Makers of the Insoric RealPower dyno system began with a simple, straightforward query: "How much power does my engine really make?" Most of us have asked that question. If a car is brand new and/or unmodified, we have a fairly good idea (thanks to manufacturers' specs), provided the car is in excellent condition. But if the car has high mileage or the engine has been modified even slightly, the picture becomes much less clear. The "old-fashioned way" of finding out was to take the car to a local tuning shop with a chassis dynamometer. This is all well and good (and interesting), but a lot of time and effort goes into the logistics, strapping down, and running the car on a two- or four-wheel chassis dyno.
At the beginning of a project car series, the smart thing is to do some dyno runs to get a baseline number, then make modifications with incremental runs along the way. This method is great for measuring power upgrades, but no precise standardized value is actually measured.
There are also issues with dyno runs when proper airflow is not provided, so we do not obtain a real-world picture. Results end up being inconsistent. Also, dyno results providing wheel horsepower (whp) is one thing, but calculating actual crank horsepower (bhp) is another. Many debates have occurred over what the drivetrain losses are for front-drive, rear-drive, or all-wheel-drive systems.
Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about such inconsistencies, thanks to Insoric. This Swiss company has come up with a highly technical and systematic method to enable the measurement of crank and wheel horsepower (and torque) for any car or truck in an easy, standardized, and repeatable manner.
The Insoric RealPower dyno system uses a miniature puck-like device attached with double-sided tape to one of the wheel hubs. It doesn't matter which one. This device collects angular velocity using a proprietary method and stores run data that can then be downloaded to a laptop via USB. Just turn the unit on and do a few runs (or pulls) on a flat, straight road from 2,000 rpm to redline (in Second, Third, or Fourth gear), dipping the clutch (or flipping to neutral on an automatic) after each run, and allowing the vehicle to coast or drag down 20 mph or so. This latter step enables a precise calculation of actual crank horsepower as the "drag" of the vehicle (test weight, drivetrain, aerodynamics, etc.) is effectively removed from the calculation.
Using the accompanying software, more information is put into the collected and loaded data file: the precise test weight of the vehicle, including current fuel load and all passengers along for the test run (preferably using race scales); gear ratios (from the manufacturer's specs); wheel or tire diameter; temperature and barometric pressure measured with tools provided by Insoric.
This information can then be analyzed for precise, standardized, and repeatable results. All the numbers are collected under real-world conditions. The vehicle is "at speed," therefore the airflow to the intake, radiators, and intercoolers (if present) are all true to form. Typical dyno issues such as improper airflow, heat sink, dyno model, user variability, and other factors do not contaminate the data.
The accompanying software is also simple to use when inputting, analyzing, and displaying the acquired data. No special skills are required beyond a basic knowledge of Windows-based PC systems, which is necessary for downloading and saving files. For analysis, simply select the acceleration area (red line) and drag-down area (green line) in the Velocity Diagram display. Insoric's software will then automatically calculate and display the measurement results on the screen (engine power, wheel power, and torque), and will also plot those results in a formal dyno sheet format, if required.
For a full-on test, we lined up 10 vehicles for testing on the same day, at the same location, and using the input data and test procedure listed earlier. We included late-model, low-mileage, "bone stock" cars (with known horsepower specs) and several modified cars. Also, we used the top-of-the-line Insoric RealPower Professional version. We decided to use Second gear for our runs to redline to keep the speeds down to a minimum, as suggested in the instruction manual and demonstrated in Insoric's YouTube clip.
We also used Second gear when pre-testing the system using a stock '12 VW Golf R and achieved perfect results. Crank horsepower was calculated to be 267 bhp (note that the '12 to '13 MkVI Golf R is officially rated at 256 bhp, but it is widely known that this number is underrated, and North America did in fact receive the "Euro" tune of 270 PS, or 267 bhp). However, many of the cars were not making the numbers we expected. In discussions with Insoric directly after the test, we found out that Third gear (and Fourth gear) provides more precise results for most cars, especially so for naturally aspirated models. The reasons for the lower values in Second gear (according to Insoric) are:
1. Power output during acceleration is often electronically throttled in the low gears of modern drivetrains (First and Second).
2. In low gears (First and Second), the engine consumes more energy for the rotating mass during short but dynamic acceleration, and this energy is not transferred to the wheels.
Insoric is currently working on algorithms to take this effect into account. Valid comparative measurements for incremental before/after testing can certainly be carried out in Second gear at lower speeds. The company has also indicated that it will be making changes to its instruction guide and video to rectify this minor issue.
Fortunately, we were able to round up four of our test cars at a later date and re-run them using Third gear with excellent results. Both the stock VW Golf R and Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 tested to perfection with calculated crank horsepower of 267 bhp and 493 bhp, respectively. The two modded cars posted believable results, too, with the '98 Porsche 911 (993) Cabriolet pumping out a solid 306 bhp (stock is 282 bhp), and the Porsche (997) GT2 #1 a strong 588 bhp (stock is 530 bhp).
To simplify the contenders and results, we have arranged the data into two tables—"Stock" and "Modded"—and have included both the Second-gear and Third-gear runs for completeness. Note that the "scaled" data listed in the "Likely Insoric" column were estimated by multiplying the Second-gear measurements by approximate scalars calculated from the four cars re-tested. The Insoric RealPower dyno system provides precise, easy, and reliable information for tuners and enthusiasts alike. This product could become the industry standard for aftermarket power measurements.
Insoric Products and Pricing
Insoric RealPower Basic—$1,095, includes:
- RealPower "Dyno-System" module with carrying case
- double-sided tape to mount the sensor to the wheel
- sensor protector cap
- USB cable
- USB stick (license key) limited to 50 test runs (additional runs can be purchased in increments of 50)
- Quick Step user guide
- Quality certificate/safety instructions
Insoric RealPower Premium—$2,195, includes:
- all items in the Basic version
- USB stick (license key) with unlimited test runs
Insoric RealPower Professional—$2,995, includes:
- all items in the Premium version
- USB stick (license key) with unlimited test runs
- wheel caliper measurement tool
- barometer/thermometer measuring unit
- RealPower Speed software for acceleration measurements
Available in North America at FVD/Brombacher, a global authorized dealer.
Insoric's RealSpeed software is included with the RealPower Professional version. This innovative additional software package evaluates acceleration. After installing and activating the Insoric data acquisition device (in the same manner as for the dyno runs), figures are collected for the RealSpeed software by full-throttle acceleration from a standing start. This should be done on a closed road (flat and straight) or a dragstrip to ensure safety and best results. Once the data file is uploaded to a PC or laptop, the software evaluates acceleration rates (0-60 mph, 0-100 mph, 0-100 km/h, 0-200 km/h, quarter-mile, etc.) precisely and comprehensibly without requiring specific previous knowledge on the part of the user. Simply trace the desired acceleration event and select or define the range to be measured. The figure shows an example run using a '12 VW Golf R. This test was done at an elevation of around 3,600 feet using a non-violent clutch release (i.e. no clutch dump from high revs). Not a bad run at all.
|Bone Stock Cars||Mileage||2nd Gear insoric BHP||3rd Gear insoric BHP||Likely Insoric BHP||Factory BHP|
|'12 VW Golf R||10,500||267||267||267||256|
|'14 Porsche 911 50th Anniv. Ed.||1,500||352||/////||428*||430|
|'14 Lamborghini Aventador||500||586||/////||713*||683|
|'11 Porsche 911 GT3RS 4.0**||4,000||405||493||493||494|
|*Scaled - Data Were Calculated By Multiplying The 2Nd Gear Measurements By Approximate Scalars Calculated From The Four Cars Re-Tested. Normally Aspirated And Super-Charged Cars, Scalar = 1.217 And Turbo-Cars, Scalar = 1.088.|
|** Aftermarket wheels and exhaust tips should have no effect on this test.|
|Modified Cars||Modifications||2nd Gear insoric BHP||3rd Gear insoric BHP||Likely Insoric BHP|
|'98 Porsche 911 Cabriolet||Fabspeed header back exhaust system, Rennsport/GIAC ECU tune, RS LWFW/clutch||248||306||306|
|'95 Porsche 911 Carrera||4.0L pistons and cylinders, 997 GT3 crank, connecting rods, and exhaust with Cat delete, custom heads, cams, ITBs, tune and standalone ECU, RS LWFW/clutch||312||/////||380*|
|'08 Porsche 911 GT2 #1||RS intercoolers, 200 Cell Cat GMC exhaust system, Sachs Sport clutch and pressure plate||540||588||588|
|'08 Porsche 911 GT2 #2||RS intercoolers, Fabspeed 200 cell sport cats and muffler bypass pipes, Sachs Sport clutch and pressure plate||540||/////||588*|
|'11 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||Haltech cold air intake, ZR1 exhaust system||490||/////||596*|
|'06 ford GT||Heffner supercharger pulley, Torrie ECU tune, Tubi exhaust, Accufab 2 butterfly throttle body||599||/////||730*|
|*Scaled - Data were calculated by multiplying the 2nd gear measurements by approximate scalars calculated from the four cars re-tested.
Normally aspirated and super-charged cars, scalar = 1.217 and turbo-cars, scalar = 1.088.