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Thread: ECU Recommendations

  1. #1
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    Default ECU Recommendations

    Researching ECU options for my R400 to upgrade from the unlockable Caterham one. I have looked at Emerald and SBD but am sure there are 100's of other options. Anyone have experience/advice they would like to share and make a recommendation?

    I just up-tuned the motor with headwork, roller barrels and dry sump and am prepping for a dyno trip. Nothing done to the lower end BTW.

  2. #2
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    I have the MBE from SBD and I had Steve do a remote tune. Worked fine.
    Mangia bene, Ridi spesso, Ama molto, Guidare veloce

    2000 Caterham Superlight #123
    1.8L VHPD Rover K Series
    2009 Caterham SV
    2.3L Cosworth Duratec

  3. #3
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    I’ve used Omex in the past on a number of different cars and always found a suitable unit. http://www.omextechnology.co.uk/
    1985 Caterham Super Seven

  4. #4
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    Feb 2010
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    I'm also in the market for an ECU for my Duratec build. Emerald K6 is top of my list, since they offer Caterham wiring looms and should have a pretty good base map. I've also found them very responsive to e-mails.

    Other contenders are Omex 600 and the MBE 9A4. I'm not sure how easy it is to get a US dyno operator to use the different software, since they're not that common over here?

  5. #5
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    For a long time there, the Emerald was considered a "hard to tune" in the US as not many people were permitted to by the company. Has this changed meaningfully? Lots of people use it - very popular usage on our cars. I have not had much exposure otherwise.

    I have an older Omex ECU on the Cossie and works fine. Needs a retune but the dyno guys 100 yards from my garage have a AWD roller set up and know Omex. Wont help you as they are wrong side of the country from you. Not sure about the distribution of US based dyno knowledge otherwise.

    For MBE, the approach for locked Caterham systems is to rent Steve at SBD in the UK and do it remotely. He takes control of the dyno and remotely tunes it on a dyno here. Quite a few have done it that way to great success. I suspect Beachman Racing also has a west coast solution for this re locked MBE ECU. For unlocked MBE ECUs you can use any shop with a decent dyno guy who downloads the easimap software from the internet. I know a few who have done this without problem.

    One key question - what are you doing for wiring harness? Custom or off the shelf?
    Mike
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration - engine and dry sump install time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A (restoration - engine rebuild)
    1982 Ferrari 400i (will repaint to original color in 2020)
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (fettling after long period of storage)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croc View Post
    I have an older Omex ECU on the Cossie and works fine. Needs a retune but the dyno guys 100 yards from my garage have a AWD roller set up and know Omex. Wont help you as they are wrong side of the country from you.
    Can your guy remote tune Omex?
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

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  7. #7
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    Feb 2010
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    Emerald: I'm pretty sure the K6 is an "open" ECU, that can be tuned by any shop. They told me they could even help the dyno operator remotely, using TeamViewer.

    MBE: so are the ones supplied by Caterham "locked", while aftermarket ones are "unlocked"? I quite like the idea of it being done remotely by SBD, assuming I can find a compliant shop here.

    Harness: if there is a ready-made harness that suits the Caterham chassis and Duratec engine layout, I'd probably buy that, but I'm able to make my own custom harness too.

  8. #8
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    Croc, are you thinking of a different manufacturer (or perhaps started your Gin & Tonic vacation a little early)? I bought my first ECU from Emerald in 2004 and upgraded that to K3 a few years later. Neither ECU was locked, the tuning software was free for anyone to download, they provide a free starter map based on their extensive library, and offered to speak with my dyno operators if needed. Great support and the software is very easy to use.

    When I installed my Duratec I rolled my own engine loom, but replaced that a couple of years ago with one from Emerald. Wish I did that from the start. Very well made, fully labeled, and they'll customize it to fit your installation.

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcarguy View Post
    Can your guy remote tune Omex?
    Doubt it. He was surprised when I talked about using his dyno to have Steve at SBD do a future Caterham retune. Clearly never done it before. So at least I have a local Caterham tune person myself on the locked ECU. Or I can just use the secret password I suppose...



    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrino View Post
    MBE: so are the ones supplied by Caterham "locked", while aftermarket ones are "unlocked"? I quite like the idea of it being done remotely by SBD, assuming I can find a compliant shop here.

    Harness: if there is a ready-made harness that suits the Caterham chassis and Duratec engine layout, I'd probably buy that, but I'm able to make my own custom harness too.
    Yes thats it. If you buy an ECU from Caterham or even a Caterham one from SBD, it will be locked with a password. But you can just buy an unlocked MBE from SBD and tune it yourself via the easimap software and the password they give you.

    If you have it done by SBD then keep in mind he does it during UK business hours. California is quite a bit slower than the UK/East Coast/Majority of the World... Not many dyno tuners are open at 6am Pacific.

    For harness, I am not sure there is a ready made one other than Caterham. They sell it in in 3 chunks - chassis harness, switch harness, engine harness. Not cheap - probably GBP1000 that way?

    Simon at Meteor Motorsports in the UK has a connection for a custom harness but that has a pretty lengthy lead time.

    I am aware of these guys below. No idea if they are any good. They have a generic kit car wiring harness - probably exactly what you need. If you go with an Emerald ECU and a Duratec then they sell their own engine harness.
    https://www.autosparks.co.uk/



    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCh View Post
    Croc, are you thinking of a different manufacturer (or perhaps started your Gin & Tonic vacation a little early)?
    Would you stop! You are like the uncle that turns up at Thanksgiving, gets drunk, farts, gropes Aunt Mabel and generally make a nuisance of himself.

    No. I went back searching this forum. A long time past, there were a bunch of issues with Emeralds on Dunnell engines where the tune would be locked down. Another factor was likely TMW and Birkin. Having re-read the problems the issue was not so much the Emerald as it was Dunnell locking owners out of their ability to reset the tune, i.e. identical to Caterham with MBE.

    Its the problem knowing so much, you forget the important bits!
    Mike
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration - engine and dry sump install time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A (restoration - engine rebuild)
    1982 Ferrari 400i (will repaint to original color in 2020)
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (fettling after long period of storage)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    There are others as well... my car has a Haltech. Tbox is using a Typhoon ECU's in the cars he builds. One advantage is none of these are locked. You just need to find a trustworthy tuner.
    Last edited by wemtd; 11-28-2019 at 09:05 PM.

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