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Installing Racepak's IQ3 Data Logger Dash On Alex Baker’s Can-Am Maverick X3 Baja Racer

Author: Harry Wagner | 06/01/2021 < Back to Motor Life Home
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The old adage goes “you can never have too much information” but it is just as important how that information is displayed and stored. Gone are the days of a desert race car being filled with a dozen 2 5/8-inch gauges that the driver and navigator struggle to read as they bounce through the desert all day and night. Racepak’s IQ3 data logger is a much more elegant solution for any desert race vehicle, including Alex Baker’s Can-Am Maverick X3. UTVs have exploded in popularity and are arguably the most talent-rich class in most desert racing series, with teams looking for any advantage over the competition.


The Racepak IQ3 Logger Dash fills several roles that used to require individual components. It is a data logger, a display, a GPS unit, and three-axis G meter all in one lightweight package. Speed acquired through GPS is true speed, unaffected by tire growth and wheel spin with an accuracy of approximately 0.1 mph. The IQ3 is a multi-purpose product designed not just for desert racing and UTVs but also for use in road racing, circle track, driving schools, sled pulling, boating, hill climbs or any other type of motorsports that can benefit from the use of GPS data to obtain speed, timing and mapping functions, without the necessity of wheel speed sensors, beacon receivers or transmitters. While the IQ3 is quite advanced technology, wiring and using the system could not be more straightforward.


IQ3 UTV Mount

Baker mounted the Racepak IQ3 in the middle of the dash where it is visible to both the driver and the navigator. The driver still has the factory instrumentation in front of him, but the Racepak is positioned so that either occupant can monitor the various sensors that have been mounted to the vehicle. Below the IQ3 you can also see the touchpad for the SmartWire solid state controller that was used to wire the vehicle and power items including the fans and LED lights.


What We Monitored

Alex ran nine different sensors to the Racepak including fuel pressure, oil pressure, coolant temperature, belt temperature, two speed sensors, and three oil temperature sensors (one in the engine and one in each differential). During a race, monitoring these components is critical to ensure that you do not overtax them. If you see the temperature is getting too high you can turn on auxiliary fans, or if the fuel pressure drops the second (redundant) fuel pump can be used. Belt temperature is critical for UTVs, which use a single speed belt driven transaxle instead of a conventional transmission. Increased belt temperatures are a good indication of slippage, suggesting that the belt will soon fail. This sensor proved valuable when racing in Baja, allowing the driver to find a clear place to pull over and giving the navigator time to gather all of the tools and parts required to change the belt before stopping. Sure enough, it shredded shortly after the temperatures began rising.


IQ3 UTV diff sensor

The front differential in the Can-Am Maverick X3 has a selectable locker that provides power to both front axles. Using the locker at speed has a dramatic effect on the steering, but Baker was also curious if engaging the locker generated more heat, which could be interpreted as an increased load on the components.


What Else You Can Monitor

The Racepak IQ3 is incredibly modular, with the ability to program up to 28 sensor inputs, sequential shift lights, four programmable warning lights, and a gear indicator. In addition to the items monitored on this UTV, you can monitor air/fuel ratio, RPM, temperature, and pressure for a host of components. Temperature sensors are commonly placed in exhaust manifolds, transmission pans, intake manifolds, and differentials. Pressure sensors can be used to monitor boost pressure, brake pressure, nitrous pressure, and even wheelie bars!


IQ3 UTV sensors

Racepak sensors are sold individually, allowing you to customize the information that you monitor for your specific needs. The system allows for up to 28 sensor inputs and is easy to scale up if you decide that more information is required. For instance, if you wanted to monitor exhaust temperatures from individual cylinders rather than from the exhaust manifold collector. Before you can upgrade an existing V-Net Series data logger though, you will need to update the Car Configuration File in your PC.


How To Wire The Racepak

Whether you will be installing a simple display dash set up, or a full-blown data acquisition system, all components are attached to the system using the modular snap-together connectors. Adding components onto the system is simple. Just find a junction in the main Vehicle Network (V-Net) cable, separate the connectors, and sandwich the new sensor’s module between them. Then command your software to read the new configuration. It will automatically recognize any additions or deletions from the system.


The key to accomplishing this is in the modular connectors that attach each of the devices to the main V-Net cable. Each module is essentially a miniature computer, which houses circuit boards and a microprocessor that identifies and retrieves only the proper incoming signals and allows other signals to pass through. This technology creates a system in which the individual components interact with each other; making a simpler, more compact system which can be expanded with ease.


IQ3 CANBUS

The 48-channel data logger contained within the IQ3 housing utilizes Racepak’s exclusive V-Net (CANBUS) sensor technology. This design provides the ability to connect all external sensors to the IQ3 dash by means of a single, small five-wire cable. The sensors may be connected in any order and any location. The use of the V-Net sensor system eliminates the necessity of a sensor wiring harness.


How To Recall Information

While the ability to cleanly wire sensors and effectively display information during a race is useful, the real power of the Racepak IQ3 is the data logging. Racepak’s Datalink II software is the most popular and widely used data acquisition system in the industry. Information from each sensor, along with the integrated GPS and three-axis G meter, can be accessed after Baker parks his Can-Am. During testing, the sensors let you know how hard you can push in different types of terrain, such as sand and silt that provide increased rolling resistance and may cause temperatures to spike.


You can also create a map for lap races or testing to compare changes you make, such as shock settings or different drivers. The Segment Report provides a review of all segment times, for all laps contained within one Runfile. The Speed Report provides an analysis of segment and speed for two laps. And Segment Compare provides the ability to compare segment times from two selected laps. Do you race a boat? Or a sled puller? There are particular menus and information suited to your specific application.


IQ3 UTV wiring layout

You don’t need to tear your vehicle down to the bare chassis to install a Racepak. Alex Baker wanted the more reliable components for his race program and replaced the factory wiring with a Racepak Smartwire system linked to the Racepak IQ3 Logging Dash for the ultimate in durability, display, and data logging in the harshest of environments.


Racepak IQ3

The display on the Racepak has nearly infinite user options, including backlight display color and brightness and what information is being displayed. The lap screen shown here is useful when testing and making changes to compare times with prior laps. During races the screen is changed to display temperatures and pressures from the sensors to monitor them and troubleshoot any issues.


Racepak Sensor Labeling

Each sensor comes from Racepak with an 18-inch heat resistant cable. The connectors are labelled, simplifying installation and troubleshooting. If there is excess cable the cable can be shortened using connector kit PN 810-CN-TI3P. You should complete the installation and verify operation before shortening the cable.


IQ3 belt temp sensor

Belt temperature is a critical component to monitor on a UTV. These vehicles are belt driven and in desert racing, where the driver is constantly on and off the gas, the clutches open and close, clamping the belt. It isn’t unusual to have to change a belt in a long race, and Baker even modified his clutch cover to make it easy to remove for a belt change.


Racepak sensor bundling

The connectors used on the Racepak sensors allow them to be bundled, making it much easier to route the wiring and minimizing potential failure points. The Deutsch connectors are ruggedized and water resistant, making them a great choice for racing applications.


Racepak IQ3 Alex Baker testing

The Racepak was used for 1,000 miles of non-stop punishment racing across the Baja peninsula without issue. The data logging abilities allowed Baker to recall the speed and temperatures through various types of terrain during the day and night in order to fine tune his Can-Am prior to his next race and stay one step ahead of the competition.


Additional photography provided by Daniel Curiel.

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