What is the Sea-Doo Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC)? [Explained]
On a Sea-Doo iTC stands for “Intelligent Throttle Control,” a term the manufacturer uses for its innovative throttle control system. Simply put, iTC is actually a throttle-by-wire system, featuring neutral and various cruise control modes, including ECO, Sport, Touring, and Slow mode.
If you want to find out more about this unique system, this post is for you.
We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Sea-Doo iTC review!
What is the Sea-Doo Intelligent Throttle Control?
One of the biggest drawbacks of vintage jet skis was that they were manufactured without neutral. As a result, the direct drive system of these machines started propelling the hull as soon as the engine was started.
Operating these vintage machines was also tricky in off-throttle situations.
Let’s face it; it was not safe nor convenient.
Also, they lacked any cruise control, which was a huge drawback, especially for tow sport lovers.
But everything changed in 2009 when Sea-Doo released its innovative Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) system. This feature debuted on flagship 2009 Sea-Doo models like the 2009 RXT 255.
The main purpose of the iTC is to allow the engine to start in neutral and provide activity-specific cruise control, including ECO, Sport, Touring, and Slow modes.
Besides PWCs, the iTC control system found its way into Sea-Doo boats in 2011 and Ski-Doo snowmobiles in 2014.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at how the Sea-Doo iTC system works!
How Does the Sea-Doo iTC Work?
Without further ado, let’s see how the manufacturer describes its iTC system:
“The iTC is an electronic throttle control system that includes a cableless throttle control located on the RH side of handlebar, an electric throttle actuator (ETA) located on the throttle body and the engine control module (ECM). The iTC is often referred to as a “throttle by wire” system.”
Are you confused?
To put it simply, the iTC utilizes a throttle by wire connection, meaning that the regular throttle cable is replaced by a wire carrying an electric signal.
Sea-Doos with an iTC system are also equipped with a convenient finger throttle mounted on the right handlebar. Compared to the outdated thumb throttle, this lever provides more comfort and more precise operation.
However, this lever is not directly connected to the throttle body. Instead, it’s attached to a sensor built into the right handlebar.
Known as the Sea-Doo TAS sensor (Throttle Accelerator Sensor), this double hall effect sensor is intended to convert the movements of the throttle lever into an electric signal. The signal sent by the TAS is proportional to the angle of the throttle lever.
This signal arrives at the ECM (“Engine Control Module”), the main computer or “brain” of the Sea-Doo, which transmits it to the throttle actuator (ETA).
The latter is an electric motor mounted on the throttle body, designed to control the throttle plate via a gear.
According to the position of the throttle lever, TAS feeds the ECM with an electric signal. The ECM controls the ETA motor that opens or closes the throttle plate, feeding the engine more gas.
However, the iTC allows the ETA to set the plate independently of the position of the TAS sensor.
In other words, the ECM can override the signal of the throttle lever.
This comes in handy in many situations when you want to use different riding modes or reverse the ski.
For example, if you fully depress and hold the throttle lever and simultaneously depress the iBR, the ECM closes the throttle plate instead of opening it. Then, the system opens the throttle plate again to increase engine RPM and move the machine backward.
Surprisingly, these slow operations are even available with a fully depressed throttle lever, meaning that the iTC ensures more safety and flexibility.
What’s more, this system also features cruise control, which is a game-changer for many riders. Sea-Doo’s cruise control allows you to set the maximum speed of the Sea-Doo when its engine runs at about 3800 RPMs.
In other words, iTC could limit the top speed, but it couldn’t maintain it, so you still have to hold the throttle lever depressed to maintain the speed.
In contrast, cruise control can maintain a constant speed in cars, even if you release the throttle pedal. Since this mode of operation wouldn’t be safe on Sea-Doos, they lack this convenience feature.
If you release the throttle lever, it always causes the speed to decrease for safety reasons
But if you set a riding mode like ECO or Touring mode in advance, you can keep the throttle lever fully depressed, the machine won’t go faster than the pre-set speed of the selected mode.
The available riding modes of Sea-Doo’s iTC are as follows:
- Sport Mode
- Touring mode
- ECO mode
- Slow mode
- Speed regulator mode
- O.T.A.S. – Off-Throttle Assisted Steering
Besides these convenient riding modes, flagship Sea-Doos come with learning keys that electronically limit the engine performance.
These keys limit the maximum speed of Sea-Doos and ensure slower acceleration.
To do this with a learning key, a certain throttle lever movement achieves lower engine RPMs.
Learning keys are great options for beginners and children to tame the high performance of these extremely powerful PWCs. They are also commonly used by rental companies.
What does O.T.A.S. Mean on a Sea-Doo?
On a Sea-Doo O.T.A.S. stands for “Off-Throttle Assisted Steering.” As its name suggests, this system is engineered to increase maneuverability in off-throttle situations – it opens and closes the throttle plate to help you turn the machine around. This system can slowly increase engine RPM under a pre-set range when you initiate a turn. When you bring the handlebars back to center position, the engine automatically returns to idle.
Thanks to O.T.A.S., Sea-Doos can virtually turn around in one place at minial speed.
Although they sound similar, don’t confuse this with the outdated O.P.A.S. system, which was two rudders mounted on the rear portion of the hull.
Since O.P.A.S. was controlled by pump pressure, it could easily be fouled by choppy water conditions. Because of this, the O.P.A.S. rudders caused a lot of headaches for riders.
The Sea-Doo iTC (Intelligent Throttle Control) is a unique electronic engine management system released in 2009.
The key components of the Sea-Doo iTC system include:
- Finger throttle: iTC Sea-Doo models are designed with a convenient finger throttle lever.
- Sea-Doo TAS (Throttle Accelerator Sensor): Converts the movements of the throttle lever into electric signals.
- Sea-Doo “fly by wire”: The ECM (Engine Control Module = the ”brain” of Sea-Doos) and the throttle lever are connected by a wire carrying an electric signal.
- Sea-Doo ETA (Electronic Throttle Actuator): An electric motor, intended to operate the throttle plate via a drive gear.
- Sea-Doo PWM (Pulse Width Modulation): It’s used to control the ETA motor.
- TPS (Throttle Position Sensor): A double throttle position sensor integrated into the throttle body.
- Sea-Doo O.T.A.S. (Off-Throttle Assisted Steering): Provides easier maneuverability in off-throttle situations. If you turn the handlebars, the system slightly increases engine speed under the pre-set limit.
The key advantage of Sea-Doo’s iTC system is that it allows the engine to run “in neutral” without propelling the machine forward.
It also features the revolutionary O.T.A.S. system, which ensures safe and hassle-free operation around docks and in tight places.
Other useful additions of the iTC are the riding modes, which can restrict the top speed to a pre-set limit.
Besides Sea-Doo PWCs, the iTC system is also available on certain Sea-Doo boats and Ski-Doo snowmobiles.
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