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Practical Reflash Tuning: Open Source vs Commercial Software

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Open Source vs Commercial Software


00:00 - With many of the vehicles that are popular for modifying in the aftermarket, you may have the option of using a freely-available, or open source reflashing solution, which is available to anyone to download for free.
00:15 This only applies to the software and you'll still require a hardware interface to connect your laptop to the OBD-II port.
00:23 However, these can usually be purchased quite cheaply, and hence the entire operation of reflashing your car can become incredibly cost-effective.
00:34 Unfortunately, there aren't open-source solutions available for every platform but in particular, the Mitsubishi and Subaru platforms are very well supported.
00:46 Examples of open-source software include Rom Raider and EcuFlash, which are popular in the Subaru and Mitsubishi tuning scenes and are very powerful tools that you can download for free.
00:59 There are, however, some down-sides.
01:02 The software has been primarily developed by a bunch of smart and talented enthusiasts and hence, there's no manufacturer you can call for help.
01:13 These products also don't come with any elaborate help files and often you’re left to work it out for yourself.
01:21 The actual software only forms a graphical interface to allow the maps in the ECU to be changed and the key part is really the definition file that, as described previously, tells the software where a particular map can be found.
01:39 Since in the open source world, the definitions have also been worked out by enthusiasts, the accuracy, or completeness of some definitions, can be questionable.
01:51 Often there may be maps found in the ROM, with no real description of their function because those who created the definition simply don't know.
02:00 This can leave an inexperienced tuner with more questions than answers and perhaps an inaccurate definition that means the tuning changes don't actually have the expected effect.
02:14 In this situation, there's nobody to call or email and ask for help or guidance.
02:20 There are, of course, numerous forums dedicated to open-source tuning with various guides to help get you up and running and there is some really great and detailed information to be had.
02:33 Like any forum though, you need to be able to decipher fact from fiction and many hours can be wasted searching for accurate answers to your questions.
02:45 That's not to say that open-source tuning is a bad option.
02:49 I've used it to tune hundreds of Mitsubishi EVOs and Subaru WRXs, Legacys and STi's over the years.
02:59 Great results can be had, and it's important to understand that regardless whether you're using commercial software with manufacturer backing, or open source software that's freely available, you're still tuning the same ECU that contains the same maps.
03:17 It's just how well defined, and how well explained those maps are that can make the difference to your tuning experience, and ultimately the outcome of your tuning session.

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