"Chip tuning"?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by kgall, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    On the contrary beta-testing has been standard operating procedure for most all software & firmware development coming out of Silicon Valley over the past several decades. I do agree that sufficient quality control prior to beta-testing needs to be done exclusively by Toyota before being release to beta-testers, but to say testing product reliability gradually with a greater and greater number of users over time is less safe than Toyota doing all the testing and not getting free feedback from anyone until they are done... Well that harkens back to the good old days before Car's didn't run on software/firmware. Compared to all the code-writers that built the web, the auto-industry has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to how write and safely deploy code innovations.
     
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  2. Chuck.

    Chuck. Former Honda Enzyte Driver

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    Years ago (wish I'd linked it) an article claimed a dime on every dollar each American spends is on legal/risk aversion costs.

    In other words, manufactures are motivated to build so a "complete idiot" can use it to avoid as many lawsuits as possible, or at least win in court.

    It's a sad commentary that the US has more attorneys per capita than any nation on Earth because some of us want to steal from the rest of us in a lawsuit. On the other hand, the courts are a deterrent to any automaker from building another Corvair, Pinto, or Yugo.



    Legal issues aside, automakers will build what most people want....many of us are not "most people." ;)

    For instance, I:
    • Wish the latest Prius had a 1.5 instead of a 1.8 liter engine, but "most people" would rather have speed over fuel economy
    • Would like aeromods that would completely cover the underside that would be a headache for mechanics and get nicked in most parking garages, not to mention more difficult to park.
    • Would like to see a diesel/hybrid, but that would go against the branding of the Prius of being the greenest hybrid possible, and add a few thousand dollars to it's price.
     
  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I did not say that beta testing is not necessary, only that is is not sufficient. There is other necessary testing that is beyond the resources and responsibilities of the beta testers.
     
  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    It is indeed true that PriusChat enthusiasts are not a market you need to cater to... We are few in number. My suggestion here is more about inventing the next generation of Prius by giving opportunities for us geeks to help them refine their product. For example new 3rd gen Prius has eco-mode, ev-mode etc. So what if there was a way us PriusChat people had enough access to the code so we could create additional modes, like hill climb mode, or annoyingly slow driver in front of me mode, or narrow twisty gravel road mode, or road-rage mode? And by no means do I suggest we make these modes available to everyone, but perhaps the very best of these new modes could be successfully integrated into future models. Put simply I'm bored with read only code in cars. I want a read/write car!
     
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  5. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    I am shocked at the near-total lack of knowledge of chip-tuning (more commonly referred to as ECU reflashing) in this thread. Most modern (especially performance) cars use an Electronic Engine Control Unit (ECU) to control the engine parameters. The widespread application of ECU firmware on Flash ROMs made modification relatively easy - for example, you can go to a Subaru dealership, buy a WRX fresh off the lot, plug in a Cobb AccessPORT and you will have successfully (lightly) chip-tuned a car (inside of 20 minutes, with minimal engine knowledge and effort). It's not exactly accurate to call it a subculture - anyone with a minimal level of interest and ability (not the type of people who have little/no understand of the operation of their cars) is aware of this and it's VERY common.

    For Audi and VW cars, APR performance (APR Audi/VW 2.0TSI ECU Upgrade) are the go-to people. Their tunes typically increase turbo pressure and retard timing to increase power. If you want to run your own ECU - you can buy a standalone and make it work on your car. Nobody's stopping you. It's a lot of work. A lot of people like the AEM EMS (AEM Standalone ECU ).

    There is virtually no Prius ECU reflash community because the stock ECU is already highly optimized for fuel efficiency and there is little/no performance to be had.
     
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  6. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    There aren't any who do know what they are doing. That would require knowledge of the code, which as you say, Toyota doesn't allow. Your calling the embedded systems in a car, an 'OS' tells me that you don't know what you are doing.

    There is quite a bit of engagement between some of the people on Prius Chat and the engineers at Toyota. My understanding is that the HSI is based on feedback from people here.

    Probably. Fortunately we have that. What we don't have is people able to modify the firmware in a car and take it out on the road.

    Google is another huge company with a massive QC department. And they actually know what a test track is. They are also, I suspect, ADDING new control systems, not messing with existing ones. Consider, how much use would a self-driving system be, if it was only usable on the current generation of Prius?

    I would. I am not sure how you can think it is more reliable; exactly how many firmware faults have you documented in the Prius? But history alone is enough to cast doubt on that proposition. General purpose and embedded systems have both existed from basically the dawn of computers. Now is no different from the 80's in this regard, when I worked on a system for embedded systems in GM cars. They were using a general purpose processor (which was a bit unconventional at the time). In 25 years, no one has seen fit to put a general purpose OS in one. For obvious reasons, every time your computer gives you a 'wait' cursor, your car would crash.
     
  7. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    You say virtually, how do I connect with these people that know how to read & write to the Prius computers? My other summer car was tuned with HP Tuners. It made a huge difference setting it up the way I wanted.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  8. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    The modifications that do happen are like in the "Prius PHEV Plug-In Modifications" forum. No tuning your timing or fuel curves.
     
  9. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    OK, I'll check that out when I get home.

    Mike :)

    SAMSUNG-SGH-I717 ? 2
     
  10. PriQ

    PriQ CT+iQ

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    I have been looking into chip tuning my cars for better emissions (they are fast enough already), but I have yet to find a single tuning company which can promise better emissions. A new law has recently been passed in Denmark requiring chip tuning companies to test the tuned cars for emissions - a tuned car may not emit more than a standard model. So far none have passed, so my cars remain stock and I focus on weight reduction.
     
  11. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    I would want to see if the electric motor torque limiting could be adjusted. No interest in playing with the fuel or timing as I think it is running very efficient as is.

    Mike
     
  12. NiHaoMike

    NiHaoMike Member

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    While most of the possible improvements were already made, there is always room for more improvement. For example, they could get rid of that annoying "default regen" or at least make it selectable. They could also design the cruise control to pulse and glide if doing so would improve efficiency, although the general public would think there's something wrong with it. (That's perfectly fine for an enthusiast, of course!)

    Going a little further, they could have used a high energy ignition system similar to the one in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. But with basically no competition, Toyota had no way to justify the cost.
     
  13. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    This is probably the only car forum that doesn't talk about tuning. Why should it? There's no real potential in the motor and the only reason you buy this car is fuel mileage? If you want performance there's a million cars out there cheaper and easier to mod.

    Tuning been around a long time. Standalone tuners or you can buy an aftermarket chip that's programmed to run the type of gas you want and transmission shift points and on and on.

    As far as turbo's its an absolute necessity to have a proper air/fuel tune or the turbo can fail. Real fast. Lean is a very bad thing.

    Here's a very well know tuner:

    Blue Oval Chips, Inc.
     
  14. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    I already own a low to mid 13 second quarter car that has a ZZP tune and hardware setup. I am interested in seeing what can be done with the Prius electric motor torque limiting as the factory software rolls off the torque as the RPM/MPH increases. Max torque starts at zero MPH and tapers off as the car goes faster. It might be nice for autocross people to have the electric motor torque set higher but not necessarily so high it can snap axles. With any custom tuning there comes a risk of breaking parts until people figure out the limits. There will always be those that say oh my gosh the warranty will be voided, and so indeed it will, as some don't care :)

    There is absolutely no reason Hybrid performance cars can't be developed. They certainly will be something to consider years from now when possibly straight Gasser cars are a thing of the past. Look at EV's. Some people look at them as their commuter for across town, while the performance crowd looks at them as an incredibly quick quarter mile vehicle. Would it be cool to see a 13 second quarter mile Prius? Heck yea :) That very same Prius could also get incredible gas mileage when the drivers right foot wasn't so heavy.

    People look at the Prius as the car that gets Wahoo gas mileage. How about that person that has a show car quality Prius and goes to car shows and parks their masterpiece for others to see. Was the Prius designed to be a show car? Was the Prius designed to be a performance Hybrid? It can be many things if people want it to be.

    Mike [​IMG]
     
  15. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    This is true of most electric motors. (Induction motors have a more complicated torque curve)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Do you think there is intentional software initiated torque limiting in the Prius?

    Mike
     
  17. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    In all probability, yes - at least in the Gen1 and Gen2 Priuses (see all the complaints about the traction control). I agree with PriQ - weight reduction is probably your best bet.

    You might want to try and get into contact with the guys who prepped a Prius to compete in SCCA Solo II.
    Prius SCCA Solo II FSP | PriusChat
     
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  18. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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  19. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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  20. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Is there another Prius forum where the electronic tech type guys hang out? If I knew what I was doing I'd have a go at my car and see if I could read & write to it but I am far from writing code for an interface program :( Take HP Tuners as an example, it requires a hardware interface between the laptop USB port and the OBD-II port and a windows based program so things that can be changed can be understood. I presume the interface is just a level converter but the program is something I can not write :(

    Mike
     
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