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Engine tuning through carPC rather than piggyback or standalone?

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  • Engine tuning through carPC rather than piggyback or standalone?

    Hey all, I've searched through the forum but couldnt seem to get a definite answer to my question..

    My question is - is there a way/program/software/hardware to tune the AFR and MAP on a modded car through a carPC, rather than having to spend hundreds (if not thousands) on a piggyback or standalone system to tune your car?
    (I was quoted $1500-3500 to dyno tune my car, which includes a standalone unit custom wired into my car)

    I've done some engine mods to my car and also installed a carPC. The engine mods now require a tune to the car. It seems it should be easy enough to simply download a program onto my computer and use an OBD2 to USB connector and just start tuning my car from the carPC. This would eliminate the need to install another computer into my car, whether it be a piggyback or standalone unit (such as an Apexi, AEM, sfac, etc). It would be ideal to tune my car from a frontend program (I have Centrafuse).
    From the reseach I've done, I cant tell if the Palmer OBD software is what I'm looking for? It has some of the things I'm looking for (engine load, dyno times, etc), but I'm still not sure if I can actually tune my car from there.
    Last edited by scENFORCER; 02-23-2013, 08:26 PM.
    - scENFORCER

  • #2
    If you are talking about Palmer Performance, then the answer is no. Their software is for reading OBDII, not writing anything back to the car. Depending on the make/model of the car, you can buy a handheld tuner for around $300 and probably a custom tune from the same distributor for a little more. SCT is a very popular tuner hardware/software manufacturer, and they make very good tuners.

    AFAIK, there is no carpc + frontend solution. I believe there are pc solutions available, but they are very expensive and you pretty much have to be a distributor or a tuner to get it, from what I recall anyway.
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I looked into SCT but they only do domestic cars. I have a Lexus SC400.

      Does anyone know any other way I can integrate a standalone or piggyback computer into my existing carPC? If integrating it with frontend software is not an option, it would at least be nice to not have extra gauges and computers installed in my cabin. I'm going for a clean OEM look.
      - scENFORCER


      • #4
        The MAP-ECU3 at least is able to connect to a PC via USB and you can use the software supplied. Dunno how well it can be integrated in a frontend though, especially due to low resolution issues with monitors. However you can ask the guy who developed it, he is a pretty nice guy and helps fast with issues with new version of software, firmware, etc.


        • #5
          ^ thanks. I looked it up and it seems a few guys are using the MAP ECU3 on SC's. I'll do a bit more research on tuning cars then come back to this thread to see if/how I can intergrate it with my carPC.
          - scENFORCER


          • #6
            depending on the make of the vehicle, there are specific tuning packages. at my job, I primarily use hptuners to rewrite gm ecu's mostly for corvettes. I have also used diablosport and sct. these are good domestic vehicle tuning solutions. Hondas use chrome, or hondata, and so on. you should probably search for tuning solutions for your specific make of vehicle. there are also pc emulators for dealer specific scantools. for example, for gm's tech2 scantool, there is an emulator called tech2win, and that will let you rewrite ecu. tho not so much for tuning. but all of these solutions that tune a factory ecu require you to drive car while logging data, shut car off, look at data, or copy histogram data, write ecu, then go out and log some more data, and make more changes, write ecu, and so on, and so forth.

            However, the aftermarket, or standalone controllers are what our carputers are made for. they do not have an obd2 port. a lot of them have integrated canbus decoders so they can work in today's vehicles, and the general purpose inputs/outputs they all offer are like the equivelant of having a fusion brain integrated into your ecu. they open the imagination to further carputer/ecu integrations. and best of all, they show live data, and let you change data live. so no logging and studying data. when your car breaks up, make changes to the cell the ecu is using right then and there, while driving. there are even homemade programs that work with the standalone ecu tuning software to assist in tuning. for example, with my aem ems-4, I load up aemtuner, set my best guess for a fuel map, then while I am driving, I will load up a program called "autotune" this program looks inside of aemtuner at the current fuel map, and wideband o2 feedback, and makes changes to cells in fuel map up to every .5 seconds. while it is not deadly accurate, it will build a good ballpark fuel map in a relatively short period of time. you could never ever hope to duplicate this on a factory ecu.

            once good at tuning your specific vehicle, real time tuning offers greater reliability out of a motor, as you can tune for mechanical deficiencies to get home. like changing idle speed to keep an engine from stalling when it develops a bad misfire. or retarding ignition timing, or adding fuel, and recalibrating iacv for a vacuum leak. or switching over to tps based fueling to get the car to run when the map sensor fails, etc.


            • #7
              Hello, I have a haltech p2000 on my car and I want to add a 2din screen for see gauges, at the begining I thought to connect my laptop all time and make a bracket, but a car pc looks a good idea.

              Wich is the cheapest way to do that?, I want something good for vibrations (track car) and a screen that u can see good and touch. Computer will be just x see gauges x tune I'll use the laptop.



              • #8
                I think the cheapest way is to hardmount a tablet but then the question becomes is there an android app for a haltech p2000 ecu?? if not then you can go my route. I got a 7" lillyput high brightness hdmi touchscreen, a mini itx amd motherboard a quad core cpu, a bunch of ram, a 250watt m4-atx power supply, a solid state hard drive, and a video card with 1gb gddr5 memory and 2 fans on it. my way is a lot more gratifying at the end of the build. my carputer plays skyrim on high settings at 1920x1080 res. and has 5.1ch surround without any head unit at all. just a few amps. an added bonus to this setup is that you only have to have software installed on carpc. and then as long as carpc and laptop are connected to home network, you can use win7 remote desktop to wirelessly control carpc. laptop tuning without any cables. to achieve this on the road away from the home network than your carpc would also require a wireless router.