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More SuperChips stuff

Well, thanks to Bob Myers, we have yet another data point in the SuperChips
saga.  When I asked him to disconnect his SuperChips modified Audi 200TQ
computer and have a look inside, he was more than happy to do it (thanks, 
Bob!).  I asked him to look for signs of a desoldered and resoldered EPROM,
and, barring that, anything else that looked like it might have been added
by SuperChips.  Here is what he found:

[beginning of included text]

The computer is apart and in my hands as I write.

There are two boards connected by 3 ribbon cables soldered in.  I find 
nothing I would identify as an EPROM.  There is what I think is a PROM 


The computer itself is identified as a MAC-11C on the outside.  There is a 
tiny daughterboard to which a vacuum hose is connected.  There is a small 
blue part which I think is a zener.  It has a black line 'round one end.  It 
is newly soldered to the pins connecting the tiny board to the main board.  
There is also some other fresh solder on the tiny board at about this same 
location.  A small ceramic resistor so small I can't read the color code 
soldered between the tiny board and the mother(?)board.  The zener(?) is also
soldered at the motherboard end of this resistor and runs to another lead five 
leads from the resistor.  If the resistor is at pin 1 then the zener spans 
from 1 to 5.  There is fresh solder on the tiny board at pins 1 and 2.

I don't think I see anything else with fresh solder.  There is a tiny black 
spot on the zener(?) with ST printed in it.  Can't see the rest of it.

The short of it?  I don't think there is a new or reprogrammed chip.  There 
has been some sort of modification.  $400 worth?  Well...  Sometimes you pay
the mechanic for knowing which relay to hit with the wrench.

Gonna put everything back so's I can get to work tamarrie.

[end of included text]

So, it seems as if there has been no EPROM change in this case, although
something was done to the signal coming from the boost pressure transducer.
In all likelihood, this resistor/zener diode mod is there to limit the
boost pressure signal going to the engine computer when that boost signal
gets beyond a certain threshold.  In this way, fuel cut will never occur,
so higher boost pressures can and are used thanks to the SuperChips stiffer
wastegate spring.

By the way, I should mention that Bob feels in no way cheated out of the
$400 it cost him for this mod.  It delivers what it claims (more power), even 
though the parts cost is probably on the order of 20 dollars or so.  One
could certainly argue that the value of such a product is based mostly on 
specialized knowledge (even though that knowledge may already be known by
many of the potential purchasers of this product, who may think they could
get more from a big name computer modifier company than they could get by
themselves by adding their own bleeder valve), not on the sum of the 
parts cost.  What do you all think?

Here's another post from Peter Wales, president of SuperChips, in response
to a nasty letter he got from someone else...

[beginning of included text]

You are trying very hard to flame me and either you are a nice guy or you 
are not very good at it!

> Don't you think what you did was a bit fraudulent?  I mean, it'd
> be one thing if you had simply sent them the bleeder valve for
> $350, but to send the computer back with the sticker "Engine management
> computers reprogrammed by SuperChips" is flat out lying to the
> customer.  Were you willing to stake the reputation of your company
> on this?  Since the word is out on the Talon/Stealth "mods", you
> must know that people are going to have serious doubts about
> purchasing your product for other cars in the future.

We have a big problem with people copying our designs. It is  a 
serious problem 
in this business and so we have to have some mystique to the conversion. 
Hence put a sticker on the box. 

I have no more problem with selling as 50c sticker for $350 than I do 
selling a $1 EPROM for $350. This is a business and I have just spent 
$350,000 buying a new building, dyno and gas analysis equipment. I need 
to earn that money back and if I offer to sell somebody a power gain for 
$350 and they get that gain for $350 and they have a week to try it 
before making up their minds whether it is worth the money or not, what 
difference does it make what they actually get as long as it works to 
their satisfaction and meets my claims. 

How much do you think a Porsche 
is worth when it is raw materials. It is the knowledge and experience and 
development time which imparts value and these customers did not know 
how to increase  the power in their cars. So for $350 I told them, and 
gave them a free sticker and bleed valve!!

[end of included text]

So, do you think Mr. Wales has a point?
                                                    Dan Bocek