About the SB6 Ignition
Fast sometimes just isn’t enough. That’s why MSD developed the SB-6 for two of the quickest bikes available; the Kawasaki ZX1400 and the Suzuki Hayabusa. The advanced controls of the SB-6 deliver programming and tuning features that riders have never been able to access in a direct plug-in ignition controller. For more advanced tuning, you can connect your PC through the convenient USB port of the MSD and delve into a world of tuning opportunities. To make launches at the track more consistent you can set an rpm rev limit that is active when the clutch switch is engaged (and only on the launch). There is also a versatile timing retard step that is handy in times of nitrous. Other unique features include the ability to map a timing curve or even a timing chart based off boost pressures. So you know that your programs are advancing your performance, the SB6 includes data acquisition. After each run you can review up to 12 seconds of ignition information including rpm limits, timing changes, boost pressure, shift light activation. The SB-6 delivers the control over your bike that you need to perform.
- PC programmable for custom curves
- Program a rev limit for the holeshot
- Increased spark energy burns fuel efficiently
- Time based retard for progressive nitrous systems
- Data acquisition reviews rpm and retard rates
Tech Review : The MSD SB6 is NOT like Sea-Monkeys
Everybody likes new toys for their bike, especially ones that are worth the money you spent on them. There is nothing worse than seeing an ad for something and thinking it is what you need, then you buy it and it does not do what you hoped it would.
Kind of like Sea-Monkeys.
They claim “The joy of watching Sea-Monkeys grow offers a lot more than just pure fun. It is one of the outstanding educational experiences of a lifetime.”
I thought in high school when your girlfriend told you she missed her period fell into that category.
How I chose the MSD SB6
I came across the MSD SB6 a while back when looking for an inexpensive data logger. (There is a contradiction in terms.) Being a data collection kind of guy, I realized in drag racing there was plenty of it to collect and there were alot of devices that were capable of doing it.
After looking at the available data loggers and their prices the MSD SB6 seemed too good to be true, even more so when Brandi called me and asked if I wanted to test one to write an article about.
From the MSD ad for the SB6:
“The advanced controls of the SB-6 deliver programming and tuning features that riders have never been able to access in a direct plug-in ignition controller. For more advanced tuning, you can connect your PC through the convenient USB port of the MSD and delve into a world of tuning opportunities.”
They were not kidding about the tuning opportunities part.
It was not quite as easy as raising Sea-Monkeys, yet easy enough for anyone to do if you have an average amount of mechanical/electrical aptitude. The instructions are clear and most everything is plug and play with the exception of a few connections that use inline wire taps. MSD supplies the good ones that will not cut the wires when installed. It can also be installed in line with the connectors on my Bazzaz unit.
The whole installation took me about 2 hours taking my time and making sure everything was routed neatly and away from anything that may damage a wire. There is plenty of cabling allowing you to mount the unit in the trunk compartment of the Hayabusa. Hooking it up to your PC with the provided software is a piece of cake.
My only complaint would be in regard to the instructions for actually using it. While every aspect is covered of what it does, it is not necessarily explained how to do it. Once you play around with it though you start to answer your own questions.
WHAT IT DOES
The SB6 does everything you need for a basic dragbike with a power adder whether it be turbo or nitrous.
- It acts as a launch control. You can set up a two – step situation with it while at the line and ramp the RPMs up over time after you throw the clutch. For instance: you put in your launch RPM at 6,500 so when you have the throttle twisted at the line your RPM stays at 6,500. When you throw the clutch you can plot a 7 point curve to limit your RPMs out to 2 seconds. This allows you to tame the launch like a Multi Stage Clutch or Slider without having one. Or you can just have it go from 6,500 straight to redline and just use it as a two – step.
- You can program your air shifter with it. It has two settings for this; one is the time delay before the actual kill time sets in. This allots for the time it takes for your air to get from the solenoid to the air shifter piston if your solenoid is located at the back of the bike. This stops the kill from having to be on to long. In my instance I have 10ms time delay and 25ms of engine kill.
- Timing retard. You have a couple of ways to set up timing retard. The first one is to plot a curve with up to 7 points that works all the time. You basically set a point at whatever RPM you want to add advance or retard the timing. Maybe at 7,000 rpms you want -2 degrees and at 8,000-4 degrees, etc. The 2nd way is designed for power adders and has two ways in itself to set up. First, you can hook up a boost sensor that watches your boost level and when it gets to a point where you want to pull timing it will automatically do so. Secondly, you can attach your nitrous solenoid or wastegate solenoid directly to the SB6 and when you hit the button it will retard the timing to whatever you want up 15 degrees on top of the other timing curve you had made. It also allows you to program a slope time so it comes in slow and not all at once.
- Shift light programming. I do not have the MSD shift light, but if I did, I could program it through the SB6. Both the shift time and the light intensity can be adjusted.
- Output shaft RPMs. This is programmable to determine how soon your Rev Launch Curve starts running after you throw the clutch.
- There are 10 programs you can store on the SB6. If you run in Street ET you can have one that does not have the launch control set-up. If you use the same bike to run in Pro ET you can turn it to another channel that has launch control. You can have different NOS set-ups on other channels or experiment with different timing retards.
But wait! There is more!
After a pass is made you can look at a graph which illustrates your shift points, output shaft speed, timing curve, boost curve (If you installed a sensor for it) and your shift light points. This is recorded over the course of 15 seconds and stored.
How it records the data is interesting in its own right.
The SB6 is continually recording while the clutch is pulled in. As soon as the clutch is thrown it keeps the prior 1 seconds of information and the 14 seconds after. As long as the run is over 8,000 rpms it will be recorded.
REVIEWING THE INFORMATION
This is the cool part.
If you have wheel spin you can see it in the graph.
Your shift points can be compared to the shift light signal so you can see if you are hitting them. If you have a boost sensor hooked up you can see that curve also and see how many times your waste gate dumps in a run and you have the ability to save the runs and compare them to each other.
All this at your fingertips for a very reasonable price considering all you can do with it. (And I have only gone over the highlights, The MSD SB6 does more that I have not played with yet.)
So if you buy one you can be assured the MSD SB6 is nothing like Sea-Monkeys.
- Paul Cavanaugh