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Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Old 03-07-2007, 02:11 AM
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Default Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Given the current market it's reputedly bang for the buck. $1200 buys the LT-10s ECU, "IGBT" ignition enhancer (think multi-coil capable MSD6A with built in ignitor), individual coils (four cyl application - Bosch units with short plug wires), serial cable dongle and software. AEM EMS price but includes all the ignition upgrade you'll ever need. Seems like a pretty good value, right?

Prepare for a user-interface disaster, guys. If you aren't up on your engine theory, and don't read stereo instructions for fun, you will very likely be lost.

The LT-series laptop software is a crude reskin over the outdated Microtech hand controller interface - it even has a graphical representation of the controller on screen for those who are more comfortable using it... the whole Microtech architecture is designed around their silly antiquated hand controller, and while the backbone of the LT-10s itself is VERY robust the laptop GUI is a crap design that perpetuates the limited hand controller interface. Values have to be adjusted, or sometimes toggled, one at a time with no ability to grab onto more than one value at a time and make sweeping changes.

The problem is this: using the hand controller interface defaults with only two RPM scalars that can be adjusted; 500 rpm aka "IDLE," and 4000 rpm aka "LOAD," across a plethora of MAP scalars ranging from -30 in/Hg to 30 psig. The fuel maps are projected from 0 to 9000 rpms along a line connecting those two points. Pretty caveman, to put it mildly. Now I know why old school V8 rednecks have referred to it as "the best cheap standalone."

Unlocking "matrix mode," which allows RPM scalars in 500 rpm increments from 500-9000 to be edited in a familiar MAP X RPM tabular format, is confusing. You have to shuffle through hand controller oriented "screens" to unlock matrix mode - don't ask Joey why. Once that was done... plod through and increment or decrement injector durations one cell at a time.

At first I found the manner in which Microtech handled ignition mappings very crude, but frankly the end result looks just like every Big Name Tuenar's 2D ignition maps that I've encountered. I can plunk through the ignition settings the Microtech way now without blinking, but the interface is still annoying. The "t_RPM" table is the main ignition line, NOT a table; essentially you have a line going from 500 rpms to 9000 rpms with adjustment points every 500 rpms, and you raise or lower it to the desired value at the desired rpm. The "t_MAP" table is another line broken up along all the familiar MAP scalars that gets a +/- adjustment in degrees; it allows deg/psi advances and retards, allowing me to dial in more timing at part throttle vacuum and do the desired ignition retard under boost. Eh, I would have preferred a 2D table, but I can't say I see any problem with doing it this way... except for the fact most people are too innumerate to visualise what is taking place to utilize it correctly.

There are all the usual fuel and ignition tweaks that can be made in referrence to CTS and IAT readings - startup enrichment, cranking fuel, post-cranking fuel, various ignition manipulations, the works. The "pump" functions were interesting, took a minute to play with and grasp fully, but they worked very well - it's two stages of tip in enrichment that can be configured (or disabled) to activate based on a user-defined rate of change in either MAP or TPS, and there were several styles of fire from asynchronous pulses between main injector events to additional duration added to main injector events. There are also a large number of options, not all of which are supported by all of the Microtech line or available with all equipment configurations, but most are with the rest of the LT-series. All crippled by the hand controller theme, but they work.

My biggest problem with the Microtech offerings is lack of AFR logging function. The LT-10s software logs AFRs all right - narrowband AFRs on a logarythmic scale divergent from the one the AEM UEGO that was utilised provided - in a scrolling line format; no good old fashioned tabular (matrix?) format of AFR values to allow ease of manipulation. Frankly, without the use of a loading dyno to set part-throttle AFRs by RPM scalar, and then taking pulls to set AFRs and timing by MAP scalar, it is hard to tune precisely.

Despite all of this, the LT-10s is well designed. It supports both low and high Z injectors with no resistor box needed, staged injectors, and all sorts of neat little things that can come in handy. That's it's problem, actually. It was designed by electronics engineers with little understanding of human engineering or slick GUIs. Judging from some of the phraseology on their webpage, they understand this and have made the LT-series so that it can be reflashed with upgraded firmwares to "support more features available in the future." I plan on calling them and confirming this, offering to beta test.

The best news is that the Microtech unit works. That sounds like sarcasm, but Hyundaidata sells K-poop for a grand, leaving the end user with tip in AFRs that are uncontrollably rich or lean, roll the dice to figure out which they'll be this pull! In truth, if I dealt with Microtech more my bitching would be 60% less, more like 90% less once AFR logging was definable so that a variety of WBs could be supported.
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Old 03-07-2007, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Hahaha, I bet you were cursing under your breath the whole time.

I've messed w/ a StingerV3 before, and I was thinking the same things. No multi cell select, shity map trace, no live updates leading to 30sec uploads to see the changes, practically a DOS interface, and ultimately, not compatible w/ the rotary engine that it is advertised to work with. I had the crank sensor removed, and was spinning it by hand w/ a timing light on it to finally figure out that it was firing all ignition outputs at the same time all the time regardless of any setting. Good times. User friendly and intuitive Honda ECU editor GUI's spoil me.
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Have either of you guys ran a Big Stuff or Fast stand alone? The shop I do some work for can't speak highly enough about these, especially the Big Stuff. Granted its all on bigger power V8's but then do work on 6 and 4 cyls as I have been told.
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

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Old 03-07-2007, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Live updates were instantaneous, but you can only make single byte changes one cell at a time. You don't save ROMs or calibrations, the only time you see any of that is when you are connected live to the Microtech. Dave, never seen Bigstuff, and the only FAST I ever touched was at EFI080 (Ben held a remedial class just for me). No real experience, maybe one day.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

God, arent we spoiled in the Honda community...

I was supposed to go tune a Microtech on an RX7 a few months back, fortunately he could locate his dongle (funny word) and hasnt called me back since.

Based on JD's review, I should be happy
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

I emailled Microtech yesterday, offering beta testing services, haven't heard anything back yet. I kinda don't think I will, they have seven second and faster cars running their EMS so they probably think it's just fine, but for the record I tried.

Anyway, I just got finished with a HYdra Nemesis 2.5 in another built 3S-GTE today. I have come to two conclusions. I much prefer the Microtech, and Toyotas have electrical problems that make the worst Honduhs look freaking godlike.

I'll review it tomorrow.
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

I want a Cobb Tuning Accesport review by next Wednesday as well....
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

I'll have Megasquirt v3.0 and Autronic SMC reviews up by Wednesday, Chris, but there are no CT Accesports on my radar.

Boxer4Racing is eight miles from Goforth's house, I could go spit game if you are serious and want my opinion.
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Old 03-09-2007, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Standalone review: Microtech LT-10s

Originally Posted by Joseph Davis
Anyway, I just got finished with a HYdra Nemesis 2.5 in another built 3S-GTE today. I have come to two conclusions. I much prefer the Microtech, and Toyotas have electrical problems that make the worst Honduhs look freaking godlike.

I'll review it tomorrow.
Ah you KNOW what I mean bout the toyota electrical thing now!!!

Mad props on tuning the LT-10, It would have taken Me and Jim forever to figure that backwards aussie ---- out.

I was not impressed with the nemesis, it is toyota's equivelant to the k-pro I think, but with more hype, as the Mr2 community seems to be based on Hype and the words of a few dumb ***** with too much money.





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