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ChipTorque's Ezy-Flash

Innovative and effective

by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images


The modified car world is changing and ChipTorque’s Ezy-Flash shows just how far things have progressed.

If you have a Mitsubishi Evo Lancer (models 7, 8 or 9) or a 2001 – 2005 Subaru Forester or WRX, you can use Ezy-Flash to:

  • Read (and clear) your ECU’s fault codes

  • Display four engine management parameters ‘live’ on the backlit LCD, performing the function of four new instruments.

  • High-speed log to the unit all the parameters the ECU has available - in the case of the Evo 9, that’s 33 different data streams... covering everything from knock sensor activity to ignition timing.

  • Almost instantly reprogram the ECU with five or more different tunes – each tune having unique boost maps, ignition maps and fuel maps.

  • Return the tune to standard whenever you want.

And not only that, but the cost of the unit includes all five different tunes!

We think that’s a stunning list of features, made all the more impressive by the AUD$995 price that’s inclusive of everything including cables and logging software.

Finally, if you want to, you can even use the Ezy-Flash to upload a tune obtained from another source.

Ezy-Flash

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Ezy-Flash represents a continuing radical change of approach for the Gold Coast engine management tuning company. For most of its life, ChipTorque’s main business has been custom tuning engine management, mostly factory systems but also those sold for aftermarket use. However, with the proliferation of tuning software and information on the web, the company has moved towards developing hardware.

Their Xede interceptor, released with the tuning software freely available, was the first step in that direction. Now, with the release of Ezy-Flash, the company is making its Evo and WRX tunes available almost free of charge. To put this another way, only a few years ago the combination of hardware and tunes would have cost well over double the price being charged for the Ezy-Flash system.

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Developed completely in-house by ChipTorque engineering staff, the Ezy-Flash module is built in Australia. A compact and easily held package, the presentation and build quality - both inside and out - look excellent. Four pushbuttons are provided and the LCD is blue back-lit.

Using Ezy-Flash

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Ezy-Flash is almost intuitively easy to use. Two cables plug into the car – an OBD link and also a specific tuning link. Both sockets are already provided in the cars – no wiring changes whatsoever need to be made. The Ezy-Flash is powered from these two connections (a cigarette lighter 12V feed is not needed) and the Ezy-Flash is alive even with the ignition switched off. (If you run the unit as an in-car permanent live data display, you’ll need to unplug it if leaving the car for a long period – the current consumption is 60 milliamps.)

The different functions can be scrolled through on the LCD – program flashing, OBD fault codes, data logging and data display. The pushbutton options available for each screen are shown by symbols on the LCD – in many cases, these guide you in the path to follow. A paper copy Quick Start guide is provided but detailed instructions on using the system are buried in the help section of the provided PC software.

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To make flash program changes, the system initially needs to lock to the specific vehicle, a process that takes about 4 minutes. This locking means that the Ezy-Flash module can be used with only one car at a time – to work with another car, it needs to be unlocked from the first, a process that returns the first car to its original tune. Note that OBD fault code and data logging and display functions can be used without the Ezy-Flash being locked to that particular ECU.

Once locked to the vehicle, reflashing with one of the new provided programs takes between 15 and 45 seconds, depending on the model and the amount of data needing to be transferred.

For the Evo version of the Ezy-Flash, the following tunes are included: standard, valet mode (ie 3000 rpm rev cut), 16 psi boost with standard exhaust, 21 psi boost with standard exhaust, 21 psi boost with aftermarket exhaust. The higher boost levels require removal of the inline wastegate restrictor.

On the Road

We had available an Evo 9, equipped with the standard exhaust but with the wastegate control restrictor removed. With the standard map flashed into the ECU, the car had a slight hesitancy at high revs – something that head of ChipTorque Lachlan Riddel says is caused by the missing wastegate restrictor. (He added that ChipTorque will soon release an additional standard-power tune designed for cars with the standard exhaust but without the restrictor.)

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We then flashed-in the high boost tune (this particular car also had available a 100 RON high boost tune but we choose the 98 RON high boost tune) and, about 40 seconds later, continued on our way. (Actually it took a little longer that that: a communication error occurred and we had to resend the tune.) The Evo then went as hard as you’d expect with a well set-up aftermarket tune – still doughy off boost, as these engines are, but going like a scalded cat through three-quarters of the rev range.

We then activated the real time data stream, showing on the display the Injector Duty Cycle, RPM, Load and Knock Sum, the latter allowing the knock sensor output to be monitored. (In fact, the knock indication is better than just a raw output - it’s a calculation by the ECU.) With an assistant reading off the screen, we could confirm that detonation wasn’t a problem.

We also data-logged for later analysis a through-the-gears full throttle run. To be viewed, this data needs to be downloaded to a PC via a USB link and then exported to a spreadsheet. That process is straightforward, although significantly less effective than the use of dedicated data log analysis software, such as provided in the best aftermarket ECUs.

To download the Excel spreadsheet of the data we logged in part of our test drive, go here.

ROM Tunes

Pains have been taken to protect the intellectual property of those who have performed tunes. A tune can be downloaded from the ECU but it cannot be read – it is encrypted. In the same way, the provided ChipTorque tunes are also protected.

If you’d like the standard tune in readable form, perhaps so that you modify it yourself with third party software or have it modified by a workshop, the downloaded initial tune can be emailed to ChipTorque. They’ll examine it to ensure it’s a standard tune (that is, not one that has already been modified) and if it is in fact a standard tune, return it in readable form.

The Ezy-Flash software does not allow tuning changes to be made to the ECU maps – it is simply a way of downloading tunes to the ECU and of logging data.

ChipTorque can make custom changes to the tunes they provide. For example, if you live in an area with particularly low octane fuel, one of the tunes can be configured to suit. Custom tuning can also be performed on the dyno – the best way to get optimal results for any car. These extra services are provided at normal ECU tuning rates – eg AUD$150 for a reduced octane map.

Conclusion

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The Ezy-Flash module is excellent value. Being able to switch from one provided tune to another allows the car’s ECU to be easily returned to dead-standard. It also allows the management to be configured for high octane racing fuel, high octane road fuel or low octane road fuel - or to run in low power mode. The live data display, logging functions and reading and resetting of OBD codes are simply the icing on the cake.

We’d like to see a proper, full length handbook provided and the data log analysis software improved, but just as it is, this is an outstanding product.

Contact: www.chiptorque.com.au

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