Racing Performance: Car Voltage Regulator
Recently, we have seen around, a new racing performance scam; the “regulator performance chip”.
What is this new type of “performance part”?
I have read some auctions and sales pages listing a “Performance Module” which is nothing more than a voltage regulator/stabilizer for car voltages, as many people have asked me if it is worth it.
The part being sold is exactly as described, a voltage regulator which maintains the voltage constant or at least, within a voltage range at all times and it hooks directly to the battery terminals. Battery terminals?, You would say. How can it help performance?
The truth is that this “module” has nothing to do with performance if we are talking about engine added power or torque. While maintaining a constant voltage for the proper functioning of automotive electronics sure is very important, a voltage regulator is already installed in the car’s alternator and what is more, all electronic modules installed by the manufacturer in your car, already have their own version of voltage regulation and protection, especially the ECM. Not an extra pony of power or a fraction of it you will see coming out of your car’s engine just by installing a regulator. What is more, if there would be a problem with your car’s charging circuit, unregulated power is high enough to fry any of those “modules”. So a word of caution here, as many of these “modules” I have seen wired directly without a fuse or any protection to avoid a fire if something goes wrong.
Such “modules” are sold as “Volt Stabiliser Kit” or “regulator performance chip” and it is claimed to “achieve electrical efficiency by controlling and re-distributing power as required” and also “increasing torque, response, and power, improve audio quality, increase headlight brightness, stabilise idling, improve fuel economy and increase battery life”. Sure, nothing but pure B.S. here. They do not even know how to write “stabilize”.
Higher Vehicle Voltage
Regulators, stabilizers, noise suppressors and protectors are existing already in your car as mentioned earlier because manufacturers already know how much system voltage of your car may fluctuate due to various conditions and with today’s modern and complex electronics installed on cars, protection is a must when designing the vehicle. An example of this is when for any reason, people disconnect a battery terminal of their car while the engine is running. It could be done to test charging circuit the old way for example, but what people are not aware of is that voltage may spike to potentially damaging levels by doing this. If regulators, stabilizers, and protectors were not installed in the ECM and other electronic control modules, you could fry your ECM by doing such a test. Luckily, your car’s manufacturer knows better.
Lower Vehicle Voltage
On the other hand, if voltages get too low, you will have a warning light in your instruments panel and while the problem is solved, the ECM will compensate for the low voltage (until certain level) to keep sensitive areas, like injector opening time and ignition working right to be able to keep the engine running. On this scenario, those voltage regulators “performance” modules have no job to do either, as regulators’ job is to protect from higher voltages, not lower.