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My cousin bought a crappy electric supercharger the other day, and I must say it looks like a piece of crap. There is no way these things can work, right?
 

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I don't have any knowledge about electric superchargers but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I do have a few thoughts though:
*What car is it for?

Positive thoughts -
*I would think an electric supercharger would have a few advantages as you wouldn't have the belt to deal with so you could mount it anywhere.
*You could actually turn it off when you aren't looking for max power so you could save fuel.

Negative thoughts -
*The engine is basically an air pump. Suck, squish, bang, blow. More air in + more air out = more power. But don't forget you need to add more fuel and make sure it is ignited at the proper time. You need 14.7 pounds of air for every pound of fuel. So you would need a sophisticated fuel injection system with a mass air flow sensor to add the extra fuel with the extra air. Plus computer controlled ignition timing. All this would have to be dailed in on a dynamometer.
*Let's look at volumes. A 3.0 liter engine (Ferrari 308) spinning at 7,500 rpms will go through 22,500 liters of air a minute. That's almost 800 cfm. My electric air compressor in my garage only puts out 10 cfm, and it's a good size one, the biggest 110v unit Sears sells. I would think the motor and compressor on an electric supercharger would have to be huge to maintain boost at those volumes. (of course you would only be looking at 6-10 psi instead of 120 psi)
*Here's the biggest beef I have with backyard "tuners" in general. You take any modern automobile and you've had teams of PhD-level engineers working on this project for years going through design and testing to make sure it is perfect. Now here comes Backyard Bubba with a $100 part he bought off EBay and he's gonna bolt it on and give the car more power. Trust me, if General Motors or the Ford motor corporation or Ferrari or Honda could give their cars 50 extra horsepower by bolting on a $100 part they would have done it. I can see the engineers slapping their foreheads now saying, "Damn, why didn't we think of that?" If a supercharger was a cheap and easy way to add power, all cars would have them. Superchargers are not cheap. They are not pieces of crap. A proper supercharger can double engine output but cut fuel mileage in half.

Now you take a traditional belt-driven supercharger and it is a substantial piece of machinery. And the people who know what they are doing and have all the proper equipment spend weeks tuning the car to make sure it is right. A proper electric supercharger would be a massive device to handle the volumes needed, it would need a very large motor. Probably at least a 10 hp motor. Now you need batteries to run the thing. Now you need to boost the car's charging system to make up for the drain the electric supercharger is going to put on the batteries.

So if your cousin's supercharger looks like a piece of crap, it probably is. He's probably doing more harm to the car than good. Put it back the way it was. If you want more power the best way to get it is to sell that car and buy a more powerful one.

Here's a good article about superchargers: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/supercharger.htm
 

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About 30 years ago, I worked in an engine testing lab. We had a bunch of engines on water brake dynos, and did all kinds of testing. As a joke, we bought one of those little fans that sits below the carburetor. We went back a week later, and the fan was gone. No where to be found. I'm still laughing. -Steve
 
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