How Does a Boost Controller Work – Behind the Scenes

how do electronic boost controllers work

Everyone loves a good power boost when driving, and there are many ways you can get it. But does the electronic boost controller give you an extra boost?

Well, the truth is it technically doesn’t give you a boost of power. They help in regulating the boost to your engine.

Electronic boost controllers are almost always installed with turbo engines, and they have several benefits. The biggest challenge is understanding how it functions.

To clear this confusion for you, we will be spilling all the beans about how electronic boost controllers work!

What is an Electronic Boost Controller?

There are two types of boost controllers: manual boost controllers and electronic boost controllers. Today, we will be focusing on the electronic boost controller and its function.

A digital boost kit for turbo usually has two parts that the manual boost controller doesn’t have, a solenoid and a stepper motor.

The stepper motor is controlled by electronic control, and the solenoid can be either a 2-port or 3-port electronic boost control solenoid.

Both of them are designed like regular solenoids with ferrous metal that has coiled wire around them.

However, there are some differences. The 3-port solenoid obviously has an extra port that helps to return vent-pressurized air to the turbo inlet or the atmosphere.

What Does an Electronic Boost Controller Do?

The primary function of the boost controller is to regulate the amount of boost that is given to your engine. Some people may think that the higher the boost the better.

However, this is not the case, and your engine could get damaged from too much boost.

When there is too much boost, excess air is mixed into the fuel-air mixture, which makes the mixture lean, and when it is run, it can damage the engine.

Having a boost controller will also help you in getting your ideal boost level, so you can get the optimum performance out of your turbocharged engine.

Besides users with turbocharged engines, you may also find an electronic boost controller if you’re using a supercharger.

How to do Electronic Boost Controllers Work?

The wastegate is responsible for the boost that is fed to the engine. The wastegate pushes out exhaust gases in calculated amounts and keeps the amount of boost in control.

What controls the wastegate is the wastegate actuator, which is fixed to the turbo and looks like a can. Through a hose, the boost pressure is delivered to the compressor outlet.

When the boost starts to increase, the pressure goes to the actuator, which then opens the wastegate. This slows the rise in boost that would be given to the engine.

The action is similar to the mechanism of car amplifiers.

If you want to increase your boost using your electronic boost controller, then this device will bleed off some of the air from the hose.

As a result, the actuator will get a signal of a boost that is lower than the actual one and will keep the wastegate shut for a longer time.

What separates the electronic boost controller from the manual one is that it gives you more flexibility and control.

With an electronic boost controller, you will get ultimate control over the boost curve.

You can get access to settings based on multiple parameters such as maximum boost pressure, the reaction time of the controller, and the wastegate pressure.

Electronic boost controllers give you very smooth power delivery and more precise control over your boost.

They tend to handle the sudden increase in pressure very well and ensure that your engine does not suffer from any damage.

Should You Buy Electronic Boost Controllers or Manual Boost Controllers?

There is no doubt that the electronic boost controller has way more features than the manual one.

Moreover, it gives you better control over the boost pressure than the manual boost controller. The algorithms used in the electronic option help in getting the optimum boost level more easily.

However, you must know that the electronic boost controller is also more expensive compared to the manual alternative. It is also much more difficult to install, but the user interface is quite smooth. 

If you have a high budget and are a very big car enthusiast, you should opt for the electronic boost controller, but if you’re a regular driver, then the manual should be more than enough for you.

Final words

As you can tell, the electronic boost controller is a device that works in a complex manner to control the amount of boost.

However, we hope you were able to gain more clarity on how electronic boost controllers work after reading this article.

If you plan on getting this device installed, then definitely get a professional to get it fitted for you.

Stay in control of the boost in your vehicle with the electronic boost controller, and have fun!