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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey, all. A Mustang owner was showing me some of the tuning kits available to their community. It appears to be fairly easy for Mustang owners to obtain pre-configured tunes (free or cheap) for just about any hardware change they make to their vehicles. As a way to sell tuning hardware, many of these tunes have been vetted by vendors and the community.

I've looked at the state of open source tools and GM ECM comprehension (in the public's hands) and it simply hasn't progressed very far.

Has anyone experimented with options other than vendor tunes and commercial tuner products? As much as I've read about people recommending tunes for every basic modification, re-tuning after every minor tweak, and the prices involved with each tune, I would think someone on here has cracked open their ECM and pulled a ROM dump or analyzed the circuitry. If anyone has a fried ECM for hardware mapping, I'll be happy to take it off your hands.

Edit: I ordered a blank ECM last night that matches the 2008+ revisions. The goal is to document a straightforward (and free) way to dump an ECM in its current state to a ROM file and then be able to write the same or edited ROM file back to the ECM via the OBD-II port. This will initially involve swapping out the stock memory chips with more robust, socketed, chips and using a direct chip programmer for the ease of testing. There are a number of projects, theories, and programs out there that touch on ECM programming, but the information's scattered and I hope to mesh it all together into something useful. Creating ROM dumps of newer (untuned) ECMs for both the NA and GXP with auto & manual transmissions is one of my hopes, though sensitive data such as VIN info is an issue.

-Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Much of the internet-based interest in GM ECM hacking appears to be focused on early ECMs and ODB-I era communications, so there's a considerable lack of community interest in this area. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my en-route ECM to see what thought has gone into the actual hardware.

Some fun tonight on the ODB-II front: using an iPad and PLX Kiwi, I was able to interface with my car's ECM and dialogue using some basic ODB-II and Hayes terminal commands. Feels like the 80s all over again. The Kiwi speaks SAE J1850 VPW and makes things considerably more comfortable than shopping around for a new cable or building one from scratch.
 

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Some fun tonight on the ODB-II front: using an iPad and PLX Kiwi, I was able to interface with my car's ECM and dialogue using some basic ODB-II and Hayes terminal commands. Feels like the 80s all over again. The Kiwi speaks SAE J1850 VPW and makes things considerably more comfortable than shopping around for a new cable or building one from scratch.
I've been throwing around the idea of getting a kiwi, or obdlink, or ot-2 mostly for a data logging point of few, but also considering gauge/sensor integration down the road. Has anyone made or found a good comparison between these interfaces?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Some general specs on the 2008-09 2.4L/NA ECM:

AC Delco 12612397 (Hitachi PCB)
MCUs: Freescale MPC561 & MC9S12
OBD-II chip: OBD-DO Technology Co. APIC-S03
Flash storage (soldered QFP): ST M58BW016DB
Static RAM: Cypress CY7C1021CV26

There are also two custom-labeled ball grid array chips:

SYSTEM1
A7 20070721
00054 F

SYSTEM1
B7 20070724
00018 D

The OBD-DO company sells both a variety of useful (if not obscure) chips for the industry as well as miscellaneous nefarious tools. I guess they're playing both sides for the money.

The above information isn't likely very useful to anyone, but I prefer knowing what kind of tech goes into car electronics. It's also given me an idea on how to develop a poor man's "god key" as soon to be seen in some Ford products. I do think it would be convenient to build a database of owner-contributed (non-commercial) tunes based on careful testing and use, so perhaps this thread might be motivating to those who have some thoughts on the matter.


-Jeff
 

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maybe

i live about 2 hrs from you and been wanting to come to baton rouge / ok putting off commin to baton rouge for a long time...... been meaning to put my car on a dyno and would like to before the weather gets hot again

i have hptuners and unlocked all 2006 na ..

.. i finally replaced my laptop ( new 1 arrived yesterday ) and need to/ would love to figure out how to rescue hptuner files from the broke laptop

(the old laptop only starts up once in a while ) ??? not when you need or want it to !! @#$%^&* maybe if you are computer savy enuff you could help me out ... i really don't know if thats a simple feat or magic voodoo....and kiss the files goodby


.. i still have 2 credits left on hptuners....:yesnod:

... the baton rouge dyno i wanna make appt with......
( geoff )225 751 8500 -

i appreciate what you are trying to do but it might be way easier to just use my hptuners :lol:

i work every OTHER week ..... so i could prolly schedule the dyno time on your day off if you were interested ...... whether just for moral support ( i've been on dyno twice and it just scares the crap outta me ) :glol:.

...or if you'd like to play with my hptuner program ...just saying that sounds easier .... just for giggles - i do have a NA tune (no mod 2.4) in the crapped out laptop prolly worth your while to look at - if you think you can help with that

i just need to save my present tune in case the ecm ever konks out and i finally have a laptop to do that with...

.if i could rescue my old files that would be nice...

i'm happy with my tune :cool:.... i'm not interested in tuning my car .....it might be a lil rich - would be cool to look at that on a dyno & i'm curious what ##s and welllll just curious

perhaps you're curious too - pm me and we can figure something out

:hijack: sorry bout the hijack - if you are just intent on building your own tuning program -
i'd still like to meet someone that SMART !! or crazy :grouphug:
 

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HPTuners and a wideband oxygen with an open road and your good to go. Should be able to start around $500 to start or $800 complete.
 

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HPTuners and a wideband oxygen with an open road and your good to go. Should be able to start around $500 to start or $800 complete.

The OP is looking to build something more along the lines of an OpenSource community which can be seen with a good number of other vehicles. The subaru and mitsu communities thrive off of open source, so much that many tuners use it. In the end all you need is a cable and the patience/knowledge to tune your car, and you can tune for free.

Biggest issue is that this is such a small community, the largest subaru forum at the moment has 272,000 members, so it's a bit easier to get the right people to donate time and knowhow to a project like this. The few that do know, like Vince at Trifecta, rather use it to make a career.

All that being said, if I can help at all I will, I have a tactrix cable and laptop but that's about it, not any programming experience. I will try to see if any software on the subaru side will also work with the solstice.
 

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HPTuners has that too. It's call the Repository to share files.

But like you mention there re just not enough of both engines in the same car with the exact same mods. You don't want a tune from someone who has a smaller intake or different wastegate settings, you'll have someone tune or you do it. Add different gasoline grades, elevation, and temperatures and you could be ping knock sensors. If you tuned you know how fuel trims can change between summer and winter. Throw in the Cobalt community you you might have something.
 

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louisiana sols

HPTuners and a wideband oxygen with an open road and your good to go. Should be able to start around $500 to start or $800 complete.
i already have hptuner pro ... &
...2 credits he needs
and the dyno i'm sure has a wideband sniffer sooooooo -

that oughta be safe -
he really doesn't need a wideband anymore than all the sc or hahns... right ? i mean thats the point of the dyno

pretty much depends if we could pull him the tune file i already have off my broke laptop - if so ->HE'd be SET ......if he can't oh well.......
if he CAN :woo::yay:
a few pulls on the dyno shouldn't be no more than $100 each give or take especially if we can weasel a 2'fer deal appt on a slow day.........

does anyone else live near baton rouge - ..wanna make an event outta it ...
i dunno ...more cars and for sure we could get a better price

...we'll have to see if gumbo is game.....or if anyone else would wanna

i was just looking to meet someone to just '' TALK TUNING''...its not like that opportunity comes along ..lol..EVER...HAHAHA.... if he's able to do what he's talkin about ..... JUST lunch would be interesting -
... offer him the use of my hptuners...

..i'd REALLY like to get my files off that old laptop - the whole evolution of my tuning adventure is there....lost at this point..

. or if nothing else have someone for moral support come to dyno with me.....i know you guys enjoy all that exhaust smell, adrenaline and testosterone - it just makes me nervous and gives me a headache....a lil company would be a gOOd thing
 

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HPTuners has that too. It's call the Repository to share files.

But like you mention there re just not enough of both engines in the same car with the exact same mods. You don't want a tune from someone who has a smaller intake or different wastegate settings, you'll have someone tune or you do it. Add different gasoline grades, elevation, and temperatures and you could be ping knock sensors. If you tuned you know how fuel trims can change between summer and winter. Throw in the Cobalt community you you might have something.
i thought he had a stock 2.4.......its no way the radical tuning objective experience of a kit or major mods....
...
as far as grades of gas - anyone tuning for performance OUGHT be using premium top tier gas.....:toetap:

we live 80 miles apart .......IN louisiana so whats elevation ??

vector,rpi,rebel, pc4less, vince, hahn, werks , ddm wester ,you name'm they have a tune for their particular product or your needs and folks don't retune if they go on a road trip...or when the seasons change......

there's always a lil wiggle room for extreme conditions......hell yeah monster mods need more tweaking and logging/fine tuning - no arguement here but a stock NA just doesn't fall in that catagory...... i did suggest we use a dyno with a sniffer

i understand what he's trying to do....its a magnificent obsession..of ginormous magnitude
all i Q'd on was poor man 's key and for the good of our community.....
thats a guy i'd like to meet :blush:

and help if access to hptuners
is something he doesn't have and wants to look at.......i'm just sayin.......hp took forever to unlock this and that......i can barely wrap my head around what he wants to do ....lol..

we surely don't have many threads discussing tuning let alone our 2.4..... this is great stuff
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
zzzybil: I'd be happy to tag along for a dyno run and take a look at your laptop. I've worked on a couple hundred laptops and my general rule is that after about 3 years of use, don't expect a laptop harddrive to last much longer. Laptops get moved and knocked around a lot while the harddrive's at work, so it's only a matter of time before they begin to degrade or have a head crash. It would be easier/safer to get the data off the drive and onto another computer than to get it back to booting 100%, but if you want to keep the laptop going, perhaps we can pick up a new harddrive ($70-80) and consider cloning the data over if at all possible. At the same time, power connectors are another inevitable victim on many laptops and it could be that the occasional booting's a consequence of weakened solder connections. I'll contact you once things slow down a little bit and I don't mind this as an excuse for a road trip, so no worries about traveling out there. And no clue what's available here in BR. If you can give me an overview of HP Tuners, I'd appreciate it.

NormSky: HP Tuners is definitely the proper way to handle tuning, but I can't help but be frustrated by these specialized devices/programs/services that take advantage of owners' lack of options and then cripple their products so you have to pay for more features, number of tunable cars, etc. I'd like to at least map out a straightforward and free way to build a cable (or suggest a very cheap alternative) and then download the ECM ROM in hex for editing in a program of choice with the option to write it back. You're absolutely correct about too many variations in engine mods. It seems like the very basics should be fairly accessible though. For instance, if someone just blew $1k on a high-flow cat and exhaust, should it really cost a fair chunk more just to put a minor tune in? Maybe that's the limit of the person's mods and it would be great to have such a tune available. I think I'd take more chances with the hardware if I knew some tunes were available to accompany them and at no extra cost and likewise I'd be interested and making some available so long as they're not the copyrighted work of pro-Solstice vendors.

The rise of the ECM (by motor companies) as a form of "DRM" is actually what has me frustrated the most. Pre-ECM cars were modifiable around familiarity with hardware, but modern cars are locked down by the vendor via the ECM. What was once an effort to conform to California and then national laws has turned into a way to keep people from tampering with their vehicles unless those with deep pockets and awareness can buy the tools to do so. It's not illegal to modify one's own car (yet), but it sure as heck has been made intentionally hard to do so and I'm not a fan of that philosophy.

Good to know about the HP Tuners repository feature.

scoobyless: You're dead on and thanks. I also noticed the huge Subaru & Mitsubishi tuning community. It's actually quite amazing that there are that many people developing for those brands that companies are directly targeting the grassroots efforts. Tactrix makes some quality equipment and ECUFlash is impressive.

As far as the "god key" idea, I had considered replacing the flash chip with a flash emulator that's tethered to an embedded Linux ARM device. LaCie sells pretty good USB flash drives shaped like keys (think of a CooKey with a resin molded Pontiac key head on top). Rebuild the ignition cylinder to support one of these flash keys and upon "key" insertion, have a fast read-only automount of the flash drive that dumps a stored ROM file into the emulator and the car should start on ignition initiation. One could then copy tuned ROMs onto other keys, effectively allowing you to have one key for daily driving with gas mileage or fun driving in mind, one key for the valet/kids/spouse with rev limiting, and then one key for the weekends at the drag strip or track. Without any key, your car can't be hotwired because the flash emulator would be blanked once the car's off. This method goes off in a complete tangent from what's mentioned above, but it would make updating one's ECM as easy as dragging and dropping a ROM file onto a flash drive from a PC.

Thanks for the posts today, guys. It helped get me through a long day of work.

-Jeff
 

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The issue is the number of OS's GM has. Also the GUI for editing needs to be pretty complex.
Last time I looked Ford didn't use VE model type calculations for thier ECM's. GM was and more than likley still is light years ahead of Ford in this area. The new Camaro and G8 ECM's are fantastically accurate to the point of actually being hard to program.
 

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yep TAG ALONG would be great.....

i thought you were already in baton rouge...

and thats where the dyno guy i want to meet has a shop.......someone wayyyyyyyy back recommended him as he had worked on tuning some ecotechs ....

i bought another NEW lap top ....the broken one is old - not wanting to fix it - but if you know how to gut it for the files that' s all i meant

i haven't dl hptuners to the new one yet.....fiddled 3 hrs tryin to make it network with the desktop with no [email protected]$#$%^&* thats funny for peeps who know ......hahaha if i gotta share the cable modem whateva ...i'll figure it out

its busy here too .... adding a few shifts etc...
..... i just wanna do the dyno before it gets HOT again......i think we have a few weeks ..lol......i'll holla atcha
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
After having time to think about this, trying to build an open source method for tuning a GM programmed ECM would likely be more trouble than making a pin-compatible, open hardware, ECM work with a Solstice. Such a box could then run MegaSquirt (already used with some Ecotec variants for circle track) or FreeEMS and be tuned by a good cross-platform application like MegaTunix. Open hardware also allows the integration of additional sensors and gauges--which can change performance on the fly--rather than running them independently as we do now.

Certainly this wouldn't be a solution for those who want to maintain their warranty, but it would be fun for tinkerers to modify their car to include homebrew add-ons, such as the USB flash drive key I mentioned earlier for custom personalities and stored data logging.

I think a custom ECM which can interact with existing open source software would offer far more gains than just having something that can tune GM's software, though as pointed out, GM has some tightly knit code that offers good compensation for a variety of factors.

-Jeff
 

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Just recently when I talked to DDM works about the HP Tuner package, I asked them if they could also write a tune for me because if I bought the HP Tuner Kit, I really did not know enough about how to use it without screwing up my car's ECM, they told me they could wright me a tune for $250.00 to work with all my bolt-ons for my 2.4ltr. in addition to the cost of the HP kit. So their must be some "basic standard" tunes already existing that are written for the 2.4ltr I'm thinking. If they published the tune on a web site like HT Tuner's link to show the Solstice community, it would be a great place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sadly, I never really got anywhere with this and will be putting my Solstice on the market soon. It's a very tough decision: My Solstice has a lot of personal history behind it, but I have a baby on the way and need to go practical and get something with increased seating.

I am keeping my older Tacoma, however, because of the ability to transport car parts for weaker, impractical moments.

I also had a chance to join the FreeEMS crowd, meet a lot of very clever and talented people, and built an early-model FreeEMS-powered A3 Jaguar ECU for use in the Tacoma (which has been driving trouble-free for over a year and half). Use of a homebrew ECU continues to be a thrilling series of experiments and gained knowledge that I hope to turn into some side projects one day.

The holdup with the Solstice was originally for the need to explore variable valve timing, then ended completely due to relationship demands. It would have been nice to have developed an alternate ECU choice to GM's for Ecotec/Solstice management. Alas.


-Jeff
 
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