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Awhile back a few of us became interested in the steering ECU's and how they work: 550 Steering ECU

I had a vested interest because I had just purchased an "FHP Steering ECU" from a well known European parts vendor and I suspected it wasn't the real deal. So with the invaluable assistance of Eric355 over in France, we delved into the innards of these ECU's and learned a lot about them.

Dave (Ferraridriver) then came up with a brilliant idea of being able to select either the FHP ECU or the stock ECU "on the fly" simply by the flip of a switch (in this case the SPORT switch). I say this was brilliant because for those of you who haven't driven a car with the FHP ECU let me just say it gives a very noticeable reduction in boost to the steering, which improves road feel, but IMO, it can be a bit heavy for low speed, around town driving.

Armed with Dave's vision :) the team then proceeded to develop the circuitry needed to make this switchable steering ECU a reality, and the final result is a kit that is easy to install, "nearly" plug & play (only one wire in the car's harness that requires being tapped into.) and is completely reversible. Best of all, the cost of the kit is only about half the price of an FHP ECU.

In order to recoup development costs Dave made up 10 of these kits, and will make no more. Four are already gone, so if you're interested, PM Dave or me for details.
 

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I'm amazed there's apparently no interest in this, and not even a reply to the thread - only 48 views as of today.

I was sure some of you 550 guys would be interested in this.
 

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John what you guys have done here is pretty cool stuff. I think some of us wish we could be on that list if we had not already purchased/installed the FHP ecu from Ferrari. Please keep the Skunk works program going...
Bill
FL
 

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Bill, thanks for the encouragement; out of curiousity are you happy with the FHP ECU under all driving conditions, or do you occasionally wish you had a bit more assist in the P/S? I know I'm getting old, but I, like Dave, found FHP was a bit too heavy around town.

Just FYI, if you and others already have the Ferrari FHP ECU, this kit would give you the choice whether to use it in SPORT mode or revert back to stock P/S with the SPORT switch off.
 

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John I installed the recommended steering fhp ecu p/n 175891 almost immediately after purchase of the car. This particular improvement seemed subtle. I do not notice any particular heavy feeling to the steering at low speeds. My driver (reference point) is a '06 Z06 and comparing the two, the steering feel is far better in the Ferrari especially at speed. Neither being particular heavy down low.
Car is 2002 always driven in sport mode.
Bill
FL
 

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John what you guys have done here is pretty cool stuff. I think some of us wish we could be on that list if we had not already purchased/installed the FHP ecu from Ferrari. Please keep the Skunk works program going...
Bill
FL
Bill, another thing we've come up with is a remote system that operates your existing remote remotely ( hehe)

Your existing remote is hard wired without its battery in an enclosure and is triggered by another 1, 2, 3 or 4 button remote that operates with it's own rolling code. The new receiver can accept up to ten remotes and can control up to four different functions like opening the trunk, gas flap, exhaust cut out, garage door, whatever you want.

Additional remotes only cost about $15 and they don't have to be cloned plus the range is almost doubled depending on where the receiver is placed in the car. Mine's in the trunk and I can unlock/disarm the car and open the trunk from 50 feet away.

I now have 6 functioning remotes, 3 original which are in sequence (one is hard wired in the enclosure) and 3 for the new receiver plus another original which is out of sequence with the rolling code but all it takes is pushing the button on that one multiple times to get it back into sequence. Of course the original remotes won't open the trunk.
 

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Once again, I'm floored by the 550 crew. You guys do some seriously cool stuff. I'm suprised too that these haven't all be snatched up. Maybe a post on FChat or the Scuderia website.
 

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Dave- My car is an FHP 575M, as you know, and is driven in Normal except when I am in a hurry. The FHP steering ECU works perfectly well at all speeds. Hooking it to the Sport switch seems like an unnecessary step since the steering effort is fine at all speeds.

You will have to give me some more information on your remote set-up. I assume the new one is lithium watch battery powered so no more need for annual fob battery changes.
 

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Terry,

The receiver is a 4 channel unit operating on 433mhz instead of 315mhz. It has it's own rolling code algorithm and can accept up to ten remotes, The remotes use the same A23 battery. All 4 channels have their own relay but they're only 2 amps so we use the standard Bosch "ice cube" relays to operate everything except the original remote fob circuit board which is operated by one of the receiver's on board relays.

Since there are so many permutations of how this can be implemented we decided not to market it but rather divulge the source so people can buy their own and configure it any way they want to. One channel is used for the original Ferrari remote to unlock/disarm the car so there there are 3 channels left for discretionary use.

Since it operates on 433mhz and with a rolling code there is virtually no chance of the system being compromised in the US.

Here is the like to the supplier we've been using

HCS-DEC-4/F AUREL | SOS electronic
 

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Dave- So it transmits one 315 Mhz signal from the Ferrari fob EEPROM, activated by a 433 Mhz signal, and three 433 Mhz signals for use on trunks, homelinks, etc?
 

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Dave- My car is an FHP 575M, as you know, and is driven in Normal except when I am in a hurry. The FHP steering ECU works perfectly well at all speeds. Hooking it to the Sport switch seems like an unnecessary step since the steering effort is fine at all speeds.
Terry, That's your personal opinion and I respect that. One of our team members likes the car without any steering assist whatsoever, no ECU installed, that's his personal opinion. John and I both find the car much more enjoyable with the choice of steering assists, that's our personal opinion.
 

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Dave- So it transmits one 315 Mhz signal from the Ferrari fob EEPROM, activated by a 433 Mhz signal, and three 433 Mhz signals for use on trunks, homelinks, etc?
Terry, The new fob transmits a 433 mhz signal to the receiver which, through a relay, operates the switch on the Ferrari fob which transmits on 315mhz to the car's immobilizer and unlocks/disarms the car. The Ferrari fob is hard wired so it now has no battery to corrode.
 

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Dave- No problem. A lot of other stuff is hooked up to the Sport switch, especially in a 575M, so it works fine the way you designed it.
 

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Dave- Very ingenious. Do you have a photo of the remote that gives some idea of the size of the unit?
 

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Terry, Its about the same size as the Ferrari remote. The 1, 2, and 3 button remotes are all the same size, the 4 button is half again larger and does not have a key chain attach point.
 

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Dave- No problem. A lot of other stuff is hooked up to the Sport switch, especially in a 575M, so it works fine the way you designed it.
Actually the way it works on all of them with a similar ECU is 12VDC is supplied at the sport light and when the switch closes the circuit is completed to the shock ECU and to ground activating the sport algorithm in the shock ECU EEPROM and energizing the sport light.

What we're doing is tapping into that signal to energize a system of relays while protecting the shock ECU from voltage spikes with a diode. The protection is probably not necessary because we are using a transistor switch to activate the relays so the current is measured in milliamps.
 

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Dave- In the 575M, the switch also affects the speed of F1 shifts and supposedly commands double clutching on downshifts.
 

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Again, great work. Have enjoyed this thread. Dave will have to give this one some thought. My car is very occasional use hardly touching the remote except for starting the car. It would be tempting though to have control of that exhaust bypass. Thanks again to the Maranello Skunk Works team.

Is there any chance that the steering ecu is executed differently between the 550 and the 575? Would think that I would notice a heavy feel down low and it seems that you guys are seeing a noticeable difference.

Bill
FL

Bill, another thing we've come up with is a remote system that operates your existing remote remotely ( hehe)

Your existing remote is hard wired without its battery in an enclosure and is triggered by another 1, 2, 3 or 4 button remote that operates with it's own rolling code. The new receiver can accept up to ten remotes and can control up to four different functions like opening the trunk, gas flap, exhaust cut out, garage door, whatever you want.

Additional remotes only cost about $15 and they don't have to be cloned plus the range is almost doubled depending on where the receiver is placed in the car. Mine's in the trunk and I can unlock/disarm the car and open the trunk from 50 feet away.

I now have 6 functioning remotes, 3 original which are in sequence (one is hard wired in the enclosure) and 3 for the new receiver plus another original which is out of sequence with the rolling code but all it takes is pushing the button on that one multiple times to get it back into sequence. Of course the original remotes won't open the trunk.
 

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Bill, the remote trunk popper has been on my wish list since I bought my 550. It just seemed silly to have to unlock/disarm the car, then reach in and hit the trunk switch to be able to open the trunk, especially if you have your hands full, which most of the time you will, else why are you opening the trunk? :)

We just needed an idea from Eric to make it happen, and I must say, the teamwork and collaboration we've had on ideas like these has been brilliant.

About the steering feel, it may well be that tires & alignment are playing a factor between some cars, and we know the rack itself does too. With my car, I've got the alignment set to about as much caster as it'll handle, plus I run a fairly high negative camber figure, both of which could contribute to a heavier feel. Our other collaborator has a Euro car, and plus, had his rack rebuilt recently, and these factors probably affect his steering feel. As Dave mentioned, he prefers no steering ECU, ie no power steering assist at all!

Taz during our design reviews for the switchable ECU setup, we gave a lot of thought to the possible impact on other systems when we decided to use the SPORT switch as our input, and have taken great care to prevent any interference. We're using standard industry practices such as isolating diodes, solid state switching, and snubber circuits to ensure there's no unwanted feedback elsewhere in the system, and it works flawlessly in our 550's.

Without having access to the schematics of the 575, or being able to get inside the head of the guy who designed that system, I would hazard a guess that the physical SPORT switch might still be used as a single input to one of the ECU's (either the shock ECU as it is with the 550, or possibly direct to the Motronic) and the multiple functions that you mentioned are probably digital commands relayed from that ECU to the others over the CAN bus.

But as long as the initial signal from the SPORT switch is still 12v to one of those ECU's, (like the schematic I drew below, and in this article: 550 Dash Switch Wiring Diagram - Ferrari Life) we can use it, and our system is well enough isolated that it should not affect the rest.

 

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Bill- The ECU is identical for the 550 and the 575M and also works for the 456/456M. Recommended suspension geometry for the two cars is very close, too, and the rack, servo tank, and pump are identical. FHP feels fine on my car all the time and I would not want it any lighter. Probably just whatever you are used to having. Since a lot of 550 owners tend to drive in Sport all the time because all it affects is the shock actuators, it does not make any difference whether it goes through the switch or not for them.

Dave- The two or three button remote looks pretty good. Unfortunately, Homelink only works from 288-399 Mhz, so that is out without another relay. Easy enough to have it installed in your rear view mirror.
 
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