What is flashing an ECU?

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What is flashing an ECU
What is flashing an ECU

This is the most recent in fuel-injection tuning and they have been doing it for years with cars. What is ECU flashing? How does it work?

Tuning involves changing the fuelling of engines. You can modify the exhaust or airbox, change the cam timing, or fit a turbocharger. You’ll likely need to modify the fuelling to ensure your engine receives the correct amount of fuel throughout the BT Moto.

Carburettors required that the jets were physically changed. These small tubes of brass had precise holes that allowed the fuel to flow through the tubes. Fuel injection is a lot easier. You can adjust the time the ECU opens fuel injectors. This allows you to change the amount of fuel that is being put in.

The traditional method of adjusting the injector duration on bikes was to use an aftermarket fuel-injection computer like the Dynojet Power Commander. These tiny boxes intercept the injector signal from an engine’s Electronic Control Unit, (ECU), and alter the duration before it is passed onto the injector. A Dynojet Dyno and control software allow a tuner to quickly and easily adjust the fuelling at any engine speed and through a variety of throttle openings.

The results are usually very good. A Power Commander allows for great fuel control and can adjust to a variety of engine tunings.

There are some limitations and things that you can’t do with a computer. This brings us to the second method for fuelling tuning: re-flashing your ECU. This involves actually editing the control program that is on the bike’s standard ECU and then uploading it to the memory. Flashing is the name of the process, as EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) chips were used in computers back in the old days. Flashing them – physically placing them under ultraviolet light to erase them – allows a new program to be placed onto the memory.

Today, UV lamps are not required to reprogram memory chips. Instead, we use EEPROMs or similar types of memories. However, we still need some specialized kit. A method to connect a computer or laptop with the ECU. ECU flashing is more common on cars than it is on bikes. Cars have historically had simpler ways to connect to ECUs than bikes. Many of the major bike manufacturers use closed, proprietary fuel injection systems. There is no other way to access sealed ECUs than factory procedures or high-end hacking methods.

Woolich Racing has developed tools that allow us to access the ECU of modern bikes. This means that we can program not only fuelling parameters but also any other control that the ECU has. You can adjust the speed at which throttle plates open relative to twistgrip on Ride-byWire bikes like Yamaha’s Yamaha R6 and Yamaha R1. This restriction may be found on some bikes. The ECU will not open certain gears completely if the throttle plates are restricted. These restrictions can be removed by flashing the ECU. PAIR fresh air injection can be inserted into the exhaust ports or the EXUP operation. You can control the opening characteristics of secondary throttle valves like a GSX-R and Hayabusa. You can adjust the fan speed, bypass sidestand switches and clutch switches, change rev limits and use more extreme ignition timings to match high-octane fuel. You have the option to adjust your idle speed, use quickshifter functions, or even access datalogging and bypass functions for the immobiliser.

This is the theory behind ECU flashing. It’s not as easy in the real world. Change your bikes is a major problem. It is harder to get your ECU flashing money refunded. A Power Commander can be easily removed and sold secondhand for good money. The bike will need a flashed ECU, which may or not result in the bike being returned to its original value. The ECU will not work with standard settings if the bike is returned to stock. It may be necessary to pay for the ECU to be set up to a standard map.