Recording Data to the Maxx
Our new S&W Race Cars swing-arm dragster is pretty basic from front to rear. No chrome, no fancy paint just a well-engineered suspended rear engine dragster capable of doing the job in the bracket race battles around the country. We did, however, opt for one item that is about as state-of-the-art as it gets, the Computech DataMaxx LCD dash module and data recorder.
This tech article will use a different approach than a lot you might read. We won’t bore you with how we crimped wires and cut the wires to the right length (by the way, if you can’t or haven’t done racecar or high performance wiring before this may not be the time to start). You need to have the right tools to install this equipment in the quality manner it deserves. First thing you need to know is what you want to know about the operation of your racecar.
We decided on just the basics to get us started as we can add all sorts of other channels whenever we want to. The DataMaxx is very easy to expand to additional channels and in our situation it will be mainly the basics. We want engine RPM, oil pressure, water temp, battery voltage, at least one EGT, and we opted for a driveshaft RPM sensor so we can monitor tire spin and converter problems should they arise.
Now the power is on and the blue backlit LCD is very easy to read day or night. You can see what I have chosen for my main display. There are two oil pressure readings, and you can rename them. I have oil and trans pressure but only one name until I send it in for free updates.
I received one of the very first models to be released (probably because I had been bugging them for three months!) and they were anxious to get one installed and working on a racecar. We received the DataMaxx and sensors but no instructions. I went into a state of panic and called Jay at Computech. They had not printed the final version yet but he told me I could download the original ones and print them out. I found the document and printed out the 58 pages! WOW, now I was on information overload.
After a couple of calls I think we convinced them to reorganize the instructions a little bit. I would like to see a section on setting it up for bracket racing with stuff like we use, the basics. They are in the process of changing some of the technical language to “racer language” and making it a lot easier to follow. Basically, it is very easy to wire in the sensors and EGT cable it just sounds complicated in the instructions. I think my son Andy got everything hooked up in about five hours and two of those hours were spent reading the instructions. That can and will be improved and simplified by the time you read this.
There are two main components to the DataMaxx, the LCD Module (the dash display as I call it) and the Main Module where all the sensor wires are hooked up. We mounted the LCD Module in the center of the dash of the S&W dragster. No cut-out is required as it mounts to a flat surface with four rubber-isolator mounts. The only wires running to the LCD Module is a 4-wire BUS cable that goes to the Main Module.
Hooking up the Main Module takes some patience as it is important to get the wires run to the correct areas inside the module. The instructions are specific, as a matter of fact, a little too much so. It was confusing at first but a couple calls and then it was easy to understand the layout. The new instruction manual will make this much easier. We ran the 12-volt power wire, the wires from the water temp sensor, oil pressure sensor, EGT cabling and the drive shaft rpm sensor to their respective connections. Some wires are shielded and the instructions on proper use and attachment of the shields are very clear.