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A little support for an all-round beginner?

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Hello everyone! Glad to be part of the community :)

I literally have zero knowledge about tuning. I'm not a mechanic, I don't own a shop and I have never tuned anything I'm my entire life. I'm just a complete beginner, with a basic understanding of how an engine works, slowly making my way through the foundation courses.

My goal at the end of this journey is just to complete one simple tuning project: mapping VE and AFR of a 2017 Smart Fortwo -- a tiny little car, perfect for studying. If I'm able to do just those two things, with no dyno, on the road, I'll consider my mission accomplished :)

Right know, though, I am a bit overwhelmed. There are so many things and I am confused. I wonder if I will ever be able to pull this off. That's why I'm turning to you. Would you be willing to offer me a little bit of support to complete my project?

As a starting point, I have no idea what kind of software (interface?) I am supposed to buy for the Smart? I don't know how to "connect" the ECU to the laptop and, of course, I have no idea how to install a wideband sensor on the car. Do I need to buy additional hardware, or I just need the software (apart from the wideband sensor, of course). Is there any free software -- or cheap -- that works for my car and that I can use just for doing that basic stuff?

Sorry if the questions seem silly -- I guess you can see I'm starting literally from scratch lol. Yet, I'm sure your help will kickstart my project and give me confidence!

Thank you for taking the time to read the post and for your answers!



Ciao Davide

Unfortunately the SMART on factory ECU is the wrong car to start learning the fundamentals of ECU calibration.

The SMART car is equipped with a BOSCH ECU which can be read and written to by the use of KESS / KTAG, but once you collected the data from the ECU the data needs to be edited by the use of WinOLS.

WinOLS is not for the faint hearted and few folks truly master it!

If you collect the data, you could send it to an experienced WinOLS tuner though and power gains for the SMART car are possible. I must point out that the SMART motor has a reputation of not being very strong when it comes to longevity, proceed with caution.


If you can get your hands on an older / simpler car and convert it to a standalone engine management, then you can have a chance of success.

However though, this requires that you gain knowledge of how electrical and mechanical systems (and more) in an automobile work and to be willing to endure setbacks (also of financial nature) when things go wrong during trial and error.

The best advice I can give you is to buddy up with someone near you who already has extensive knowledge in this field, someone who is able and willing to guide you hands on.

Best regards


Hi David,

I dont want to appear negative but I really can only echo exactly what DynoDom has said.

You really couldnt have chosen a much worse platform to try and learn from. :(

With no automotive mechanical background at all I absolutely would not advise trying to master O.E ECU decoding and tuning as you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure from day 1. It takes those of us who have done it all our lives many years to get even close to mastering an O.E ECU and we will never be at O.E level with it because there are very rarely any manuals available and those that are, change hands for thousands. Ive bought a few "Blue books"over the years for the platforms I personally specialise in, such as Ford Ecoboost and they are rarer than gold dust.

Honestly, the best advice is, as Dom above said, buy a cheap car with aftermarket fitted to it.

ECUMaster, OMEX, Megasquirt, anything at all, and then the videos on HPA will start to make some sense.

Best of luck with your quest. :)

Hello DynoDom and Stu!

Thank you for your answers. Actually, that's OK. You guys gave me solid advice, and I'm glad you suggested focusing elsewhere. Picking your battles is as important as winning them! :)

To clarify, @Stu, when you say to buy a cheap car with aftermarket fitted to it, do you mean buy a car you're sure there's a commercial flashing kit available?

Actually, my first idea was to map my Ninja ZX-6R. That's why I joined in the first place :) But, since this community is more car-oriented I thought starting with my car would have been easier. Turns out, it isn't! So, I might as well focus on my motorcycle, considering Woolich has premade reflashing kits with interface + software + wideband.

What do you guys think?



Ciao Davide

You could test the waters with a Powercommander V in conjunction of a PC autotune module.

Perhaps there are opensource / free tools for Kawa ? Ecueditor works on OEM ECU for Suzuki Hayabusa, not sure whether or not Kawasaki is supported.

If your goal is to optimize the calibration, then a premade solution from Woolich is fine. If your aim is to actually learn, reflashing is of little benefit.

Best wishes for success,


Hey DynoDom!

Thank you for your answers and tips!

You recommend learning with Powercommander instead of Woolich? It should come with its own software, doesn't it?

Sorry for the silly question, but how does autotune work? Not sure if this is already covered in the courses. I should mention I will do this on the road, so I guess there's still the possibility to get the data while driving and edit the maps later? Man, I'm confused, lol!

Why do you think Woolich is not the best for learning? Aren't we still talking about reflashing?

Thanks for your patience!



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