Hondata recently released their newly designed S200 (S-Series) system with amazing results. For a mere $295 (base system), the S200 unit has the ability to modify the speed limiter, offer tunable fuel and ignition tables, expand rpm and ignition tables, adjust VTEC control, and increase rev limitation. So, you may be asking "Is the Hondata system worth the investment?" Just ask two of the world's fastest Hondas; Erick's Racing's 9.99 second all motor Civic and the Progress/Vortech 204 mph Bonneville Civic which both use the Hondata system.
What is Hondata?
Hondata fuel computers modify the factory ECU parameters by adding newly acquired features and expanding the limits of an otherwise limited factory fuel and ignition computer. Utilizing the factory ECU, Hondata ensures a straightforward plug and play installation, enabling any car to use its existing factory sensors which not only saves time, but also money. ECU compatibility issues have always been a problem for Honda owners due to the large lineup of ECUs in Honda's lineup. Covering most vehicles ranging from 1992 to 2000, with the most recent development for the K-series motors, it's safe to say Hondata will plug into almost any popular Honda.
Are the majority of all aftermarket ECU chips the same?
Arguably the answer is yes! What's the simplest, most common solution for enthusiasts looking to increase horsepower you ask? An aftermarket chip seems to be the most logical solution, but do we really know what's programmed in those chips? Many enthusiast are tricked into believing that those "one chip wonders" will give you 20-50 percent more horsepower right out of the box. Fat chance! Unfortunately those same "wonder" chips that claim to rocket your car into the 10 second range are no more than a mass produced ROM with set fuel and ignition tables that might have been useful for a race team in Japan a few years back but useless to a daily driving enthusiast located in the U.S. Keep in mind, Japan's fuel is rated at 100 octane while drivers in the US get bent over with shitty gas rated at 91 in California. That changes your fuel and ignition settings.
What are the limits of a stock Honda ECU?
Doug MacMillan (co-founder) of Hondata states most factory Honda ECU fuel and ignition tables are mapped to 9,000 rpm. "If you are revving the engine to the tune of 10,000rpm, keep in mind the Honda ECU maps are fixed at the maximum 9,000rpm range leaving you with those same trace maps for 9,000 rpm regardless if you're at 10,000 or 11,000 rpm." Dangerous indeed!
How difficult is it to program my own Hondata unit?
Although the S200 is a plug and play unit, tuning is required to ensure the maximum horsepower. With Hondata's startup base programs which include a multitude of maps for a variety of cars, vehicle startup can be accomplished in no time . With authorized tuners for the Hondata unit ranging from Thailand to most recently Hawaii, it's not hard pressed to find a competent tuner to install the S200 and dynotune your car to extract maximum horsepower. For the more competent individuals who want to tune their own vehicles, combining $200 for a ROM Editor, $200 for HondaLogger, and $270 for an EPROM programmer will enable you to begin your solo Hondata programming. So what are all the items listed above you ask? The ROM Editor can data log information from the blue S200 interface box. This is useful while tuning on the laptop so that the position of the tables which is being used can be viewed in real-time while the dyno is taking place. Changes made to the fuel and ignition tables, or other settings, can be saved to a file and written to a flashable EPROM using an EPROM programmer. Considered the most important feature for the S200 unit is the Honda Logger. Logging enables the laptop used to program your Hondata unit to record and display specific ECU mappings through the rpm range after a dyno pull. With data logging capabilities a tuner can reference back to a specific rpm and determine if sufficient fuel and ignition values were present. Over 40 sensors can be data logged at once at speeds of 900-1000 samples/seconds.
Anytime forced induction is used on a Honda, installing a S200 unit eliminates the need for piggyback fuel computers, boost dependant fuel pressure regulators, additional injectors, check valves and timing retard boxes. Simplicity of the unit only requires a 1:1 ratio fuel pressure regulator and larger injectors to compensate for fuel. The most feared scenario in turbocharged cars is over boosting. Over boosting can be caused from wastegate failure, boost creeps or an overzealous turn of the boost controller. Programming a specified boost amount in the Hondata S200 eliminates over boosting, while providing protection with the built in boost-cut if for any unforeseen circumstances your Honda witnesses higher than normal boost levels.
Upgrading the S200
Implementing a unique alphanumeric code using the HondaLogger unit, customers have the ablility to upgrade and activate boost, datalogging and 3-step rev limiter if chosen in the near future. This fast and easy process eliminates the need to send the S200 unit back to Hondata for reprogramming.
For the most bang for the buck, improved drivability, and easy to program unit, it's hardpressed to deny Hondata has appealed to the Honda masses whether the S200 is for an all motor or turbo vehicle daily driven or ready to set the next world record. For more information on Hondata's S200 check out their website.
S200 optional Features +++
3-step rev limiter/Launch controlUsing a Hondata switch to replace the factory clutch switch, rpms can be adjusted to a preferable setting that will stay constant until the clutch is released when launching the car. This feature enables drag racing launches to stay consistent.
Full throttle shifts
Perhaps the coolest feature in the S200 unit is the ability to perform full throttle shifting. Full throttle shifting features the elimination of depressing the gas pedal when crashing through the gears down the quarter mile. Not only does this increase gear shifting efficiency but helps turbo cars maintain boost levels throughout the gears keeping quarter mile times more consistent. Not to mention the car sound wicked!
The Hondata G Sensor is an additional unit which contains a two axis accelerometer which plugs into the S200 Interface Box. Adding the G Sensor allows the owner to data log acceleration, cornering and braking simultaneously while the car is still in motion.
|GeneralKit Includes||Datalogging/interface box for stock Honda EMS|
|Optional Components||G-sensor, datalogging|
|Cost (8 cy kit w/sensors & harness; 4-cy; ECU)||na; $245-820;|
|Engine Configurations (cylinders)||4|
|Load-Sense via MAP,TPS,MAF,Veloc,Torque||MAP|
|Laptop Requirements||Win95+,133mhz, 16MB RAM, serial port|
|Graphical v Tabular; Tuning trim pots?||Both; No|
|Physical Size And Weight||OEM Honda (uses stock ECU hardware)|
|Fuel; IGN Map rpm Ranges;||20/24 (High-speed cam); 20/24; Yes|
Additional Hondata features +++
Programmable shift light
Using a HondaLogger to adjust rpm points, an LED shift light can be placed anywhere within the confines of the dash. Using an LED shift light enables a quicker light response compared to the common filament bulb type lights.
When a car reaches a certain rpm or throttle position, the air conditioning will automatically turn off enabling the driver to concentrate on the road if he becomes involved in signal to signal confrontation.
The VTEC changeover point can be set at any reasonable rpm by using either an ROM Editor or the Hondata supplied push button / interface box. Hondata claims their methods of setting the VTEC points are superior to their competitor's piggyback computers. Why is that you ask? Mac Millan states, "Hondas have two fuel and two ignition maps. With aftermarket VTEC controllers, the camshaft is forced to switch while running on the wrong fueling and ignition tables. This can cause fuel to be as far as 10% out and ignition to be retarded up to 6 degrees. Although some VTEC controllers allow a correction for fuel, there are currently none that allow correction for ignition advance. The best possible method that Hondata uses is to switch the ECU tables at the same time the camshaft is changed."
Using a ROM editor, Nitrous can be activated and deactivated though programmable setting in conjunction with engine speed, rpm, and throttle. Fuel and ignition can also be modified when adding nitrous.