What Is a Power Commander?by T.L. Chancellor
A Power Commander is a brand of fuel injection or ignition timing manufactured by Dynojet Research Inc. The Power Commander is used by motorcycles as a way of boosting their engine performance to a higher level of horsepower than a rider might get from the motorcycle's stock engine performance. The Power Commander doesn't take long to install and doesn't require permanent bike modifications to be used.
How to Install
The Power Commander is a small, square-shaped device that plugs inline into the motorcycle engine's electronic control unit. The Power Commander's connectors do not require any splicing or cutting of the engine harness, which means the modification can be made quickly and without damaging the bike. The modification can be made in as little as five minutes, according to Power Commander's official website.
What It Does
The Power Commander has a microprocessor that, when plugged into the engine, can manipulate the motorcycle's fuel and ignition output. When it does this, it overrides the factory settings of the ECU but does not permanently erase those settings. In fact, all the owner has to do is remove the Power Commander from the bike to restore its original engine settings.
Many motorcycle riders use the Power Commander to get a power boost. The Power Commander comes with several factory-installed "maps," which is a PC term for a program that tunes the engine to run at a level that matches the bike's specifications. The base map matches basic bike specifications. Alternate maps, which can be downloaded from the Power Commander website, can match specific types of bike modifications, such as slip-on exhausts.
Every bike engine has an optimum air-fuel ratio that allows that engine to run at an optimum level. In many cases, a Power Commander can help that bike get closer to that optimum level than the bike's stock specifications. Information provided by Dynajet Research shows that bikes at stock specification, or with minor modification, operate at 65 to 70 percent optimization, while the Power Commander helps bikes operate at 85 to 90 percent optimization. That percentage came with the PC using the base map program.
Who Uses It
Power Commander is considered a "race-only" line, which means that most of its users are bikers who drive competitively. Power Commander manufactures a III line that is nearly as powerful as the PC but can be used by bikes you would find on the street, like Harley-Davidson and Dyna. The PC III can help those bikers optimize their fuel economy.
T.L Chancellor has more than 12 years of newspaper reporting and editing experience. She has written extensively about education, business and city government. She has also worked at a public relations firm, focusing on environmental issues with clients.