What is Rife Sensors, you may be asking? With the same emphasis on quality design and engineering that TBM Brakes put into its high-performance and racing braking systems, the team set out to complement its existing product line in 2019 by developing a full line of advanced sensors for racing applications.
Rife Sensors, an offshoot of the familiar California-based brake manufacturer, had its coming-out party here at the PRI Show, unveiling its lineup of very trick pressure sensors, air/water temperature sensors, accelerometers, and other sensors.
One of the keys to Rife’s sensor development has not only been speed and accuracy but also, longevity. Rife’s Randy Cotteleer notes that it’s often vibration from the engine that wears down many sensors on the market. Rife has approached that common problem head-on with a remote-mount design that incorporates many of the design elements of other sensors, but has taken it a step further with additional vibration-dampening.
The block, Cotteleer explains, is mounted to either the chassis or the firewall, therefore, isolating the sensors from the engine itself. The inserts that hold the sensor cores within the engine, actually float on a soft O-ring at the bottom and a rubber bladder/gasket on top, so the sensor core floats inside that insert, making them effectively triple-isolated from vibration.
Rife has also addressed interference, by adding low-pass filters and conditioned outputs so the signals don’t have as much noise and therefore provide a more solid signal.
“We’ve got fully isolated, remote-mount sensors in ranges from a 1-bar MAP sensor up to a 1,600 psi sensor for nitrous applications. These are available in blocks from one to four sensors, making them compact. The sensor cores are all high-quality, all half-percent-accurate, but the other nice thing is, instead of running dozens of wires around the car, a six-wire loom comes out of the box, and it shares a common feed and ground. These are compatible with all ECU’s and all data-loggers, as well as any 0-5v gauge,” Cotteleer explains.
Temperature sensors have been developed for both liquid and air, with the primary advantage being both speed and accuracy, relative to traditional OEM sensors.
“Even the fast-response GM IET sensor that everybody recommends is horribly slow by today’s standards,” Cotteleer says. “GM quotes a less-than-15-second response time, but our sensors are less than 1-second. Technically, they’re 15 times faster, and three times more accurate.”
Rife offers these in a range of mounting options — for boosted cars or supercharged cars, for example, there is a 1/4″-28 sensor with an O-ring seal that may be placed post- or pre-intercooler, to pick up temperatures anywhere they’re needed. In partnership with Motion Raceworks, Rife also has an LS-specific temperature sensor (with a pressure readout for monitoring right at the head). It plumbs directly into the cylinder head and reads coolant pressure — a useful tool for stock bottom-end racers who are often lifting head gaskets.
Rife is also displaying a three-axis accelerometer with the aforementioned noise filters and conditioned outputs, with a straight 0-5v output. According to Cotteleer, he 3.5G sensors currently available is good for a .96 60-foot time, thereby covering most enthusiast’s racecars. A 5G accelerometer will be coming early this year.
“We took a look across the sensor market and tried to add value where we could,” Cotteleer shares. “Those places where we felt like we couldn’t, we chose to let the market stand the way it is. We have a product road for 2020 that includes a laser ride-height and track-temperature sensor that also integrates shock sensors — basically, a full under-car system that all comes out in one cable and runs up the ECU to provide ride-height and shock data.”
We’ll have a more in-depth look at Rife’s complete lineup of sensors and the technology behind them in an upcoming story, so keep an eye out!