The term “dyno” is short for “dynamometer,” which is a machine that is utilized to measure the amount of force an engine generates. Throughout industries such as automotive design, automotive diagnostics, industrial, marine, and aerospace, dynos are relied upon to provide accurate measurements. In examining engines or during the process of diagnostic testing, dynos obtain these measurements by running an engine at high speeds for long intervals to get an accurate read on its maximum performance capacity. Dynos are used to take measurements from systems such as transmissions, turbines, gas or diesel systems, fluid power systems, belt or chain drives, and gearboxes. Outside these aforementioned industries, dynos are also used to measure a wide range of consumer products, commercial equipment, and industrial utilities.
There are four main measurements that a dyno takes from an engine. The first is torque, which is defined as the amount of force that is required for an object to rotate around an axis. For most machines that feature an axis and rotating parts, a measurement of torque is a necessity. The second measurement is the speed of the engine, machine, or the vehicle. The dyno may measure specifications such as the top speed, average speed, and the base speed. The third main measurement is vibration level of the machine. The energy created by the vibrations is absorbed by the machine, which then measures how much energy is lost through the vibrations. The fourth and final measurement that is taken is emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency has set certain regulations, requiring companies to test the emission levels of each engine. Therefore, there are certain models of dynos that are equipped with the capabilities to measure emission levels.
The method that dynos utilize to measure engine capacity differs from a road test. When testing with a dyno, the vehicle is controlled by a computer, sometimes while fixed on either a set of stationary rollers, held above engine mounts, on a set of rolling cylinders, on a heat exchanger, or a torque measuring device. They may be controlled with devices such as computers, remote controls, or control consoles. Dynos may be powered by oil, water, fuel, or hydraulic fluid. Each of these additional components and power sources depends on the model of dyno being used. The most recent models of dynos are capable of reading and graphing an engine’s maximum rotary speed, maximum power absorption, torque capacity, and in some cases, reaction time and amount of emissions.
There are two main varieties of dynamometers—chassis and engine dynos. Chassis dynos measure the performance of an engine by taking into account the nature and speed of the rotation of the wheels powered by the engine. The vehicle is first placed on a frame and a set of rollers. Then, the vehicle’s engine is remotely activated by a computer. Next, the computer determines the performance of the engine by factoring the weight of the rollers and the speed that the rollers rotate. Engine dynos, on the other hand, measure the performance engine directly. Taking measurements with an engine dyno involves connecting a torque measuring device to a flywheel or crankshaft. A lubricant may be added to reduce heat generation and friction. The measurement that chassis dynos provide can be 15% to 20% lower than those taken by engine dynos, due to the amount of friction within the drivetrain and subsequent energy loss that comes with the reading process.
Due to the advancement of technology and the needs of the automotive industry becoming more complex, there are countless models of dynos with numerous capabilities that are suited specifically for certain industries. Choosing the best dyno manufacturer may be overwhelming at first. Therefore, there are some things to keep in mind in searching for the dyno that best suits your needs. There are dynos that are used in industries such as automotive and medical, to test the strength of a vehicle’s engine or the physical strength of a patient, respectively. Therefore, companies who have variety in their line of dyno products are more likely to have exactly what you are looking for. It is also important to look for a dyno manufacturer that values building a lasting relationship with their customers through open communication and providing additional services for the products such as installation. The final thing to look for is warranties. The better the warranty, the more your investment will be protected. Warranties are a good indication that a dyno manufacturer invests in high quality products, and will assist you in making the most of your own investment.