Alright time for another Update now that I also have EcuTek and the OpenFlash Tablet. Also we now have Rom Raiders which is a big improvement over Tuner Studio in my personal opinion.
The information below has been updated and EcuTek added, I will also be adding EcuTek and Rom Raider Screenshots as I have for other programs mentioned.
As always any suggestions or thoughts feel free to share with me.
***I am currently working on my EcuTek review to add here, it should be done shortly***
OpenFlash Manager Impressions
The OpenFlash Manager is Open Flash’s program for actually reading the tunes the OpenFlash Tablet finds on the FR-S and loading new ones (Or your BRZ). You get it with the Download that is provided on their website. This is the program you will use to bring all your data in to work with and back out again to put it on the tablet and flash your vehicle.
The program runs an update check every time you open it and connect the Tablet. This ensures you have the latest firmware and advancements. Its all seamless, it shows you the progress and normally is very quick. I like the way it has been setup.
The Manager is very straight forward and currently they are working to to provide more flexibility and features on the logging it does. (And hopefully not long after with logs from an outside Wideband like the AEM UEGO I use so often or the Innovate LCM-1 I believe it is)
A neat feature it has is the ability to load a “.dev” file set that contains all the tunes available at that point removing the need for a laptop to apply tunes to your vehicle. All OpenFlash Tablets sent out now have this feature already setup and ready to go. Updating it is quite simple and user friendly. The same goes for loading custom tunes however this does disable the loading of tables automatically so if you run say E85 and Gas at times ensure you load all the tunes you want listed if doing so manually.
Tuner Studio Impressions
First off Tuner Pro is impressive in the fact it will allow for the user to tune any vehicle type or model that an xdf file exists for and the community support behind it is impressive. I am very pleased to find some of the vehicles I went to Megasquirt with so many years ago have the ability to be manipulated with this program. Now how much could be a different story but to me that was a nice thing to see available.
Now when you load the software it’s very similar to Rom Raider for those familiar with it, you have a program that works with the file you’re tuning (.Bin in this case and Rom Raiders case, .Msq in Megasquirt and .Hpt for HP Tuners and so on) and that’s Tuner Pro. However since Tuner Pro works with so many different PCM’s (Power Control Modules) what you have here is a file that tell the program what all the data it has in the .Bin file basically translates into so you know what tables you’re working with and so forth. (Such as what ranges they should be in etc.)
This took me a few minutes to figure out so here are a few points to help you and a few screen shots. All you do is open Tuner Pro, Select the second drop down “XDF” and the select “Select XDF”. You can also push the Ctrl + E key and get the same result. Now I renamed my file to make it easier should I ever decide to try this program with other vehicles. However this file is one you will get with the OpenFlash software download. After it’s loaded you can then open you .Bin and work with your tune.
Once setup Tuner Pro is very straight forward and works but it did leave me feel as though it needed more. I would assume because it is so diverse and an older program supported by what my understanding is one person mainly that it is something he shared but does not devote a ton of time to pushing forward as he is happy with how it currently is. I would personally recommend that anyone using an OpenFlash Tablet and making tuning adjustments look at Rom Raider over Tuner Pro. I personally like Rom Raider more but it too also has it short comings. I do really like the ability to directly modify a cell in Tuner Pro where as in Rom Raider you have to enter your changes into a specific box and then apply them. I would rather just select sections on the map and type in my changes there not in a specific text box at the top of the screen.
The ability in Tuner Pro to compare maps/bins is very impressive. In Tuner Studio or HP Tuners you can compare one map to another and that’s it. There are limits to just how much even Tuner Studio can show (I think 150 differences or 100 before it fails to show any others) however HP Tuners will compare everything between the two at the click of a mouse back and forth. In Tuner Pro you can load up to 4 different maps/bins. You toggle between them with CTRL + #1-4. However this is where I found the a flaw. When you want to look at say the 3D graph for a table you can’t switch back and forth on the 3D table but you can on the excel style table. The problem with this is it’s a little harder to look at the differences in say a spark table and see where spikes might be. You can do it but its more labor intensive if you’re used to say HP Tuners.
Rom Raider Impressions
Rom Raider is setup in a very similar fashion to Tuner Pro. You have an XML file that tells the program what the information in a BIN file is and how to interpret it. Its layout is very similar to Tuner Pro but in my opinion its a little cleaner feeling and easier to work with in most cases. The XML’s seem to be updated quite often and the program seems to still be under active development which is always a good thing.
When you first open Rom Raider you need to point it to the XML Definition files so its ready to read any Rom’s. I did this by putting all of them in a folder I made in “My Documents” where I also kept the current tune releases and my logs as well as personal tunes and tunes for others. Doing this makes it easy to organize and keep track of as well as update and Rom Raider will save any location you tell it and look there every time you open it in the future.
Rom Raider’s layout is very similar to Tuner Pro and EcuTek. I don’t like that I have to input all my changes in a text box up top but really that’s my only complaint. With a Tatrix cable you should be able to log using Rom Raider in the near future if not already. This is a HUGE bonus for a program that is free and the cable is less than 50.00 if I am not mistaken. (This is on my list of things to buy and test after my header and dyno comparison that will be below in the next 3 weeks) You cannot use the OpenFlash Tablet log files, I hope they change that in the future as Open Flash’s Logging program leaves a lot to be desired.
Rom Raider is great at making adjustments based of factors of say 10 or 100 or by multiples. Honestly once you get used to it you will find yourself using it quite often.
Rom Raider has different levels much like EcuTek to prevent you from editing things you may not be ready to edit. Elevating such levels is not that hard its just a file menu drop down. As an example to edit Flat Foot Shifting and Launch Control under the Alpha menu you have to elevate your user privileges to the highest level or it will not allow you to see the tables.
If you click about on any table it gives you a good run down of how to edit it and what to expect. I am again showing the Alpha Section and Launch Control. As it explains you get your final Launch Control value by entering the number in the field you want Subtracted from the Total number to get you the desired result. Now if you were just to take my explanation there it might be a little confusing but they take the time to make it much easier on you. After seeing EcuTek’s setup I have to admit this was much easier to setup but it is for all gears not per gear so its not the end all just very user friendly in my opinion.
Rom Raider is a great program and I will recommend it to anyone. This may be the best option for those getting used to tuning, however I will admit I am disappointed in its ability to run a comparison of two tunes. How it accomplishes this is it allows you to open more than one tune file/”.bin” at once. So as long as you can open both maps at the same time its not hard to go back and forth to transfer information. There is a compare feature where it will look for missing or different code and tell you what maps/entree’s but you can’t see the fields just the name of the location. Maybe you are thinking of Supercharging your car and would like to look at a few of the start tune files in comparison to yours as well as maybe one a local shared with you of his final tune setup. This is another great way to learn what all a tuner is looking at as well as catch things you need to be aware of or catch a mistake in scaling that maybe a random mouse click caused yet it was over looked.
EcuTek Impressions IN PROGRESS
Alright EcuTek has released their Pro Tuner Package allowing end users the ability to log and edit their own tunes so long as they have access. Its the more costly (600 with cable, 900 with almost all features known as Racerom) but it does give some great features… and some hold backs.
The logging currently available with EcuTek is the best currently, select-able options on what to log and display layouts that allow you to select specific sections make it easier to narrow in on problem areas. However it does not have table support and rather than do a play back function it shows you everything at once and lets you zoom in on specific sections. I have to say if they would just add a feature like HP Tuner’s Table outputs as I have spoken of before I would recommend this as the ultimate logging solution for the FA20.
The software’s tuning ability is very similar to Rom Raiders. It has a similar layout and user access level to help keep you from editing anything you might not be ready to. It completely lacks a compare function although I have been told by a vendor that the vendor version allows comparisons. This should be a feature all versions have and I found it quite strange that it was completely missing in the most expensive tuning option made available to customers currently. Hopefully this changes soon.
The Racerom features included for free are much more involved than those found in the OpenFlash Tablet, they are also harder to get the hang of. Also just the way you install the Racerom features is a little confusing. Without some guidance I would not have known that is what was required to enable the features. You can set Launch Control, Flat Foot Shifting, AutoBlip and Per Gear Rev Limiting. To get the more advanced features such as Flex Fuel you need the Racerom upgrade. It does take some getting used to but the fact you can edit your launch control up or down with the cruise control stock and while it takes a little more getting used to you can tell the car at what RPM what to do with the RPM level in Flat Foot Shifting. Very nice features but they take some getting used to.
At this time I have just started working with EcuTek’s setup and while I have gotten most everything working I would like to spend some more time with it before giving a final opinion. I think it has a lot more features and ability to go further at this point. But I also think its the more expensive and least user friendly so far. Once you are familiar with it most of it is very similar but at this point it could use a few instructional setup documents and a better logging setup in my opinion. I have no problem paying more for a better product but right now I feel EcuTek needs to add a few more features for end users to make it the best option out there. However again it is an excellent piece of software and the logging capabilities it currently has are better than other options available.
For those planning on running OFT Maps using EcuTek I do have a warning:
There seem to be a few missing tables that I have found while looking through Rom Raider and EcuTek at the tunes available.
These are the tables I was not able to find in EcuTek but were in the new 1.55B Maps under Rom Raider were:
Feedback Correction Range (RPM)
Fine Correction Column (Load)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width A (ECT)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width B (ECT)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width C (ECT)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width D (ECT)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width E (ECT)
Cranking Fuel Injector Pulse Width F (ECT)
Now I could have overlooked them but I sat going through the tables 1 by 1 as you have to due to EcuTek’s lack of a compare feature…. and I didn’t find them. I will be looking into it further but at this time I felt it was worth bringing to the attention of those looking into doing this as I have heard others mention it quite a few times.
The tables I can’t find above have to do with knock detection/correction, Fueling (I was editing the cranking mainly for cold starts on E85) and control.
Now just like the Shops have a compare feature and Pro Users don’t, this could be the same situation. However it then raises the question, what do you have to pay for to get all the tables found under OFT in EcuTek?
The big thing to take away here is this is just what I have found and I have now gone through the entire OEM List of tables twice trying to find tables that are not the same or similar and I cannot find them. So at this point there could be even more tables that are not found in EcuTek Pro version vs OFT. They could be considered not part of the End User Pro version, or they just don’t exist in this fashion and are edited in another manor.
Now for me so far one the biggest learning curve has been getting used to the table definitions, and frankly it always is.
For Megasquirt/Tuner Studio (when it came out I remember using Megatune I believe it was at first) they use one program really to log and then edit. Makes things easier and everything can be manipulated so you get over lays of all the information you need in table or graph form. It has options up top for where all the parameters you want to adjust are. With HP Tuners you have a layout that when I first saw it was confusing as hell and basically just filled with buttons. It took me awhile to adjust to but it was amazing just how much more I had control over and frankly I still find tables in it that are new (when newer vehicles come out, I use it for my 2000 C5 Corvette on E85 with a 408 Stroker) and others that well since I don’t usually play with auto’s are just completely alien to me. (To be honest I don’t know if I will ever care… I just don’t like auto’s even if they are more consistent) However even between the two the main basic were still there, more options mind you but Main Spark, Secondary Spark, VE, MAF, etc. were all as I expected once I got the layout down.
Another learning curve has been logging. This is where I was spoiled by Tuner Studio and Hp Tuners especially. Having the ability to play back log’s, output all the data to tables on the fly while things are happening to see exactly where knock is occurring, AFR Corrections vs MAF Voltage, STFT vs MAP and LTFT vs MAP as well as the ability real time to make changes and force the system to do specific things such as enter Closed Loop, turn off and on fuel learning, force a specific AFR etc. Both EcuTek and Open Flash just cannot do this. I wish they could especially the table logging and playing back of logs as its very useful. But as I said in the EcuTek and OpenFlash reviews they are both making progress (OpenFlash quite quickly I might add) and hopefully in the future this will change. I have referenced both Tuner Studio and HP Tuners because you can download them for free and find logs for free. Using those it might help the developers and others make improvements to our currently supported options.
Ok so there is a basic comparison (If you guys would like me to take pictures of the different programs and outline a little more what I am talking about I have them all on my laptop and would be happy to do so just let me know) I will keep working on this but right now I am in the middle of a big project launch at work as well as about to get married and go on my Honeymoon so needless to say I am preoccupied. If you have information, suggestions etc. please just let me know. I am also going to do a tune and dyno comparisons in the next post below. I will even include the OpenFlash Headers vs others so long as I can get my hands on everything to test with. (If you would like to come down and get on the Dyno I will offset your dyno time costs if not pay for them completely)
Tuner Pro has a great starting point but I am going to say for those not experienced with tuning in any manor I don’t think its as user friendly as it could be. It’s by no means bad and it has a decent compare feature but Rom Raider seems better developed to learn in for the most part.
Rom Raider is in my opinion the best choice for those starting out but its lack of a good compare option will make it harder to look at the differences between tunes if you like to read and see such differences. That will be an area where Tuner Pro is better to learn off of in that manor.
If you look there are already quite a few threads by @shiv and they do this quite well. I have no doubt given the outstanding service I got from him that this will continue. I will also continue to share what I find and the time I spend playing with this because in the end I am almost done with bolt-ons for my FR-S and will be adding E85 to the mix for both an E85 and 91 (that’s all we have here in AZ sadly) tunes so I can switch and have fun with either.
I will make those files available to anyone who wants them too, some will find better ways and hopefully as Shiv and those with the OpenFlash seem to have planned, we can all come together and have a solid community of users helping each other tune their own vehicles should they so desire.
Official OpenFlash Thread:
Shiv Providing Insight on the Torque Dip we all would like to get rid of:
My Car is a 2013 FR-S 6mt with 9300 or so miles on it. My Modifications include:
Agency Power Header (I also ordered an Open Flash Header I will be comparing the two on and off the Dyno)
AiRaid Intake no Snorkle (I am looking for a new one should anyone have one)
Perrin Lightweight Crank Pulley
My Peronsal Design on a 2.5′ Up Pipe followed by a Resonated Mid Pipe (No Cat) I had made and then an Isis Catback
I also have various Costmetic changes and such (LED’s, HID’s Concave Mirrors, Rims, Recaro Seats, etc)
I first bought the UniChip and it is a great product, it’s also by far cheaper. But its lack of E85 support and the costs to actually make changes with it beyond the files they offer lead me to the OpenFlash which allows for all of that and more.
Now the OpenFlash setup is new, hell had it even been a month yet? I ordered mine Thursday and got it Saturday they are very responsive so far and to m I am very impressed with that.
I bought an EcuTek cable from a helpful local who has had his fair share of bad luck it seems. I hate to see that he is a great guy, @Yruyur.
Information on OpenFlash Products:
Information on Tuner Pro:
Information on Tuner Studio:
Information on Megasquirt:
http://www.megamanual.com/index.html <–Excellent Resource for learning how to tune no matter what platform you use. Very good place to start for anyone wanting to know more.
Information on HP Tuners and the Forums for it directly can be found here: (Mainly used on GM vehicles but it also covers Ford and Dodge vehicles)