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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey gang I work for a Company that Exposes ECU data and allows for ECU modifications. We currently are the world leader since we merged with another outfit. Some interesting info just came to me and I was wondering if there is some interest for the community here or not.

Basically what I do is write an interface for many automotive makes and models supplying the data in tables and charts. So you could imaging we can tweak all kinds of value data and created tunes to make and push the cars preform better ( sometimes for a loss/gain, and other times because the dealer makes modes decisions ).

Now I'm well aware that Lotus pretty much tweaks the Toyota ZZ engine pretty well but sometimes its worth personal modifications. That said we have a team that specializes in Toyota. I will be talking to the main main guy on that team about the zz engine being how popular it is. I will also be Dyno'ing my 07 Elise and possible looking at the ECU data.

So with that, any suggestions, comments, or thoughts? Do we already have a guy here that holds this knowledge? My aim is not for the benefit of the company I work for. Dont get me wrong I love my job but I love my car more :D

Just throwing it out there.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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As far as I know , (and you might too) Fastworks and Koldfire have been two big players in our cars tuning history. There were many pioneers before that, but these days, BOE will tweak your ECU tune and email it to you. For example - if you really wanted to dial in your Katana - Phil would ask you for your exhaust type, s/c type, intake type etc.,perhaps ask you to download your ecu data via fastworks, email that data to him, and then he would send you your tune and cable to upload it with. Fastworks is available with a Level 1 editor that we , the end users, can also use to switch on and off obd readiness monitors to aid in yearly inspections. But you probably know all this. The best scenario is probably to really tweak w/Fastworks and a dyno - when I was at BOE - they tuned the car on the dyno - but it was back in the Koldfire days. Still, one helluva tune imo. (Correction - you might have to buy the cable first, in order to do a data dump to email to BOE. I'm not even sure if that is still their procedure)
 

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From a customer's perspective, there is always room in the market for a lower cost alternative. If you can produce a similar product, at a more attractive price, there would be interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yeah that Fastworks is priced about right for r&d. I'' certainly keep all posted if we venture in to it.
 

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The best thing for all lotus owners would be to get the various ECU dumps and create definition files so that they can be used in programs like Tuner Pro, RomRaider or ECUflash.

That would open up open source tuning for anyone with a tactrix cable and the willingness to work on the maps the ability to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yeah Bigbump that is more along the lines of what we do here. We make the data easy to read and accessible and save and exchange tunes. The down side is getting the software is going to be about the cost of Fastworks pricing. We of-course have our own flashing methods and depending on the car can do two flashes. For example some cars have valet modes and we can flash to that as well making performance/green or street/track modes.
 

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He's on fire!
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CharlieX also did/does ECU tuning.
CharlieX is looooooooong gone from this community.


If its at all possible, I'd love to have access to some of the things the 08's have without having to spend all the money it takes to convert to black dash. Having said that, I'm guessing there would be limitations involved in getting there if its even possible (such as frequency of response from the ECU).

I'm in a spot where I'd like more data about my car (07) but I'm not willing to spend a big chunk of money to

- get an 08
- do the black dash conversion
- wire in all my own sensors with an independent setup

On the 'cheaper side' of things it would be nice to be able to plug in a tune that could account for a decat for cheap. Perhaps I'm wrong, but its my understanding that a decat alone actually results in less HP due to the ECU being dumb as rocks.
 

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The best thing for all lotus owners would be to get the various ECU dumps and create definition files so that they can be used in programs like Tuner Pro, RomRaider or ECUflash.

That would open up open source tuning for anyone with a tactrix cable and the willingness to work on the maps the ability to do so.
You can get there now - you just have to put the money in to pay hackish/FastWorks and BOE for their engineering effort. FastWorks Level 2 has similar functionality to every other tuning suite and a similar UI as well.

I'd love to see free/open data and a flash tool for everyone to use, but there's a lot of R+D cost involved in reverse engineering ECUs and I don't think the Lotus scene is big enough that tuners can make money opening up the software side and just charging for actual map tuning.

Unless someone who's good at reversing is EXTREMELY benevolent and willing to give up profit or someone steals/leaks someone else's source or a factory engineering tool (this is what's happened in a lot of other car tuning scenes), I don't think we'll see open tuning anytime soon. The financials just don't make sense :(
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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My understanding that if your car is rocking a "decent MAF tune", the decat install will be fine with that existing tune- and give you the horses. At least on my car. No other tune required. But that is out of a BOE build, where the car was built with the REV, and dyno/koldfire tuned.
 

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My understanding that if your car is rocking a "decent MAF tune", the decat install will be fine with that existing tune- and give you the horses. At least on my car. No other tune required. But that is out of a BOE build, where the car was built with the REV, and dyno/koldfire tuned.
Thats the thing... I'd rather not pay $800+ when the objective is limited to "keep the HP I've got." I don't *want* to run more power through the engine (and I also don't want to be replacing cats at a decent clip if I've got a tune that is sending more fuel through)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I'm in a spot where I'd like more data about my car (07) but I'm not willing to spend a big chunk of money to
That I will be getting as I also have an 07. I didnt know bout the 08 changes but a simple stock 08 ( non SC) to 07 compare should help me get the info.

I don't think we'll see open tuning anytime soon
As in open tune files yes, I hope to get there but free software and hardware, not a chance.

From what I know, Octane and fuel flow is not really a performance thing anymore. Every car these days ECU's tuning adapts to anything well. It all comes down to the stoich ratio. MAF is key, especially with force fed setups.
 

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The FastWorks software is excellent as is the customer service. The price of admission is high, especially if you want full access to it. And I do think there are some small issues with the overall presentation of the suite given the price.

The biggest problem it suffers is the limitations it imposes on the user in order to protect the authors & distributers. As someone mentioned above, the only cure for that is for someone to have the mindset of making an open source product and not a commercial product. Benevolence doesn't pay the bills though.....
 

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Charlie X was essentially the pioneer in ECU tweaking for the Lotus community. Unfortunately he does not do it anymore. Phil at BOE developed Fastworks last year or so. It seems to be the most complete programming system out there and he sells different levels of access. It is still being expanded upon due to various options available for each year. One nice feature is that you can either tell Phil what you have in upgrades, he programs the ECU and sends the unit. You plug it in and off you go! Or you can buy the extended package and perform tweaks yourself. One of the most important features is that the ECU is programmed where the ECU system checks get satisfied and you can pass emissions testing!
 

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Well the definition file exists to run a 2ZZ, but the issue for lotus cars is the additional CAN bus output to run the dash that the pontiac and toyota cars don't have. Therein lies the rub for the 05+ and the 08+ cars.

I saw a thread on the forum about it, but unfortunately I haven't been able to come to a deal on one of these cars yet, so I can't start my own testing.

The other deal is - once you get into the 1000+ range on just tunes, you can get standalones (Power FC, Haltech sprint 500, Link, etc) that can also handle drive by wire and CAN bus output.

I'm pretty sure it's getting past the negotiation encryption to the ECU that's the hard part at this point. I thought someone was able to do it in one of these threads, but that very well could have been hackish that did it. So it would require someone else to replicate his work.
 

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Well the definition file exists to run a 2ZZ, but the issue for lotus cars is the additional CAN bus output to run the dash that the pontiac and toyota cars don't have. Therein lies the rub for the 05+ and the 08+ cars.
The issue goes way beyond the dashboard as the ECUs are completely, 100% different: different manufacturer, different code, different connectors, different board layout. I don't think the work/files from a Toyota or Pontiac ECU would help altogether that much in any way when tuning the Lotus ECU.

The dash data format is documented quite well here:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f129/retrofit-08-instrument-cluster-61076/index3.html

Go on to page 4 for a couple '08 corrections - I was able to run an '08 cluster on my workbench using that data and a CAN transceiver so I'm pretty sure it's right.

For a standalone, that should be all you need if it has flexible CAN output, and I know that at least a few of the Kswap people have been able to get their dashboards to work.

For the Lotus ECU, there's a nice, obvious BDM connector sitting right there on the board when you open it up. As far as I know everyone who's tuned the Lotus has started by just dumping the flash over BDM, and I think that's still how the mail-in companies like Kold-Fire flash ECUs. Once you have the contents of flash dumped you should be able to find the factory-upgrade/flash-via-cable code and reverse it to make a factory-style cable flash.
 

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Kold-fire tunes and the BOE Fastworks interfaces are both through OBD2. When people ship us ECUs for service, we have an OBD2 bench setup so that we don't have to tear into the ECU.

Sector and VF still have pry the back off to use the BDM.

If this were easy, everyone would be doing it.

People have worked to integrate standalones on these cars for many years. The only one remotely successful in quantity for road-going cars has been EFI. With all the standalones you'll lose a lot of the start-up, drivability, and consistancy that the stock ECU provides.

This is about 1,000th time we've been on this ride on the forums;)

The stock ECU started its life out as a standalone... A darn good one at that. If you can get all the definitions (there are 1,000s) for it AND can hack/patch the firmware, you're set. Easy enough ;)

We've spent YEARS on this, FWIW, and have dedicated way more time and resources to it than any remotely reasonable business would. It just so happens that Mike and I are very OCD, require VERY little sleep, and have the resources/equipment to do the work (Lotus tech center, dyno, the various Lotus cars required for testing in-house, debuggers, scopes, etc, etc, etc, etc). It's a pretty unusual set of circumstances that aligned for us to develop this editor. I'll be real surprised if another entry of comparable completeness will make it to our little market...

Like I said, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

My 2 cents,

Phil
 

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If this were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Agree... and duh, of course KF tunes work through OBD, you sell the cable :facepalm ... must have switched KF and VF in my head!

I also think most of the people who can actually do this have run the numbers and realized that the market is small and the current prices aren't really that easy to undercut...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
tweaking
improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it.
whether you turn a dial or change a number for a specific value the intention is the same. You can not take your interpretation of a word, modify it, and insinuate lack of understanding. In many ways the word tweak implies someone with great knowledge making adjustments to better suit a need. ( i.e Let Jimmy tweak your computer, he is great with that sort of thing ).

The company I'm referring to is SCT Performance - More Power! Less Fuel!

I'm not sure what you meant by "why the secrecy"
 
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