Hacking up Honda's ECU
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:37 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 2:29 am
Posts: 574
This is probably not very relevant for the occasional tuner, fiddling with his/her own car. But for someone tuning on a regular basis... read on.

When using USB-connected COM ports, most of us will encounter annoying issues at one time or another. Lack of connectiviry, blue screen, whatever.
In my experience, this can easily happen if you use your regular laptop Windows install, which is also used for office use, gamiing, whatever - anthing that would cause you to often install and remove hardware/software and drivers.

Solution: Do a fresh install (2K or XP) and use this install ONLY for tuning. Don´t add all kinds of software/hardware - keep it as simple as possible. Don´t install/remove anything unless it is absolutely necessary.

BootMagic and other similar programs will enable you to run completely separate Windows installes from the same hard drive, so you can still use your laptop for other things than tuning - without risking "contaminating" your precious tuning-install.

Use the most recent USB/comm drivers you can find. Sometimes there will be different versions of the chips used in these USB->RS232 products, which could result in one product working beautifully and another (similar looking part) failing for an "unknown" reason. For example, this is the case with the (otherwise excellent) Prolific based parts - if your driver is too old, the port will install, yet logging does not work. Upgrading to the most recent driver works well with the old, as well as the new parts.

Also beware.. Particularly, otherwise innocent-looking cellphone and bluetooth software can be a pain, because they will add a number of virtual COM ports and tons of weird drivers. You can tell that you´re in trouble when Windows suggests that, for example, COM14 is the first available port when you hook up an Ostrich or whatever.. Even if you uninstall the suspect software, your Windows will never be quite the same again, as the drivers and COM port reservations won´t be completely removed from the system.

COM port reservations:
Each USB port in your PC has its own unique ID. This means that if you install your Ostrich in one USB port which is then assigned to, say, COM4 - then that very same Ostrich would likely be assigned to COM5 in case you plug it into a different USB port next time. Windows might even ask you for a driver file. This is also the case for devices connected to an USB hub. (as well as the USB hub´s port in you PC of course!)

Solution: Make a note of each USB port, and always plug in your "tuning" USB device into that same port every time you use it.


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