How Does a Power Commander Work?
Power Commander Basics
A Power Commander is an electronic device that connects to a motorcycle’s electrical system and improves performance. Many high-performance motorcycles use fuel injection and computer timing, just as cars do. The Power Commander takes advantage of these advances in vehicle electronics.
By connecting to a motorcycle’s control computer, a Power Commander can modify fuel injection and ignition settings. This allows racers to make adjustments for optimal performance, without physically changing the engine.
Power Commander Adjustments
Power Commander comes as a kit specifically programmed for an individual motorcycle. A chip for a Harley Davidson, for example, is tuned differently than one for a Yamaha. This selection is made when the device is first purchased.
Just as cars have standard interface protocols, modern motorcycles feature standardized connection harnesses, known as “PCIII.” A Power Commander unit is installed by plugging into this standard electrical connection, usually located under the bike’s seat.
Because each unit is pre-programmed, it begins to work as soon as it is installed. Advanced riders, however, can fine-tune the device settings for optimal performance. This can be done directly on the unit, by pressing combinations of buttons. These modify the electrical timing settings, and can be changed or returned to defaults whenever needed.
Power Commander Programming
In addition to on-unit control buttons, Power Commander units can also be programmed from a computer using software. A standard USB cable connects the chip to a laptop computer. The software method of changing settings offers a visual advantage, letting users see modifications as they are made.