as mentioned before, here is my Demon + NepTune adventure so far...
to the uninitiated. Demon is a ROM emulator. you see, Honda calls its engine management system PGMFI. PGMFI was first used in Honda's F1 program. they then introduced PGMFI to production vehicles. they were one of the - if not THE - first people to do so. since PGMFI was a computer based system, the time was not far when people began to attempt to crack it. and they succeeded. with these were the people at PGMFI. one of them began a commercial operation based on this knowledge and started Hondata. now that they had reverse engineered Honda's system, they could re-engineer it to suit their own purposes. like alter fuel and ignition maps.
all these people concluded one thing. Honda's hardware was top notch. there was no point in reinventing the wheel. even if they wanted to, they could not better Honda's hardware. all that they needed to do was to turn the wheel in the direction they wanted it to go. that was the advent of "chipping". the process of chipping involve the addition and deletion of certain electronic components from an ECU so that one can install and operate a custom programmed ROM chip. hence chipping. the process of preparation of the board is also called "socketing" after the 28 pin socket that is soldered onto the board into which the ROM chip can be push fitted for easy removal at any time.
once a board is socketed, several things can be done. one can either use a ROM flasher to create a custom ROM and plug that chip in or one can use a ROM emulator plugged in to the socket and change stuff on the fly. the Spoon / Mugen / custom chips one finds on eBay are examples of the former. the folks at Hondata and Moates.Net decided to take the much sexier emulator route. Hondata makes hardware and control software and markets the whole thing as a proprietary bundle. Moates makes just hardware that can be run by a variety of software like CROME, ecTune and NepTune. Hondata shot itself in the foot a while ago by suing PGMFI - the very place they learnt everything they learnt - and alienating a huge number of enthusiasts. Moates - on the other hand - just kept it simple. their first emulator was called Ostrich. this was most often used with HULOG, a datalogging system. both these devices would connect to the ECU on one end and the computer on the other. and they worked like a charm. the only drawback was that these things were slightly messy with a box dangling outside the ECU and two cables connected to the computer.
so Moates made the Demon. this little beauty is much more compact than the Ostrich and fits completely inside the ECU box. it also has 1 MB or 4 MB of on board memory that is updated directly from the ECU, this eliminating the datalogging cable. now you have a solution that is much more integrated.
Ostrich + HULOG when connected to an ECU:
when I first heard of chipping, I used to wonder why they only talked about Hondas. why were no chipping solutions available for other cars? now I know the answer. we have Honda to thank for this. Honda *meant* for their ECUs to be chipped. in fact, this is what Mugen do in their performance oriented packages.
check out a stock Honda ECU:
... and a chipped/socketed ECU [nevermind the board dangling to the left. it is not a Demon. it is a board for knock detection that comes on some ECUs from the factory]:
so if you have noticed, Honda already made provisions on their boards for the addition of a custom ROM chip. in later versions of Honda ECUs, this provision was removed. it could have something to do with PGMFI being cracked. hence Honda OBD2 ECUs are called "unchippable". other manufacturers simply dont have this provision. once again, thank you Honda!
Customizing our own PGM-Fi program
I shall describe the chipping procedure in the next post.