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Romano C stopped working

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:56 pm
Customer phoned me the other day.. 'I have a Romano system which has stopped working on a P38, when it switches to gas the engine just dies, can I bring it in?'.

Was expecting it to be the common N type slave system, problem being a broken solenoid or map sensor.

What I found fitted was an old Romano C type system but with Bigas reducer (probably a historical replacement for a failed Romano reducer). Preliminary squeeze of the gas pipe between reducer and injectors pointed to the fault being other than lack of gas pressure, so I immediately suspected the usual C system fault of failed map sensor.. Only thing is, the map sensor is built into the ECU on C systems...

Connected up with software and confirmed my suspicion, map sensor had failed showing 0.14 volts under all engine loads. The usual fix these days for such a problem would be to remove the C ECU and loom and fit a new 8 cylinder slave type ECU with new loom, new switch, new pressure sensor, etc.

But it was the customer's lucky day - I happened to have a fully working Romano C ECU on the shelf, where it had sat for several years! Saved the existing Romano C map to laptop, swapped in my ECU, uploaded his map... and it worked again! Even the old Romano injectors were working fine, no clicking etc. Only thing remaining to do was re-calibration as it was running too rich (I expect map sensor will have been reading lower voltage than a good map sensor should before failing totally). 'You lucky b****r!' I told him.. 'You might have gone to dozens of installers, unlikely many would have a working Romano C on the shelf or be able to get hold of one, so they'd have needed to fit all new electronics and rewire'. Also, when these things were in fashion, would have needed a Romano dongle to re-program but I've had a cracked version of software for many years (easily available these days but just a few years ago might have been considered a favour from Romano importers).

Sold the customer my Romano C ECU, added a bit for my time, a very happy customer. This fix worked out much cheaper than a new ECU, loom, pressure sensor, switch and rewiring job would have. He's an electronics engineer, so I said he might want to keep his old ECU in case something other than map sensor went down on the ECU I sold him at some point in the future (take map sensor out of mine and put in his) but he said, following my explanation of how more recent type systems compare to the C systems, if it ever came to that he'd have me update his system with a more recent type so I could keep his old C ECU.

I may yet find a use for his old C ECU - Could solder in connections for an external map sensor or (instead of using external map sensor) use TPS as main input for fuelling instead of map.. Using TPS instead of map for the main input might make it feasible to use this ECU to convert my boat's 2 stroke outboard boat engine (cannot use map for basis of fuelling on a 2stroke) - I'm thinking would need a simple rpm signal generator (to get C to switch to gas after 20 seconds of fake engine running) and relay to route injector outputs to dummy loads (just injector coils) until engine was really cranking/running.. Would be a case of 'arming' the system (no gas yet to engine), wait 20seconds for C to show switched to LPG, cranking/running the engine would automatically/immediately switch to actual engine rpm input and actual LPG injector coils...