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Hondata | The BEST Reflash Tuning Solution For A Honda? [TECH TALK]


– As cars are becoming more complex,
it’s becoming more and more difficult to replace the factory ECU with a full
aftermarket standalone ECU. And this is where products that allow
the code or programming inside the factory ECU to be modified are becoming much
more prominent and much more important. And we’re here with Doug from Hondata,
long time supporter of the Honda brand, to talk about how that Hondata product
works. So Doug your product has stretched a long
way back in Honda’s history. It’s a product that I’m familiar with
myself and let’s start with your older systems for the early OBD1 based ECUs. Now in that sort of ECU, it was impossible
to reprogram the ECU or reflash the ECU through the OBD2 plug or the
diagnostics plug. You actually had to modify the ECU itself? – Yes the early computers ran with an
EPROM which is a fairly standard piece of electronic equipment which you
could pull it out, reprogram and put back in. But what we developed for that is a plug
in circuit board which takes the place of the EPROM with a USB adaptor inside
of the ECU case and we’ve turned it into a real time programmable engine
management system with lots of inputs and outputs, very similar to
many aftermarket engine management systems you can buy. – Now with that particular product
as well as your other products that are reflashable without modifying the ECU
itself, you’ve had the option or the ability to add additional functionality. So I think this is one of the areas a lot
of customers sort of may worry about with the option of reprogramming their
factory ECU. Do you miss out on some of that
functionality that you get with a full standalone, maybe full boost control,
maybe launch control, data logging, those sorts of things. How do you handle that with Hondata? – Well obviously the stock computers don’t
have anything like boost control or launch control so we leave all of the
stock code in the computer, we don’t change any of the OBD1 or OBD2
functionality but we add features and functions that customers want. So boost control, we take control of one
of the purge control outputs of the computer and connect that to boost control
solenoids. So we have as a result of adding the
software and the hardware output, boost by gear and boost by RPM,
and the ability of course to do bigger injectors which any engine management
system can do. But also the ability to handle things like
nitrous, alcohol, ethanol, and ethanol content sensor input. So it has the functionality of a lot of
many higher priced engine management systems but starting off with your stock
computer which comes with your vehicle. – So in terms of the Hondata product,
it becomes a very cost effective way of reprogramming the ECU? – Oh absolutely, we find that if we look
at the entirety of the tuning community and what people do, the Hondata products
suit probably 95% to about 97% of what your customers want to do. And for those customers who need more
inputs and more outputs that the stock computer doesn’t provide, there are plenty
of aftermarket engine management systems which have got that higher
level of functionality. But the one big advantage of our products
working with the Honda ECUs is they were designed to run these engines in the
first place. And as I tell a lot of people, Honda has
spent more money on R&D, just getting their Honda’s to start and
idle, than most people have spent on designing their entire engine
management systems. – Yeah I think that’s an aspect that is
often overlooked. You’ve got an ECU that is designed from
the outset to run one specific engine and do the best job possible of running
that engine compared to a universal standalone aftermarket ECU that’s
obviously designed to be able to be fitted on and run just about any
of thousands of different engines. So obviously that makes sense. So where would you say the limitations,
if there are any, would lie with this sort of system where you are basing
your control around that Honda ECU? Are there limitations? – There are limitations and more for
inputs and outputs. The stock Honda engine computers,
when they designed the circuit boards, don’t have analog inputs and digital
and analog outputs or controls for controlling external devices. And that’s because Honda have not
designed their ECUs to interface with that sort of hardware. And that’s probably the biggest limitation
it’s for inputs and outputs from the stock engine and computer which in an
aftermarket system, those are generic. You can customise and tailor that. But to a point we’ve got for example,
in our OBD1 S300 and our KPro systems, we’ve got eight analog inputs which we
can feed in through our circuit board. But for something from, for the reflash
only computers which is from 2006 onwards, we never open up the
computer, everything is done through the OBD2 port. – Now let’s move onto those 2006
onwards ECUs. So now as you’ve said you don’t need
to modify or add that daughter board onto the factory ECU, everything can
be changed via that OBD2 port. So how much easier for you has that
made the process of modifying the factory tuning? – Well one of the things from a business
standpoint is that the computer never needs to come to us. We just send out a flash for a programming
device. The customer doesn’t even need to know
where the computer is and it’s been quite funny, in some of the early days
when we’ve been receiving ECUs from people to update, they’ve sent
steering columns, anti lock brake computers, they’ve sent all sorts of
things because they haven’t been able to find out and know where their
computer is. So it’s made it easier for the customer. They just find their OBD2 port, plug in,
make any program changes that they want and then upload it within
five minutes is typically all it takes. – Now in terms of the factory ECU as well,
as the cars have become more complex, the communications between that factory
ECU and all of the other electronic modules in the car has become much
more prominent, particularly with CAN communications. That’s also made it much more difficult
to remove that factory ECU and replace it with a standalone so retaining the
factory ECU means that everything else in the car still works
as Honda intended? – That’s correct and your vehicle these
days is a rolling chassis of computers. Just computer systems for everything
and the data that it’s flowing between all those computer systems is really
quite, there’s quite a lot of it. So we knew from the standpoint
of our business is that, there’s no way we could make our own
standalone computer system and have it work with the same degree of
sophistication and reliability that a manufacturer could to communicate
with all of the systems. So we just work with whatever Honda
has provided us and we’re standing on the shoulders of giants here so any
changes that we make, and we just deal specifically with the
engine tuning. We don’t alter anything on the other
safety aspects of the vehicle for anything anti lock braking, and we don’t interfere
with any of that communication, that just works exactly as the
manufacturer had intended. – Now when it comes to a new model
from Honda, they’re bringing out a new car for example. You’ve been working with Honda brand
for a very long time. From your perspective, when a new model
comes out, do you get any support from Honda or are you just having to start
from scratch and reverse engineer what’s inside that ECU? – Well support from Honda, I’ll get onto
that in a little bit. But we have developed everything from
scratch. We’ll take the computer, we’ll read
the information out, we’ll analyse it, have a look at it,
and if necessary we will rewrite and add the code that we need to add. Honda is a Japanese company and we
get probably a phone call every week or two from Honda employees saying
I have this kind of Honda for myself, what can you do for me. So it’s the engineers from within Honda
who are the enthusiasts, they wanna put their cars on the
racetrack and they wanna do performance stuff with them and it’s been very
heartening for us that over the last 12 months, with the introduction of the
new turbo Honda Civic here, we’ve had feedback from Honda is that
they want to see their vehicles on the drag strip now, they want to see
them on the circuit racing, they want to see their vehicles being
used by enthusiasts. So Honda themselves now have a
performance based vehicle, and they want to see it being used
as it should be. So back to your earlier question,
do we get any advance information? No we basically figure it out
all ourselves. – Sounds like the hard way of doing it
but obviously you’re definitely getting there with it. One other aspect with using that factory
ECU that is becoming more and more critical particularly here in the US
market where emissions compliance is so critical, we’re seeing that also
spread around the rest of the world. With an aftermarket standalone ECU
it can in some instances be difficult in some instances even impossible
to achieve emissions compliance. Whereas provided you have an engine
that’s mechanically capable of being emissions compliant, retaining that
factory ECU, that catalytic converter et cetera, emissions compliance is not
a problem? – It’s not a problem if it’s
done correctly. Now funnily when you look inside
the code for the engine computer, the actual code you need to run
the engine itself is pretty minimal. About 80% of the computer code
is associated with emissions compliance, monitoring sensors,
is everything within spec? So we worked with the California
air resources board to develop a carb specific flash throw and we
have taken our vehicles and our performance programs to the laboratory
and we’ve run the same emissions test that Honda has had to do when
they have passed their emissions calibrations for their vehicles. And it’s a tough test. It’s 25 minutes on a dyno, a small
roller dyno, running through a road course of loads and speeds, quite hard
acceleration, where all of the gases from your exhaust
pipe are gathered and analysed to make sure that it does not exceed
manufacturer or emissions level specifications that the US government
sets. So I’d like to think that having passed
the emissions tests for the California, State of California, we should have no
problem passing emissions tests for any other country in the world. – Well that’s definitely an important
aspect and as time goes on, obviously the focus on emissions
is only going to become more critical. Again making it harder for a lot in the
aftermarket with standalone ECUs to make cars road legal. Look thanks Doug for your time there
and thanks for giving us some insight into the Hondata brand. Now if our viewers want to find out more,
how can they get in touch? – Well obviously the internet’s the
easiest way and hondata.com on the internet and we’ve got all of
our contact details there. And we’ve got information on all of the
vehicles that we do performance for, and the nice thing about the new Civic
that’s just come out is it’s a world vehicle. And we’re travelling to a lot of countries
and we’re setting up a lot of distributors in different countries
and there are a lot of enthusiasts everywhere really excited to see the
performance potential of the new Hondas coming out. – Definitely we’re excited to see where
that product goes in the next few years as people get stuck into modifying it. Thanks again for your time Doug. – Thanks Andre. – If you liked that video,
make sure you give it a thumbs up and if you’re not already a subscriber,
make sure you’re subscribed. We release a new video every week. And if you like free stuff,
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Bernard Jenkins

19 Comments

  1. I had the chance to meet Doug and had a 101 tuning coarse. This guy knows his stuff! He definitely needs more credit then people give him

  2. Hondata flashpro is the best investment i did for my 8th gen si, the car runs better then factory and better fuel economy im satisfied with the program.

  3. Andre are you following the PFIspeed youtube channel? Seeing how you are a tuner I thought you would be interested in following Brent. Would love to see you interview him would be very interesting. You both seem like nice guys.

  4. I love that black HPA shirt. I need to buy more they are such good quality best shirt I've ever had but then again I buy cheap shirts lol great interview hondata is a legend great job guys!

  5. Going stand-alone is a better bet for a race car. Especially if you want full control of individual coils (of any brand), staged injectors, multiple fuel pumps, etc. Also no can output to feed dashes like racepack.

  6. Kinda weird how all the binary digits on the label are actually an ASCII representation of "hondatd" and not "hondata"

  7. Can the dealership tell if you use a flashpro on a new civic? I see some convincing arguments that they cannot

  8. Awesome video once again! I'll have to give this a share on my page as I mostly tune these Hondata linked ECU's ;] They're a very cool and cost-effective way to tune these cars, without a doubt.

  9. Can this tune a Acura vigor? I know it’s still a Honda but I just want to make sure

  10. They couldn't help me with my obd 2b civic… They said to convert to obd1… But then I will never pass emissions

  11. just because honda spent lot of money on something doesn't mean it's good that's a silly argument

  12. for a 2007 acura tl type s will I need a CD drive or just a usb drive? bc have no cd drive

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