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Power FC is reflashable

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Old 10-16-05, 12:37 PM
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Power FC is reflashable

Some months ago when i had the idea to modify the firmware (internal software) of the Power FC i opened my personal PFC to figure out the processor type.

What i found was a 78P3 cpu from NEC. So i called our NEC distributor to get a compiler (program to translate source code to a binary executable program) and a development board. Unfortunately the production was already stopped and even NEC Japan didn't had any CPU's anymore.

The 78P3 CPU has an internal Programmable Read Only Memory which can only be programmed once. The last option would now have been to tell the CPU to execute the code from an external EPROM and not from the internal PROM. But the PFC has an 8 Kb external RAM chip and if the code is executed from an external EPROM the program can not access the RAM

The conclusion was that it is not possible to reprogram the PFC.

I had then also a discussion with a buddy that Apex'i either had to buy a batch of the CPU before the production was stopped or they are now just selling what they have in stock and then they don't make the PFC any longer. Or they must have replaced the CPU with an other one.



I've then got a newer spare RX7 PFC and when i've opened the case i've found a 78F4 CPU:



The F means the CPU is flashable. That means the CPU can be reprogrammed as often as you want. The PFC has now also a white connector on the board which i guess is the interface to program the CPU. It's a common connector but i have to figure out the pins.

What i would like to say is that it is either way possible to reprogram the PFC, for example update version 5.07 with 7.07. It is also possible to add new features directly to the PFC.

I don't know yet if it is also possible to reprogram the 415-X001 Commander, the older ones can't.

Last edited by FastHatch; 10-16-05 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 10-16-05, 01:10 PM
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I'll be the first to say, wow, awesome news! Does this mean you could potentially add new selections to PFC menus etc?
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Old 10-16-05, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nzo
I'll be the first to say, wow, awesome news! Does this mean you could potentially add new selections to PFC menus etc?
Do you mean with "add new selections to PFC menus" to add new features to the PFC or to the Commander? I don't think that i will ever touch the Commanders code, maybe 2008 when i'm bored. But i may add some features to the PFC.

Please don't ask me which and when, i just wanted to say that it is possible. A downside of "patching" the PFC is that every model and version has to be patched. That means i start with patching the newest Honda version and then maybe the RX7 version. I need the PFC do dump and modify the code and i won't buy every PFC model to patch it.

The required flash programmer is the PG-FP4.

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Old 10-16-05, 01:33 PM
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I see so you could add features like antilag? What other types of features could you add? In regards to needing each model of PFC, I'm sure that when the time comes people would be more than happy to volunteer theirs for testing.
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Old 10-16-05, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Nzo
What other types of features could you add?
Any feature you can think of could be added. Even knock retard would be possible because the knock sensor voltage could be read in real time and corrections to ignition timing could be made in real time too. Not sure if the hardware is good enough, but on the software side it would work.


Originally Posted by Nzo
In regards to needing each model of PFC, I'm sure that when the time comes people would be more than happy to volunteer theirs for testing.
Sorry, but I don't think that I will ever made patches for other models. I may show how to, but for other models other people have to made it. Maybe all models share most of the code. I don't know yet.

I haven't made this thread to say that i will add any feature, i just wanted to say that it is possible.

The equipment is pretty expensive, i think about USD 3,000 if you start from scratch.

Last edited by FastHatch; 10-16-05 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 10-16-05, 05:09 PM
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Hey this would also mean being able to update fixes on PFC with faulty programming that Apex didnt catch.
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Old 10-16-05, 10:20 PM
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Kickass find! It's just amazing when you think of what all can be done with the PFC!

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Old 10-16-05, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by FastHatch
Any feature you can think of could be added. Even knock retard would be possible because the knock sensor voltage could be read in real time and corrections to ignition timing could be made in real time too. Not sure if the hardware is good enough, but on the software side it would work.
Why do you feel knock retard was omitted from the PFC? Simply the variability of the knock sensors perhaps?


And does this potentially leave you open for correcting code/changing code to facilitate features that you want to add to FC Tune?


Would this allow you to reduce the amount of superfluous information sent back and forth through the port, to increased resolution? (if I am understanding the way data has been described to me to move through the system)
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Old 10-17-05, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rotarypower101
Why do you feel knock retard was omitted from the PFC? Simply the variability of the knock sensors perhaps?
Maybe the old CPU was too slow with 16 MHz (new has 32 MHz), maybe they thought knock retard is not required, maybe it was not reliable or whatever. Email them and see if you get a reply


Originally Posted by rotarypower101
And does this potentially leave you open for correcting code/changing code to facilitate features that you want to add to FC Tune?
As far as correcting code i think it's the best idea to start with the latest PFC version. I guess the hardware is the same and only the software has changed so it should be possible to update the PFC with the latest version.

Changing code and adding new features is also not easy because the code has to be disassembled and than you've read through every single instruction. It helps that the calibration/settings are written to fixed addesses, so the memory address is a good way to start to understand what happends where.

But don't ask what i can do, do it yourself I hope that some people start to add new features to the PFC. Many people have done this with the stock Honda ECU.

Maybe someone can make a programming adapter only for the PFC? The one from NEC costs about USD 1,000.


Originally Posted by rotarypower101
Would this allow you to reduce the amount of superfluous information sent back and forth through the port, to increased resolution? (if I am understanding the way data has been described to me to move through the system)
It would be possible to extend the interface to request single channels.
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Old 10-18-05, 09:45 PM
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Is the 5.07 version the 93-95 spec ecu's, ala fit our engine harness (2 pin row)? The 7.07 ecu for the 96 and newer cars/ecus that have the 3 pin row engine harnesses?

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Old 11-23-06, 02:05 AM
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hi a bit of an off topic question
but the main skyline versions r33 and r34 gtst are discontinued, as we all assume the main nec processor isnt made. couldnt apexi just adapt the board to use the new 78F4 cpu ?
like the one fasthatch found in a new rx7 rotary PFC ?
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Old 11-23-06, 08:34 AM
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The 78K3 CPUs have already been discontinued a while ago, I wasn't able to get any equipment or CPUs last year anymore.

The 78K4 is not pin compatible (that means you can't just put a K4 into the socket of a K3 and it works), like AMD and Intel CPUs.

So the board layout needs to be redesigned and the software needs some modifications.

I don't know if Apexi already made those changes in the past with the now discontinued models. Maybe someone could open a recently bought PFC.

One reason could be that they bought a last batch of 78K3 and just run out of them now and made the business decision that it won't be profitable to redesign those models.

An other reason I could think of is that they just don't sell enough of these models anymore. They get the circuit boards made somewhere and you have to buy a batch of 100 or 1000 boards. Those boards are only cheap if you are having them mass productioned. Every PFC is different, so you have to prepare the production line for each PFC. So if they don't sell enough of them anymore they can't produce them profitable.
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Old 11-23-06, 05:55 PM
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yeah i understand what you are saying andre
hopefully they are redesiging the r33 and r34 versions, they were really popular
will try and get a recent ish FC opened up for some pics
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Old 04-18-07, 05:30 AM
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Threadreseraction LOL

I just found some more info on this topic if someone can translate it

http://www.kaele.com/~kashima/car/pfcadp

http://www.kaele.com/~kashima/car/powerfc/
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Old 04-26-07, 09:00 PM
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I really wish there was a way to do this and relatively easy.

The powerfc is great, and would be perfect if there was a launch control feature, and an antilag feature.

Surely there is a way or someone has done this.

Any luck translating the links above?
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Old 05-02-07, 08:33 PM
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I sent an email to the dude in those above links, and I will let you know if he responds. If he can add features to the standard powerfc to make them like a PRO unit, it will be the biggest hit in the entire ECU market I'd say.
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Old 04-01-09, 09:28 AM
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Old 04-01-09, 12:36 PM
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explain?
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Old 04-01-09, 01:01 PM
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What are you doing there? I also have opened my PFC since my motor is blown and funds don't permit a speedy rebuild. So in my free time I started looking at the actually parts of the PFC but didn't get very far since most of this is over my head. However I do work for a company that hacks Bosch ecu's all day long and when they have a little down time I talk to the "hacker" that does all the work for them and I was hoping to atleast get the source code out and have a look at it.

FastHatch I don't know how far along you are with what your doing there but if you run into a hurdle and need some help let me know. The guy I have access to can do some crazy **** when it comes to cracking code and I'm sure he'll be up for a challenge.
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Old 04-01-09, 01:02 PM
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3rd time back from the dead
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Old 04-01-09, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Time 4 Rebuild View Post
What are you doing there? I also have opened my PFC since my motor is blown and funds don't permit a speedy rebuild. So in my free time I started looking at the actually parts of the PFC but didn't get very far since most of this is over my head. However I do work for a company that hacks Bosch ecu's all day long and when they have a little down time I talk to the "hacker" that does all the work for them and I was hoping to atleast get the source code out and have a look at it.

FastHatch I don't know how far along you are with what your doing there but if you run into a hurdle and need some help let me know. The guy I have access to can do some crazy **** when it comes to cracking code and I'm sure he'll be up for a challenge.


hmmmm a pfc going to mars... not a bad idea ....hmmmmmm
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Old 04-01-09, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by R-R-Rx7 View Post
3rd time back from the dead
Yep. I wish I had the equipment already a few years ago, but actually it's very expensive. Everything together almost $3,000.

http://www.semiconductorstore.com/ca...idproduct=3044

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Old 04-01-09, 10:56 PM
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So FASTHATCH, What have you been able to do?

I think the one thing that I would love to have is a Ignition Cut instead of a Fuel Cut, for Limits
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Old 04-02-09, 05:18 AM
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Also very interested in your findings Fasthatch!

If you have any more info to share I would love ot hear it.
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Old 04-02-09, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Circuit Theory View Post
Also very interested in your findings Fasthatch!

If you have any more info to share I would love ot hear it.
It's currently only a proof of concept. I have all the required equipment now and have severall ideas and checking them for their doability, price etc.


"I think the one thing that I would love to have is a Ignition Cut instead of a Fuel Cut, for Limits"

Unlikely.


"The powerfc is great, and would be perfect if there was a launch control feature, and an antilag feature."

Likely.
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