Dynamometers are tools used for force measurements, and can also be referred to as dynamometers, dynometers, or simply dynos. These machines gather data about the horsepower of an engine by measuring the revolutions per minute (RPM) or torque of the flywheel or crankshaft within an engine. They obtain this information by transforming the torque force into an electrical signal that they can convert into a readable measurement. Dynamometers can be utilized to run separate tests on engines and vehicles. Therefore, they are used extensively in applications such as engine rebuilding, and the diagnostics, design, and manufacturing of automobiles and high-performance vehicles.
Engine dynamometers are one of the main types of dynamometers, the other being chassis dynamometers. The measurement methods of engine dynamometers and chassis dynamometers differ, however. Chassis dynamometers can often be lower in their measurements by 15-20%, due to the machine losing energy in the process. However, engine dynamometers take information straight from the engine and utilize a few analogue dials and gauges, although a computer calculates the final measurement. In turn, engine dynamometer tests tend to produce more accurate and repeatable results and are not prone to inefficiencies the same way as chassis dynamometers. The basic concept of engine dynamometers is simplistic. However, it takes a great deal of careful design and engineering in order to fabricate an engine dynamometer that is reliable and user friendly while maintaining repeatable and accurate results. Engines are powerful machines that can be dangerous if misused, and thus the dynamometers that are used alongside them must also be safe to handle. Engine dynamometers are programmed to have a high overload capacity and to operate under harsh operating conditions. Their advantages include portability, a fast response, a low amount of inertia, and have regenerative features that can greatly reduce energy costs.
These machines are heavily relied on to provide accurate and highly repeatable measurements with minimal error. Motor testers can take these results and properly inform auto repair professionals, hobbyists, and automotive engineers about the specifications of an engine. The engine’s user can make wise judgements about the reliability and safety of the engine as well as its capabilities if they thoroughly understand the details of an engine’s performance. In addition to the engine’s performance, dynamometers in the automotive industry can be used to measure brake performance and run diagnostics on other automotive components. PTO dynamometers, for example, can measure the performance of an engine that is used for secondary engine functions. Vehicles such as agricultural equipment that make use of power take off systems rely heavily on the information provided by these dynamometers. A power take off system is a system that allows mechanical components to use, or “take off” a fraction of the power that the engine generates to power themselves. Engine dynamometers can also be used for things outside of the automotive industry. For example, dynamometers can be used to measure consumer products, commercial equipment, industrial utilities, and even the grip of a human hand.
Over the past several years, new types of engine dynamometers have been developed to test aircraft more efficiently. These dynamometers feature measuring systems that do not require water or electricity to function. This enables testers to run their procedures in any location. Because of their ability to function without water or electricity, they are lighter in weight and more portable. They are flexible in which aircraft they are required to test, and finally, their speed and torque readings are reliable and fast.