What ECU do I have in my car?

We place vehicle ECU’s in to 4 different categories

Non OBD Flashable Pre 2000chip tuning soldering

This ECU is fitted to cars commonly produced before 2000 although there are exceptions to this rule. These ECU types have memory chips on the circuit board that are known as OTP chips or ‘One Time Programmable”.  In order to remap these vehicles we de-solder this chip, copy the contents and reprogram the modified map to a writeable chip. This chip is re-soldered back on to the board. This process is known as  ‘Chip Tuning’.


OBD Flashable 2000 onward

Generally vehicles after 2000 with the exception of some early adopters of OBD port flashing as early as 1996, although these are rare.  OBD flashing is a term given to remapping the vehicle over the OBD port and is very commonplace nowadays.  ECU’s made by Bosch, Siemens and Delphi are the most common, there are also Ford EECV and Visteon. These ECU’s are mostly programmable over a cable connected to the diagnostic socket and does not need to be removed from the vehicle. This makes the remapping process convenient.
and quicker.


Tricore and Anti-tune protected ECU’sEcu remapping protected tricore

These can be named as EDC17, MED17 or Siemens Continental are amongst the anti tune protected ECU’s. Introduced in a number of vehicles from around 2006 onward gradually becoming commonplace. These ECU’s contain special programming and memory on the actual microprocessor incorporating a 1024Bit RSA signature to detect non genuine software. A hash check alogrithm checks the validity of the software being installed meaning the that some of this ECU type can permanently lock preventing the car from starting especially after attempting to write them over the OBD cable, to get around this stumbling block, we program these ECU’s on the bench using a special tool bypassing the anti tune protection completely. Protected ECU’s generally cost more to remap for this reason.

Japanese Denso ECU’s

Generally fitted to Japanese vehicles these are technically OBD programmable, however generally by the main dealer for bug fixes and updates. However over recent months some of these Denso’s can be remapped over the OBD port, yet still In the majority of cases it involves the ECU removed and bench flashed using Specialist J-Tag equipment mainly because these ECU’s hold the map data in the core of the Renesas Micro Processor.

Whatever ECU your car uses, the process of improving the performance though modification of the data it contains, and the results you can expect are fundamentally the same.

Written by Chris Fisher
Advanced Tuning Technical Advisor
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