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What we actually do is program (or "burn") a new bin file to the ROM to replace the program currently running the ECU. In order to chip an ECU, you will need the following:
Soldering Iron - to solder chips in to the ECU Desoldering Tool - to remove chips/solder from an ECU. A Desoldering Iron, Desoldering Braid, or a Desoldering Station will also work. Read the Desoldering Tips. If you are uncomfortable doing this, or dont have access to the tools, some of the PGMFI members will sell you a ZIFSocketed ECU Rom Editor - to create new bin file to burn to the Chip Rom Burner - to a chip to replace the stock program ROM Library - To get some ready made bins Chips For ECUs - to burn the new Bin file to - the ATMEL AT29C256 seems to be the chip to get Parts For ECUs- is a fairly comprehensive list of the parts needed for ECUs.
Sounds pretty easy eh? Dave B. wrote a great Introduction To ECUChipping article that is an excellent place to start learning about chipping ECUs NOTE: OBD0 MPFI ECUs do not always have a ROM for you to replace. Don't despair, Chipping An8889 ECU is possible, too.
Introduction to ECU Chipping
by David Blundell Please feel free to link to this article, but "mirroring" is highly discouraged, as you will not automatically receive updates.
How it all works
With the move from carburetors to fuel injection, computers have assumed an important role in the proper functioning of an engine. The level of precise control possible with a ECU (Engine Control Unit computer for running an engine) can not only allow for greatly improved fuel economy, but can also allow for fine tuning of an engine to a degree that is arguably impossible with the best carburetors. Many ECUs, including those made by Honda, do data interpolation, allowing them to intelligently compensate for engine conditions that fall "between" known states, allowing for an almost continuously variable response to varying engine conditions. Additionally, the ECU can make small corrections to fuel/timing based on the state of various engine sensors. It is probably fairly fair to say that from the factory, most manufacturers tune for fuel economy, emissions and poor quality gasoline as opposed to power and race gas. Honda is no exception to these rules about tuning. Basis for this can be seen very clearly by comparing European/US fuel and timing maps to Japanese timing maps for the same engine. Japanese have gasoline that is on average a minimum of about 10 octane points greater than gas sold in the US. Comparing JDM and USDM/EDM timing curves generally show the JDM maps having several degrees more spark advance, reflecting the manufacturer's expectation of better quality gasoline. You have to wonder about how much 205 HP out a 1.8L (ITR) can be improved on within the constraints of pump gas. It wouldn't surprise anyone if another 5-10 peak HP and a considerable amount of lowmidrange torque could be squeezed out of an ITR by HOURS on a dyno, and some changes to the ECU
you have tuned the car better." Tuning not "chipping" generally produces usable. This mode is normally referred to as "closed loop" because it is a closed feedback system. significant performance improvements can usually be found by tuning the car for the better quality gas. Modifying fuel and timing tables is the most basic way to retune a car. like it came out of the factory. When a Dyno is not available. it would probably be wise to focus on some basics of how ECUs work so that it is more apparent where we could makes changes to have a positive effect on performance. First. ignition tables and the revlimiter. This does bring us to an important point. but if you can produce significant and consistent improvements. however it bears remembering that the ECU will be making adjustments to whatever information it has. This mode is normally called "open loop" because it does not continuously monitor sensors and compute fuel correction. The butt dyno has almost zero precision I've had many kids report "very different" results from no real changes to a chip. ~135HP. In the other mode. the ECU is monitoring as many engine sensors as possible. most changes in EGTs can be attributed to timing adjustment. The numbers themselves don't mean a lot.the "butt dyno" is a totally inappropriate way to determine how the car is performing . If you can record this information as part of your Data Logging procedure. There are very limited gains to be had from most "performance chips. This article in intended as a brief introduction. a PM6 (88-91 Civic/CRX Si) ECU is normally used to run a D16A6. open loop table values serve as base values for closed loop fuel correction routines to adjust. If Air Fuel Ratio is left relatively constant. In one mode. EGT probes tell how how the exhaust leaving a motor is. the ECU runs a much simpler routine that is most often engaged at wide open throttle. What this means concretely is that a car may "feel" faster on the butt dyno because it has sharp spikes of torque. which can be used to infer a lot of information. Don't despair if you don't have access to a dyno. trying to get the best fuel economy. Tuning is best something done on a dyno that can simulate loads (such as a Dynapack or Mustang dyno). Widebands generally provide more direct information about Air Fuel Ratio. a PM6 can run a DOHC ZC. A final note about tuning tools . If you are willing to run high octane gasoline consistently. this method has fairly good precison but relatively poor accuracy. Open loop conditions are generally stored in the form of a table where the ECU "looks up" fuel and timing values using a relatively simple algorithm. As an example. Problematic closed loop correction routines require an understanding and possibly a re-write of the code running the ECU to be fixed properly. Wideband O2 meters and EGT probes can give you some idea of what is going on. the butt dyno is much better for detecting rapid increases in torque than consistently more torque. In most cases.program.most of the changes you will make to a computer program will be subtle enough that you probably will not be able to "feel" them accurately. but they are generally ineffective for timing adjustment. Air Fuel Ratios will cause changes in EGTs so make sure you have your AFRs nailed reasonably close to your target before trying to use an EGT to tune your timing. You can completely change the operating characteristics of an engine by changing the fuel and timing tables around. but it is difficult to change the exact behavior of adjustment routines. Beware of most aftermarket "chips": more often than not these programs just dump more fuel and increase timing greatly while doing things like raising revlimiters far beyond safe levels. namely acceleration at wide open throttle through the rev reange. Also. but in reality it is slower than a car with a smoother powerband with gradual increases in torque. Consistent torque is what makes a car fast. real world gains. That being said. however. ~100HP. little more than even more . changing the program of a ECU is generally not that tricky. something to give an objective measure of how the car is responding is a good second choice. so enough of that. Most ECUs seem to operate in two modes. Additionally. very conservative assumptions are made about the quality of gasoline used. By little more than changing the fuel. Again. This goes to show that even on Honda's "performance" motors. you can do some math knowing the weight of the vehicle and its gearing to come up with horsepower and torque output figures for the car. Accelerometers (like the G-Spot) measure acceleration forces with fairly good (<1%) precison. Dynojets are only useful for tuning a much narrow range of operating conditions. not how quickly torque increases.
accelerometer. .you can destroy your engine in seconds with a bad program.com as they're generally useful.swapping chips will let one motor's ECU run the other motor. there is a certain amount of art and a lot of skill/experience involved in tuning a car well.com. 0xFE and FEh are both the hex number FE. An adequate explanation of how to tune a car perfectly is far beyond both the scope of this article and my expertise. So A = 10. be careful changing your engine's fuel/timing tables understand that timing changes can completely change the operating characteristics of the engine! Please be very careful.OBD0 Vtec) o Uberdata (OBD1) o Crome (OBD1) Chipping an ECU: hardware o Chips and ROM Burners o Soldering and Desoldering gear o OBD0 ECU Chipping o OBD1 ECU chipping o OBD2 ECU Chipping Troubleshooting Hexediting and Raw ROM editing Hex is base a 16 numbering system. WinHex is a quality.keil. B = 11. a friend of mine recently had success running a 2G accord engine with a GM computer! As I hope you have gathered. Distinguishing them from code is generally not THAT hard because they "look" different than the pseudorandom data that runs the computer. You might want to grab some checksum utilities from www. With that hefty disclaimer out of the way. dyno) whenever possible. and vise versa. Fuel and timing tables are stored in the middle of the code running the ECU. especially when doing baseline tunes . shareware hexeditor available from www..fuel/ignition map changes and revlimiter changes are all that is needed to make it run a B18A/B18B or a B20B! Virutally the same ECU hardware runs a D16Z6 SOHC vtec and a B16A2/A3 DOHC vtec motor . hex uses digits from 0 to F. Typically we distinguish hex numbers from other numbers by either putting 0x at the front of the number or putting an 'h' at the end. regardless of whether this is actually the case. i. EGT.. In another more extreme example. the tools and methods from this point forwards are going to become a lot more specific: Hexediting and Raw ROM editing ROM Editors o Ghettodyne (OBD0) o Turboedit (OBD0) o BRE (Ben's ROM Editor . F = 15.e. In winhex: . Please. We are now going to assume that you now know what fuel and timing adjustments you need to make.download. A hex editor will let you manipulate the raw data in the ECU. Use proper tools (wideband. Instead of digits from 0 to 9.
anything you can do with a ROM editor can be done by hand with a hexeditor too. Then follow 6f's column all the way up to the F on the top row. In many cases. first you mut know about the addresses. To figure out what it does you must use a disassembler to convert the binary code/data into the machine code instructions which are more human readable. Put those values together and you have the address of the 6f byte: 0x3eff. Most ECUs have a Check Sum routine . Follow the row to the corresponding row in the offset column and you will see a 3ef0. edit away. .So. Although most ROM Editors are specific to one or more ECUs. most are fairly similar visually Understanding Maps has a lot of pictures and more hands-on explanation of editor-based fuel and timing table adjustment. Each byte has its own address referenced by the left most column (the "offset" column) and the top row. As an example. How do you interpret all this? Well. look to the bottom right corner of the above picture. ROM editors are available to assist in the tuning process. Notice the byte that has 6f as its value. you've found the fuel and timing tables in your ECU's program. Now what? This data is the binary representation of the actual machine code that runs in the ecu's processor and ROM data that the ECU uses.the checksum gods must be appeased after any changes to the ROM are made or the car will not run properly. Most of the concepts will apply to any and all editors. It would take a long time to tune a car if everyone only had hexeditors at their disposal. ROM Editors Remember.
As you . TE's author.com) is a free ROM editor that was the first to support the PM6 (88-91 CRX/Civic Si) ECU. It supports ROMs based off the PM6 and PM7 codebase at this point.Ghettodyne (OBD0) Ghettodyne (available at http://www.ghettodyne. It is no longer being actively developed. ensure that it supports the latest features quickly. Close communication between Team OBD0 and Jason Parker. To give you an idea of what ghettodyne looks like: Turboedit (OBD0) TurboEdit has since largely replaced Ghettodyne as the most actively developed OBD0 ROM editor.
editor mainly 8XC154 Development forum on PGMFI .can see. and recently added support for inline assembly scripting.new ROMs and code BRE (Ben's ROM Editor . the interface is very similar to earlier editors: Turboedit forum on PGMFI . . written by Blake Warner (Uberteg). Hopefully Ben will come by and add more information about it. but has been adapted to run almost any Honda motor. It has solid boost support.OBD0 Vtec) BRE is arguably one of the best editors for OBD0Vtec ECUs. It uses primarily the P72 and P75 code. support for the Transtronics Romulator. BRE forum on PGMFI OBD0 Vtec development forum on PGMFI Uberdata (OBD1) Uberdata was the first publicly available ROM Editor for OBD1 Civics/Integras. It runs on windows. It runs under Windows. like the PR3 and PW0.
and can even be superior to a Desoldering Station in some cases. The Rom Burner Wiki entry has a list of some common types of burners used for ECU programming. Learning To Solder and Desoldering Tips contain a lot of good tips for those starting out. Small tips and less power will make things easier on you. Often. EPROMs for automotive use are generally 128K. Almost all 88-95 Hondas use a 27 C256 EPROM. It does not really matter which model you get as long as it can program Chips For ECUs. getting comfortable with the iron. Uberdata forum on PGMFI The Home of Uberdata OBD1 Development forum on PGMFI Crome (OBD1) Crome is the first scriptable OBD1 ROM Editor. Desoldering Braid can be very effective when used properly. Temperature control is a nice feature. Professional desoldering tools with integrated vacuum sources can be obtained readily from ebay or other merchants . written by John Cui. ROM burners are the devices used to program chips. and has links to reviews and prices in some cases. 256K or 512k in size. A cheap Desoldering Iron will work pretty well. Core features are designed for the JDM P30 "203" code. and has improved boost code compared with earlier versions. It doesn't matter WHICH programmer you have. but it has support for many other ROMs to lesser degrees. Crome forum on PGMFI OBD1 Development forum on PGMFI Chipping an ECU: hardware Chips and ROM Burners At this point. an existing Desoldering Tool can be modified to make it more effective. The next step towards reprogramming is to take the electronic image you have created and program it into an EPROM(Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory). There are many kinds of Chips For ECUs that you can use. Pay attention to the speed of the chip and whether your Rom Burner can program it. It also has a new plugin interface allowing HTML based front ends to scripts. If you do a lot of ECUs. a quality Desoldering Station will be one of yoru favorite tools for the time and suffering it saves. solder and workspace you have is key! I messed up about half of the first . Much like welding. A quality Soldering Iron is another tool that you will thank yourself for purchasing every time you use it. but there really is no substitute for practice. Working on a couple of sacrificial ECUs/circuit boards prior to an ECU that needs to go in your vehicle is probably a really good idea. the assumption will be made (regardless of whether it is actually true) that you have successfully created a new ROM image and you want to put it into an ECU. Soldering and Desoldering gear I purchased a Xytronics soldering and Desoldering Station with temperature control for under $400 shipped from Howard Electronics Inc. especially with the right tip and some small mods. there are several other tools that work adaquately. On the cheaper/DIY side.Pace and Metcal gear is always on ebay. I've spoken with plenty of people who purchased professional gear for under $100 that has worked well for them. although by no means required. The new version of Crome (March 04) supports the PGMFI Real Time Programming solution. I have had a lot of luck with the cheapie 12-15W 3-prong blue Rat Shack irons in a pinch. being able to program the right chips matters.
Most were simple poor solder joints that were easily fixed. chipping the ECU might not be straightforward. the ECU you have will look more like this: . although I cooked two PR3s by not desoldering them fully and ripping the pads + traces off the board. After buying my Desoldering Station. Almost ALL 90-91 PM6. It is possible to chip these ECUs. OBD0 ECU Chipping If you have a OBD0 ECU. Almost all 88-89 PG7. but it requires considerably more work and is beyond the scope of this article. PM6. See Chipping An88-89 ECU for more details. The following ECU is a PM7 that does not have an external ROM: If you are luckier and have an ECU with an external EPROM from the factory. but having the right tools made a big difference.dozen ECUs I did. Repairing a destructive soldering adventure like that can be very stressful and difficult. PM7 and 88-91 PM8 ECUs did not have an external EPROM.. (and one of those I still think was a bad alternator/voltage reg.. I've fried approximately 3 ECUs out of 200. PM7. PR4 and PP5(with catalytic converter) ECUs had external EPROMs. and are easy to change the program on.) Part of this was certainly practice.
OBD1 ECU chipping Now.The section of the example P28 93 Civic Si ECU that is important for chipping is outlined in red in the following picture: (Honda was nice and outlined it in a dashed white line for you on the board too) . Once the original ROM is desoldered and removed and you can see through the holes in the circuit board.An OBD0 ECU with an external EPROM is very simple to chip. All 92-95 ECUs made by Honda were able to accept an external EPROMs. See here for Chipping JDMP30 ECU. with your new EPROM ready. BE CAREFUL YOU DO NOT SLIP AS YOU CAN PERMANENTLY DAMAGE THE CIRCUIT BOARD. All 92-95 ECUs use the same procedure for chipping. even if they did not come with one from the factory. cut all 28 pins with a razor blade or utility knife. add a socket for an EPROM and then place the new ROM you have created into the socket. Beginners beware of Japanese ECUs as they use surface mount components that are marginally harder to work with than US/European ECUs. It is not absolutely necessary to do this before desoldering. First. particularly if you do not have a good desoldering station. but removing the chip will make it much easier. crack the case of your ECU.
Finally. spend a bit more money and get the much higher quality machined-pin sockets instead of the cheapy bent metal leaf type. Place a 28 pin socket for the ROM where 27256 is marked. and used a real jumper instead of just connecting J1 with a wire. Digikey. Honda was nice enough to label on the board where everything goes.First. The person who chipped it used a socket for the 74HC373 as well as for the ROM socket. Newark Electronics or just about any other electronic parts distributor. No bizarre components are used . you must de-solder the parts silkscreened in white on the circuit board.1µf ceramic disc capacitors(12V or better will work fine). Radio Shack. C51 and C52 are 0. place a the ROM you programmed earlier in it.everything should be readily obtainable from your local electronics store. Nevertheless. Here you can see a chipped P28 ECU. No changes other than cutting J1 are needed to restore the ECU to its original state. (BTW.2k resistor(the exact value does not matter). it will give you an idea of what it should look like when you are done: . Place the 74 HC373 chip on the board where indicated and solder it in place. connect J1 with a small wire to enable the external ROM. Once all the pads are desoldered and you can see through holes for components in the red section above. R54 should be filled with a 1k to 1.) Once the socket is in place. you need to start soldering in components.
knowing how to modify the ECU itself is only half the battle to having a well tuned car. The ECU is just a tool allowing precise fuel and timing delivery . If you get a solid red light on a OBD0 ECU or a continuous CEL on OBD1 car and the car runs terribly with a very low rev limit and a stumbling idle. or Further Reading. Conclusion Hopefully. not just chip the ECU. If the car runs weird. and how to modify them. See Chipping OBD2 by Doc Troubleshooting At this point. you probably have a bad connection. how they work and break. It is possible to remove the 66K MCU and replace it with another OTP 66P507 or FLASH 66Q589 (As the case may be) but this is far from trivial. you probably failed to pray to the checksum gods. you are just going to have to wait or buy commercial Tech Tom gear. you have learned a little about ECUs. If the same thing happens 30-45seconds after you start the car. try putting a stock program in an verifying that the fuel/timing changes you made were not detrimental.OBD2 ECU Chipping If you have a OBD2 ECU. Spend the time and budget the money for the right tools to tune the car. Little is known about OBD2 code. you should have a working ECU with a new program. If you have further interest check out the rest of the Wiki. at this point. .
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