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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > My Open Source N54 DME Flashing Project



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      04-15-2013, 02:56 AM   #1
Rombinhood@OpenFlash
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Official Open Source MSD80/81 DME Flashing Project

Hello all. I'm new here so please go easy on me For some time, I've been working on an open source DME flashing system for the MSD80/81. I've even managed to tune my car to some degree (more on that later) using software that I've developed with a small group of colleagues who also just happen to be BMW owners. First, I'd like to say that I'm not tuner by any means. And neither are my colleagues. We are just hardware/software nerds with a penchant for hotrodding. This means that none of us want to get involved in any tuning wars or participate in any dramatic debates. We are here only to learn and to spread what little knowledge we have.

By tuning "To some degree" I mean that while I can read, edit and write to the DME, I do not completely understand the interdependencies of some of the tables. I'll be honest, I have [cough] hacked [cough] a few flash tunes and found what has been changed. For instance I know that what appears to be the fuel maps are located at 703A4 and 706B4 addresses on my particular software version (IJE0S) And what appears to be boost/load target maps are at 6318E and 6318E. And so on...

But what I'd really like to learn is what some of these other tables are and how they work. It would be fantastic if we could start an open source tuning community where we can share info. Is there anyone out there that would like to help me define these tables. I'm pretty good at finding tables in raw hex files. But the more eyes we have working on this, the better! If you are interesting in this little project, PM me and we can discuss offline.

Thank you for reading!

Last edited by Rombinhood@OpenFlash; 04-22-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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      04-15-2013, 02:59 AM   #2
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Ah a kindred spirit. Love it. You have PM

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      04-15-2013, 03:06 AM   #3
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Shiv! I was hoping that you would reply. I don't know if you remember me but I met you years ago when I brought my Evo to your shop to dyno tune back in 2005ish. I was the guy who showed up with my own ECU flashing software running off of my Palm Pilot
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      04-15-2013, 03:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RombinHood2 View Post
Shiv! I was hoping that you would reply. I don't know if you remember me but I met you years ago when I brought my Evo to your shop to dyno tune back in 2005ish. I was the guy who showed up with my own ECU flashing software running off of my Palm Pilot
Yes I remember that! I was blown away by what you did back then. Especially considering the $8k Techtom flashing system we just bought sucked compared to what you did with your Palm Pilot. That was the first time I ever flash tuned an ecu without a laptop. Looking forward to meeting up again. I'll be happy to help out with your project. I've spent the last year open sourcin' it up with the msd80/81. Wonderful to see you join this community.

To everyone else--- we are in the presence of greatness

Cheers,
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      04-15-2013, 03:49 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forums ! What you say is great news, especially given your background which shows you are very serious

I'm also a software developer at my core and I have been working at some Android and WinRT virtual gauge stuff in the hope that one day we could tune our cars with our mobile phones rather than a dedicated device, eliminating the need to carry a laptop to see logs, etc. So many opportunities.

Keep up the great work and maybe one day we will be benefiting from each other's work

By the way, I am interested in logging N54 engine parameters via OBD2/CANbus using an Android smartphone (Android now has USB host functionality). Did you do something in this area ? I think it should be even easier than reading and writing the DME.
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      04-15-2013, 03:55 AM   #6
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This is some interesting and (potentially)groundbreaking stuff. I wish you the best of luck!!!
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      04-15-2013, 05:40 AM   #7
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Oh wow cool! You should get in touch with ProTuning Freaks. They are the kings of N54 custom flash tuning currently using Cobb's software.
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      04-15-2013, 06:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazze90 View Post
You should get in touch with ProTuning Freaks. They are the kings of N54 custom flash tuning currently using Cobb's software.
...and they don't have any reason to give away precious information to open source projects which could at some point ruin their business
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      04-15-2013, 06:29 AM   #9
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The way I look at it its just another tool in the shed to get the job done. ATR is free too. Anyone can get or buy anything but not everyone has the skill to master it.
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      04-15-2013, 06:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazze90 View Post
The way I look at it its just another tool in the shed to get the job done. ATR is free too. Anyone can get or buy anything but not everyone has the skill to master it.
ATR requires a Cobb AP which in turn requires an up-front investment.

This is akin to OpenECU on other platforms. I never thought I'd see this day come. Can't wait!
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      04-15-2013, 07:07 AM   #11
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      04-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #12
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This will be a good read... in for later
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      04-15-2013, 08:30 AM   #13
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awesome! can't wait to read more
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      04-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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This is huge. Moving the tuning aspect of our engines to be completely open source would be groundbreaking. I would love to get more information about this.
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      04-15-2013, 10:04 AM   #15
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      04-15-2013, 10:06 AM   #16
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Subscribed!

Welcome to our little world ... Love your name ROM -- bin -- Hood (from the rich to the poor). Mmmmmm!!!

I'm more of a hardware guy and have some contract mfg contacts in APAC.

Love to help out if you need it!!!
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      04-15-2013, 10:40 AM   #17
Rombinhood@OpenFlash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstavaru View Post
Welcome to the forums ! What you say is great news, especially given your background which shows you are very serious

I'm also a software developer at my core and I have been working at some Android and WinRT virtual gauge stuff in the hope that one day we could tune our cars with our mobile phones rather than a dedicated device, eliminating the need to carry a laptop to see logs, etc. So many opportunities.

Keep up the great work and maybe one day we will be benefiting from each other's work

By the way, I am interested in logging N54 engine parameters via OBD2/CANbus using an Android smartphone (Android now has USB host functionality). Did you do something in this area ? I think it should be even easier than reading and writing the DME.
Thanks for the kind reply! I'm not exceptionally familiar with the Android platform to tell the truth. But let's just say I work for their competition here in Cupertino But whipping up a datalogging/display device that feeds CAN info off of the OBD2 port is relatively simple compared to writing/reading the DME ROM since it doesn't require any encryption keys or checksum calculations. It can be done at the basic diagnostic level. My colleague has already written a program that does so via iPhone. Porting over my little DME read/writing program does seem to be the next natural step.
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      04-15-2013, 10:44 AM   #18
Rombinhood@OpenFlash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cupertinosteve View Post
Subscribed!

Welcome to our little world ... Love your name ROM -- bin -- Hood (from the rich to the poor). Mmmmmm!!!

I'm more of a hardware guy and have some contract mfg contacts in APAC.

Love to help out if you need it!!!
Thanks for the offer! Heheh, I thought that name was appropriate given the nature of what I'm doing with regards to this project. I've always felt that owners should have the ability to modify their ROM file as they see fit, in an open source environment. The information is certainly there. It's just a matter of finding to those people who are willing to share it. And judging from the responses, I think we are off to a good start.

Thanks again to everyone who PMed me
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      04-15-2013, 10:58 AM   #19
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Very interested... wish I was a computer guy and understood this stuff, but I know nothing.

Is open sourcing primarily just altering table values? Eventually, could we have access to the calculations/relationships between them? Maybe change (or eliminate) table relationships. Just curious.

What's the timeframe involved with cracking the DME... do you have to translate from German, and/or are you actually tracing to the electrical input/output?
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      04-15-2013, 11:02 AM   #20
Rombinhood@OpenFlash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazze90 View Post
Oh wow cool! You should get in touch with ProTuning Freaks. They are the kings of N54 custom flash tuning currently using Cobb's software.
I'm a little hesitant to ask just anyone to help me. Especially those who are already invested in a closed platform (Cobb Tuning). I don't want to ask them to give away information that they rely on for revenue stream. Nor do I think Cobb Tuning would appreciate it if they helped me with my open source project since it is in direct odds with their best interest. While I think I'm being realistic, I hope I'm being pessimistic as I would be pleasantly surprised if they contacted me and were willing to help. It would be very useful to spend a few hours with the Cobb pro tuning suite for no other reason than learning the names of the tables that I have access to via the open source software. It does make sense to use the same nomenclature/labels/units as existing mapping software just to make it easy on those who would want to eventually transition from a closed tuning platform over to open source.
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      04-15-2013, 11:06 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshboody View Post
Very interested... wish I was a computer guy and understood this stuff, but I know nothing.

Is open sourcing primarily just altering table values? Eventually, could we have access to the calculations/relationships between them? Maybe change (or eliminate) table relationships. Just curious.

What's the timeframe involved with cracking the DME... do you have to translate from German, and/or are you actually tracing to the electrical input/output?
Open sourcing refers to transparency when it comes to the software being used to write/read from the DME.

For instance, if Terry and Shiv decide to open source their piggys, when we get the source code and we can change teh firmware to our liking. same with COBB. (think Linux vs windows)
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      04-15-2013, 11:29 AM   #22
Rombinhood@OpenFlash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshboody View Post
Very interested... wish I was a computer guy and understood this stuff, but I know nothing.

Is open sourcing primarily just altering table values? Eventually, could we have access to the calculations/relationships between them? Maybe change (or eliminate) table relationships. Just curious.

What's the timeframe involved with cracking the DME... do you have to translate from German, and/or are you actually tracing to the electrical input/output?
Hi Josh,
Reading the DME didn't involve much more than gaining read access to the flashable memory/ROM. In the case of most modern DMEs this involves dealing with some moderate level encryption. So working out the encryption keys was necessary. We actually did this through putting some of our in-house resources to work. Within a 50 yard radius of my desk, we probably have access to more raw processing power than most cities in the US. So that helps.

Once we have this ROM (2.1 meg file), we open it up in some sort of map editor. We then set up a definition file, for this particular ROM file that provides a usable framework. By this I mean that it locates the map addresses and converts the raw hex data into useable map/table data. This is the part that I'm not too familiar (yet) with as it involves a fundamental knowledge of MSD80/81 specific tuning. But once these definition files are created (with the help of Shiv and whomever else is willing to help), the rest is just tuning as you would using a closed tuning system. But the advantage of open source is that it is constantly and infinitely updatable/definable as the user would have access to every bit of the flashable DME code. Not just the info that the tuner wants to give you access to. This usually open up a new world for enthusiasts like us and leads to some pretty amazing functionality breakthroughs that wouldn't have been possible or likely otherwise.

Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Show him how to fish and he can eat for the rest of his life. Or something like that

[Screenshot of a ROM file show below. Left column is hexadecimal format. Right column in ASCII]
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