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Thread: Volo VP15 OBD Tuner

  1. #11
    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    Hey, if somebody wanted to pay me to plug in an OBDII connector, I'd let them. And we know those people are out there. Their website is just marketing.

    As for numbers, I don't expect them. This device is rather generic. They set it up with parameters to work with a lot of common vehicles. They may even test a little bit with each one, just to be sure it works. But, it works with a LOT of different cars! (it would work with not only my Mirage, but also my wife's Miata, and even my 1997 S10!) There's no way they're going to do before and after dyno testing on each one, or fuel economy testing before and after with each one. They just can't.

    You just have to accept how the thing works. It's modifying things like fuel and spark trim tables. The ECU has a main fuel table (probably more than one for different conditions), and it has "trims" that are adjusted both short term and long term. This is how the ECU "learns". All it's doing is making the ECU "learn" a set of trims that meet your needs. If you want fuel economy, it's going to "trim" to not go as rich under load/acceleration. If you want power, it's going to trim for a little more fuel under acceleration, and advance the timing a little bit. You're going to run premium fuel? It's going to go just a little more advanced with the timing. Etc, etc.

    As someone who's done some "garage level" tuning with fully programmable ECUs, I can tell you that what it's doing is exactly what I'd do as a starting point if I was tuning a car. I want more performance... I'm going to give it more timing advance. If I'm going to run premium to prevent pinging, I can advance it a little more. But, I know I'm not going to go to the expense of dyno tuning, so I'm going to keep those changes conservative. I know from experience that I can advance timing by 8-10 degrees without pinging when I'm running premium... so I advance it by 6 degrees to be safe. (our cars also have a knock sensor, so if there is any pinging, the ECU will detect it and dial the timing advance back) And if I've added a header and exhaust or intake mods, I know that the engine is going to be able to use a little more fuel to make more power with those mods, so I can add that.

    That's all it's doing. Making educated "guesses" toward slight improvements to the factory tune within the ranges of the factory trim tables. It's possible that if you modded your car (or not) and drove it in the manner you wanted it to tune for CONSISTENTLY, that the ECU could eventually arrive at this set of trims on its own.

    There's almost certainly not enough adjustment in those factory trims to allow for adding a turbo or anything like that. But, for minor mods, this device should work.

    I don't expect anything magical from it. But, if it can give me a little more timing advance, and a little more fuel at the top end... that should result in performance gains that I can feel and probably measure. For $130... that's all I expect.


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  2. #12
    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    Got the VP15 plugged in. Roads are wet today, so I probably won't do any test runs. But, seat of the pants... feels exactly like what I would expect if I'd advanced the timing by 2-3 degrees. Subtle, but definitely just a little more "punchy" under part-throttle acceleration. And it feels like it's pulling harder from 5k up. Will be interesting to see if that shows in my acceleration runs.
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    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    Ugh. Drove the car out to lunch and run some errands. It still feels peppier. I think it's mostly ignition advance. Even running around with the AC on, it feels a little more like a "normal car" once you're above 2k. Even if the peak HP numbers or overall acceleration isn't any better, it does FEEL better.

    Why the ugh? Because I didn't have a lot of time, but I went down a nice dead-end go-nowhere road and did one quick acceleration run. When I got home and went to look at it, I realized that I had taken a still photo of the tach rather than a video. And now it's pouring rain. Pretty much blows today's opportunity.
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    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    I've got a Bluetooth OBD dongle that works with the Torque app on my phone. That will let me monitor ignition advance... and probably fuel trims if I dig into it. But, since the VP15 uses the OBDII port, what is a guy to do?

    I just ordered an OBDII splitter cable. Once I have that, then I can maybe do some looking with and without the VP15 installed... and with different settings on the VP15 to get an idea of what changes it's actually making.
    Simplify and add lightness.

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    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    Still raining, but I have some time. Playing with the software. Trying to develop a "map" of what all of the dumbed down settings might actually do, and I'll eventually experiment with each of them to see if I can feel the difference, and log relevant data through the OBD.

    - Performance Priority (Economy, Performance or Mix) - SET PRIORITY variable (E, P or M) - I believe this sets the primary throttle sensitivity. Will experiment to verify. It may also modify the timing curve. And it might change the "throttle enrichment" to give it more or less fuel when you mash the gas, and the open loop fuel (when the throttle is fully open) fuel table.
    - Fuel Octane (87, 89 or 91+) - SET FUEL variable (0, 1 or 2) - This is going to determine how far the timing can be safely advanced.
    - Towing/Hauling (never, sometimes, always) - LOAD OFFSET variable (0, 1 or 2) - probably shifts the throttle sensitivity curve to come on a little sooner.
    - HHO - HHO ENABLE variable (T or F) - Might further advance timing because HHO burns faster?
    - High Flow Air Filter, like K&N (yes or no) - FUEL OFFSET 1 (0 or 1)
    - Cold Air Intake (yes or no) - FUEL OFFSET 2 (0 or 1)
    - High Flow Exhaust (yes or no) - FUEL OFFSET 3 (0 or 1)
    - Exhaust Header (yes or no) - FUEL OFFSET 4 (0 or 1)
    - Ignition Mods (yes or no) - TIMING OFFSET 1 (0 or 1)
    - Underdrive Pulley (yes or no) - TIMING OFFSET 2 (0 or 1)

    My guess is that each of the FUEL OFFSET variables is going to shift the peak fuel according to expected peak torque RPM for that kind of mod.

    Not sure about the TIMING OFFSET variables. Ignition mods would generally just give you a hotter spark... I guess, maybe with that you could advance the timing more? And underdrive pulleys are either going to make the engine rev quicker and potentially idle funny (not sure what they'd do about either with timing... probably more advance), or potentially reduce the voltage output of the alternator and thus reduce spark output. (for which you might maybe want to retard timing) So, not sure which way they're going with those. I should be able to see a change in timing with the Torque app, though... maybe. (timing is always constantly being adjusted, so it might not be easy to detect if it's a small change)
    Simplify and add lightness.

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    Senior Member Mitz's Avatar
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    This review made me re-think and ponder prompting to e-mail them


    I made a follow up e-mail to the one I posted at the other thread

    Attachment 12181

    Their reply made emphasis to bit-banging, a term which for all intent and purposes is to emulate the CAN protocol. They neither confirm nor deny that they're using the PIC18F4550 but I suppose it is and is cheaper than an MCU that has a true CAN interface.

    Attachment 12182
    BIT-BANGING
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUgfXj1HDz0

    It's now on Loren to confirm that Volo's bit-banging implementation on the VP15 actually works.

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    Senior Member Qrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren View Post
    I've got a Bluetooth OBD dongle that works with the Torque app on my phone. That will let me monitor ignition advance... and probably fuel trims if I dig into it. But, since the VP15 uses the OBDII port, what is a guy to do?

    I just ordered an OBDII splitter cable. Once I have that, then I can maybe do some looking with and without the VP15 installed... and with different settings on the VP15 to get an idea of what changes it's actually making.
    I also need some baseline numbers to have as a watermark for potential gains/losses. I have a Tactrix 2.0 cable and EvoScan. Do you have any experience with that software? Im having a little trouble parsing my logs properly. I havent really dug deep into it, though. It has all kinds of data-logging capabilities and its pretty robust. Im going to spend some extra time on it and get some good data about the current state of my setup.

    https://www.tactrix.com/index.php?op...ed=1&Itemid=53

    http://www.evoscan.com/evoscan-gps-o...ogger-software
    Last edited by Qrush; 07-22-2018 at 04:36 AM.

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    The price frankly is too good to be true. Only can trust dyno numbers for such products to avoid placebo effect.
    Here is the link to a thread on a dyno session with and without a volo. I believe this is the old volo product though.

    https://www.google.com.sg/amp/s/www....=3607655&amp=1


    On the other hand we have this site which reviews chips: http://www.performancechipreviews.com/vp15-volo-chip/

    They verified Wiring and performance gains.

  11. #19
    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    You're not telling me anything I didn't already know. Yes, this is a new product, reviews from 2008 are irrelevant. Couldn't find any actual dyno results for the VP15, but I did find several good reviews on it.

    I'm not going to pay for dyno time, but I'll do some acceleration tests as I did for my header and exhaust. That will tell me if there is an actual performance gain. And I should be able to look at some things in the Torque app and verify that some parameters have been changed.

    Still waiting on the OBD splitter cable.

    There are changes that this product could make that wouldn't actually show up on a dyno run, btw. Dyno runs are full throttle, typically 2-3k to redline. Changes to part-throttle timing advance, throttle sensitivity and acceleration enrichment can have MAJOR effects on real-world performance, but not increase the full-throttle power or torque that you would see on a dyno run. If you're drag racing, all you care about is full throttle and dyno numbers. I care about that, but I also care about drivability. If the car "feels" better, that's worth $130 to me.
    Simplify and add lightness.

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  13. #20
    Still Plays With Cars Loren's Avatar
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    Did some really quick sort of "proof of concept" testing tonight. Bear in mind that to test this thing "correctly", I'd need to follow the instructions that came with it, and they say to drive for like 200 miles after tuning/installing it for it to "learn". I'm NOT going to take the time to do that. My tests will be "yeah, I just changed the settings and plugged it in... maybe it will get better from here?"

    So, I did two things tonight. One was simply the video-based 1500-6000 rpm 2nd gear acceleration test. And that actually surprised me. I mean, I thought it felt a little faster, but I half expected that it was just wishful thinking or that it wouldn't make THAT much of a difference in full-throttle acceleration. I'm gonna hold off on "publishing" a full chart until after I've played with the settings some more because it's possible that I might find a configuration that works even better than just setting it up by answering the setup questions "truthfully". But, it absolutely improved 2nd gear acceleration by another .2 seconds!

    2nd gear, full-throttle, 1500-6000 rpm:
    Stock = 8.799 secs
    Header = 8.500 secs
    Header + 1.75" exhaust = 8.434 secs
    All that plus VP15 = 8.233 secs

    So, total improvement from stock is about .6 seconds. If 0-60 stock was 10.5 seconds, then it's now just barely in the 9's. Maybe I'll test that someday... I don't like to rely on 0-60 testing (as much as I like the statistic) because it's hard on the clutch, and really hard to be consistent. With a powerful car, you get wheelspin on the launch and it negates your time. With a less powerful car, maybe you'll get wheelspin... or you'll just botch the launch and bog, which is even worse. Very hard to get that perfect launch AND that perfect 1-2 shift... and since we only reach 55 in 2nd... you'd also have to get a perfect 2-3 shift!

    Anyhow... the other testing I did tonight was a little more as a "test the method" test. I've never logged data using the Torque app, so I was playing with that. I did a run with the ECU stock, and another with the VP15 plugged in. My run consisted of a not-quite-consistent easy launch and half-throttle run up to redline in 1st, then partly through 2nd, skip-shifting to 4th, cruising at 30 with gentle accel to 40. Downshift to 3rd while slowing for a turn, gentle accel back to 40. Downshift to 2nd while slowing for another turn (identical turn, I just took it in 2nd this time) and blasting out of that turn at full throttle before coasting down to a stop.

    The two runs weren't identical, but they were at least similar to allow for a little bit of data comparison. And it did work. But, I need to do it again, and maybe find a longer stretch of road where I can do a nice long 3rd gear pull (or at the very least 2nd gear). Doing 1st gear, I didn't get enough data points. Only a .1 second data rate. And I need to pull up the throttle position display and do a consistent part-throttle acceleration run. Just a couple of things that I can do very consistently with different setups, and do them slowly enough to get lots of data points to examine what's happening.

    What I did learn from tonight's data was this:
    - Long Term Fuel Trim does not change. (I didn't expect it to)
    - Short Term Fuel Trim DOES change, but it seems to be mostly in the low-mid range. (I expected more up high... I *need* more up high)
    - Spark Advance DOES change, again, it seems to be more in the low-mid range... and by several degrees.
    - Throttle Sensitivity doesn't appear to have changed with my chosen settings (I think if I tell it that I'm towing, and it sets the "fuel offset" variable, it might show up here)
    - I forgot to log the measured AFR. It should remain at 14.7 under constant cruising or gentle acceleration that's not WOT. But, at WOT... it could be richer, and that would be telling. It could also get richer on bursts of acceleration (accel enrichment), but that would be nearly impossible to measure with a .1 second data rate.

    Will do more testing when I have time and motivation. (Time, Money and Motivation... I'm in an eternal struggle to balance the three) But, initial indication is that it's not just placebo. This device actually makes some changes, and is capable of at least improving the feel of the car AND the acceleration. I'm pretty happy about that, and look forward to seeing if tweaking the settings can yield more improvement.


    Simplify and add lightness.

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