it can be quickly and economically manufactured in volume.

The rest is simple - open the 'black box', remove the standard chip, plug-in the performance or 'hot chip'. It's an 'intelligent' solution.

Good 'Chips' are all things to all men. They interface with the modern fuel injection and electronic engine management systems with surgical precision. They avoid legal hassles (warranty and emissions) and they are 'invisible' to registration authorities and other bureaucratic nosey-parkers.

They fill in the gaps in the power and torque bands, smooth-out the lumps in the idle ranges and help the shifter to blend gearshifts smoothly up and down the box.

Chips can also provide an extended redline and reprogram the shift points and lock-up points of the torque-converters in slushboxes.

For those who are looking for free lodgings at Her Majesty's pleasure, chips can be reprogrammed to remove the top speed limiters (usually set to 250km/h, but occasionally much lower).

And they can also provide handy power and torque gains - plug-in, drive-away 'instant' performance boost.

A side benefit of performance engineering by computer chip is 'no grease monkeys'. Performance Chips are reprogrammed and manufactured by white-coated 'techs' in dust-proof labs. They can be fitted in hours (sometimes minutes) with power-driver and tweasers (forget the messy power-grinder and the milling lathe).

The market is dominated by a small batch of high profile suppliers, some specialized electronic engineering shops and a lot of backyarders, amateurs and hackers.

Key players are Powerchip of Melbourne, Autothority, Genie Superchips and Fueltronics.

This test used chips supplied by

shoot down your warranty, dump a huge load of dollars and still end up with a serious compromise. And besides, who wants to catch the bus for a week?

Chips 'To Go'

Good news - there's a high-tech, low cost, quick fix. It's called the 'Hot Chip'.

These days, virtually every car has an electronic engine management system
-a snazzy term for an on-board computer. Car computers are the electronic brains that call the shots. They can control everything from spark and fuel delivery to gear change points, ABS brakes, electronic suspension, trip computer, climate control and service monitoring.

The critical 'commands' are contained in a single small chunk of silicon - the management 'chip'. These chips are 'programmed' by the manufacture and 'map' all the functions of the car.

After-market Chip modifiers simply re-write the programs to provide different 'maps'. Like all re-programming, setting up the program is an excellent science -time consuming and detailed.

But, like the program in the personal computer, once it has been developed,

TOP: PERFORMANCE CHIP is a small but effective component in the EEC (electronic control unit).

MIDDLE: VARIATIONS ON A THEME: Powerchips are custom-made to suit each vehicle installation.

BOTTOM: CHIPS ARE easily transported in the correct packaging but must be handled with care.

2 - AR&T SUMMER 1995

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Home