot to do with the wastegate actuator.

 

Nigel

'73 240ZT

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So, it's been 6 months since I first posted this. Has anybody else actually tried one yet?

 

Nigel

'73 240ZT

 

I bought mine after seeing your post still have not installed it,,, I bought a brand new tial wastegate that the post monkeys lost. Nigel are you running an external or internal wastegate

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I bought mine after seeing your post still have not installed it,,, I bought a brand new tial wastegate that the post monkeys lost. Nigel are you running an external or internal wastegate

 

Sorry, I just saw this now. For some reason, I'm not getting any e-mail notifications when somebody replies to this thread, but I do for others.

 

I have an internal wastegate. The manual explains how to set up the controller for either (page 8 for internal, page 9 for external).

 

Nigel

'73 240ZT

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I removed the four (very long!) screws from the back of the controller and pulled the circuit board out. In theory, one should be able to solder a pair of wires to the pins indicated in the picture on the back of the controller SEL switch and connect a remote push button in parallel. Be careful not to unsolder the yellow capacitor. It acts a a switch debouncer. Run the wires to a convenient location where a momentary push button can be mounted that can be hit while driving. The steering wheel or shift knob would be best. I have not personally tried this yet, so I make no promises that it will work.

 

tn_full_DSC04855arrowJPG_Thumbnail1.jpg

 

Here's the business side of the circuit board. When I removed the board, I discovered that the two nuts that hold the pressure sensor (lower right corner of the board) were very loose. The design of the sensor makes it difficult to tighten the nuts without risking damaging the sensor, and impractical to use lock washers. The nuts really need to be secured with some threadlock compound.

 

I brought a second hand one, (1/3 the cost of a new one), I hooked up a momentary push button switch to the 2 contact that you showed, connected the unit to a battery (it's not in my car yet), and pressed the button, and lo and behold, it changed boost levels.

 

also looks like someone read your post, mine had loctite on the 2 nuts.

 

Nigel

post-2090-094351300 1294119582_thumb.jpg

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Hi,

 

I'm about to connect my external waste gate, but the instructions don't look right to me,

 

the internal one works by allowing pressure through the solenoid to the wastegate, to open it.

the external one, looks like it allows pressure to the the wrong side on the diaphragm. it looks like it allow pressure to close it (?)

 

 

my waste gate instructions show how I would think I should connect it.

 

can some one give me a idea which is the correct way.

 

 

I think the second, and fourth picture should be the same (I think the second picture is missing the connection to the turbo at the top fitting)

 

Nigel

post-2090-046204800 1294283654_thumb.jpg

post-2090-043552200 1294283663_thumb.jpg

post-2090-018219300 1294283671_thumb.jpg

post-2090-070038100 1294283679_thumb.jpg

Edited by Noddle

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Hi,

 

It appears the forth diagram above is correct one to use for a external waste gate.

 

so, now I have 7PSI (waste gate default spring), with the unit off, 10 PSI on low, and 15PSi on high,

 

I have fitted a remote on/off, and momentary switch to select between lo and high, work very nicely

 

Nigel

post-2090-059446000 1294394513_thumb.jpg

Edited by Noddle

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Hey! So somebody else is finally using one of these EBC's! I'm glad to hear my suggested mods worked out for you. I never got around to trying them.

 

My EBC is still working great. Every now and then it will switch boost levels when I start the car, but I haven't had any other issues.

 

I'm just seeing your e-mail now. I'm still not getting e-mail updates for this thread, but I do for all the others I'm subscribed to. Haven't figured out why yet. You're right, the HDI instructions don't clearly show that the bottom port of an external wastegate needs to be connected to a boost source (your picture #2). But otherwise, it's correct. You can also use the other external wastegate hookup you have shown (pic #3), but the exhaust pressure could potentially force the wastegate open I guess.

 

Nigel

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The only bad thing about these is they aren't closed loop.

 

Anyone running Megasquirt can accomplish the same with about $40 in parts. I've seen people run second injector channels (on like AEMs) to accomplish the same thing as well.

 

Actually, it is closed loop, with a temperature compensated pressure sensor. That's pretty good for an EBC that's less than half the cost of an AEM Tru Boost EBC, which isn't closed loop.

 

Nigel

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