Standalone Comparisons

Discuss VEMS and other standalone ECUs

Standalone Comparisons

Postby PRY4SNO » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:13 pm

Not meant to be a contest of wills/egos, but for straight up comparisons and evaluations via experience.

I'm looking for a standalone system to tune my car. Will be installing before turbo, so as to get sufficient seat time to be comfortable getting a solid base tune before dyno time.

Right now I'm in one brand camp for about a week, then get all hot and bothered about another system... then before I know it some other system is the flavour of the week. What I'd like is to have an all out comparison of the actual bottom line regarding what the pros and cons are for the various systems available.

-- 034 IIc
-- VEMS
-- Motec
-- Vipec
-- Haltech
-- Autronic
-- Megasquirt MS3x



Where the MS is concerned, it seems to be the most cost effective option and offers an auto-tune option and datalogging via onboard SD card. However, a local tuning guru (Toma K.) won't tune them on his dyno because of noise sensitivity?

Toma
Thanks for the support guys, but I prefer to stay away from MegaSquirt.... really...

If you wanna just rent dyno time, I can load it up so you can nail each load point etc, whatever, that is fine, give you some tuning advice etc... no problem, and the rate is lower like that.

But the megasquirt is incredibly sensitive to noise, and the spark scatter can be unbelievable, I really want nothing to do with them.

If you have the extra coin, yeah, AEM or Haltech are the way to go.

(from: http://forums.beyond.ca/showthread/t-306611.html)
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby All_Euro » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:21 pm

The thread concerning Toma is from 2010 - I wonder if the noise sensitivity issue with MS has been cleared up…? The reason I mention it is because I was reading a standalone review on Piston Heads, from 2012, and those guys were praising three systems…

1) MegaSquirt
2) Canems
3) Emerald

Would love to hear experiences with Emerald if anyone has input.

Said thread...http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1174348
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby PRY4SNO » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:33 pm

Great first post, thanks for the infos/link!

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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby loxxrider » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:22 am

In my opinion, if you want any kind of support, VEMS is the only way to go... especially in the Audi world. I don't know why anyone would look to anything else. Even Motec sucks for support in the US. 034 IIC? Don't even get me started on all of the reasons I'd steer clear of using that system. Talk about archaic...
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Mcstiff » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:34 am

Other than issues with too many options I have not heard any complaints, nor do I have any, about VEMS.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby PRY4SNO » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:48 am

Does VEMS offer on-board SD card (IE laptop not req'd) data-logging and an auto-tune feature?
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby pilihp2 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:10 am

It has SD card logging as well as auto-tune features.
I have ZERO complaints about my VEMS. My usual day dreams at work are about what I can put VEMS on next.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Mcstiff » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:14 am

PRY4SNO wrote:Does VEMS offer on-board SD card (IE laptop not req'd) data-logging and an auto-tune feature?


SD card is an option (I wish I had gotten it) and they have a few "autotune" features (live or from a log) which use your lambda table to suggest tuning.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby loxxrider » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:55 am

There is also EGO correction which is like the trims used in an OEM ECU. It'll use closed-loop feedback to correct your lambda if you want it to. Sorta like auto-tune. It works well too. I didn't trust it at first, but now I do. It is really useful if you don't have a lot of time to spend on tuning for cruising, etc.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby pilihp2 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:02 am

EGO correction is super helpful.
In an attempt to increase gas mileage I messed with my target lambda table a tiny bit to lean it out right at cruise levels. It's right within the ego correction limit so no issues and a bit better mileage without having to have somebody else drive while I mess with it. I'll do it proper sooner or later...
SD card logging is easy to add after purchase.
And VEMSTune for android is pretty slick. I need to a get a bluetooth adapter to legitimately use it, but the demo stuff is sweet :D
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Mcstiff » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:15 am

I've heard the app allows for logging but I do not see it in the demo. I was thinking about using the app and a small tablet as a cheap dash till I can afford something "real".
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby PRY4SNO » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:18 am

pilihp2 wrote:It has SD card logging as well as auto-tune features.
I have ZERO complaints about my VEMS. My usual day dreams at work are about what I can put VEMS on next.


HOMG awesome.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby chaloux » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:42 am

I have experience with VEMS and IIc. VEMS experience came first. All I'm going to say is that too me it was worth replacing my IIc with VEMS because of all the time I'm going to save working with something intuitive and familir. I know they can both do pretty much the same stuff but IIc interface is like VEMS handicapped adopted brother (ie totally different and way behind but in the same family)
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby speeding-g60 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:32 am

i have run ancient Haltech (E6K) and now Autronic. i love my SM4. it does everything i need and i have a reputable tuner that works with me on every change i want to make.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Marc » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:50 am

speeding-g60 wrote:i have run ancient Haltech (E6K) and now Autronic. i love my SM4. it does everything i need and i have a reputable tuner that works with me on every change i want to make.



it really does come down to support and tuning. Unless you are a pro tuner the hardware comparisons nearly don't matter. I've programmed Autronic and Haltec before. I personally don't like them as much as other boxes which is why I personally don't sell them. it doesn't make either of them a "bad" choice, just not my preference.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby speeding-g60 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:56 am

i agree, Marc. fuel is fuel, air is air. its gonna get there. i have always held that in my mind that it is the SOFTWARE INTERFACE that is going to determine help from a TUNER. and what he is familiar with. Kevin is INTIMATELY familiar with the SM4, as i bought it from him over the IIc i was offered at half the price. and features are the other thing that were big factors for me.

if i were to do a different setup, i very well may go to a VEMS unit. and i do have another project in the works.... but i also have another SM4 fully wired harness and all (but it is for a 1.8T harness). Quattro Corrado 40v 4.2L V8 with 01E :)
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby ballaudi » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:28 am

I am on my first stand alone ECU so my input may not be really valid, I am not sure if any ECU will have great support because I have not seen anyone with a 24hr toll free support line. I have recieved really great service from 034 on my IIb but I really cannot say how good the system is yet because of the winter and the coupe sits in the garage as long as there is snow on the ground. (plus I have not used another)

I would love to hear more about other systems, besides gizmo's what is the absolute difference. If you cant afford a laptop for your garage/car why would you buy an ecu? I like the idea of being able to pull over at a gas station and throwing some tweaks into the car after checking the data log. Besides SD Cards and apps what is the problem? Alot of 600hp+ cars run it sucessfully.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby EDIGREG » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:47 am

I have tuned MS1, MS2, VEMS, Motec, ViPEC....VEMS has by far my favorite interface. Motec is nice stuff but it's really expensive. I have never tuned a car on 034 software but I have played around in their interface and they would probably be my last choice. I have heard great things about MS3 but have not used it.

Between Marc Swanson, Jason Russell, and this community, you basically *DO* have 24/7 VEMS tech support just a phone call away. And if you are using an Audi/Motronic 55-pin harness it's just a no-brainer.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby alxdgr8 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:02 am

Well I have 034 IIc in one car and Wolf 3D V4+ in another.

First let me say, 034 support has been wonderful, especially since I didn't even purchase it from them. That said, I have had a lot of issues (front mounted crank triggers are the DEVIL!...finally fixed though). The only reason I have it is because it came on the car. I'm still contemplating removing it when I do the 40V swap and going to VEMS. Resale value has really gone to shit for IIc's recently...

The Wolf, I've hardly spent any time with but the software seems decent. The only saving grace is that the ex-US's only importer and master tuner of it with 951 engines is just a quick drive from my house. So when I get the 968 up and running I'll probably just book him for some dyno time and then fiddle with it after he dials it in.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby alxdgr8 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:13 pm

alxdgr8 wrote:Well I have 034 IIc in one car and Wolf 3D V4+ in another.

First let me say, 034 support has been wonderful, especially since I didn't even purchase it from them. That said, I have had a lot of issues (front mounted crank triggers are the DEVIL!...finally fixed though). The only reason I have it is because it came on the car. I'm still contemplating removing it when I do the 40V swap and going to VEMS. Resale value has really gone to shit for IIc's recently...

The Wolf, I've hardly spent any time with but the software seems decent. The only saving grace is that the ex-US's only importer and master tuner of it with 951 engines is just a quick drive from my house. So when I get the 968 up and running I'll probably just book him for some dyno time and then fiddle with it after he dials it in.


Forgot to mention, the Wolf is accompanied by a J&S Safeguard system too (which was designed from the 951 KLR knock detection circuit).
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby JonLENNY » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:10 pm

Yeah the IIC can still do everything the other ecus can. I learned on IIC and run it. Like someone else said the front mounted 60/2 wheel blows thats all I can think of.

Im scared to even try to sell it I dont want to know how much its worth, or else I wouldnt hopped on the vems bandwagon
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby speeding-g60 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:35 pm

i dont think the IIc does the things i originally chose againt it for.

VSS input for boost-by-gear, all automated no user interaction launch control (which is based upon the VSS signal).

those were two of the MAJOR deciding factors for me to decide against it when i did mine. now they may have changed stuff later, i do not know that though.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Hank » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:56 pm

The IIc is a pretty good ecu if it was in the same price range as a vems econoseal. Problem is they are still asking 1700$ for an extremely outdated ecu, and they want 95$ upgrade evrtytime they try and catch it up to industry standards. To get a vems econoseal with wideband for 750$ is the equivalent of a IIc with their wideband box and egt unit for 1750+400$. Just doesn't add up.

Logging is annoying as heck on the Iic, as is no offline tuning, or file editing.
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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby Mcstiff » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:05 am

Hank wrote:The IIc is a pretty good ecu if it was in the same price range as a vems econoseal. Problem is they are still asking 1700$ for an extremely outdated ecu, and they want 95$ upgrade evrtytime they try and catch it up to industry standards. To get a vems econoseal with wideband for 750$ is the equivalent of a IIc with their wideband box and egt unit for 1750+400$. Just doesn't add up.

Logging is annoying as heck on the Iic, as is no offline tuning, or file editing.


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Re: Standalone Comparisons

Postby chaloux » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:40 am

Don't forget interface. Super important and super-not-good on IIc.
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