Car Chip Brands Explained – Who does what and how they do it!

With so many ‘Chip’ manufacturers out there these days it can be very confusing for anybody thats looking to buy one.

It has also become common place for retailers and manufacturers to lie about products, place false advertising on web sites and generally try to win their way to the sale through misleading statements and comments. All this thread is aimed at doing is arming its users with basic knowledge of how everything works to give them some idea if what they are being told is truthful or not.

Most chips will just give you more fuel in a very crude fashion.
Add electrical resistance to certain engine control sensors to achieve the desired result.

Some chips are smarter than others in how they go about delivering extra fuel.

Other chips have additional features such as EGT Control, Boost Control and Injection Timing control.

It is easy enough to make your own crude fuel control chip with nothing but a few variable resistor pots that you can buy from jaycar. Include a little plastic or aluminium case and your looking at about $30 worth of bits if you have the knowledge to put it together.

It wont have any of the features that more expensive chips do, but it will be exactly like most of the very cheap options out there (such as low cost ebay chips)

Almost every chip made is able to be adjusted by the end user. This is great for the people that do know there are limits when tuning a diesel, but can be disastrous for people that think the worst thing that happens when you turn the fuel up is smoke comes out the back.

One main thing to notice is some of the worlds biggest manufacturers of diesel chips is they have modest power gains compared to some others. This is not because they are low quality, it is because they have put significant research into what is a safe level on each vehicle for maximum longevity of the engine, Meaning less warranty claims for them.

Alot of chip manufactures out there share technology as it is much cheaper for them to buy certain aspects of the chip that other company’s produce than completely design them from scratch.

An even larger amount of companies (Mainly Retail shops) simply buy in bulk off a manufacturer and re badge the chip for their company.

Now, there is nothing wrong with doing either of those two things. The only thing I would consider wrong is if a company lies about producing a product that is completely their own.

They have every right to refuse to tell customers or anybody that ask’s, who actually makes their chip. But they have no right to claim it if they did not design and produce it.

I would say it is fair to say “it is made overseas for us”, or “by another company for us”

How the tuning is done

As mentioned above the Factory ECU uses many inputs to decide when and how much fuel to inject, as well as how much boost to run.

Chips generally use one of two inputs for tuning. Common Rail pressure & Injector Signal.

1) It references its stored figures and determines at what pressure the engine is running, and how much voltage it is being demanded to pull out of that signal.

2) Or it reads that the injector is closing and must be held open slightly longer.

Some of the more advanced chips run multiple inputs to determine what needs to be done.

This is known as 2D , 3D mapping or 4D+ Mapping

2D uses just one input (weather its fuel pressure or throttle position or injector signal or boost etc..)
3D uses an engine speed signal from the ecu, as well as a load reference input (boost/throttle position/Fuel Pressure).
4D Uses an engine speed signal, A load signal and has Compensation tables that are in use based off other sensors such as Air or Coolant temperature.

The big benefit to 3D & 4D mapping is it gives the tuner much better control over what rpm the additional fueling is given and how much more based on the drivers input (throttle position is generally the best one to use) This is exactly why the factory computer uses 4D mapping.

We may want to leave the low rpm (1000-2000rpm) and less than 20% throttle alone as generally no more power is required at this level, but then increase the fueling above 2000rpm even if it is still less than 20% throttle.

This is something that cannot be achieved with a simple 2D mapping chip.

However, this is NOT to say 2D mapping chips are hopeless! They are still adjusting ontop of the 3D map made by the factory ecu. They just dont have as much flexibility when setting them up.


CRD Only. Below is from my knowledge of the chips I have used. I wont speculate on any that I have not, so there will be a few brands that are not in this… Yet.

Some of what is below may be inaccurate and I am more than happy to change any details upon request if anybody points out something I have missed from a product line up, or something that is inaccurate.

I cant keep up with every manufacturer every day of the week, so please refrain from becoming angry if I have made an error. Simply report it and I will amend.

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