Electronic Boost Controller Basics – How a EBC works

Electronic Boost Controller Basics – How a EBC works


Blessing to some people, curse to others there’s a lot of misinformation out there the electronic boost controller. The use of electronic solenoids allow you to use this form of boost controller to control your boost. Today we’ll be going over the electronic boost controller facts and making it all easy for you to understand.

Of course if you haven’t already read our manual boost controller guide, you should check it out now. Unlike manual boost controllers however, when you install an electronic boost controller, there’s a quite of bit more work involved. Of course one of our favorite types of boost controller is still the Hallman style, which can be found here.

What is an Electronic Boost Controller?

If you understand the basics of a turbocharger, the concept of an electronic boost controller is simple. Where the manual boost controller mounts in your engine bay, the electronic version uses an array of solenoids to control your wastegate.

Courtesy Turbosmart
Courtesy Turbosmart

Over time the electronic boost controller has evolved quite a bit. In fact units like the AEM TruBoost incorporates a boost gauge with electronic boost control. Others like the HKS EVC S are known for it’s aggressive boost control and innovative technologies.

What’s a solenoid? – These are controlling valves that work with your electronic boost controller. They bleed pressure to control boost and even hold open vacuum to build boost faster. You’ll be able to increase boost and control delivery within your turbo limitations.

electronic boost controller

When your turbo kit reaches the desired pressure, the electronically controlled valve activates your wastegate. Many electronic boost controllers use a triple port system to control boost. These are typically mounted inside your engine bay and run to your wastegate, to your intake manifold as well as the atmosphere side of your wastegate if you have one.

What is Fuzzy Logic

It’s either one of your favorite modifications, or your tuner’s worst nightmare. There’s little in-between ground for the boost control technology known as fuzzy logic. Most modern electronic boost controllers provide you with a variety of modes, and fuzzy logic is one of the most popular.

Fuzzy logic is also known as adaptive boost control. In order to control boost, there’s two values that determine how your car drives. One is Duty Cycle and the other is Gain. What these values help you do is hold shut the wastegate using pressure to build boost as fast as you can. In the end what you are left with is a “learning boost controller” of sorts.

apexi electronic boost controller

However it’s not always easy to tune a fuzzy logic boost controller. To tune one properly it’s best you have a dyno, or a track to test it at. It involves long periods of wide open throttle at 3rd or even 4th gear. On the street, that’s enough to get you some time behind bars or an incredibly steep fine.

Because of this most advanced electronic boost controllers come with multiple modes. Some of the more common modes include manual and automatic mode.

Manual vs automatic electronic boost control

When you’ve got a difficult turbo setup, (a 2JZ using the sequential twin turbo configuration for example) manual mode can be of great use. You can easily dial in your electronic boost controller using the two values above. To set your electronic boost controller, you should begin on the dyno and with Duty Cycle as your base setting.

Make sure you have your boost gauge properly installed. You will need an optimal reading of your boost real time to configure your boost controller. Begin with both Duty Cycle and Gain set to the lowest setting to begin and start with a single run in 3rd or 4th gear.


Monitor your Boost –  Your boost should build quickly and plateau at a low setting. Make sure there are no signs of a boost leak or dips in your boost delivery now. Once you have a base boost setting, you are good to go. Begin by cranking up your Duty Cycle slowly and monitor your peak boost.

Depending on your wastegate setup, you may encounter turbo spikes or creep. If you do it’s time to back off the Duty Cycle for now until you can either increase wastegate efficiency or upgrade to a larger wastegate. Once you are done you should have a smooth and efficient turbo delivery curve which is repeatable and predictable.

Once you reach the peak boost desired, it’s time to dial in your Gain. The Gain should be done at lower gears and you are looking to repeat your efforts. Dial up the Gain incrementally and dial it down if you begin to see boost spikes. Your boost should come on faster now. Make sure your results are repeatable and stable, the last thing you want is uncontrolled boost.

Gear Selectable Boost Control

Some of the best electronic boost controller choices out there on the market will also come with gear control. This is preferred for FWD or high horsepower applications where traction is hard to come by. Sometimes in order to make safe, effective passes or control the car on the track, some performance must be sacrificed.

This also involves the use of a dyno for safety sake. Never attempt to dial in your electronic boost controller on public streets. It’s dangerous and the need for you to monitor your boost gauge makes it foolish choice. Instead turn to your local dyno shop and visit them for best results.

In the end you should have a turbo curve that builds fast and gives you consistent results. This provides you with the best chance at reliable performance. The proper use of electronic boost controllers should give you the best possible chance on race day. Have any questions about the electronic boost controller or features? Leave us a comment below or subscribe to My Pro Street today.