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Old 02-07-2006, 11:12 AM   #1
markman
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Have a Nice Day? n00b with ECU flashing questions

Someone on this forum recommended that I check out OpenECU & Tactrix for reprogramming a stock ECU. This looks interesting and scary and I probably won't mess it for a while if ever... but I am intrigued and have a few ???'s:

1. How difficult is it to do once you have the $80 cable? Is the software intuitive or do I need an engineering degree to do it?

2. Are there 'presets' you can download to get you started on the right path? (sorta like the Cobb AP has? 'I have this mod & this mod so I download this ROM...')

3. Has anyone here flashed their own ECU and with what results? What changes did you make and how hard was it?

4. Is there a limit as to how many times you can flash your stock ECU? I thought there was a limit; if I recall that was one of the selling points of the Cobb AP- it didn't have a limit as to how many times you can flash it.

5. Advantages/Dissadvantages of this vs. EM system?

Sorry for being such a noob
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Old 02-07-2006, 11:35 AM   #2
Kha0S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark03BlueREX
1. How difficult is it to do once you have the $80 cable? Is the software intuitive or do I need an engineering degree to do it?
Reading and flashing the ECU is straightforward. Editing your map is not, but the tools are steadily improving. Right now, a major obstacle is that different ECUs have the maps in different places, so the tools need to have a sort of "table of contents" written for each ECU revision. If such a table already exists for your ECU, or if you're prepared to create such a table (which requires some substantial computer knowledge), actually editing the map is pretty easy.

Quote:
2. Are there 'presets' you can download to get you started on the right path? (sorta like the Cobb AP has? 'I have this mod & this mod so I download this ROM...')
Not yet. Since there are relatively few people right now actually editing and reflashing ROMs, there's nobody prepared to share "off the shelf" style maps.

Quote:
3. Has anyone here flashed their own ECU and with what results? What changes did you make and how hard was it?
I have done some substantial editing to my maps. I've taken my MY02 USDM WRX (AF411 ECU, A4SG900C calID) and have modified the boost maps, low and high detonation fuel maps (including rescaling the low det map for higher load sites), ignition maps, turbo dynamics and wastegate duty maps, and the CEL table. I'm running around 16.3 psig peak boost with a target AFR around 11.5:1.

Quote:
4. Is there a limit as to how many times you can flash your stock ECU? I thought there was a limit; if I recall that was one of the selling points of the Cobb AP- it didn't have a limit as to how many times you can flash it.
There's a theoretical limit to the number of times you can flash an EEPROM, but the realistic limits are pretty high. I've flashed my ECU at least thirty times with no trouble. You need to get up into the hundreds of reflashes before you're going to have any issues.

Quote:
5. Advantages/Dissadvantages of this vs. EM system?
Same advantages/disadvantages as any other reflash-based engine management. It's not as mature or have as many features as the ECUtek or AccessPort systems, but it's free and is constantly advancing.

The major pieces of the OpenECU "process" are:
* logging
* reading/flashing the ECU
* editing an ECU image

Currently, the logging phase is easy and straightforward for anyone with the TARI ecuExplorer software, with the exception of finding your Load and IAM memory locations. With the cable and ecuExplorer, you can read all the same things as DeltaDash.

The reading/flashing of the ECU is also straightforward using Colby's GUI version of the ECUflash tool.

Editing your ECU image, using either Enginuity or epifan's ecuEdit, is currently complex and requires some mental gymnastics.

Expect the editing tools to improve substantially over the next few months (these tools have already reached a substantial level of functionality in the space of two months). This will bring it up to a level where anyone comfortable with tuning a car (including professional tuners) will be able to safely and efficiently edit the maps in the ECU.

Advanced features like map switching and realtime maps are going to take a while to develop (as it requires not only changing the map data in the ECU, but reverse engineering and reprogramming the actual execution logic).

Hope that helps,

/Andrew
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Old 02-07-2006, 11:47 AM   #3
markman
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wow, thanks for the quick reply... answered everything

I guess I'll keep an eye on the development until it becomes straightfoward to the point where I'm comfortable trying it out.
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Old 02-07-2006, 11:54 AM   #4
Kha0S
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At the very least, the cable is worthwhile for doing serious datalogging with ecuExplorer. Also, finding out which calID you have for your ECU, and, if it's not already copied up on openecu.org, copying it, means that support will show up for your particular ECU sooner in the editing tools.
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:49 PM   #5
Gethin
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Also there is a documentation project that has been started over at http://www.scoobypedia.co.uk using the OpenECU tools. Just click on the ECU button.

Gethin.
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:17 PM   #6
parker/slc/gc8fan
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Can you use the AccessECU cable?

It is cheaper, I figured why stop the money saving now ya know?
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:05 PM   #7
Freon
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For now things are a bit difficult and cryptic. If you're really interested I would recommend starting to read through the openecu forums.

Technically you should be able to download, retune, and reflash any 2002-2005 USDM WRX. If nothing else you can probably tweak the target boost up a tad, maybe remove a bit of fuel from the low det fuel map and go with that for some extra power.

One of the more useful things may be the MAF scaling for those running intakes. Shouldn't be too difficult to retune this map by looking at your fuel trims and logs. This is probably the first thing I will do once I can find the damn MAF scaling values in this DBW rom...
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:51 PM   #8
colby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parker/slc/gc8fan
Can you use the AccessECU cable?

It is cheaper, I figured why stop the money saving now ya know?
The AP cable works for logging, but not for reflashing because it relies on the PC serial port UART which can't generate unusual baud rates. The reflashing voltage it generates is also of marginal quality.
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:27 PM   #9
parker/slc/gc8fan
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Cool, Just wonderin.
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parker/slc/gc8fan
Cool, Just wonderin.
If you can find a serial<->USB adapter that uses a FTDI chipset, you may have some luck.

colby
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Old 02-08-2006, 05:58 PM   #11
ride5000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parker/slc/gc8fan
Cool, Just wonderin.
i'm wonderin why someone who works for cobb wants anything to do with free reflashing tools.



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Old 02-09-2006, 09:50 AM   #12
ride5000
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edit: whoops wrong thread...
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:16 AM   #13
Natoe
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anybody had success with older turbo ECU's? such as the legacy turbo's or JDM sti's? (those both are very similar)

a friend of mine is confident he can tune my EJ22T ECU.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:51 AM   #14
Crawford/I-Speed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark03BlueREX
4. Is there a limit as to how many times you can flash your stock ECU? I thought there was a limit; if I recall that was one of the selling points of the Cobb AP- it didn't have a limit as to how many times you can flash it.
Haven't found a limit yet. We have 4 vehicles currently with over 300 (2 WRX, 2 STi). reflashes on them and one is about to hit 400. There has been no signs of any problems with the ECU's at all.

Cheers,
William T. Knose Jr.
Lead Programmer
I-Speed USA
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:49 PM   #15
colby
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Thanks for that datapoint. I was suspecting that up to 1K flashes should be no problem. Just looking at how many pulses it takes to erase and write bits with EcuFlash, I don't see any signs of the bits tiring out on ECUs I have flashed ~50 times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford/I-Speed
Haven't found a limit yet. We have 4 vehicles currently with over 300 (2 WRX, 2 STi). reflashes on them and one is about to hit 400. There has been no signs of any problems with the ECU's at all.

Cheers,
William T. Knose Jr.
Lead Programmer
I-Speed USA
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colby
Thanks for that datapoint. I was suspecting that up to 1K flashes should be no problem. Just looking at how many pulses it takes to erase and write bits with EcuFlash, I don't see any signs of the bits tiring out on ECUs I have flashed ~50 times.
Do you know of a way to cause the ECU to "wear out" faster than just flashing the ECU? Currenrly I don't see a problem with flashing the ECU up to 1K times like you have stated, though maybe there is something could sped up the "wear out".

Cheers,
William T. Knose Jr.
Lead Programmer
I-Speed USA
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:49 PM   #17
ride5000
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a few that come to mind:
over voltage
temperature
esd
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:00 PM   #18
colby
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A lot depends on the programming algorithm. You definitely don't want to "over erase" the bits for example. You can trap charge and age the flash very quickly this way if your reflashing kernel doesn't adaptively program/erase the flash according to the manufacturers specs. Some chips like the SH7058 provide their own reflashing code just to be sure that people don't screw up when writing their own code from the docs. It also gives them the ability to change the code in different versions of the chip in case the flash process parameters change.

Colby

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford/I-Speed
Do you know of a way to cause the ECU to "wear out" faster than just flashing the ECU? Currenrly I don't see a problem with flashing the ECU up to 1K times like you have stated, though maybe there is something could sped up the "wear out".

Cheers,
William T. Knose Jr.
Lead Programmer
I-Speed USA
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:01 PM   #19
sniece
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To revive and old thread, after doing plenty of logs to get an idea of how my engine is running, I decided to download the factory map to start looking at what's available through modifying it, but can't seem to get ECUExplorer to read it. I've connected the green connector under the dash, but I'm assuming the reason I can't read at this point is I'm not shorting the 'white connector block'...and so comes my question. Where can I find it, and what pins am I supposed to short?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:22 PM   #20
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Its under the dash, RIGHT next to the green connectors...hanging down.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:29 PM   #21
Nekronaut
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Just a clarification for KhaOS's post.

A typical EPROM usually has on the order of 100,000 burns (flashes) to it. This may vary on the actual chip manufacturer. A few hundred re-flashes should be doable. I would stick to the mantra of do it right the first time though. Great post though.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:30 PM   #22
lh0628
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Would a normal serial-USB cable from computer stores work if I just want to do datalogging?
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