'Never has so much been achieved with so little - Chips are the ultimate compact, cost-effective 'fix' for modern cars'.

selves. Thus your warranty remains unaffected.

Today's Chips come with full warranty and technical support, and a sensible price structure determined by what you ask for and expect.

A key development is the advent of D.I.Y Chips. This business has been developed to a fine art by Powerchip and has almost eliminated the 'Fit-n-Chip shop'. Mail order Chips sets now incorporate a D.I.Y pack containing everything the average motorist needs to install the replacement Chip on the home driveway. And there's a back-up Helpline as well.

The changeover is quick, and can be handled by most motorists in as little as two minutes with simple tools and no prior experience.

Some manufactures offer a range of Chips for each model, including custom versions. For example, one chip for Standard Unleaded Fuel and another for Premium Unleaded. Most advanced Custom Chips are designed to mate with 'Packages' including air filters and exhaust systems. Still others are designed to complement the installation of new 'sticks' (Cams). Of course, you can go the whole hog and have your own Chip custom-designed especially - just add time (and money).

And if you have any doubts about what can be achieved, most manufactures can offer genuine testimonials and are quite happy to put you in touch with satisfied customers. Such has been the success of the Chip business, that many buyers have adopted a proprietorial attitude towards their favourite Chip supplier and are only to happy to talk to potential new customers and extol the virtues of the automotive 'silicone implant'.

A Fascinating Future...

The future holds no limits - already available technology is capable of expanding the performance of the Chip - to include provision for on-board reprogramming, owner-friendly self set-up (for example, a keyboard inside the lid of your glove-box!) and the ability to interpret a number of different programs to suit your specific use at a specific time. On-demand selections might vary from city/economy driving to interstate cruising or weekend club-racing. Another option is 'percentage' chips. These will provide programs allowing you to select from 1-100 percent effect - lend the car to the kids and knock it back to 60 percent, dial it back to 100 for your own use...

Still other advances will see the Chip encompassing on-board technology to offer options on traction control, use and application of ABS, partial and full-time four wheel, front wheel or rear wheel

'The after-market Chip is the grease-free 'fix' for electro-mechanical headaches'.

drive. There will also be complex on-board monitoring systems to keep you informed of items from revs to catalytic converter performance; compression ratios to power and torque output; and instantaneous updating of fuel efficiency.

The sky is, quite literally, the limit!

All that aside however, it's the performance and benefits of today's technology that is of the most interest to you, the consumer, and that's what we are here to evaluate.

High Tech Testing

AUSTRALIAN ROAD & TRACK pioneered the evaluation of Chips in Australia and established the test procedures for the proper assessment of products in the marketplace. As a result, the publication is long regarded as the only professional authorities equipped to offer independent and unbiased testing.

In the past, we have compared and evaluated products from many different companies and established the principle of back-to-back testing to evaluate Chip performance.

In this, our latest foray into the fascinating world of Microchip technology, we utilised a range of products provided by Powerchip of Melbourne. This is not to say that Powerchip is the only company in the field or the most dominant. However, like AR&T, Powerchip is small, aggressive, professional and innovative - and is prepared to supply products to meet our requirements for impartial testing.

Powerchip is arguably the pioneer of D.I.Y Chip marketing in Australia and has certainly developed this approach to a refined level. It is one of the highest volume operators in the country with an exemplary Service, Warranty and Customer Satisfaction record.

More than three months went into the planning and research for this project and Powerchip's Wayne Besanko provided product and data for more than a dozen vehicles, 11 of which were tested for this review. We utilised the world class facilities of Calder Park International Raceway, including the Drag Strip, International Circuit and the Thunderdome Speedbowl, and of course supplemented this with on-road evaluations. All-up, we sampled more than 20 cars, over more than a week of varied and demanding testing.

Facts and figures were compiled using Australian Road & Track's computerised electronic test equipment - including the Datron Correvit and Vericom VC2000, the most advanced test equipment in use in this country and the equal of anything available anywhere in the world.

QUALITY, free-breathing replacement air-filters stimlate optimum Chip performance.

Australian Road & Track

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