A chiptuning tool is used for reading and writing the engine management software. This is different from a diagnostic device which only allows you to read the error codes or data or change parameters.
By changing the original engine management software – a process also called chiptuning – you can change the power output and fuel consumption of the engine.
In Europe, most manufacturers of tuning tools are found in Germany and Italy.
German companies: EVC, OBDtuning, Byteshooter
Italian companies: Flashtec, Magic Motorsport, Alientech, Dimsport, FGtech
Other European companies: MPPS, Bitbox
American companies: SCT Flash, Bully dog, HPtuners, Cobbtuning
In America, you’ll find many tuning tools on the market, but these are usually only useful for the models and brands sold in the US. Also, most devices in the US are handhelds which allow you to tune only your own vehicle.
In Europe, on the other hand, universal tuning tools are more popular.
Choose your tuning tool:
Once you want to start a tuning company or sell tuning, you will first have to make a choice which tuning tool is most suitable for your business.
The choice depends very much on the following:
Which brands do you want to tune?
– Make/year of the cars you are going to tune
– Possibilities of making an investment – prices between tuning tools vary enormously
– Do you only want to tune through the OBD port or you don’t mind taking the ECU of the engine, opening it and programming directly on the circuit board ports
– Do you want freedom regarding supplier of the tuning files or would you rather be connected to one supplier
Chinese clones counterfeit vs. original
Some tuning tools are offered on websites like alibaba and they are clones of the original tuning tools. Alientech Kessv2 clones and FGtech Galletto clones are especially popular. The disadvantage of these tools is that the quality can vary greatly between different clones, and updates that remove bugs from the system are not processed. If engine tuning results in a breakdown, you should often think of costs between 1200 and 4000 euros. From this perspective, an original manufacturer’s tool is not very expensive. Compared to diagnostic equipment, tuning tools are also not very expensive.
Bootmode tools & OBD flasher.
There are two ways to program an ECU:
The option that uses the diagnostic connection is called OBD tuning.
The option that goes via a built-in communication port on the printed circuit board that loads the basic software at the factory is called boot mode or debugging mode.
So there are two types of tuning tools available on the market:
1. OBD Flashers (eg Alientech Kess)
2. Boot mode tools (eg Alientech Ktag)
With OBD tuning tools you can program an ECU by using the diagnostic port of the car. The Boot mode program allows you to program the ECU via one of the communication ports (BDM / JTAG) on the circuit board. Most ECUs have three data bearers (chips and processors) that can be read – two eproms and one processor. Mostly, the engine-driving folders are in the big eprom. But there are a few exceptions where the information (in part) is stored in the processor.
The OBD file
Most OBD flashes only read the section that contains the engine-controlling maps. The OBD file usually does not contain all the information from the ecu.
The Bootmode file: Full backup of the ECU.
Sometimes it is necessary to make a full backup because you can not read everything you need via OBD. Removing the ecu from the car and reading in boot mode (debug mode) allows you to make a full backup of the ecu.
Master vs slave tools
Most tuning tools are available in two versions. A master tool and slave tool ..
Slave tools are cheaper to buy, but have the disadvantage that they can only obtain tuning filters from the master tool owned by the tuning provider. We can only sell slave tools that are connected to our main tool.
With the master version of the tuning tool you can read the content of the ecu and edit it yourself. The master is a little more expensive. We advise you to purchase a master tool only when:
– You want to develop your own tuning files.
– You want to tune more than 25 vehicles a month
– You don’t want to be limited to one supplier