On this page… (hide)
- 1. BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
- 1.1 What is RomRaider?
- 1.2 Does RomRaider only work with Subarus?
- 1.3 How does RomRaider allow me to tune?
- 1.4 Which Subaru models are currently supported by RomRaider?
- 1.5 What is everything I’ll need to start tuning my car?
- 1.6 How safe is reading, editing and flashing my ECU?
- 1.7 What is the worst that can happen if something goes wrong?
- 2. READING AND FLASHING YOUR ECU
- 2.1 How exactly do I download and flash my rom image?
- 2.2 I am having problems reading or flashing with EcuFlash. What should I do?
- 3. REVISIONS AND DEFINITION FILES
- 3.1 What is the deal with all these different ECU revisions and why are they important?
- 3.2 Tell me more about the ECU definitions file and what it does.
- 3.3 How do I find out what revision my rom is?
- 3.4 Can I find out by looking on the outside of the ECU on my Subaru?
- 3.5 I’ve downloaded my rom. How can I determine the rom’s revision id?
- 3.6 RomRaider does not support my Subaru revision. What do I do?
- 3.7 So, as long as my revision is represented in the ECU definitions file, I’ll have complete control over every single map on the ECU?
- 3.8 Where can I find the latest xml definition file?
- 3.9 Can I update my ECU to a newer revision?
- 3.10 Why do some revisions have tables for both automatic and manual transmissions? How does the ECU know which transmission you have? Do I have to worry about this if I am flashing a different revision?
- 3.11 How can I tell which revision supports the auto and which one supports the manual?
- 3.12 I have a manual transmission, but my rom is reported in RomRaider as an automatic. Why?
- 4. SUBARU ROM TERMINOLOGY AND FORMATS
- 4.1 What do the terms 16-Bit and 32-bit mean as it relates to Subaru ECUs?
- 4.2 Why are some 16-Bit roms 160kb in size, while others are 192kb?
- 4.3 What about 32-bit roms? Some are 512kb in size, while others are 1mb.
- 5. INTERACTION WITH COBB AND ECUTEK
- 5.1 What if my ECU already has an Ecutek custom tune, Cobb Protuner custom tune or a Cobb off-the-shelf Accessport map? How will they work with RomRaider and EcuFlash?
- 5.2 So, can I just find a copy of a Cobb or Ecutek rom and flash it to my car?
- 5.3 So I have to start from scratch with the stock maps?
- 5.4 Can I use an Accessport or DeltaDash cable instead of the OpenPort cable to read/flash my ECU?
- 6. SPECIAL ISSUES FOR SUBARU 32-BIT ECUS
- 6.1 What is the checksum fix for the 32-bit Subarus?
- 6.2 Is the checksum fix the same as the immobilizer?
- 7. REAL-TIME TUNING AND OTHER ROM FEATURES
- 7.1 Does RomRaider support real-time tuning?
- 7.2 When will RamTune be released?
- 7.3 Any other rom features that are being worked on?
- 8. TROUBLESHOOTING ROMRAIDER
- 8.1 Why do I get the error message “ECU Definition Not Found” when I try to open my rom?
- 8.2 Why are the fonts of some of the table names italicized or red?
- 8.3 My user level is set to debug, but RomRaider will not save any changes to debug tables. Why?
- 8.4 Sometimes when I directly enter a value in some of the tables, either the value doesn’t change or it changes to a value slightly different than the one I entered. Why?
- 8.5 RomRaider won’t let me increase or decrease a value beyond a certain range. Why?
- 8.6 I keep getting a message that a newer version of my ECU revision exists every time I open my rom. What does this mean?
- 8.7 Why can’t I edit certain values on some of the tables, such as the atmospheric pressure on the Boost Limit parameter?
- 8.8 I want to be able to view my rom in metric units, such as bar and celsius. How do I do this?
- 8.9 How does the “ECU Definition Manager” work?
- 8.10 RomRaider displays “(UNTESTED)” next to the revision id when I open my rom. What does this mean?
- 8.11 Why do some of the values in RomRaider differ from other commercial tuning products?
- 8.12 I’ve installed a new RomRaider or ECU definitions update and the newly added features are not present. Why?
- 9. OPENECU SOFTWARE
- 9.1 What is OpenECU software? Is this RomRaider?
- 9.2 Is RomRaider the only free tuning program I can download and tune with?
- 10. SUBARU LOGGING WITH ROMRAIDER
- 10.1 What exactly is data logging and why is it important?
- 10.2 How does logging with RomRaider work?
- 10.3 Can I log to a file?
- 10.4 Do I have to connect the green test mode connectors or flash block to log?
- 10.5 Which parameters should I log? Should I log everything?
- 10.6 How can I view the saved log files?
- 10.7 Why can’t Manifold Relative Pressure read over 18.4 psi?
- 10.8 Other loggers require me to choose or define the address for the engine load and the advance multiplier. How do I do this with RomRaider?
- 10.9 The logged advance multiplier (IAM) value is between 0 and 1 on some cars and between 0 and 16 on others. Why?
- 10.10 What is the difference between Engine Load (Calculated) and Engine Load (RAM)?
- 10.11 Are wideband oxygen sensors supported?
- 10.12 How do the profiles work?
- 10.13 What does the log overlay do?
- 11. SUBARU TUNING
- 11.1 I know nothing about tuning. It is safe for me to experiment on my own car?
- 11.2 Can’t I just download and flash one of the available staged maps such as those on osecuroms.org and not worry about tuning?
- 11.3 Do any professional tuner shops use RomRaider?
- 11.4 I’m not sure of the function of the some of tables that RomRaider lists for my rom. How can I found out more?
- 11.5 Are additional gauges necessary if I am already logging my car?
- 11.6 I want to learn more about tuning. Can you recommend where to start?
- 11.7 Are there any recommended books about Engine Management?
ROMRAIDER AND REFLASHING FAQ
1. BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Q What is RomRaider?
RomRaider is a program, developed by enthusiasts, which allows for tuning and data logging of Subaru ECUs without having to invest in expensive hardware and software. Best of all, RomRaider is free.
Q Does RomRaider only work with Subarus?
RomRaider has the potential to work with most ECUs, as long as a method exists for extracting a copy of the ECU’s image from the vehicle in question. RomRaider’s definition file, which is in xml format, allows a sufficiently advanced user to add definitions for their particular car’s image.
Q How does RomRaider allow me to tune?
RomRaider does not directly edit the data on the vehicle’s ECU. You must first retrieve a copy of your ECU’s image from your vehicle by using an additional program called EcuFlash (discussed below). A special cable, designed exclusively for Subarus, is used to connect your laptop to the OBD-II port in your car (which is located below your steering wheel). Once a copy of your image (also known as a rom) is downloaded from the vehicle’s ECU to your computer, you can then use RomRaider to make tuning changes to this rom. Once you’ve finished with your tune, you can then save a copy and transfer this edited image back to your vehicle’s computer in a process known as flashing. As long as you keep a back-up copy of your original image, you can revert back to it at any time.
Q Which Subaru models are currently supported by RomRaider?
It is difficult to state which models and years are specifically supported, as Subaru likes to revise and make changes to the ECU’s image throughout the year (even within the same model). Whether or not your image is supported depends on whether your particular revision is defined by the software. RomRaider makes use of a separate “ECU definitions file” which describes where to find the tuning data for each supported revision. The most recent definition file has support for 120 different Subaru roms:
- USDM (United States Domestic Market): 52 revisions (02–07 WRX, 04–07 STi, 04–06 Forester XT, 05–06 Legacy GT, 05 Baja Turbo, 05–06 Outback XT)
- EDM (European Domestic Market): 18 (select 01+ WRXs, STis and FXTs)
- JDM (Japanese Domestic Market): 23 (select 01+ WRXs, STis, and LGTs)
- ADM (Australian Domestic Market): 27 (select 01+ WRXs, STis, FXTs, LGTs , and FGTs)
Q What is everything I’ll need to start tuning my car?
You will need:
- The RomRaider software – always use the latest version available at the RomRaider site: http://www.romraider.com
- The latest ECU definitions file (describes the location and format of data for different rom revisions) – available here: http://www.romraider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=360 . RomRaider will be bundled with the latest definitions at the time of release. However, newer definition versions may be available between releases.
- RomRaider is written in Java, so you need to make sure your computer can support Java written applications and that it is updated to the newest version (download updates to Java here): http://www.java.com/en/index.jsp
- EcuFlash program (to read and flash roms) – download the latest version, found here: http://www.openecu.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
- An OpenPort cable for Subarus (connects between your laptop and OBD-II port) - $79, purchase here: http://www.tactrix.com/
- A jumper block may be required for your Subaru to enable flashing. There are two versions, one for the 01/02 WRX and another for the 03–05 WRXs. These can be purchased for $9 a piece or they both come bundled with the $91 OpenPort cable ( http://www.tactrix.com/ ). Additionally, you can buy these adaptors in a complete set at your local Subaru dealer (~$30 part number 24036AA010). You can also use a jumper wire on the flash block as well. Drive-by-wire Subarus, such as the USDM 04+ STi, 06 WRX, and others do NOT need the jumper block at all.
- A modern laptop with a USB port. A desktop computer could also be used for reading and flashing but you would need to place it close enough to the vehicle for the OpenPort cable to reach (do not use a USB extension cable with the OpenPort).
- Proper gauges are recommended when tuning. These include, but are not limited to, an EGT gauge, boost gauge, wideband oxygen sensor and a knock light.
Q How safe is reading, editing and flashing my ECU?
Remember, that RomRaider and the definitions file are currently in beta status. This means that the software is being tested to fix any bugs and problems that may arise. As such, it is recommended for advanced users. There have been quite a few successful flashes and tunes, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a bug, error or misrepresentation of data that might cause serious problems down the road for a user. Remember, this software is not a commercial product, with money set aside for R&D. It was created by a group of enthusiasts who work in their spare time, for free, on the project.
Even if you experience no bugs or errors, there are no safe guards in place to prevent you from making tuning changes resulting in a blown motor and/or unexpected behavior when driving. In addition, issues with your particular computer, such as viruses, can cause problems that can lead to the same results.
Q What is the worst that can happen if something goes wrong?
The problems that have the potential to occur include, but are not limited to:
- An unreadable/unusable ECU.
- A blown motor and its subsequent damage.
- Unexpected behavior on the road or track that may cause injury or death to the user as well as others.
- Violation of local and/or federal laws due to the modification of the factory ECU.
DISCLAIMER: By using RomRaider and its ECU definitions file, either directly or indirectly, you agree to assume 100% of all risk and RomRaider’s creators and contributors shall not be held responsible for any damages or injuries you may receive.
Here are some tips to help lower some of the risk:
- Make sure your computer is running well, does not have a tendency to lock up, and is virus and spyware free. When flashing, make sure the laptop is plugged in and not just running on the battery. Turn off any power saving functions, especially those that shut down the hard drive, enter standby/hibernation or “speed step” the processor speed to a lower level. Close out all other programs except for EcuFlash before starting.
- Make sure your car’s battery, charging and electrical system is in top shape.
- Make sure the OpenPort cable is securely connected and not in a position that can be yanked out easily.
- Always check for and use the latest version of RomRaider, as well as the latest ECU definitions.
- Always keep a back-up copy of your original rom in a safe place.
- When tuning, small changes each flash is better. Use RomRaider’s logger to study the effects of the changes on your car. In addition, it is recommended that you have, at a minimum, an EGT gauge, a boost gauge, a wideband oxygen sensor and a knock light.
- Do not flash your rom if RomRaider gives you an error message that the “real value and byte value conversion expressions are invalid”. This means there is an error in the ECU definitions file. If this is the case, it can save the wrong values in that particular table, which may occur whether you specifically edited the table in question or not.
- After editing, save the rom, close out RomRaider and then reopen RomRaider and your saved rom. Make sure the changes were actually made. Also, triple check the values you edited to make sure they are exactly what you intended them to be.
- Do not edit a table if you are not 100% sure what it does. Also, be wary of values that don’t seem to make sense as the definition for that table may be incorrect.
- Do not rely solely on the descriptions in RomRaider to tune your car. Verify with other sources that you understand the impact of changing the data in a particular table and how all your changes will interact with one another.
- Tuning is not for beginners set out to experiment. Even seemingly small changes by a novice can result in a blown engine.
2. READING AND FLASHING YOUR ECU
Q How exactly do I download and flash my rom image?
To read and flash a rom, your Subaru needs to be placed in diagnostics mode also known as test mode. To flash, you must also use a jumper block for the 01–05 WRX and other models with the 16-Bit ECU. A description of the process is found here:
Once you are in test mode, connect your OpenPort cable to your OBD-II port and your computer. Then open EcuFlash and select “read from ecu” from the ECU menu. Do not turn on your ignition until prompted to do so. When the box pops up, turn your ignition on, immediately hit OK and the bar at the bottom of the window will indicate the progress of the download. Once complete, choose the “save rom as” option from the File menu and choose a name for your rom (can be anything you want). Make sure, though, that the extension for your file is .hex (for example, my_stock_rom.hex ).
To flash (write), make sure you have installed the flash block connector (if applicable) and select the “Open rom” item from the file menu. Select the rom you wish to flash to your ECU and once it’s opened, select the “write to ecu” option from the ECU menu. You may also “test write to ecu” which doesn’t actually flash the changes, but tests the process to make sure the flashing sequence works properly. Another option is “Compare to ecu” which will compare the currently opened rom with the rom on the ECU. The progress of the flash will be shown at the bottom of the window. Any errors that occur will be listed in the right pane.
Here’s another guide to using EcuFlash: http://www.scoobypedia.co.uk/index.php/Knowledge/ReadingAndReflashingECUs
Q I am having problems reading or flashing with EcuFlash. What should I do?
- Reading and flashing a Subaru rom requires using an OpenPort (Tactrix) cable. No other cable is known to work for reading/flashing with EcuFlash.
- Do not turn on your ignition until prompted to do so, otherwise reading/flashing may fail.
- Make sure the OpenPort cable is securely connected to both your car and the laptop.
- Make sure you car is actually entering test mode. With the green diagnostics connectors connected and the OpenPort cable disconnected, you should get a flashing CEL and the radiator fans should cycle on and off (after a period of time) when the ignition is turned on. If not, your car may have an additional connection near the passenger’s side foot well that is disconnected. When reading and flashing, the radiator fans will remain off.
- Make sure your car’s battery, charging and electrical system is up to snuff.
- When reading a rom, make sure you are selecting the correct year and model range for your car or the download will fail.
- Some users have encountered issues when upgrading to EcuFlash 1.29a from version 1.28. The solution is to completely uninstall EcuFlash and all related drivers:
- Unplug the OpenPort cable from your computer.
- Uninstall all versions of EcuFlash in add/remove programs in the control panel. Delete all EcuFlash shortcuts on your desktop and in the start menu.
- Remove any windows driver packages in add/remove programs that are labeled as FTDI, Tactrix or OpenPort (typically one group of five drivers).
- Reboot the computer.
- Download and install EcuFlash 1.29a (make sure you are installing version 1.29a not 1.29).
- Plug the OpenPort cable into your computer. If Windows asks you to search for drivers, select for windows to do this automatically. It may run through this process a couple of times. When it’s done, you’ll get a message that your new hardware is ready to use (in the lower right hand corner). If windows has issues installing the drivers, try designating the search to the “… \OpenECU\EcuFlash\drivers” directory.
- For some 07 models, such as the 07 USDM STi, there have been issues with reading/flashing. Although not confirmed, some users have had success using EcuFlash 1.28 and the OpenPort 1.2 cable.
- “Unknown ROM image” error - You may receive this message after downloading is complete. EcuFlash, like RomRaider, allows you to edit roms and has its own ecu definitions. When you are finished reading your rom, EcuFlash attempts to open it for editing but if it does not have a definition for your rom you will receive this error message. Choose the selection “Inherited from the definition below” and then from the drop-down box, choose the model and year that most closely matches your own. Then choose the “Save rom as” option from the file menu. Note: In this case, since you are essentially using another rom’s definition for your own image, there may be an issue when you decide to flash the image back to your ECU. This is because the flash method used for the rom you selected may not be correct for your vehicle possibly causing an unusable ECU when you go to flash. If you are in doubt, ask before you flash at the OpenECU forums: http://forums.openecu.org/index.php . Your selection to inherit, however, does not change the actual image downloaded from your ECU, so even if you get it wrong, the actual ECU image file will not be affected. This issue does not impact RomRaider’s ability to open and edit your rom.
3. REVISIONS AND DEFINITION FILES
Q What is the deal with all these different ECU revisions and why are they important?
Each model can have different rom revisions, not only between various years, but also within each year. Each revision has its own identification string also known as the calibration id, which is located in the code on the rom itself. For example, one of the revisions for the USDM 02 WRX is the A4SGC00C. The rom image on the ECU contains not only the data tables that we would use for tuning in RomRaider (like target boost, for example), but also the programming logic that tells the ECU what to do with those values in operating the engine. This gives Subaru complete control when they want to change the functionality of the ECU. For example, Subaru might notice a trend of certain users experiencing detonation at a high rpm. They can then create a new image to fix the problem, which is given a newer calibration id (for example, A4SGD10C). All new cars on the assembly line will then receive this new calibration. Subaru will also send it out to dealers who can reflash customer’s cars that exhibit the problem. So, why is all this important? When the image is updated by Subaru with a new revision, data that we read and edit for tuning can get shifted around to different areas of the rom. RomRaider uses an ECU definitions file that tells it exactly where the maps are located on the rom for a particular revision. Subaru may also add, remove or change certain tables, especially in different model years and these changes must be accounted for in the definitions.
Q Tell me more about the ECU definitions file and what it does.
RomRaider comes bundled with an “ecu_defs.xml” file located in the main directory. This file, which is in xml format, contains the definitions necessary for RomRaider to translate the values from your downloaded rom to values that you can understand, such as rpm and boost, and arrange them in tables representative of their particular function. In addition, the file tells RomRaider where on the rom these maps are located. Because different revisions can have different maps and different locations for these maps, the xml file must reference your particular revision, or you will not be able to read it with RomRaider (you will receive the message “ECU Definition Not Found”).
Q How do I find out what revision my rom is?
The only definitive way is to download your rom by using EcuFlash.
Q Can I find out by looking on the outside of the ECU on my Subaru?
The outside of the ECU will show the case id. This is the hardware id at the time your ECU was manufactured. An example would be AF426 or AJ930. While each revision has an original corresponding case id, the case id is not contained in the rom, so the exact case id for every revision is not widely known. In addition, if the dealer flashed to a newer revision while your vehicle was in for service (which they sometimes do without telling you), then you may have a different revision than your case id suggests.
Q I’ve downloaded my rom. How can I determine the rom’s revision id?
If your rom is supported by RomRaider, then you can view the revision id (also known as the calibration id) below your file name. The calibration ids for Subaru roms are always 8 characters long and alphanumeric (they begin with the letter “A” for most models). If your rom is not supported, you can find it by viewing your file with a hex editor. The calibration id for 16-Bit Subaru ECUs is located at 0×200. 32-bit Subaru ECUs have the id located at 0×2000 (A description of the difference between 16-Bit and 32-bit ECUs is found later in this FAQ).
Q RomRaider does not support my Subaru revision. What do I do?
First, make sure you have the latest definition file. If it still isn’t supported, then upload a copy of your rom to the “Ecu Definitions” forum on the RomRaider site and if possible, it will be added to the next update of the definition file:
When requesting definitions, be sure to include the model, year, market (USDM/EDM/ADM/JDM), calibration id, and transmission type in your post. Also, make sure you are posting up a stock, unmodified rom. We do not allow professionally or commercially tuned maps to be uploaded to the site without the original tuner’s permission.
Q So, as long as my revision is represented in the ECU definitions file, I’ll have complete control over every single map on the ECU?
No. There are literally hundreds of maps on the ECU. For example, some later model Subarus can have between 500–800 2d and 3d maps and many more 1d parameters. These maps are not labeled or defined in the rom in any way and there is no available Subaru reference to aid in reverse engineering. Enthusiasts are working hard to update RomRaider’s definitions to support new tables, but the process can be complex and time consuming.
Q Where can I find the latest xml definition file?
The latest definition file can be found on the RomRaider site here:
Q Can I update my ECU to a newer revision?
It is possible to update your ECU to a newer revision, but it is recommended that you only update to the newest image in the same year as your car and obviously, only the same model and market. Flashing an image of a different model, year or market than your own has the potential of causing unpredictable operation and may even turn your ECU into an expensive paperweight. If you are unsure of compatibility or do not want to take a chance, then you should only tune a copy of the rom you retrieved from your ECU (keeping the original in safe place).
Also, be aware that some Subaru revisions are transmission specific. This means that there is a separate revision for the automatic and manual transmissions. These will be identified by a different letter in the last digit of the id. Flashing a revision designed for an automatic transmission to your manual equipped Subaru (and vice versa) can cause driveability concerns as well as other unpredictable issues.
Check here for the links to download various roms for each model year:
Q Why do some revisions have tables for both automatic and manual transmissions? How does the ECU know which transmission you have? Do I have to worry about this if I am flashing a different revision?
Some Subarus, such as the USDM 02 WRX, use the same revision for both automatic and manual transmissions. The ECU knows which transmission you have by looking for the Transmission Control Module (TCM) which is only installed in cars with automatics. For example, if does not detect the TCM connected to the ECU, then it will use only the manual transmission (MT) tables. If it does detect the TCM, then it will use only the automatic transmission (AT) tables.
For the USDM 03–05 WRX, and other 32-bit models, however, a separate revision is available for both the manual and automatic. If you are changing to a newer revision, it is important that you use the one that matches up with your particular transmission.
Q How can I tell which revision supports the auto and which one supports the manual?
For applicable models, look at the last digit of the revision number. For example, with the USDM 05 WRX, A4TF800F and A4TF800E are the same revision but for different transmissions. In this case, the F is the manual revision and the E is the auto. Here’s a list referencing the last digit of the revision id with the applicable transmission (known for currently available ROMs):
- USDM 03 WRX: “L” = manual, “K” = auto
- USDM 04–05 WRX: “F” = manual, “E” = auto
- USDM 04–06 Forester XT: “D” = auto, “I” = manual
- USDM 06–07 WRX: “X” = manual, “W” = auto
- USDM 05–06 Legacy GT: “N” = manual, “C” = auto
- USDM 05 Baja Turbo: “L” = manual, “K” = auto
- USDM 05–06 Outback XT: “S” = manual, “R” = auto
Q I have a manual transmission, but my rom is reported in RomRaider as an automatic. Why?
For the 02–05 WRX, Cobb’s Accessport (ver 1) flashes an AT rom when you marry it to the ECU regardless of the transmission. Even after unmarrying the Accessport (ver 1), it will flash back a stock version of an AT map as it does not have the capability of storing your original rom.
4. SUBARU ROM TERMINOLOGY AND FORMATS
Q What do the terms 16-Bit and 32-bit mean as it relates to Subaru ECUs?
Quite simply, some Subaru ECUs use a 16-Bit processor, whereas other, newer models use a 32-bit processor. It is important to differentiate between these two as they can have some noticeable differences in operation. For example, almost all of the 32-bit models have electronic throttle control, also known as drive-by-wire (DBW), whereas the 16-Bit models make use of the standard drive-by-cable (DBC) in which there a physical link between the throttle pedal and the throttle body.
Q Why are some 16-Bit roms 160kb in size, while others are 192kb?
The larger rom includes a representation of ram inserted into the middle of the file. The actual contents of ram are not included, however. So which should you use? RomRaider will work with either size rom, so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are doing some editing of ECU definitions, you may find it more convenient to use the 192kb size, as the address locations will match up with the definitions file. Recent versions of EcuFlash will download 16-Bit roms as 160kb files, whereas EcuExplorer, an open source logging application, downloads 16-Bit roms as 192kb files (EcuExplorer uses an older version of EcuFlash).
Q What about 32-bit roms? Some are 512kb in size, while others are 1mb.
Early 32-bit roms are 512kb in size, whereas later 32-bit roms are 1mb.
5. INTERACTION WITH COBB AND ECUTEK
Q What if my ECU already has an Ecutek custom tune, Cobb Protuner custom tune or a Cobb off-the-shelf Accessport map? How will they work with RomRaider and EcuFlash?
Sometime in 2006, Ecutek included a mandatory lock-out feature with their flashes, which prevents the reading or flashing of the ECU, except with Ecutek software by the commercial tuner. Prior to this, in most cases, you could download and edit your Ecutek flashed rom without a problem. Because RomRaider and EcuFlash will only change the values that you edited and not the whole image, it will typically not overwrite the Ecutek license or additional functionality like boost switching, as long as you are editing a copy of the original Ecutek rom that you downloaded from your car. As always, use at your own risk.
With the introduction of the Accessport version 2, Cobb has also locked out EcuFlash from reading/writing. However, at the time of this writing, you are still able to read, edit and flash changes with EcuFlash when an Accessport version 1 is married to the ECU, regardless of whether the current map is a Protuner custom tune or an off-the-shelf Cobb map. This, like the Ecutek, should still retain the functionality of the Accessport, as long as changes are made to a copy of the original rom you downloaded from your Accessport married ECU. However, EcuFlash cannot download the real-time maps loaded by the Accessport. Some tuners require you to use a real-time map in conjunction with a base map. Because an Accessport equipped ECU uses the real-time map values instead of the corresponding maps in the base, you would not, in this particular case, have a complete picture of the actual tune by retrieving an image with EcuFlash.
If you attempt to update the ECU to a different revision though, which often requires rewriting all or most of the image, you will likely lose all the functionality of the above devices, such as Ecutek’s boost switching and Cobb’s real-time mapping. You will also lose the license data for Ecutek and the ability to unmarry your Accessport from the ECU. You should always keep an unedited backup copy of your rom in a safe place before you make changes.
Q So, can I just find a copy of a Cobb or Ecutek rom and flash it to my car?
The RomRaider team does not condone the copying and distributing of any tuner’s images and consider it to be stealing, whether it is a complete rom download or transferring the “relevant” tuned data to a stock revision. As such, no tuner’s rom will be allowed on the RomRaider site without their authorization.
Q So I have to start from scratch with the stock maps?
Not necessarily. The community has developed its own independently created staged maps for different Subarus. Check them out at: http://www.osecuroms.org/ (registration is required to view files).
QCan I use an Accessport or DeltaDash cable instead of the OpenPort cable to read/flash my ECU?
No, these cables will not work for reading or flashing. There is the possibility, however, that they will work for logging. Otherwise, for reading and flashing roms, the OpenPort (Tactrix) cable is required.
6. SPECIAL ISSUES FOR SUBARU 32-BIT ECUS
Q What is the checksum fix for the 32-bit Subarus?
With the 32-bit ECUs, Subaru uses a checksum that verifies that the data in the rom is not corrupted. When you edit a 32-bit rom, you can cause the ECU to enter limp-home mode because the checksum no longer matches what is expected. Fortunately, RomRaider has a parameter called “Checksum Fix” that allows you to overcome this issue, regardless of the changes you have made. Simply click on the “enable” check box and the checksum problem will be fixed after you save your rom.
Q Is the checksum fix the same as the immobilizer?
No, the immobilizer is a separate feature in certain DBW cars that involves a transponder in the ignition key and a separate immobilizer module that communicates with the ECU. Basically, the codes transmitted by the owner’s key have to match up with the codes in the module and the codes on the ECU. If they don’t match, the car won’t start. Because the codes are not stored in the rom that you read/flash with EcuFlash, tuning your car with RomRaider will not affect the immobilizer function. The problem occurs when you try to physically install a different ECU in these cars. Currently, only dealers have the ability to update the immobilizer when the ECU or keys are changed.
7. REAL-TIME TUNING AND OTHER ROM FEATURES
Q Does RomRaider support real-time tuning?
Not currently, although this feature is being worked on for Subarus by the RomRaider team. Our version of real-time tuning is called RamTune and will consist of some unique features. Follow the latest progress in this thread:
Q When will RamTune be released?
Currently there is no ETA for RamTune. Initial support will be for 16-Bit ECUs, with 32-bit development following the official release.
Q Any other rom features that are being worked on?
Yes. We are working on a map switching system for RamTune as well as launch control and per gear wastegate compensation. These will likely be released as a complete package bundled with RamTune.
8. TROUBLESHOOTING ROMRAIDER
Q Why do I get the error message “ECU Definition Not Found” when I try to open my rom?
Typically this means that your rom revision is not supported by RomRaider. Make sure you are using the latest ECU definitions which may be newer than those bundled with the latest RomRaider release:
If you have a stock, unmodified rom, you can request that support for your rom be added by posting a copy in the ECU Definitions forum on RomRaider.org. If your rom has been professionally tuned or you do not wish to have it viewed in public, you can PM the rom to merchgod at the RomRaider site.
Q Why are the fonts of some of the table names italicized or red?
RomRaider includes a “user levels” feature. This allows the user to change the ability to edit tables based on their skill level as a tuner. When first installed, RomRaider will default to the lowest setting (beginner), which disables saving and only allows viewing of tables above the beginner level. The tables with an italicized font are those tables above the user’s current level. Tables in red font are only accessible by the debug level. These are experimental tables or tables with questionable values. Regardless, just because a table is accessible at a lower user level, does not mean it is 100% tested and bug-free. To change your user level, select “User Level” from the View menu.
Q My user level is set to debug, but RomRaider will not save any changes to debug tables. Why?
Make sure the “save changes made on tables in debug mode” option is checked in “RomRaider Settings” in the Edit menu.
Q Sometimes when I directly enter a value in some of the tables, either the value doesn’t change or it changes to a value slightly different than the one I entered. Why?
This is a limitation of the Subaru ECU, not the RomRaider software. Some tables have less resolution than others, depending on how the values are stored and the range of values required. When you enter a value that cannot be represented exactly by the ECU, RomRaider automatically displays the closest value available that the ECU is able to represent. Sometimes this ends up being slightly greater or slightly less than your intended value and other times the current value is the closest representation of the number you entered. This issue may also be noticed when manually setting values and when using the increment buttons.
Q RomRaider won’t let me increase or decrease a value beyond a certain range. Why?
RomRaider only allows the values which can be represented by the ECU. This range can vary depending on the table. Users can sometimes run into trouble when using other rom editors that allow you to go beyond this range. When saving with these editors, however, the actual value saved to the rom will be capped at the ECU’s limit or may “roll over” to another value, causing the tune to be different than expected.
Q I keep getting a message that a newer version of my ECU revision exists every time I open my rom. What does this mean?
This indicates that there is a newer rom revision available for your model year that has been uploaded by the community.
To see which revisions are available to download, visit this site:
Q Why can’t I edit certain values on some of the tables, such as the atmospheric pressure on the Boost Limit parameter?
This is a function of the 16-Bit Subaru ECU and not a limitation of RomRaider. With some 2d and 3d tables, the axes are not stored as individual values, but as two data elements - a starting value and an increment. Therefore, the individual values cannot be edited directly.
Q I want to be able to view my rom in metric units, such as bar and celsius. How do I do this?
There are two definitions files available. RomRaider ships with the standard (imperial) units version, but a metric definition file is available separately for download. You can find both the standard and metric ECU definitions here:
Simply replace the current ecu_defs.xml file in RomRaider’s main directory, with the xml file you wish to use. You may also use the “ECU Definition Manager” in the Edit menu to add and remove definition files.
Q How does the “ECU Definition Manager” work?
Found in the Edit menu, the ECU Definition Manager allows you to identify the definition files that RomRaider will consider when opening a rom and also their priority. This allows you to select multiple definition files from anywhere on your hard drive and choose the order in which RomRaider will consider them. When opening a rom, RomRaider will search the first definition file listed and if the rom is not found there, it will move onto the next definition file on the list and so on. In addition, you can name your definition files whatever you like as long as they have the .xml extension. If you add two or more definition files to the list that have support for the same rom revision, RomRaider will use the definitions from the file that is listed first. You can change the order of the files and therefore their priority by using the “move up” and “move down” buttons.
Q RomRaider displays “(UNTESTED)” next to the revision id when I open my rom. What does this mean?
This means that the definitions for your particular rom were created based on best guesses and have not been tested in practice by users. Typically, these will also be discussed in the forums as “preliminary” definitions. You should use caution if attempting to tune one of these roms. NOTE: This does not imply that revisions without this notation have been fully and completely tested.
Q Why do some of the values in RomRaider differ from other commercial tuning products?
There are a number of reasons why this might be the case:
- Data can be represented in a number of different units for the same value. For example, boost or atmospheric pressure can be presented in psi, bar or mmHg and as absolute or relative pressure. Other values can be represented as a multiplier or a percent change for the same data. The value displayed in RomRaider may be different for the simple reason as a difference in the type of units used.
- The number of decimal places used may also result in different values. It is important to remember that the ECU is often limited in what values it can represent. Extra decimal places does not necessarily mean that you have more control over that parameter as the ECU may not be able represent a value difference that small, depending on how that data is stored, its expected range of values and its conversion formula. In RomRaider, the definitions, for the most part, were created with this mind, giving the user the most control possible (where necessary) while making sure each digit is relevant.
- The tables you are comparing might be different. There are quite a few tables which have similar values but have different functions.
- The conversion formula used may be different. Even commercial tuners sometimes disagree on the conversion for some data.
- The definitions for your particular rom and the values in question may be incorrect.
If you suspect that something is wrong, be sure to post about it in the “ECU definitions” forum on the RomRaider site.
Q I’ve installed a new RomRaider or ECU definitions update and the newly added features are not present. Why?
This is often due to having an old shortcut on the desktop or in the start menu that is linked to an older version of RomRaider. Try uninstalling all versions of RomRaider and deleting all related shortcuts and start menu items. Then reinstall the latest RomRaider version and ECU definitions.
9. OPENECU SOFTWARE
Q What is OpenECU software? Is this RomRaider?
The OpenECU “project” was unofficially started by a group of Subaru enthusiasts looking to tune their own cars. Colby Boles created the software (EcuFlash) to read and flash the ECU image. Soon after this, development began on other software, such as RomRaider (created by Jared Gould), to allow the tuning of rom images. OpenECU simply refers to the goal of keeping the software open source (programming code is available to the public) as well as free to its users. While the different types of software available are often developed independently, information is still shared among others as development continues. Learn more at the OpenECU forums:
Q Is RomRaider the only free tuning program I can download and tune with?
There are primarily two programs, outside of RomRaider, that currently have the ability to edit and save roms and are associated with Subarus. Ecuedit is one of them. And EcuFlash, which has been previously described in this FAQ for its reading/flashing capabilities, also has the ability to edit roms. Ecuedit, however, is shareware, so it is not entirely free and is not open source. The shareware version has long delays when using certain functions such as saving, map comparing and logging. A license fee is required in order to remove the delays and gain full functionality. As such, Ecuedit is not considered OpenECU software, but it is still discussed on the OpenECU site.
More information about Ecuedit and EcuFlash can be found at the following links:
10. SUBARU LOGGING WITH ROMRAIDER
Q What exactly is data logging and why is it important?
Logging allows you to monitor, real-time, a number of different data parameters used by the ECU in the management of the engine. This is important to track the impact that your tuning changes have on your motor. Logging is crucial to a safe and effective tune.
Q How does logging with RomRaider work?
RomRaider uses the Subaru Select Monitor (SSM) protocol for logging which is faster and has more capability than standard OBD-II logging. To use, simply connect the OpenPort cable to your OBD-II port and the laptop. Select “Launch Logger” from the Logger menu. Choose the correct COM port for your cable and RomRaider will auto connect to the ECU. Then you can select the parameters you wish to monitor as well the displayed format - data, graph or dashboard.
Q Can I log to a file?
Yes, select “Control File Logging with Defogger Switch” from the logger’s settings menu. To start logging to file, press the car’s defogger switch. To end logging to a file, press the defogger switch again. A new file will be created each time, allowing you to create separate files during each logging session. To change or view the location of the saved files, select “Log File Output Location” from the logger’s settings menu.
Q Do I have to connect the green test mode connectors or flash block to log?
Q Which parameters should I log? Should I log everything?
Logging takes a snapshot of each parameter’s current value. The more parameters that are selected, the longer the interval between the sampling of each parameter. Therefore, you should limit logging to the minimum number of specific items that will supply you with the information you require. Try the following if you are new to logging:
rpm, ignition timing, knock correction, manifold relative pressure (i.e. boost), primary wastegate duty, throttle opening angle %, A/F correction #1, A/F learning #1, mass air flow, engine load and IAM.
Q How can I view the saved log files?
Open them in any spreadsheet application that supports .csv files such as Microsoft Excel. Also check out Airboy’s spreadsheet to graph log files:
Q Why can’t Manifold Relative Pressure read over 18.4 psi?
This is a limitation of this parameter as set up by Subaru. Log “Manifold Relative Pressure (Corrected)” instead.
Q Other loggers require me to choose or define the address for the engine load and the advance multiplier. How do I do this with RomRaider?
RomRaider will automatically set up the engine load and advance multiplier (IAM) parameters as long as your rom is one of the 120 supported by the software. Simply select the parameter as you would any other item.
Q The logged advance multiplier (IAM) value is between 0 and 1 on some cars and between 0 and 16 on others. Why?
16-Bit and 32-bit ECUs store this value differently although the function of this parameter is the same. Multiply the 32-bit ECU’s value by 16 to compare to the 16-Bit ECU. Divide the 16-Bit ECU’s value by 16 to compare to the 32-bit ECU.
Q What is the difference between Engine Load (Calculated) and Engine Load (RAM)?
Engine load is not normally a parameter that can be logged through SSM. However, it can be calculated from the supported mass air flow and rpm parameters which is how “Engine Load (Calculated)” is determined. The “Engine Load (RAM)” reads engine load directly as calculated by the ECU and should be used if it is available for your rom.
Q Are wideband oxygen sensors supported?
Not currently, although this feature is being actively worked on and will hopefully be available soon.
Q How do the profiles work?
Profiles allow you to save your list of currently selected parameters to avoid having to select the items individually every time. You can save as many profiles as you need and load them at any time. To load or saves profiles, select the appropriate item in the logger’s File menu.
Q What does the log overlay do?
This actively highlights the current cell(s) in a particular table that the ECU is accessing while the engine is running. This is very useful for dyno tuning or for narrowing down a driveability problem in a road tune. To use, first open your rom in RomRaider and open the table you wish tune. Check the “overlay log” box in the table’s window. Open the logger and select the parameters that exactly match the row and column units for the table in question. The current cells that are essentially being accessed will now be highlighted real-time.
11. SUBARU TUNING
Q I know nothing about tuning. It is safe for me to experiment on my own car?
No. Changes that seem small and insignificant to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing can actually result in a blown motor or unpredictable behavior on the road. However, if you are willing to invest the time to learn the basics of tuning and engine management, then you can potentially tune with success.
Q Can’t I just download and flash one of the available staged maps such as those on osecuroms.org and not worry about tuning?
Yes and no. While these maps are designed for a particular model with specific mods, they cannot take into account the differences that may exist between individual vehicles, even those of the exact same model and year. These differences include the quality of the user’s gasoline, factory production tolerances, mechanical/maintenance issues, variances in the design and performance of aftermarket parts, additional mods outside the scope of map and varying extremes in which the vehicle will be driven such as altitude and temperature. This is true of any off-the-shelf (OTS) map, even those that are commercially available. It is important to at least understand the basics of how to log your car to determine if the map has any potential issues.
Q Do any professional tuner shops use RomRaider?
Yes. More and more shops are using RomRaider as users are requesting an alternative to higher priced commercial solutions. A list of professional tuners using RomRaider can be found here:
Additionally, try contacting your local Subaru performance shops and ask if they tune with RomRaider even if they are not listed in the link above.
Q I’m not sure of the function of the some of tables that RomRaider lists for my rom. How can I found out more?
Each table has a basic description available by clicking on View → Table Properties on the table’s menu bar. For more detailed information about a specific table, search or ask about the table on the RomRaider site.
Q Are additional gauges necessary if I am already logging my car?
They are recommended. The following can give you additional (or more accurate) information than logging alone or warn you of potential problems when you are not logging:
EGT gauge, boost gauge, wideband oxygen sensor, and a knock light.
Q I want to learn more about tuning. Can you recommend where to start?
Here’s a collection of useful links:
The following sites have specific information about RomRaider and other open source tuning solutions:
- www.romraider.com - Obviously the main source of information about RomRaider. Check out the “Tuning Discussion and Base Maps” forum for tuning help.
- www.osecuroms.org - A great place to find staged maps available to download (you must register first to view downloads). Also an active forum for tuning discussion.
- http://forums.openecu.org - The original forum for the OpenECU project. Broader scope covering EcuFlash as well as RomRaider and other tuning solutions for Subarus and Mitsubishis.
- www.scoobypedia.co.uk/index.php/Scoobypedia/Scoobypedia - This Wiki site has a number of How-Tos and FAQs relating to Subarus. Check out the “ECU” section.
The following are Subaru specific forums that may discuss RomRaider as well as other engine management solutions and also general tuning and modding:
- http://forums.nasioc.com/forums - Take a look at the “Engine Management and Tuning” forum and “Stock ECU Reflashes” sub-forum for discussion related to various forms of Subaru engine management, including RomRaider. One of, if not the largest Subaru forum on the planet.
- www.iwsti.com/forums - This site is primarily focused on the USDM STi. See the “ECU Tuning and Performance Electronics” forum for tuning assistance.
- www.clubwrx.net/forums - Dedicated to the WRX and STi. Check out the “Electronic Engine Management” forum.
- www.legacygt.com/? - Forums specific to the Legacy GT.
- www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin - A site dedicated to the Forester. Take a look at the “Turbo Tuning” forum.
The following are links for commercially available software, however they contain tuning information about Subaru engine management that can be useful. Be aware, however, that the table names and sometimes the unit conversions in their software may differ from RomRaider:
Q Are there any recommended books about Engine Management?
“How to Tune and Modify Engine Management Systems” by Jeff Hartman