Forum » General Tuning Discussion » Motec m400

Motec m400

General Tuning Discussion

Discuss all things tuning in this section. News, products, problems and results. 

Page 1

Always wanted a Motec ecu in one of my projects, i see the m400 can be found for quite a reasonable price, would this ecu be dated compared to the likes of a G4 fury or Haltech equivalent? Im going to be running a Motec PDM15 in a nissan silvia with sr20det.

Any pros and cons?


Keep in mind that Link now provide all of the upgrades for free with the initial purchase cost (knock control, logging, e throttle, OBD2 output)

Where as I believe you will need to pay for these seperately with the Motec if you want any of these options later.

Which adds additional expense that might help tip the scales in favour of other options.

Even just logging wideband is considered a paid upgrade for the M400, here's a list:

M400 is three(?) generations old now?

My initial suspicion would always say it's worth opting for the newer technology option, for anything relating to electronics.

Especially if a Link G4+ or Haltech is a proven performer, fuller featured for a lower price.

I guess ultimately it comes down to how much you'll need to pay for either option.

Any of the listed options will allow your engine to make excellent power when tuned correctly.

If you are seriously looking at a Motec ECU with a PDM, I would recommend the M130. It has much better integration with the PDM than the M400 does.

Sorry, but I completely disagree with Davidv that the Link G4+ is a proven performer or based on newer technology. This reply is not aimed at David in particular, it is just that a lot of professional industry is tired of Link over promising and under delivering.

1 - communications with the ECU is still through serial - yes the ECU has a USB to serial adapter on board but it is still only communicates at serial speeds. Modern ECUs use ethernet to download (not serial). The M1 family can download 4MB of data in around 3 seconds. Even the Motec M400 (which came out around 10 years before the current Link product) uses CAN-bus, which is faster than serial.

2 - tied into point 1, or maybe just slow code, if a large number of cells in a table are highlighted then incremented up or down, there is a long delay in the change taking effect. This is not ideal for steady state tuning.

3 - Link apparently had a major bug where their knock control added ignition timing instead of retarding.

4 - another apparent bug where the ECU would lose cam control with a multi-tooth crank setup. This has been fixed but it did cause headaches for a number of their dealers.

5 - no features like track mapping in their logging software. Compared with professional ECUs, their logging is poor.

6 - limitations with the number of tables you can have - try setting up a V8 with individual cylinder trims for ignition and fuel. Users have to forego some of the features they want because the ECU simply runs out of tables.

7 - hardware wise, Link have issues. Look at the size of their Thunder ECU (which came out almost 4 years after Motec's M150) and it can only run 8 cylinders. The Thunder weighs 1.04kg vs the 450g (over twice the weight) of the M150 and it is supposed to be a newer product. Would you purchase a mobile phone which weighed twice as much as a product you were looking at buying? Maybe its okay if you are building a steam roller but not a performance car.

8 - Link market that their ECUs have 32Mb (megabits) of logging whereas the industry standard is to quote MB (megabytes). Even their latest ECUs released in the past couple of years only have 4MB of logging while the M1 series from Motec has either 120MB or 250MB of logging on board.

9 - the analogue inputs on the Link are only 10-bit (1024 "steps) whereas the Motec product (which came out a lot earlier) has 12-bit resolution (4096 "steps")

10 - there have been around three revisions to the M400 since its release, but an M400 from 10 years ago will still run the latest version of the software. The same cannot be said about Link product.

11 - Links ref/sync capture is post processor so it is filtered. Ref/sync capture should be done raw out the input pin so you see everything. Capturing the ref/sync post processing defeats the purchase of having this feature in the software and good Link dealers still have to have an oscilloscope on hand for fault finding of of these basic two pickups.

12 - the copy/paste function apparently does not work (this may have been fixed) on the Link. It pastes bogus numbers so tuners end up not using this feature as they cannot trust it.

13 - the overboost cut apparently needs to be set at least 60kpa above the intended boost target otherwise you get false cuts

14 - if you want to use functions like traction control on the Link be very careful as they are hardware limited the number of teeth a wheel speed sensor can have on most of their ECUs. This is well documented in their support forums.

15 - Almost all the NZ Supertourers that are still racing have had their Link ECUs removed and replaced with other brands (like Motec). These competitors all had running cars but chose to pay more money to remove the Link product and install something else.

Link are very good at marketing and putting specs on paper which look good. All the above information has been supplied by Link dealers or can be observed in the market.

At the end of the day, despite what the Link would try and have the market believe, they are a hobbyist ECU renowned in the industry for buggy software. If their product was as good as Link cracked it up to be there would be professional teams running their hardware (where the drivers get paid by the team).

If you are looking at features like logging, drive by wire, knock control and cam control, look at a Motec M130. They work out cheaper than the M400 (when new) by the time you add a couple of options and it integrates a lot better with the PDM.

So to reply to David's blanket statement about Link been a proven performer, fuller featured for a lower price, the only thing I agree with is the lower price. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

Hi there MSEL,

that is a compresevice bit of work, can you tell us what Link did to you, ? did it involve Vasiline or the lack of it.?

Everyone has their preferred brands and I can understand that a MoTeC dealer may not be be willing to accept that a Link ECU is a viable alternative for some applications, however that's not to say Link don't have their place. I believe that MSEL's reply above is a little too strongly biased so felt I needed to weigh in with a slightly less subjective reply. I've been using both Link and MoTeC ECUs extensively for the last 15 years and believe both have their place in the market, so I feel I'm in a good position to offer an objective view. As I always say, it's really a matter of selecting the best option to suit your particular application, budget, and list of wants and needs.

A key point here that MSEL has overlooked is that Link is not intended as a competitor to MoTeC - They are in a completely different price bracket and they are targeted primarily at the enthusiast and amateur motorsport market place (although there's no reason they can't be used in professional motorsport). You can say that 'you get what you pay for' but in this situation I firmly believe that Link offer exceptional value for money at their retail price point. Would I fit a Link ECU to a GT3 race car build with no cost restrictions? Probably not, but then that's not the target market for the Link ECU.

The other point that's easy to over look is that those people who are considering a Link G4+ Fury for their project often don't have the budget for the likes of an M130 running GPR and an LTC for lambda measurement which would be the comparable package of parts from MoTeC - It's hard to give specific prices since retail prices vary from market to market, however here in NZ the MoTeC package is approximately double the cost of the Link package.

An advantage with the G4+ range that's often overlooked is the complete flexibility of the CAN bus configuration by the end user. This is very rare in aftermarket ECUs and means that the tuner can receive and send data to other devices via CAN provided they're prepared to write a communications template. This for example makes it easy to completely integrate the Link G4+ with a product such as MoTeC's PDM's.

A lot of the points that MSEL has raised above are factually incorrect and so that the OP can make a proper informed decision I'll address these points below and correct them:

2. I regularly make block changes during our public webinars when performing a torque optimisation test on our Mainline dyno. The changes take effect instantly.

3. This isn't a bug I've personally seen. I was actually involved in the original beta testing of the Link closed loop knock control and it has always worked as intended in every application I've used it on. That being said, I've yet to deal with an ECU manufacturer that has never had a software bug and neither Link or MoTeC are not immune to this.

4. See point 3 above

6. This was an issue on the G4 platform. The G4+ uses a different processor which addressed this limitation.

7. I'd doubt many in the market that are likely to select a Thunder will be worried about 0.5 kg. Again the Link G4+ Thunder and MoTeC M150 can't really be considered competitors imho.

9. The resolution of the AV inputs on the Link G4+ has yet to stop me tuning an engine and achieving excellent results.

10. Let's compare apples with apples - A MoTeC M48 can't run on the M800 firmware and a Link G4 can't run on G4+ firmware because they're completely different products. The very first G4+ ECU that rolled off the production line however can be firmware upgraded to run the latest version of firmware, just like the MoTeC M800 example listed.

11. I've never had an issue using the Link Trigger capture function. I've certainly never needed to use a scope to diagnose trigger issues since this function was added.

12. Copy and paste function works as intended. I've never found it not to in previous firmware versions.

13. Link deal with both a boost cut and rpm limiter in a different way to every other ECU manufacturer I deal with. They begin 'soft limiting' at a control range prior to the rpm limit table or boost cut table set point. By default this is 200 rpm and 20 kPa (not 60). It's not an issue when you understand what's going on and why.

Fair Enough,

Its all about "horses for cources" and as usual, "the money."

The Doge Hemi can match the Koueniseg in the quarter mile, $130,000 or $3 million, so, which one are you going to buy? Probably neither, but that dosn't mean you cant go racing.

I work with both manufacturers. From my expierience, a Link ECU is faster and nicer to tune. With over 700pages help file, integrated logger, functions like mixture map it's very user frendly. Logging graphs are very similary to Motec i2, so really great in both ECU's.

I found as long as there is no data guy in a Team which spend several hours per event, the Link G4+ platform capabilieties are more than enough.

It's quite rar that customers really need more than 100hz logging rate (which is usally only needed for supension analysis.

At the end of the day, Motec is great for semi professionell and professionell teams or if support is key, but to be honest over the needs of a hobby racing team or enthusiasts.

The other thing is, out of the box a G4+ is more flexieble than a M1. With all the Timers, Virtual Aux, axis options and custom CAN you can be very creative with the LINK, which I have been aible to make 95% of the things customers asked for, working.

MoTec gives nearly endless possibilities with the built platform. That's a fantastic thing, but usually fits only in the budget on semi and professional Racing Teams.

The M1 platform can be a bit an up an down. For example, it's a 5 min job to setup a Antilag throttle kicker in PC LINK.

On the M1 there are no universal functions. Means customer have to buy built lincences and have to cover development time for such a simple thing. It's really hard to explain to a cutomer that he has to spent another few thousends on Motec licences and things for a function that does an ECU out of the box with halfe the price tag.

To be fair, the possibility to scale the M1 firmware with built exactly to the customers needs is more than great, thats fantastic! But usually only in the budget of semi professional and professional Teams.

Conclusion; Motec is a top product, but it needs a minimum niveau of professionality and buget that makes it worth to go into it.

Regarding logging memor, the M-hundred series has even less logging memorry than a Link. And I'm sure the next generation Link ECU will come with much more memory and higher logging rate. It's on top of there list for next gen ECU.

Hi Adrian, you don't happen to be now woking for FlashTec - CMD? or are you just in Switzerland fo the skeing.

Nope I don't work for or with flashtec. I 'm just a Swiss and live here ;-)

Sorry to open a big can of worms!

But appreciate the input from both sides


Hi Adrian,

Have to correct you, in that there is a native Diff Oil Temp and Diff Pump control system in the GP Packages.

Hi BlackRex

I have to appologies somehow I missed that. Maybe Diff or Gearbox Pump controller wasn't there in one of the first firmware versions?

I corrected the example above for a Throttle actuator for Antilag.

I don't wanted to say MoTec isn't great. It's without quest a brilliant system. But for the enthusiast often more than what they need.

And at the end of the day, if you use one of the markt leading brands, I think the tune of the ECU makes much a greater difference than the ECU manufacturer.

If you want to go alot into details and spend alot of time datalogging optimising, analysis suspension travell etc.. Or if you have a highend car which support (also in 10 years) is key, MoTec is without quest the way to go. MoTec has the best aftermarket support I ever expiered!

For anything other Link is more than sufficient. Thats my opinion.

So where do you both think Haltech fits into the sceme of things?

From my expierience Haltech is good, but not as flexible as a LINK. Thats the reason i prefer LINK. We just changed the Haltech sprint 1000 to a LINK Furry on a drift car I support.