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Old 05-09-2000, 10:11 AM   #1
RSRacer
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Talking Cobb ECU Upgrade

Well, I got a response on the ECU upgrade offered by Cobb Tuning (www.cobbtuning.com). Sounds pretty interesting, but I gotta say I would much rather have control over the tuning myself, rather than having to send the ECU back to them every time something needs to be changed... Anyways, here's the response I got from Trey Cobb:

Thanks for your inquiry. Our ECU upgrade is a piggyback interface which
allows us to make precise adjustments to both the fuel and timing curves.
We leave the stock ECU unaltered which allows you to easily and quickly
convert back to stock in the event you sell the car or a problem occurs and
you need to eliminate non-stock components for testing. We program the ECU
with a special program run on a laptop and once installed, no adjustments
can be made externally. If you make a change to the car (ie: add a
turbocharger), then you can send the unit back to us (or bring us the car)
and we'll download the new program to it. You can also bring in the car and
custom programming as well. This box can also control additional injectors,
boost control, or even a nitrous activation program where the ECU runs
different maps when nitrous is on and controls the load and RPM nitrous is
activated and deactivated. These extra functions require extra hardware but
the capability to control all this is built into the unit for easy
upgradability.
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Old 05-09-2000, 10:24 AM   #2
CNC84
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Post

Is there anyway that you could get the software so that you can progran the computer yourself it seems very time consuming to send the computer in everytime you get a new power mod. I'm sure the software costs an arm and a leg though.
Chris
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Old 05-09-2000, 10:33 AM   #3
ColinL
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'01 Erion CBR 929

Question

I can't help but wonder, is this just a Link ECU and a trained operator?
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Old 05-09-2000, 10:37 AM   #4
RSRacer
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Question

What exactly is a "Link ECU"? Is that a whole new ECU, or just a plugin module? Sounds interesting...
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Old 05-09-2000, 10:51 AM   #5
Pilot
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Post

All I see is Treay Cobb trying to keep the quality of his tuning high. By creating a non user servicable component he can maintain the quality of the upgrade. Also by having upgrade capability it keeps the unit from becoming obsolete (much the same as a V1)

Now of course he is going to make extra money off of this but if you already know how to program an interface like this then you aren't going to buy his; so I woudln't ocmplain about the lack of user adjustability.

The greatest thing I see about this it may offer the capability to advance the ignition far enough to make use of premium fuel. In addition it can also account for any intake or exhaust modifications which would be outside the lookup table parameters of the stock ECU.

From all I've heard Trey Cobb is a quality tuner. I say we support him until he gives us reason to do otherwise. Anyway quality and erliability seem to be the important factor here not user tunability.
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Old 05-09-2000, 11:03 AM   #6
8Complex

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Hmmm... I don't care how good of a tuner you THINK you are, but if you think you can tune a car from distance (ie: sending back your ECU to get it reprogrammed after turbo install) and get it perfectly right, you've got another thing coming. How can you possibly program it right without actually testing it on the car or even setting up a car exactly like it to test it on? Seems kinda peculiar to me.

BTW, I mean no offense to Cobb by this, but if he can do it, great... I just don't see it as happening.
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Old 05-09-2000, 11:09 AM   #7
Snoopy
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I agree with 8complex, a MYxx RS is not always the same across the board.
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Old 05-09-2000, 09:33 PM   #8
shiv
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Post

In my opinion, user-programmabability is key. By just removing the silencer off my N1 exhaust, I changed the turbosystem's fow characteristics enough to significantly alter the engines flow characteristics. I also had to tweak my boost control maps to avoid a nasty midrange overboost. I suspect that every car, even similarly modified ones, will benefit from customized mapping. Just my opinion...

shiv
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Old 05-09-2000, 09:48 PM   #9
MPREZYA
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Post

Joel said that he was using the new Haltech system I posted about earlier in the tech forum. I will try and find the topic and post a link to it.
Rich
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Old 05-09-2000, 09:50 PM   #10
8Complex

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Post

And not just mapping per car, mapping per location as well. You wouldn't tune a car at sea level for a race up in Denver. Nor would you tune a car on the equator for a race in the arctic. If you're a tuning freak, get a piggyback system like cobb's and then get a means to tune it yourself. That'd turn out even more flexible then the S-AFC (and more expensive, of course).
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Old 05-09-2000, 09:53 PM   #11
MPREZYA
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http://208.9.184.67/NonCGI/Forum15/HTML/001803.html
Here it is for you all to look at I think this could be pretty interesting.
Rich
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Old 05-09-2000, 10:21 PM   #12
8Complex

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I wonder... why doesn't someone just make a piggyback system that requires more readings then the current ones so that it can tune itself. Forget about mapping stuff out, when it looks and sees that an EGT is too high, it adds more fuel. It hears a knock? Add more fuel. O2 sensor sees too much pollution going out the tube, lean it out a little. You could make it so that it matches the ideal spec for the engine or can be changed for slightly different specs (say you want it to run slightly rich...).
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Old 05-10-2000, 12:11 AM   #13
Catfish
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72 Datsun 240Z

Post

This is just another version of installing a custom chip into your ECU. There are tons of companies that offer chip upgrades, like Dinan, Powerchips, Neuspeed, etc... Cobb is just approaching this from a slightly different angle, since he's adding a piggyback controller instead of replacing the chip. Although I'm sure this is a good upgrade from stock, it's not ideal. There is still a compromise being made, since he can't tune your specific car. The only way to get the maximum performance from engine upgrades is to tune it specifically for that engine via a fully programmable ECU. Anything less is still a compromise.

I'd be willing to pay $200 for a custom chip that corrects the fuel map and advance the ignition though, but I wouldn't pay much more, unless it was for a fully programmable setup. We'll just have to wait and see if someone develops that though.

Coincidentally, wasn't Shiv working on some sort of TEC-II that could be plugged into the factory harness in place of the stock ECU? Then, if there was an issue, you could just swap the stock ECU back into it's orignal place? That seems like the ideal setup to me, and would be worth the $$ since it gives you full control over all parameters.

Dave
'00 2.5RS Sedan
'72 Datsun 240Z

I'm still not a Subie Specialist, do I need to send someone my resume or something?
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Old 05-10-2000, 12:14 AM   #14
ColinL
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'01 Erion CBR 929

Post

Brilliant observation 8Complex, perhaps that's why it says on the Cobb Tuning website that it's only available for local installation.

Again, I was just wondering if it was a Link. It could easily be something else! Someone who was familiar with more of the tunable ECUs (cough, Shiv, cough) could probably look at the features page and know. Or just ask Trey.
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Old 05-10-2000, 12:46 AM   #15
8Complex

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ColinL - Even if it is installed there, they don't require that you come back to have it reprogrammed, just that you send it back to them to have it done. I wouldn't have said anything if they planned on having the car there re-tuning it. *shrug* I guess it'll work out great for locals but there are too many factors for a single universal chip that you can't program yourself, IMHO.
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Old 05-10-2000, 08:04 AM   #16
Trey
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Post

I'm only replying in an attempt to clear up some confusion.

Our Piggyback ECU upgrade is ultimately designed to give us the ability to finely tune in a SPECIFIC car with SPECIFIC upgrades. Honestly, each model year runs different mapping in the stock ECU and if you get down to the minute details of it all, each car is different based on allowable tolerances (internal engine, etc). With our ECU we plan to offer KITS or upgrade packages that include a known value of parts which our ECU will be programmed for. This gives the ability to offer upgrade packages safely and more effectively without the requirement of additional tuning. It also helps me control quality, increased repeatability, reduces tech support issues, as well as the possibility of applying for CARB exemption as the folks at CARB do not want to let the driver have ANY adjustment of the engine parameters. I won't deny though that tuning a ECU specificly for YOUR car is absolutely the BEST way to go. That's not to say that you can't make improvements without taking things to the razor's edge either.

Like it says on our web site, these ECU upgrades are currently only available locally until we can get enough data to create the maps we need to ship them. Even then, they will only be offered as part of our kits where we know most of the parameters. The only way to make it "right" when using unknown parts is if you bring me the car for custom tuning.

If you really want to be able to program your own ECU from scratch, I'd highly recommend the Haltech unit. I have quite a bit of experience with these units and they are extremely versatile and allow for very fine tuning. One word of caution though is that even though you have the ability to change all these settings, it doesn't necessary make your car faster. By that I mean just because you use the same golf clubs as Tiger Woods doesn't mean you'll play golf like him. That's not to say you're not capable of doing it but just don't EXPECT it solely because of the tools you utilize. There is a learning curve.

Shiv, I'm curious about your boost related comment. I only ask out of ignorance of the boost function of the TEC unit, does it run a set duty cycle to the venting solenoid per RPM (ie: open loop) or does it utilize a MAP sensor feedback to adjust duty cycle per RPM(closed loop). It would seem that if the TEC were seeing more boost from removing the silencer that it would make corrections to the venting solenoid duty cycle.

If there's anything else that needs to be cleared up, please feel free to contact me directly by phone or email.

Thanks,
Trey Cobb
trey@cobbtuning.com

P.S. It's NOT a Link ECU.
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Old 05-10-2000, 08:47 AM   #17
MPREZYA
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Question

Trey tell me more about the Haltech as I saw the ad and some of what it's capable of and since you do have some expierence with it I figured you could elaborate on it. What models have you used the new HK6(ek6 whichever I mentioned in my other post)? For someone with an ITC and S-AFC would this be similar to tune with the laptop? Also would this also allow the Stock ECU to retain it's limp home mode as Shiv has stated the TECII does? Have you have an opprotunity to use the Anti Lag function on a turbo car(I am figuring it is something like an additional injector or something to that effect)? Also does it need to have a custom Crank machined for the ignition timing like the TECII shiv is working with? Also being I have an auto the Haltech also mentioned that it can change the stall converter programming is this true? Sorry for all the questions but I like alot of what Haltech offers and I want to know more about this system.
Rich
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Old 05-10-2000, 11:13 AM   #18
shiv
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Trey writes..
"Shiv, I'm curious about your boost related comment. I only ask out of ignorance of the boost function of the TEC unit, does it run a set duty cycle to the venting solenoid per RPM (ie: open loop) or does it utilize a MAP sensor feedback to adjust duty cycle per RPM(closed loop). It would seem that if the TEC were seeing more boost from removing the silencer that it would make corrections to the venting solenoid duty cycle."

Hi Trey, the TEC operates its boost controller with both MAP and RPM. In theory, as you say, this should work just fine to manage boost. In application, it's not perfect since you are now dealing with a mechanical wastegate, which comes with its own set of quirks and limitations. This means one has to anticipate wastegate behavior with boost control mapping. And since wastegate behavior dramatically changes with backpressure characteristics, re-mapping is necessary. It's also necessary if you want to create and maintain your dynamic related boost response, not just tune out boost spikes.

shiv
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Old 05-10-2000, 06:40 PM   #19
Trey
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MYPREZA - The Haltech is a stand alone engine management system in the same concept as a TECII or Motec type unit. It's programmable by a laptop and you make adjustments to your timing and fuel curves every 500 RPMs and with 32 load points (full vacuum to full "load" meaning boost, etc). It's a bit different than a TECII in how you program it (personally I feel it's a little easier for the layman to understand but that might be because I'm used to it just as Shiv favors the TEC as he's used to it--we are creatures of habits afterall). To explain all the features would take up much more space here than it's probably worth so I'll attempt to write up some explaination on our web site regarding more details. As for your auto trans, we have yet to install it on a automatic Impreza but there is a individual who has approached me considering such a install. I think it would be completely possible though we'd have to be a bit sneaky to make it work seamlessly. The Anti-lag feature is nice but very hard on equipment so use with caution. I don't know about making it an exchangable unit where you can use either stock ECU or Haltech. I don't see why not as we've done stuff like that on other cars but I can't say 100% yes or no until I try. The newest Haltech E6K also comes with a "SUBARU" ignition setup with allows you to use the factory crankshaft position and camshaft position sensors. Of course if you want a custom fabbed, higher precision crank wheel that can be done and the Haltech will understand but it's not a requirement. To my understanding from the Australians, you can also use the stock ignitor/coil pack which makes for a nice stealthy install.

Shiv - Thanks for the info, that's good to know. I was thinking I had some suggestions to make it work without remapping but I know nothing about your setup or wastegate plumbing so it's probably best if I keep my mouth shut.

Cheers,
Trey
trey@cobbtuning.com
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Old 05-10-2000, 07:12 PM   #20
shiv
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Trey, you think dailing-in 448 (14x32) points for both fuel and ignition is easier than programming a couple of 8x8 maps (for VE and ignition)? Sorry, I couldn't resist

For those who are interested, the Haltech and TEC-II approach fuel delivery from two very different angles. The Haltech does it by constantly referring to a large look-up table (Haltech) and extrapolating between cell points. The TEC-II does it by constantly runing a fuel algorithm, using the VE table for mild plus-or-minus fuel tweaking.

shiv
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Old 05-10-2000, 09:28 PM   #21
MPREZYA
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Trey I like the fact it can still be used with the stock crank sensors as alot of us with Underdrive pulleys would like to keep them then go back to the stock pulley (in the case of the TEC II with the albeit more accurate crank sensor). Trey your making me want to convince the wife to take a trip to Texas for a week . So you are using the Haltech with the N/A kits your selling?
Rich
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