Variables that describe performance modes of modern cars are stored in the flash memory of on-board electronic control unit (ECU), which moderately limits the ability of conventional “bolt-on” tuning to increase engine power. Special chip-tuning methods, that rely on using special software and electronic tools, have to be used instead of just physical alterations. The highest power increase can be achieved only if the following conditions are met:
- tuned car has turbo;
- high-octane gas is used and corresponding ignition timing changes are made to ECU map area;
- air intake and exhaust physical modifications match with fuel system and exhaust timeshift settings;
- reliable hard- and software is used for tuning.
Licensed professional software and hardware solutions for diagnostics and tuning of modern cars can be found at https://ecutools.eu/chip-tuning.
Flashers and Programming Solutions
Most modern flashers are a complex of hardware and software which have the following features:
- connecting flasher hardware or a PC to ECU via OBD port;
- retrieving flash map area files from ECU memory, decoding and displaying them;
- adjusting tables of ignition timing, fuel injection and other characteristics, critical to car performance;
- encoding altered files, performing checksum corrections on them and writing these files back to the ECU flash memory.
Most flashers can also be used for car diagnostics. Some popular flasher work by subscription model – when you buy flasher soft- and hardware, you receive a limited number of ECU memory rewrite attempts. In order to increase this limit, you have to buy virtual tokens, which are spent with every ECU reprogramming.
Editors are software tools that can open decoded ECU flash files, display their contents as 2D-, 3D-graphs or multidimensional tables and simulate an effect of changing values in these tables. Editors are mostly used for the calibration of planned tuning adjustments and for preparation of files that are going to be recorded in ECU memory. Most editors do not support encoding files to ECU memory format and checksum corrections, so these operations must be performed using flasher software of hardware (in case of using Master – Slave solutions like Autotuner Tool or Alientech Kess v2).
Contrary to flashers, most editors are shipped by “single buy” model and require no subscription or tokens, so in some cases it will be preferable to buy the editor for calibration and only buy tokens for flasher when perfect modelling results are achieved during calibration. For medium-size workshop it is preferable to buy Master – Slave solutions, as they require no tokens and a single Master unit can be used for encoding of the files that will be flashed via several Slave modules.