Frequently Asked Questions

Lots of people want to know more about the ECU+, and lots of people seem to have the same questions. This is a compendium of answers to questions that people ask all of the time about the ECU+.

1. Does the ECU+ replace my stock ECU?
2. Does the ECU+ work with the TMO or Keydiver chips?
3. Does the ECU+ work with aftermarket "flash" upgrades?
4. Does the ECU+ work with the MAF translator?
5. Can the ECU+ log knock?
6. Does the ECU+ work with [my car]?
7. Can you make a version for [my car]?
8. Does the ECU+ need to have a Palm/laptop in the car at all times? What if I disconnect the battery?
9. Can I use multiple fuel and timing maps?
10. Does the Windows software work with...
11. The ECU+ doesn't support my wideband - can you add it?
12. Can the ECU+ be used with a GM MAS?
13. Does the ECU+ do boost control?
14. Can I get more (or variable) resolution on the maps?
15. What Palm's are supported?
16. Is there a PnP version coming for the 1G DSMs?
17. Why don't you just buy the connectors for 1Gs?
18. Can the ECU+ display fuel trims?
19. I can't decide between the ECU+ and [competing product] - can you help?
20. How much do new features or bug fixes cost?
21. Can I upgrade/downgrade between the EVO and DSM versions?



1.   Does the ECU+ replace my stock ECU?

No, the ECU+ is a piggyback, and works with your stock ECU, and intercepts/modifies the MAS airflow and cam/crank sensor signals. Your stock ECU, and all of its safety measures, stay in place.

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2.   Does the ECU+ work with the TMO or Keydiver chips?

Yes. In fact, it can be a good complement to these upgrades, as the ECU+ will give you on-the-fly tunability, while the chips can get you things (like increased rev limit) that the ECU+ can't.

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3.   Does the ECU+ work with aftermarket "flash" upgrades?

Sure. As with the "chips" available for DSMs, flash upgrades for the EVO can sometimes provide a good complement to the ECU+, providing capabilites that the ECU+ can't.

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4.   Does the ECU+ work with the MAF Translator?

Yes. But it's not really necessary, as the current ECU+ includes the same functionality (for no extra cost) as the MAF Translator.

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5.   Can the ECU+ log knock?

Yes. Knock can be logged as a knock voltage from the sensor, or as the stock ECU's knock sum.

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6.   Does the ECU+ work with [my car]?

If [my car] is a 1st or 2nd generation DSM, or EVO VIII/IX, yes. Otherwise, the answer is "maybe." Cars that may work include:

Note: Mach V Motorsports, which sells the ECU+ at retail, has a no-return-on-electronics policy, which means it's not possible to try the ECU+ and return it if it doesn't work.

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7.   Can you make a version for [my car]?

Probably not. The ECU+ was a 7-year development. To even consider doing other car types, I'd need:

If you think [your car] might be a candidate, contact me

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8.   Does the ECU+ need to have a laptop in the car at all times? What if I disconnect the battery?

Settings are stored permanently in the ECU+ head unit in your car. You only need the laptop to make changes to the settings. Because the settings are permanent, disconnecting the battery also retains all settings.

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9.   Can I use multiple fuel and timing maps?

Yes. New! Two sets of maps are s stored in the ECU+ head unit at any given time, but you can also switch among multiple maps using the ECU+ Windows software in a few seconds. You can store as many maps as you'd like on your laptop's hard disk.

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10.   Does the Windows software work with...

The Windows software (ECU+ Win) is guaranteed to work with Windows 98, 98SE, ME, XP and 2000. Oddly enough, it also works on Windows 95 with just the addition of a few .DLLs. Vista isn't officially supported (it's too much of a pig to load on the author's laptop, so it hasn't been tested) but users report no problems with it. Laptop requirements basically boil down to the ability to run one of the above-mentioned operating systems, though the official "requirement" is a Pentium II/366 or above, with 128 MB of RAM and a coupl'a megs of free disk space. Your laptop must either have a serial port, or be able to use a USB-to-serial adapter (the KeySpan USA-19HS is highly recommended).

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11.   The ECU+ doesn't support my wideband - can you add it?

Sure. The list of supported wideband O2 sensor kits is growing. See the features page for a list. If you have an unsupported wideband kit, contact me and I'll add it.

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12.   Can the ECU+ be used with a GM MAS?

Yes. The ECU+ supports the GM 3" and 3.5" MAFs natively on both the DSMs and the EVOs - you don't need to buy any other hardware.

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13.   Does the ECU+ do boost control?

Not yet, though it's on the hot list for the next software release.

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14.   Can I get more (or variable) resolution on the maps?

Done. The ECU+ software was recently modified (based on customer requests) to use 250 RPM resolution rather than the previous 1000 RPM resolution. This is a good example of how the ECU+ customers are able to influence new features - something you don't get when you purchase engine management systems from some anonymous company that doesn't even answer your e-mail.

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15.   What Palm's are supported?

None at the moment :) In the rush to get the latest software done, Palm support was temporarily dropped. It'll be back, and when that happens it'll supports Palm organizers running Palm OS 3.5 or higher. Most "real" Palm's will work, as long as they can use the Palm Serial HotSync cable to communicate with the ECU+ head unit. Some Tungsten models can only HotSync via USB - these won't work. Newer models that can use the serial cable include the Tungsten C, W, T, T2, T3, m500 series, m125, m130, i705, and Zire 71. Most older models will work as well. The ECU+ Palm software is developed and tested on an old Palm m100 - these can be had on eBay for well under $100.

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16.   Is there a PnP version coming for the 1G DSMs?

Doesn't look like it. The PnP version for the 2Gs and the EVO wires the normal ECU+ head unit into a wiring "patch" harness that's imported from Field Electronics in Japan. The 2G/EVO8 version is part number CN-4. However, Field doesn't seem to make a 1G version of this harness. If you find that Field does make a version for the 1Gs, please contact me. Also, see the next question.

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17.   Why don't you just buy the connectors for 1Gs?

One way to make a PnP 1G DSM version of the ECU+ is to just buy the connectors used in the stock ECU wiring harness, and build my own "patch harness." Indeed, this is feasible, and may be considered in the future, but unfortunately the connectors are made to order, and they have a steep minimum buy. To buy what'd be needed for the 1Gs would require a several thousand dollar investment, and that kind of money just isn't available to satisfy the limited 1G PnP market.

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18.   Can the ECU+ display fuel trims?

Yes. This was another much-requested feature, so the ECU+ now can not only display fuel trims, but includes a full-featured OBD-II diagnostic module.

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19.   I can't decide between the ECU+ and [competing product] - can you help?

As much as it'd be great to say, the ECU+ isn't the best product for everyone. You should evaluate how much you want to pay, and how much time you're willing to invest to get your car up and running. Some of the big advantages (IMO) of the ECU+ are:

Well then, what're the downsides of the ECU+? Hopefully, this'll give you a starting point when comparing the ECU+ to other systems.

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20.   How much do new features or bug fixes cost?

There are three places where new features are added to the ECU+:

  1. The Palm and Windows software. Bug fixes and additions (like additional wideband O2 sensors being supported) are free, and can be downloaded from the web site. To install these updates, just (re-)run the setup.exe program.
  2. Firmware in the "black box" (head unit). Bug fixes or a new software-only feature here (like, say, idle smoothing) are also free. To install updated firmware, you run a utility on your laptop which downloads new code into the flash memory of the head unit.
  3. Features that require new hardware. Some features may requires hardware changes that will involve replacing your head unit, and perhaps some wiring changes. These updates won't be free. You'll turn in your old head unit and get a new replacement with the new hardware included. Prices for these kinds of changes aren't easy to estimate, but consider that the price for upgrading from the previous- to the current-generation ECU+ is $350. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the majority of the manufacturing cost of an ECU+ package is the head unit itself, so giving away hardware upgrades isn't possible, and it's also rarely possible to "upgrade" an existing piece of hardware for new features.
New customers, of course, get all of the latest hardware, software and firmware as of the time they purchase an ECU+ package.

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21.   Can I upgrade/downgrade between the EVO and DSM versions?

Not inherently, but if you have a DSM, and are thinking of getting an EVO VIII or IX, send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to sell you an EVO version that is temporarily converted back to a DSM version. When you get your EVO, contact me and I'll convert it back for free. The wiring is 95% compatible between these two.

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