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Old 09-30-2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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Mass air flow sensors

I am an engineering student and for one of my assignments I have to compare 5 blow dryers. I have to come up with a series of tests and record the results. My idea was to use the mass air flow sensor and record how much air each blow dryer moves I did a little bit of research on how mass airflow sensors work and from the few sites I looked at it has to do with how much current it takes to keep the sensor at a certain temperature. Would I be able to replicate this outside of the car or use the cars computer to get a reading? I do have the track apps so that might have something in it.


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Old 10-01-2014, 07:48 AM   #2
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You're pretty much spot on on the current. A constant 5v is fed through a node, and basically the return voltage after air passes over it (the MAF also has an ambient temp probe for further density accuracy) is your measured MAF voltage for a given point.

As far as measuring it on the car, i'm not sure... I know the MAF has readings at accessories on, although i've never tried blowing air over it to see if they adjust. I wouldn't recommend trying it with the car on (running) but with just the accessories it may be worth a shot.
You could basically datalog accessories on, blow the hair dryer over the MAF* and see if you get any readings changes in the datalog. Having a CAI would make this really easy, as you could basically just pop the filter off, and find a coupler that would connect the hair dryer to the MAF and get a sealed environment ... the stock airbox may prove to be slightly trickier.

*I would not be surprised if the airflow numbers change based on if the hair dryer is set to hot or cold. Would be interesting.
As far as doing it off the car you could measure the voltages, but without having a copy of the tuning software to find a corresponding G/s value for fueling it would basically just be an arbitrary number.

I'm interested in what you're doing here though, so i'll stick around and try to be of whatever help i can.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:56 AM   #3
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My plan was to take a piece of pvc pipe with a fitting to connect to the blow dryer then put the sensor in that. Reason being is if the engine isn't running then the throttle body is closed and there is no where for the air to go. Wouldn't that result in an inaccurate reading? I was going to try and get something with the same internal diameter as the stock intake so the sensor would read correctly. As for data logging I know that they sell Bluetooth dongles that plug into the obd2 port but I don't really know which one would be a good choice


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Old 10-01-2014, 08:10 AM   #4
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Hmm... didnt think about the throttle body... not sure if the accel pedal works at accessories on haha. Granted, the TB does not seal completely, it does allow some air around at idle, and i imagine the blow dryer will be putting out a relatively small volume of air... still could cause issues though.
I like your idea with the PVC pipe, but again, my only reservation as stated above is:
As far as doing it off the car you could measure the voltages, but without having a copy of the tuning software to find a corresponding G/s value for fueling it would basically just be an arbitrary number.

Basically you could measure the volts, but without having a "cross reference" so to speak, it would be hard to convert that into an airflow number. I think your best bet is going to be trying to find some way to do it on the car.

As far as datalogging, there are several means. Do you have a tuner? Or even a friend with a tuner? Using the SCT software would be your best bet, because it already makes an excel version of the data, as well as a line graph for you. The other options are using an app like TORQUE for android (not sure if IOS is supported) and as far as i know, just any blu tooth dongle will work with that (assuming it syncs to your phone). Theres also a nifty little device called an ultra-gauge. Basically a $75 little OBD 2 reader that displays useful information like coolant temp, intake temp, fuel trims ... one of the measured parameters is also fueling G/s, so thats an option as well. Had one on my last car, and have really been meaning to get one for the 5.0, just havent gotten around to it.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:18 AM   #5
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I just had one of those wow i can't believe i didn't think of that sooner moments. The university I am at has a dynamometer. They actually have purchased an 02 mustang gt thats sole purpose in life is to run on the dyno for one of the classes. If i have time today ill see if i can track down the instructor for that class and maybe he'll let me hook my car up and get a few readings for my project. I do know that the throttle body will open when in accessory mode. However with a pvc pipe my intent was to leave the sensor plugged into the car and just use the pvc pipe as a fake intake so to say. thats why i would want it to the be the same inside diameter as the stock intake pipe.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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Oh... yeah, i suppose thatll work quite well then. Just got to find some means of datalogging now and you're set. Good luck man, sounds like a neat project.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:47 AM   #7
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I'm gonna guess that with the TB closed that will affect reading (I know it'll affect flow) I don't have much to help but science is cool and if you can post results.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:58 AM   #8
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I'm not too familiar with dynos but going off what I've seen in YouTube videos when tuning a car they have to take into account all of the different readings the engine is putting out maf being one of them so my school should have the equipment to take the reading from the car just like a tuner or data log would. When I get in touch with someone I'll keep you guys posted. The assignment isn't due for about a month so I have some time to work everything out but like I said when I get some more info I'll let you guys know


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Old 10-01-2014, 09:14 AM   #9
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All a dyno is, is a weighted roller, you will still need a computer with datalogging software. That being said, you're probably correct, and someone may have access to an SCT device or something similar.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:03 AM   #10
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Hmm I've been looking for an excuse to get a tuner and I mean it's for school right?


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Old 10-01-2014, 10:30 AM   #11
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which means you can write it off on your taxes lol. Perfectly excusable.

Search the For sale sections man. I got one literally within 10 minutes of posting up here and saved a good chunk of change.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:39 AM   #12
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idk what you want to find for info but wouldn't it be simplier to get some type of air flow gauge and a temp gauge?

Volt, glad you like the tuner....
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Mud View Post
idk what you want to find for info but wouldn't it be simplier to get some type of air flow gauge and a temp gauge?

Volt, glad you like the tuner....
Oh, i did get it from you didnt I. Meant to get back with you on that, everything was packed really well and very thorough, i appreciate it. It was for my GF's car so it slipped my mind, but thanks again
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:09 AM   #14
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I guess it would be easier to measure the air speed but with a mass air flow sensor can't you measure the volume of air that is being moved. which would explain why they are used in cars. Honestly measuring air speed would probably be sufficient for the assignment but I am really interested to see how temperature effects the readings. For example when you use a blow dryer without the heat on does it move more air than with the heat. I have a feeling its going to be the same. The hot, thin air is just going to be moving faster than the cold, dense air. Maybe ill see if i can get my hands on something that measure air speed as well. It just kind of dawned on me how much information I could collect from something as simple as a hair dryer. This might get more complicated than I had anticipated.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #15
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Understand, i am an "engineer" by hobby, not trade lol but here's my thoughts.

The volume of air should be the same between the hot air and the cool air, the difference however, should be the density. Both "airs," so to speak, will take up the same amount of space (volume) but there will physically be more "airs" in the cool scenario vs the hot. This is why the MAF incorporates temperature in its Mass flow calculation as well.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:52 AM   #16
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I was thinking that the air is expanding as it heats up so wouldn't that make it travel faster through a tube? the same way that when you boil water the hotter it gets the faster the steam comes out
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:29 PM   #17
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Yes, but the MAF is a 2d reading, It can only measure the cross section its in at a given point. Plus, the amount of room in the tube is finite, Even if air is traveling faster, that does not necessarily mean there is more of it (getting back to density). For the sake of example, this is why cars make more power when its cold out - the air is more dense. Granted, even though hot air is less dense (hence, less horsepower) in this case, i can see your point about increased velocity...

I have a tuning book i'll pull out when i get home. There may be some information in there that can help, i could very well be mixing things up and talking out of my ***.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:00 PM   #18
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just another thought that MIGHT get you points when you compare flow at both the cool and hot settings use a voltmeter to measure voltage. Voltage drop will give less power to the fan which may cause it to turn at a lower rpm. Simple enough to measure just plug the dryer into a 3 way tap and the multi-meter into another port on the tap.

I ain't convinced hotter air moves faster....at least not in the real world.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:04 PM   #19
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Thats actually exactly how a MAF works . It feeds a constant 5v signal, and depending on how much its cooled, a return voltage of <5 is returned. That voltage will have a predesignated fuel amount assigned to it and thats how your fueling curve works.

Thats why when you hear a MAF has been "pegged," it basically has reached a point where its feeding and returning 5.0V.

In regards to "hotter air moves faster," i think we're getting hung up on the logistics of it. If we were heating the air in the tube, i would assume it would move faster? Since the air is being heated pre-tube and then being blown in... would it move at the same velocity as the cool air?
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:07 PM   #20
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I think that picture ended up being way too small to be useful, Here's another.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I guess it would be easier to measure the air speed but with a mass air flow sensor can't you measure the volume of air that is being moved. which would explain why they are used in cars. Honestly measuring air speed would probably be sufficient for the assignment but I am really interested to see how temperature effects the readings. For example when you use a blow dryer without the heat on does it move more air than with the heat. I have a feeling its going to be the same. The hot, thin air is just going to be moving faster than the cold, dense air. Maybe ill see if i can get my hands on something that measure air speed as well. It just kind of dawned on me how much information I could collect from something as simple as a hair dryer. This might get more complicated than I had anticipated.
Sounds like a very challenging undertaking.

If you can measure the velocity (like with an anemometer) it's simple enough to calculate the amount of air.
As far as effect of temperature you could measure the inlet air flow to the blow dryer and compare it to the heated air flow being discharged from the blow dryer.
If you know someone who knows someone in the HVAC business, you might be able to borrow an anemometer. Or buy an inexpensive one. Or check into renting one.
Good Luck!
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