Things to know BEFORE buying a TwEECer or Quarterhorse

Collection of newbie questions and common tuning concepts

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Things to know BEFORE buying a TwEECer or Quarterhorse

Postby cgrey8 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:48 pm

When I first bought my TwEECer, I expected it to be much more intuitive than it was. From the get-go, I was frustrated with the accompanying software's buggyness (CalEdit & CalCon) and that there are no tools included with the TwEECer to help you make heads or tails of your datalogs. I got the TwEECer, I got it working, and I ended up with datalog files that don't seem to open in any standard editor or database manager. After spending $550+ on a new TwEECerRT, I get hit with being told by other owners that I need to buy more software if I want to do anything with those logs. The other option is mess around with people's 1/2 baked Excel programs that have nearly no documentation.

I eventually figured out all the ins and outs of tuning with the TwEECer, and later made a seamless migration to using the Moates Quarterhorse since it is newer, cheaper, and in my opinion, all-around better than the TwEECer RT. Here is my collection of knowledge that I wish I'd known BEFORE I bought a TwEECer. Note, many of the comments also apply to those considering a Quarterhorse, but the comments made relating to CalEdit/CalCon are specific to the TwEECer since CalEdit/Calcon don't support the Moates Quarterhorse. For more info on the difference between the TwEECer and Quarterhorse, there's a detailed comparison in the FAQ for reference.
  • Don't mess with the TwEECer base. It's the TwEECer RT or something non-TwEECer. The power of the TwEECer is not in its ability to tune the EEC. There are plenty of other products like Moates and SCT chips that can do that for cheaper than the TwEECer base. The power of the TwEECer RT is its ability to datalog the EEC.
  • When you buy a TwEECer RT, expect to purchase EEC Analyzer. It will open and analyze the datalog files that are a result of the TwEECer datalogging your engine's behavior during a run/drive. The bread-n-butter of EEC Analyzer is to help you sort out your MAF curve. It also helps with tuning a number of other aspects of the EEC and for advanced users, it will display maps and charts of the various things you datalogged across the Load/RPM range. Expect to pay ~$70 to register EEC Analyzer. Click here to read more about EEC Analyzer:
    EEC Analyzer and Binary Editor website
  • Now as I said above, the software that comes with the TwEECer is not the best. It's rarely updated, buggy, and not intuitive at all. So if your EEC is a standard EEC like an 89-95 Mustang EEC, a far better solution is to use another product other than CalEdit to edit your tunes. TunerPro and BinaryEditor are the two editors of choice. Both are free to use as an editor. Unfortunately as an editor-only, you still have to use CalEdit and CalCon to write your tune and datalog the TwEECer. However BinaryEditor can be licensed to directly communicate with the TwEECer so you can ditch CalEdit and Calcon and do tune editing, writing, and datalogging all from BinaryEditor. BE licensing as of this posting is ~$70. Check the EEC Analyzer website for up to date licensing information. There is also a discount for purchasing BE and EA together.
  • The power of datalogging is to smooth out driveability issues. Although it can be used to solve performance/WOT tuning as well. But to be an effective WOT tuner, you will need the combination of Wideband O2 sensor and WB controller so you can determine what your actual AFR is vs what the EEC thinks it should be. As the tuner, it's your job to get the computer's commanded AFR (LAMBSEs) and what actually comes out the engine as measured by a WB to be as close as possible. At Closed Loop conditions, the AFRs are supposed to be around stoic (i.e. 14.64:1 AFR) and can be monitored from the stock HEGOs. But when AFRs are not at stoic, a wideband is required. Now to datalog a Wideband, you need to delete the EGR and wire the WB to the EGR position sensor input. However for those of us that have to maintain emissions, deleting the EGR is just not an option. So a DataQ A/D converter is needed to wire the WB to. The DataQ (Model DI-194RS) will then connect to your laptop's Serial port and will be datalogged right along-side your TwEECer in BinaryEditor. For people who don't have a Serial port on their laptop, you can either use a USB-to-Serial converter or buy a USB-supporting DataQ device (Model DI-148U). Visit the DataQ website for pricing and details:
    DataQ Website
    WB&Controllers are sold at various locations with prices ranging from $180-400. The Innovate LC-1 WB/Controller package sells for around $190 from a few different vendors on eBay. Like anything else, you can find them cheaper used, but beware, running leaded gasoline for any length of time with a WB will shorten the life and reduce the accuracy of the WB sensor. So be sure who you buy used WBs from. If it was in a race car that ran leaded race fuel, you may be buying a weakened or damaged sensor.
  • The TwEECer IS NOT a Plug-n-Play device. There's a fairly steep learning curve to being an effective Do-It-Yourself tuner with the TwEECer. So if you are the kind of person that doesn't enjoy tinkering, just want things to work, and cringes at the thought of having to drive around with a laptop as your passenger, then DIY tuning with the TwEECer may not be for you. Instead leave your vehicle to a professional with a dyno. But if you are the kind of person that enjoys learning new things and tinkering, the TwEECer will keep you engaged for months or even years especially if you are tuning a daily driven vehicle. For the tinkerer-type, I HIGHLY recommend it as a tuning method as long as you are tuning using a TwEECer RT along with a highly supported EEC, licensed BinaryEditor, and EEC Analyzer. There is a discount for licensing them together.
  • Because the TwEECer is not a Plug-n-Play device, there are many very disappointed TwEECer owners out there. These owners are people that buy the TwEECer thinking it's going to fix all their problems in 10 minutes with little to no effort OR they buy the TwEECer and find that their particular EEC is poorly supported and give up. If you are looking to buy, this might be a good chance to pickup a good TwEECer for quite a bit less than paying for a new TwEECer. Check the Classifieds section of this forum and other similar forums as well as eBay for people selling their TwEECer. Just be sure you are buying a TwEECer RT, not the base.
  • So how do you know if your EEC is supported? In recent years, the number of EEC strategies supported by BE has grown massively in large thanks to Adam at Pops Racing (username POPSRACING on this forum). Check this thread for details about your specific EEC:
    What strategy does my EEC follow?
  • Can a poorly supported or completely unsupported EEC get support? The answer is yes. With BE, it is possible to write your own definition files to support whatever EEC you might want. The catch is this is a HIGHLY advanced task that is not for everybody. In the time I've been a member of this board, I only know 4 individuals that are skilled and patient enough to take on such a task. So while the technical answer is yes. The practical answer is probably no. The next point touches more on this.
  • Are all strategies free to use in BE? Some are. However BE does offer a feature to definition developers, like Adam, that allow them to encrypt the definition in such a way that requires a user to purchase the rights to use the def. In its unpurchased form, you can only see the info that is exposed for that strategy, but you can't save a tune or write the tune to a device. It's a preview of what the definition will expose. For a developer to develop a new definition file requires extensive familiarity with Ford EECs as well as the ability to read Intel assembly code and Ford's creative techniques that obfuscate the code making it difficult to read for even an experienced Intel assembly programmer. If you are not familiar with how cryptic assembly language is, it takes weeks to learn it and months to be fluent deciphering and writing code for it. For those people, there are decompilers available that will allow them to convert EEC BIN files (the stock tune) into assembly. From there, it is up to the developer to makes heads-or-tails of that code, and determine how to expose the necessary pieces to BE. The details of how that is done are beyond this discussion, but suffice to say, it is a tedious and time consuming task. So because of this, the few that have this ability often choose to recoup some of their time by making their definition file(s) licensable. Typical charge is anywhere from $25 to $200 depending on how complex the definition file is. The developers will not get rich at these price especially given that they may only have 1 or 2 people that ever pay for a particular def.
  • Many people ask if they will always have to run with the TwEECer. And the answer to that is it depends. If you always want the ability to datalog, then yes, you will need to keep the TwEECer and just assume it is part of your EEC. I personally have found the datalogging exceptionally useful at diagnosing problems that would've taken me far longer to figure out without it and don't ever plan to sell my TwEECer. But for those that get their tune working the way they like and find that they rarely ever plug their laptop to the TwEECer anymore, then it might make sense to recoup the TwEECer cost by burning the tune to a Moates or SCT chip, then sell the TwEECer. This is easily done with tunes created using BinaryEditor. CalEdit doesn't save tunes in a standard format. It's proprietary and can only be opened with CalEdit and thus used with the TwEECer. However if you tune using a licensed version of BinaryEditor, then you can burn the same tune you used in a TwEECer to a Moates chip...no problem.
  • At the time I purchased the TwEECer RT, there were no other options. But now there is an option. As mentioned earlier, it's called the Moates Quarterhorse (QH). The QH is cheaper and is far superior to the TwEECer in MANY ways. Before buying a TwEECer, make sure you wouldn't be doing better by getting a Quarterhorse. To learn more about the differences between the TwEECer RT and QH, read the TwEECer RT vs Quarterhorse document also here in the FAQ.
As I think of more things, I'll update/add them to this list.

Once you've made a datalogging tuner purchase, you'll want to read over this thread:
Things to know AFTER buying a TwEECer or Quarterhorse


Last bumped by cgrey8 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:48 pm.
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89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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