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Tech Basics: Turbochargers vs. Superchargers

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Forget all the jargon about “increasing volumetric efficiency” when it come to how supercharging and turbocharging work to create more power in high-performance marine engines. It isn’t that the verbiage is wrong—in fact it’s technically correct. It’s just that for most folks trying to understand the basics of turbochargers and superchargers, it’s mind-numbing gibberish.

Instead, think of it this way. An internal combustion engine burns fuel through the use of an oxidizer—with the igniting help of a spark—meaning air. The more air you bring into each cylinder, the more fuel it is able to burn and, if tuned and calibrated correctly, the more power the engine is able to make. But unlike fuel, air can be compressed.

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(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.)

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