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Old 05-14-2017, 02:12 PM   #1
GTRON
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Question Tunable ECU Options?

Hey Guys, I know nothing about ECUs or tuning them.
What ECUs do people usually run for boost in CB7s?
Hondata seems to be the most popular at the moment for Hondas, but after looking into it, it seems super expensive to do (at least for our cars, unless I'm mistaken).

I'm wondering if there's any budget options that would have the features I need for boosting my F22a.
Also, I'd like to know how much Hondata actually costs to put in a CB7.

Open to all options. I've been thinking about an FMU, but it seems like everyone on here hates those.
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Old 05-14-2017, 02:24 PM   #2
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The Hondata s300 unit is "only" about $500 plus a suitable OBDI ECU, lets say $50 for a used ECU, then labor to install it. Let's say you got the hookup on labor and its also $50.
So roughly $600 to have the physical unit actually ready to tune in the vehicle. You cannot chip your stock ECU for Hondata. You can't chip your stock ECU and get the same control as a p28, p06, etc.

You can do it the old school way and and run a real chip EEPROM tuned with crome or similar. Chips are cheap...maybe $15 max, and that's being optimistic.

You can run a chip emulator, Ostrich 2.0 $175. You do not have to physically remove and flash the chip with this.

Neptune Demon RTP $400. Offers many of the Hondata features at a lower price.
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Old 05-14-2017, 02:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTRON View Post
Hey Guys, I know nothing about ECUs or tuning them.
What ECUs do people usually run for boost in CB7s?
Hondata seems to be the most popular at the moment for Hondas, but after looking into it, it seems super expensive to do (at least for our cars, unless I'm mistaken).

I'm wondering if there's any budget options that would have the features I need for boosting my F22a.
Also, I'd like to know how much Hondata actually costs to put in a CB7.

Open to all options. I've been thinking about an FMU, but it seems like everyone on here hates those.
1. Are you planning to tune this on your own?
Suggestion - Based on your questions above, I would suggest that you do not try to tune a boosted engine yourself.

2. Do you have a local tuner that you can ask these questions?
Suggestion - of all things, the tuning of your engine is the most important. Of all the parts that you can go cheap on. This is one area that you should not. I would guide you towards finding a local tuner who is familiar with Honda's and even better yet, would be one who is familiar with tuning boosted Honda's.

In saying that, if you are willing to take the time to learn how to tune yourself. There are other options you could look into. I'll be honest with you here, I have used everything but Hondata and never had any issues. Crome, eCtune and Neptune Demon. Neptune Demon is the one out of those three that is still a viable and very reputable grass routes EMS that can do everything that you require.

As far as costs go, if you are looking to do this yourself you will need the following;
- Chipped OBD1 ECU
- appropriate modifications/additions to the ECU for Boost control (if you want electronic boost control)
- Tuning Software & it's applicable Hardware (Hondata, Neptune or Crome)
- Wideband O2 sensor
- Laptop that is equipped with appropriate hardware to support your tuning software and hardware.

Other option, talk to a local tuner and ask them how much it would be to tune your car.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostAccord View Post
1. Are you planning to tune this on your own?
Suggestion - Based on your questions above, I would suggest that you do not try to tune a boosted engine yourself.

2. Do you have a local tuner that you can ask these questions?
Suggestion - of all things, the tuning of your engine is the most important. Of all the parts that you can go cheap on. This is one area that you should not. I would guide you towards finding a local tuner who is familiar with Honda's and even better yet, would be one who is familiar with tuning boosted Honda's.

In saying that, if you are willing to take the time to learn how to tune yourself. There are other options you could look into. I'll be honest with you here, I have used everything but Hondata and never had any issues. Crome, eCtune and Neptune Demon. Neptune Demon is the one out of those three that is still a viable and very reputable grass routes EMS that can do everything that you require.

As far as costs go, if you are looking to do this yourself you will need the following;
- Chipped OBD1 ECU
- appropriate modifications/additions to the ECU for Boost control (if you want electronic boost control)
- Tuning Software & it's applicable Hardware (Hondata, Neptune or Crome)
- Wideband O2 sensor
- Laptop that is equipped with appropriate hardware to support your tuning software and hardware.

Other option, talk to a local tuner and ask them how much it would be to tune your car.
I don't believe I would be any tuning myself, unless I decide to learn how. Which is possible, if I find like a really good Youtube tutorial or something.


For some reason I thought it was more than 500-600 for Hondata. I think I was seeing numbers for having a shop doing everything? I'm not scared of soldering (or at least I have friends who aren't ) so I would likely be doing as much of the work as I can.

I know of at least 2 shops in my area that tune Hondas.

One of them being Revline motors. They for sure like Hondata.

I don't even get what "chipping" an ECU is , so I should probably do some learning.


Thanks so much, that's very helpful.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonikaccord View Post
The Hondata s300 unit is "only" about $500 plus a suitable OBDI ECU, lets say $50 for a used ECU, then labor to install it. Let's say you got the hookup on labor and its also $50.
So roughly $600 to have the physical unit actually ready to tune in the vehicle. You cannot chip your stock ECU for Hondata. You can't chip your stock ECU and get the same control as a p28, p06, etc.

You can do it the old school way and and run a real chip EEPROM tuned with crome or similar. Chips are cheap...maybe $15 max, and that's being optimistic.

You can run a chip emulator, Ostrich 2.0 $175. You do not have to physically remove and flash the chip with this.

Neptune Demon RTP $400. Offers many of the Hondata features at a lower price.
I'm gonna look into all of this, thank you!
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:47 AM   #6
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I'll elaborate a bit on what sonikaccord said:
The "oldschool" way of tuning involves a modified ECU (the P06 from a 1992-1995 Civic LX/DX is a good option for the F22A), a socket (to install a removable chip), a chip, some sort of datalogging device, sensors for datalogging (a wideband o2 sensor at the very least), and a chip burner. In addition, you'd also need compatible tuning software, and a laptop on which to run it.
An emulator such as an Ostrich helps to make quick adjustments, rather than burning and re-burning a chip every time you change something. Once you get things set to your satisfaction, you can burn the chip.

Popular "free" software (some of it is limited in free form, some of it is pirated... some of it is legitimately free, but now likely outdated) would be uberdata and Crome. Even in outdated and limited form, they're sufficient for many low-power amateur builds. Feature-rich stuff is great, but you're wasting your money if you don't need the features.

Systems like Hondata are getting to be cheap enough that they're almost better options for a beginner than the oldschool stuff (Hondadata IS oldschool as well... but they've been out of reach for most CB7tuners for a long time.) You'll still need the appropriate datalogging stuff to use Hondata, though. Many Hondata systems are actually installed into OEM Honda ECUs, such as the P06.

If you want to learn to tune yourself, I suggest collecting all the components you'll need and getting your experience on your F22A as it is right now. The F22A is a pretty tough little engine, and the low compression makes it difficult to blow up. Practice on a non-boosted engine. It will be more forgiving. If you attempt to learn tuning after installing a turbo, you're very likely to cause damage. If you run too lean with turbo, you'll find a hole in your block!

It might not be bad idea to visit a few local tuners to see what they prefer to use. If you get the whole thing mostly done and discover that it's more than you can handle, it would be good to have something a local pro can work with.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:49 PM   #7
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This is all super helpful info dudes! Thanks so much!

I have noob questions still haha.
Like I barely even understand what "chipping" an ECU is. From what I've read so far, it's gaining access to the stock ECU so you can change the tune parameters, correct?

This thread seemed to explain part of it.

Also this thread.

It kinda sounds fun!

Deevergote, that's an excellent idea, I should learn how to tune my N/A F22a before I mess with turbo junk. So I need to find a P06 ECU?... I want something I can "chip" then put it Hondata if I end up going that route.

So I think I might have my head wrapped around "chipping" an ECU, what is a system like Hondata then? Like does it control the ECU through the chip?....
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:00 PM   #8
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Chipping is basically just the simplified term used to describe the process of installing a chip containing the ECU's fuel map that can be rewritten. The term "socketing" is also used frequently as well. That's where a socket is soldered in place of the chip so the re-writable chip can be removed easily. Without a socket, you're soldering the chip directly to the circuit board.

Just pulling generic pictures off of the internet:

That's a chip in a socket. The blue part is the socket. That was added to the board by the person that modified the ECU.

This page actually shows the process pretty well.
We use Civic/Integra ECUs for this purpose, so this is actually EXACTLY what you'd be doing if you were modifying an ECU for tuning purposes.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deevergote View Post
Chipping is basically just the simplified term used to describe the process of installing a chip containing the ECU's fuel map that can be rewritten. The term "socketing" is also used frequently as well. That's where a socket is soldered in place of the chip so the re-writable chip can be removed easily. Without a socket, you're soldering the chip directly to the circuit board.

Just pulling generic pictures off of the internet:

That's a chip in a socket. The blue part is the socket. That was added to the board by the person that modified the ECU.

This page actually shows the process pretty well.
We use Civic/Integra ECUs for this purpose, so this is actually EXACTLY what you'd be doing if you were modifying an ECU for tuning purposes.
Okay! I'm starting to get it now. So I'd more than likely want a socket, so I could take the chip out, and "burn" a new tune on it.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:42 PM   #10
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Exactly. If you want to do the actual "chipping/socketing" yourself, you'll need to know how to solder. You can buy pre-chipped ECUs from reputable sources like phearable.net, but you'll be able to do it yourself for about half of what they charge.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:07 PM   #11
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Also, if you go the chipping route. You'll want to install a Zero Insertion Force or ZIF socket. It makes for easy chip removal and is more tolerant of multiple insertion and removal cycles.
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Old 05-15-2017, 07:15 PM   #12
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Few resources for ya to browse through.

Moates.net Honda ECU chipping and Tuning basics

PGM-FI.org, the place to learn all a bout Honda ECU tuning and hardware mods
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:53 PM   #13
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first I did not read all of the posts, kind of skimmed them.

My suggestion is find a shop that your going to have tune your car(since i did see that you likely aren't going to) and find out what they are familiar with/like to tune with and get that.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:38 AM   #14
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He's planning on doing it himself, which is why he's asking (he has a LOT to learn before he does that... but that's the plan.) Finding a local shop and getting what they prefer would be wise in case he gets in over his head. It wouldn't be good to go to a shop and say "I spent $2000 on this fancy Haltech unit, and I can't figure out how to use it. Help!" and have the owner reply "I have no idea how to use that. I'll charge you $100/hr to figure it out and do the best I can. It'll probably be about $900 for your tune."
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:52 PM   #15
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I am thinking about tuning my (very mildly modified) N/A F22a by myself (as suggested by Deev). And if I have a major issue, I can pop in my PT6 back in.

Turbo setup will probably be me just getting it tuned enough so I can drive it to get tuned professionally.

Just ideas, nothing official.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:19 PM   #16
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That's not a bad idea to get it tuned enough to limp to a tuner. You MIGHT be able to do that on a basemap found on the internet (or provided by someone here), but it's never a bad idea to look at what's happening, and to learn enough to understand it. It'll also help you be able to assess your tuner. I've known some pros that have been total hackjobs. Just because they take your money and say they can do something doesn't necessarily mean they're going to do it well!
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deevergote View Post
That's not a bad idea to get it tuned enough to limp to a tuner. You MIGHT be able to do that on a basemap found on the internet (or provided by someone here), but it's never a bad idea to look at what's happening, and to learn enough to understand it. It'll also help you be able to assess your tuner. I've known some pros that have been total hackjobs. Just because they take your money and say they can do something doesn't necessarily mean they're going to do it well!
Exactly what I'm thinking!
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:31 PM   #18
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Question I still have, what it Hondata then? a whole new board?
Like what is it compared to chipping an ECU?
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:55 PM   #19
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Yes Hondata is a board that you add to an ECU. It is hardware that you add to an ECU. You still need to modify (chip) the stock P06/P28/P72 ECU in order to install the Hondata hardware.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:20 PM   #20
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Yes Hondata is a board that you add to an ECU. It is hardware that you add to an ECU. You still need to modify (chip) the stock P06/P28/P72 ECU in order to install the Hondata hardware.
So what is the advantage with hondata? The software and ports to plug in stuff?
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