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Old 05-30-2018, 03:00 PM   #1
89_740Turbo
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Default Benefits and drawbacks of megasquirting as well as megasquirt help in Tri-State area?

I'm in the process of slowly upgrading my 740T. Got a chipped ecu, totally new suspension, new tune up done, getting a new ipd turbo cam and will be getting a 3'' DP w/ 2.5'' exhaust.
I've been reading up about megasquirting and how to do it from threads such as this - http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=282440

From what I gather, it actually seems pretty complicated but I'm also reading threads where some say its fairly easy. I also read this article - https://www.diyautotune.com/support/...r-240-740-940/ - but don't know anything about MegaSquirt-I PCBv2.2, PCBv3.0 and PCBv3.57, so I am continuing to read.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of megasquirting? Also, does anyone know of anywhere in NJ, PA or NY that I could go to to learn hands on how to do it and possibly get it done? Does having a chipped ecu defeat the purpose of getting a megasquirt?
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:11 PM   #2
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Spend a weekend getting it running, spend a week getting it running halfway decently, spend forever trying to get it perfect.

The benefit of a chipped ECU is that you just get whatever the chipping says you get, and you're not constantly worrying about if it could be tweaked a bit here, nudged a bit there, raise the boost a little, etc.

The benefit of Megasquirt is that you get to set up every aspect of how the engine runs. So you can handle non-stock hardware. So you don't need a MAF. Etc.

It's also a fun techy thing to do, if you are into that sort of thing. If you aren't something like MS might not really be for you.

MS1, MS2, and MS3 all refer to basic generations of the MS platform, basically different processors. MS isn't really a 'real time' computing system, like some OEM ECU's are, it has to fake it by looping fast enough that it is 'practically real time'. Over time, as the MS firmware/software has evolved, it's taken on more tasks, and this has gradually required more computing HP from the chip.

PCB 2.2 was the first 'largely available' version of the printed circuit board. The PCB's are really the only licensed parts of the whole thing (???), the parts are all common electronic bits, people can either choose to build theirs from a bare board on up, or buy partially or completely assembled.

PCB 3.0 was an improved version of the PCB made with years of experience with some issues with the 2.2. 3.57 is basically a SMD version of the 3.0 board. SMD's are the tiny surface mount components, this board is not really meant to be home-assembled, but designed for automated production lines where robots zap on all the electronics.

Having a chipped ECU can do some of what you can do with MS, it doesn't defeat the purpose of MS, it's just a (somewhat limited) alternative. If you MS the car, you'd take off all the stock ECU's.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:27 PM   #3
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Spend a weekend getting it running, spend a week getting it running halfway decently, spend forever trying to get it perfect.

The benefit of a chipped ECU is that you just get whatever the chipping says you get, and you're not constantly worrying about if it could be tweaked a bit here, nudged a bit there, raise the boost a little, etc.

The benefit of Megasquirt is that you get to set up every aspect of how the engine runs. So you can handle non-stock hardware. So you don't need a MAF. Etc.

It's also a fun techy thing to do, if you are into that sort of thing. If you aren't something like MS might not really be for you.

MS1, MS2, and MS3 all refer to basic generations of the MS platform, basically different processors. MS isn't really a 'real time' computing system, like some OEM ECU's are, it has to fake it by looping fast enough that it is 'practically real time'. Over time, as the MS firmware/software has evolved, it's taken on more tasks, and this has gradually required more computing HP from the chip.

PCB 2.2 was the first 'largely available' version of the printed circuit board. The PCB's are really the only licensed parts of the whole thing (???), the parts are all common electronic bits, people can either choose to build theirs from a bare board on up, or buy partially or completely assembled.

PCB 3.0 was an improved version of the PCB made with years of experience with some issues with the 2.2. 3.57 is basically a SMD version of the 3.0 board. SMD's are the tiny surface mount components, this board is not really meant to be home-assembled, but designed for automated production lines where robots zap on all the electronics.

Having a chipped ECU can do some of what you can do with MS, it doesn't defeat the purpose of MS, it's just a (somewhat limited) alternative. If you MS the car, you'd take off all the stock ECU's.
Wow, great explanation! Thank you.

The chipped ECU I bought is from sbabbs which is 20% acceleration and upped rev limit to 6.7k, so it's not insane but extremely useful for say, a larger turbo or increasing the boost on my current turbo setup. The MG seems very interesting, but as you said, involves some intense software and work.

Maybe I should just worry about MS later on and focus on the upgrades I am currently doing. The chipped ECU and EZK from sbabbs is, from what ive read, phenomenal so I'm sure I will be happy with that!
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:31 PM   #4
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I cheated on my first MS. I bought a plug-n-play harness from Kenny (linuxman) and an MS1 box way back when. That shortened the learning curve quite a bit. Other than installing the ITA sensor on the cold side intercooler pipe (I did that a few days in advance) it really took about an hour from turning the car off running the stock ECU's, and starting it up on MS.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:35 PM   #5
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I cheated on my first MS. I bought a plug-n-play harness from Kenny (linuxman) and an MS1 box way back when. That shortened the learning curve quite a bit. Other than installing the ITA sensor on the cold side intercooler pipe (I did that a few days in advance) it really took about an hour from turning the car off running the stock ECU's, and starting it up on MS.
What kind of improvements did you see to the car after installation?
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:36 PM   #6
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Maybe I should just worry about MS later on and focus on the upgrades I am currently doing. The chipped ECU and EZK from sbabbs is, from what ive read, phenomenal so I'm sure I will be happy with that!


Get your car running with your current upgrades. What you have listed is a recipe for a quick fun driver.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:37 PM   #7
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MS is a great way to go. But from reading what you want to do. In my opinion the chip set you have from Simon will provide what you are looking for as far as power and drive ability upgrades.

I agree work on getting the rest of the car to a good place like the stage zero we refer to. Go with some easy upgrades like his chipset for now to satisfy the desire for more power.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:44 PM   #8
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What kind of improvements did you see to the car after installation?
Nothing really, it was a building block. Later on I added a bigger turbo, bigger injectors, big exhaust, cam, E85, etc, etc, etc. Electronic boost control. Eventually a 16V swap.

Chips have to be set up by someone who expects a certain set of engine hardware to go along with it. If you're going to be changing things a lot, or arriving at an unusual setup, an (easily) programmable system like MS is better.

There are tradeoffs really. Things like idle control were difficult to get just right, the factory spent hundreds of hours with experts tweaking their chips to do something mundane like that. With MS it's not like you just click an 'idle control' button in the software.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:49 PM   #9
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Get your car running with your current upgrades. What you have listed is a recipe for a quick fun driver.
Ill definitely be doing that. Just wanted to talk a little about MS and learn some more about it
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Old 05-30-2018, 04:47 PM   #10
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Nothing really, it was a building block. Later on I added a bigger turbo, bigger injectors, big exhaust, cam, E85, etc, etc, etc. Electronic boost control. Eventually a 16V swap.

Chips have to be set up by someone who expects a certain set of engine hardware to go along with it. If you're going to be changing things a lot, or arriving at an unusual setup, an (easily) programmable system like MS is better.

There are tradeoffs really. Things like idle control were difficult to get just right, the factory spent hundreds of hours with experts tweaking their chips to do something mundane like that. With MS it's not like you just click an 'idle control' button in the software.
True but collectively in the community you get "crowd sourced" hours of this worked well, this didn't. It's certainly not the same but with MS these days, and the cookie cutter aspect of the +T setups on our cars we (at least I think) are getting to the point of some real solid data being available on setups no?
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Old 05-30-2018, 05:27 PM   #11
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^That's probably true in the LSX world where there are lots and lots of dudes with the same swap kits running around but I don't think that's the case in Volvo land. Since there isn't a "kit" per say you have John's set up which is different from mine which is different from Kenny's which is different from someone else's and on and on. Yeah, you can get close sharing tunes but there's always something slightly different.

I've found getting the idle to be OEM smooth is the most difficult. I could spend days just playing with the idle controls and it probably still wouldn't idle as well as LH does even with the vacuum leaks all old Volvo's have.
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:40 PM   #12
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It's been over a year since I microsquirted my 242, I'm finally getting it almost right. It really needs to get on the dyno to get the most out of the advance table. It's been fun, frustrating, and extremely educational.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:22 PM   #13
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Quick quiz:
1) By nature, are you curious how things work?
2) Would you like to learn a lot more about modern engine management, fuel control, spark control, etc.?
3) Are you fussy about how the car behaves pulling out of the garage, when you hit the A/C button, how it idles on a cold day, or are you mainly concerned about not blowing it up at WOT with lots o' boost?
4) Are you reasonably good with computers, and with sifting through questionable internet posts?
5) If you were in the Matrix, would you take the red pill or the blue pill? [Per wikipedia: "Undeterred, Neo meets Morpheus, who offers him a choice between a red pill that will show him the truth about the Matrix, and a blue pill that will return him to his former life."]

One of the best things about MegaSquirt is the logging. Here's a very simple example from piggyback logging of my K-Jet B21FT AW71 showing acceleration from a stoplight - rpm, MAP or boost pressure, and AFRs from a wideband O2 sensor:


I'd suggest posting in wanted for "Free Pizza and Refreshing Beverages" if you show me your MS setup.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:14 PM   #14
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Things like idle control were difficult to get just right, the factory spent hundreds of hours with experts tweaking their chips to do something mundane like that. With MS it's not like you just click an 'idle control' button in the software.
The factory as in Volvos production factory?
By the way I find that very interesting. Puts into perspective how much work there really is done.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:49 AM   #15
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You don't want a MS1 or a v2.2 mainboard.

A MS2 v3.57 is the easy button (prebuilt and surface mount)(downside is it doesn't mod up as easy as a v3.0).
If you want some razzle dazzle or save some money custom build a v3.0 mainboard.
A MS2 will do sequential fuel and spark.
If you want all the bells and whistles like traction control and logging without a laptop a MS3 is the answer.

A Microsquirt will do the basic stuff, but be warned you will like a MS system so much you will want more!
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:57 AM   #16
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I have almost $1500 into my microsquirt setup, I only wish I ditched the factory stuff sooner.

http://www.turbo-mopar.com/forums/sh...-of-megasquirt)


Waste spark coil means I can run higher boost than a single coil.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:09 PM   #17
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I'm looking forward to changing over from D-Jet to MS as there is no 'chip' for the old Volvo pushrod setups and even if there were I wouldn't do it. Thing I am learning about MS however is that documentation sucks. I mean sure you can rely on another forum full of users to answer questions but even then users make references to items not documented.. That's the price you pay for open source.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:29 PM   #18
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I'm looking forward to changing over from D-Jet to MS as there is no 'chip' for the old Volvo pushrod setups and even if there were I wouldn't do it. Thing I am learning about MS however is that documentation sucks. I mean sure you can rely on another forum full of users to answer questions but even then users make references to items not documented.. That's the price you pay for open source.
Yeah, it doesn't help that the firmware and software is a moving target, so any documentation is liable to start to become obsolete and outdated the moment it's published.

Lot's of neat writeups out there about stuff that isn't remotely applicable anymore.
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:27 PM   #19
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I agree that some of the msextra documentation leaves a little to be desired for some of the settings. I'm still figuring out PID, for the idle settings, am scared of hooking up boost control until I figure the idle part out.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:15 AM   #20
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Yeah, it doesn't help that the firmware and software is a moving target, so any documentation is liable to start to become obsolete and outdated the moment it's published.

Lot's of neat writeups out there about stuff that isn't remotely applicable anymore.
Documentation is the hardest part to do and there is always some guy who wants to do it different.

There are too many different sources if you do web searches and you can't always be certain what is shown is correct for your system.

I recommend using Extra firmware and use only the MSExtra manuals

If you stick to one manual there is less confusion.
The recommended way things (Extra) are done has changed a bit and has always been different than with other firmware.
There is an overwhelming amount of info in the manual, so to make it easier to digest.
Read through the Extra manual and print out JUST the sections that apply to your install.

Follow the instructions explicitly and you will be rewarded.
Many try to be a rocket scientist or want to do stuff their own way and often wind up cutting off the limb they are sitting on.
There is a reason things are done a certain way, others have gone before you and paved a path, don't be trekking through the poison ivy!
Read the stickys in the Extra forum and especially the Do's and Dont's before starting.
This will give a bit more info, some tribal info, and some explanation why things are best done a certain way.
If you run into a situation where something is not covered in the manual ask in the forum rather than bang your head or let the magic smoke out.
Plan ahead as much as possible, get a factory wiring diagram for the car you are working on before you start.
This way you will have most of the things you will need to do the install, and have an idea of how you will be doing the install.
Don't wrap up your harness before testing, it will be frustrating to have to take it apart to make changes if needed.

Another aspect of planning an install is choosing hardware, a lot of different hardware is "supported" but may not be the best choice, in reality the simplest method is best.
Avoid razzle dazzle and keep it simple, you can add razzle dazzle later, or you may realize you don't need it.

RE: Firmware for the MS2 systems is stable, actually the programming has exhausted the memory capacity of the processor and to add any more they would have to remove something to make room. No new features will be added, only bug fixes.

Remember the MS systems are EXPERIMENTAL, they are not a finished product.
However unlike other systems you have access to and are able to taylor every aspect of the system to your needs. Even If you want to write some code you are welcome to dig in.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:32 AM   #21
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Obviously, I had some learning curve climbing completed after running an MS1 setup on my car for years, but the second setup I did with it was just dead simple. I got an MS3X box with the two pigtails. It just had all the available functions already hooked up internally, and the pigtail was labeled on each individual wire. I never had to crack the case open (other than out of curiosity, when I got it).

The MS1 was a plug-n-play - it mostly interfaced with the engine through the stock engine harness, with an adapter harness made from ECU plus that plugged directly into the harness. Over time I added more functions and added wires.

For the MS3X I just redid the whole engine harness from scratch. Un loomed it, took out all the unused junk, added a bunch of new wires (DSM CAS, sequential wiring for the injectors, COP wiring). This was pretty simple to hook up to the MS3X pigtail, though.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:48 AM   #22
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On the MS Extra forum, http://www.msextra.com/forums/, most issue is cause by poor hardware installed. Crank signal seem to be the number 1 issue people have.

I have a 36-1 wheel welded to my crank pulley, then zero balance the crank pulley. My car have never dropped a crank signal.

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Old 06-06-2018, 08:48 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandonium View Post
I'm looking forward to changing over from D-Jet to MS as there is no 'chip' for the old Volvo pushrod setups and even if there were I wouldn't do it. Thing I am learning about MS however is that documentation sucks. I mean sure you can rely on another forum full of users to answer questions but even then users make references to items not documented.. That's the price you pay for open source.

it doesn't actually suck as bad as it used to, but there are still some occasionally glaring gaps. You could just hop down the interstate a little and talk to a guy that's been running ms stuff on volvos for 15 years ;)
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:08 AM   #24
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By far the biggest problem with most MS installs, and verily most aftermarket management installs period, is suspect wiring. Not necessarily ugly wiring, but poor ground quality, poor noise isolation, etc.

Having clean grounds is critical. Having matching voltage at the injector and the ecu is also fairly critical (esp on the newer systems which is all anyone should be using these days)


The problem with noobs is generally this:
You're taking a system you don't know much about, wiring it up entirely (which comes with tricks and other fun in and of itself), then you're going to be tuning it yourself more than likely.

This all sounds fun (and it is, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy it every time 15 years later) until something doesn't work. Then you're faced with various propositions: "Did I wire the sensor correctly? Is the sensor just faulty? Is the ground good? Is the input on the box good? If you soldered the whole thing together, you also get Did I assemble the MS correctly? Is it just set up wrong in the software?"
Each and every one of those questions has it's own little rabbit hole, and more often than not you'll find that you didn't wire it up correctly (or at all, whoops), or might not have set something up in the software (this is not normally the case for basic inputs).

It used to be that you either paid someone, or spent 4-5 hours assembling your own megasquirt. For the most part, that doesn't happen now, since you can get basic functionality cheap from a microsquirt, and by the time you factor in your own time and the overall cost, building your own ms3x is not substantially cheaper than say an ms3pro-evo (which will have a couple extra inputs over the ms3x)-assuming you don't already have testing equipment and soldering equipment to do it and verify your work.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:47 PM   #25
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It used to be that you either paid someone, or spent 4-5 hours assembling your own megasquirt. For the most part, that doesn't happen now, since you can get basic functionality cheap from a microsquirt, and by the time you factor in your own time and the overall cost, building your own ms3x is not substantially cheaper than say an ms3pro-evo (which will have a couple extra inputs over the ms3x)-assuming you don't already have testing equipment and soldering equipment to do it and verify your work.
This is the main reason I chose Microsquirt. I hate soldering.
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