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    New Miller Alpha-N System



    Hey guys,

    We decided it was finally time to tackle Alpha-N and do so the right way using ONLY the stock ECU without a piggy back like other systems. We had to do a lot to recalibrate the the factory ECU to use throttle position as a reference instead of "load" for all the relevant tables. We have also added new tables and reconfigured others to be able to achieve 100% Motronic controlled Alpha-N.

    What was the kicker to get this started? Another customer, this time local, who wanted to switch away from a popular Alpha-N system and convert to our MAF or back to stock simply because of the lack of satisfaction he had with his piggyback controlled system. We figured we would be installing our MAF and making the car perform the way he expected. First though, we looked at what the deficiencies were in his initial alpha N system, what was causing them and figured we would be able to make a better control system using the factory computer on it's own.

    We will have a couple more kits installed in the next couple weeks while we are in L.A. and one of those customers is planning to be with us at BimmerFest if anyone is interested in seeing the car etc.

    As time progresses we will tackle the US/Euro M5 and M6 cars as well as look into the M20 and M30 for those customers with ITBs since they are all easy enough to recalibrate and reconfigure like we have done with the 071 ECU.

    Here is a little blurb from our site: https://www.millerperformancecars.co...-system-detail

    The Miller Alpha-N system is the only 100% Factory ECU controlled “MAF-less” engine management system for early model M cars. Unlike competitor’s products that require a piggyback to intercept and convert the signal; or worse, a completely new standalone after-market engine computer, the Miller Alpha-N system was developed to be fully plug and play and utilize the factory ECU for the entire calibration method.

    To achieve the stock ECU control of an Alpha-N system we have recalibrated and recoded key aspects of the ECU’s operating functions and tables, how they are used and how they interact with each other so that the stock ECU can run the car as if it left like that from the factory. This ensures great performance not only at wide open throttle, but for idle and partial throttle as well.

    The benefits of an ECU controlled system



    When using competitors piggyback based systems in parallel with the stock engine management, you are sacrificing performance and control. Other systems out there which use a piggyback to intercept signals, make their changes and send that to the factory ECU. Sounds simple – and it is. However, you lose signal response by doing so and in an Alpha-N system, signal response is everything. After studying these popular alternatives and watching how the ECU reacts to the information provided by the piggyback controller, we felt there was a superior way to design and implement this management system. Allowing the factory ECU to use an uninterrupted signal DIRECTLY from any given sensor, creating new tables, reconfiguring existing tables and their inputs and how they interact with these tables provides superior performance in drive-ability and tune-ability.

    Another thing that these competitors systems cannot offer is full control of the factory tune parameters. These piggyback style systems only allow you to modify fuel. They do not offer you control of ignition timing, RPM limits and idle speeds and so on which actually limits the optimization of your vehicles tune. Don’t be fooled by the statement from competitors products like, “Timing does not need to be changed, a suitable complimentary chip is provided to optimize timing, etc. for your car.” This is simply false.

    Sure, you can be provided with a one size fits all timing map but that will leave you power on the table as it must be safe for EVERY car that uses it. Another major thing that many people do not understand is that no two engines are alike. Even if they are built the exact same, they will NEVER perform identically. With an Alpha-N type system, specific car calibration is key to extract the most power SAFELY from the engine.

    With the Miller Alpha-N system, you have full control over both FUEL and IGNITION making your engine run at its best performance. The Miller system allows standalone-engine-management-like control and adjustability for your factory ECU which saves you from the time and money spent on essentially starting from scratch.

    So what is Alpha-N?

    It refers to an engine management approach that does not have a true load input available for fuel calculation. “Alpha,” refers to throttle angle and “N” refers to Engine RPM. On a typical engine management system the ECU requires a load signal from a metering device. An Air Flow meter (which is found on this era of BMW’s) a Mass Air Flow sensor, a Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor etc are all devices used by stock ECU’s to help calculate engine LOAD. Engine LOAD is simply a calculation based on this load signal, RPM and a constant that determines how much air is entering the engine and how much fuel needs to be supplied for that given amount of air. With an Alpha-N system, you do not measure that intake of air so you need to deal with fuel differently. You pre-calibrate fuel requirements based on engine RPM and throttle angle only and use other sensors and correction maps to adjust the fuel required for determined conditions or environmental factors.



    The reason someone would want to use this on a BMW M car would be in situations when a massive inlet carbon air box is being used. When your inlet is too large you dramatically reduce signal quality across a load sensor such as a MAF. When you lose signal quality you lose performance and drive-ability. Alpha-N is a great solution to this kind of intake system as it offers excellent drive-ability and much better performance.

    There is no one size fits all software for an Alpha-N system and is why the WAR Chip is included in the system package. We have done our best to be able to provide near perfect base tunes to start with, but one must realize Alpha-N systems require car specific refinements to operate at 100% no matter what. The WAR Chip editing software is laid out in a relatively simple manner so the user can massage the tune on their own; if one does not feel comfortable with this, we can help tune your car remotely as well provided you can supply us with the required running data.

    We recommend Alpha-N for track use only. With the ability to change your fuel and ignition timing with the Miller Alpha-N kit, you will be able to extract the most power and performance from your engine safely.

    #2
    Sounds like a chip Alpha N ala Cyntex. Wideband closed loop capability?
    "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

    85 323i M TECH 1 S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZE
    88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/SCHWARZE
    89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/M TECH CLOTH-ALCANTARA
    91 M TECHNIC CABRIO TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH CLOTH-LEATHER

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by reelizmpro View Post
      Sounds like a chip Alpha N ala Cyntex. Wideband closed loop capability?
      Not sure what a Cyntex is referring to. The WAR Chip is included with our Alpha-N kit so that the end user can adjust all fuel and timing values, RPM limits, idle speeds O2 sensor control etc. etc.

      No wideband control with the stock ECU. We haven't found it to be necessary with proper calibrations thus far.

      Comment


        #4
        Alpha-N

        "No wideband control with the stock ECU. We haven't found it to be necessary with proper calibrations thus far."

        I am shocked by this statement. If narrowband was adequate, it would never have been replaced by wideband, plus the cost of incorporating wideband into your system is minimal.

        Comment


          #5
          Sure narowband is old technology and yes it was replaced by wideband on recent models but it is definitely NOT a requirement... If we feel it is totally needed, you are right, it can be added somewhat easily at no cost other than a sensor and time and a free updated tune for the WAR chip. If you saw how things worked and understood how we have done things you'd calm down a little on this "shocking" statement.

          And what is Cyntex?
          Last edited by brody; 05-15-2015, 10:07 PM.

          Comment


            #6
            Alpha-N

            I am "shocked" that you do not know what Cyntex is/was. Cyntex had one of the first Alpha-N products in the US, worked with Jim Conforti. I forwarded the link to the folks at MAXX Automotive, I would like to get their input on not using wideband. You are right, I am not an electrical engineer.

            Comment


              #7
              future alpha n for e36 m52 with itb?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by King Mufasa View Post
                future alpha n for e36 m52 with itb?
                Doubtful. Extremely small market for that kind of engine setup
                Current:
                1989 325i
                1988 M3
                1987 325ic
                Past:
                2001 330ci
                2001 M3

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by cdeason View Post
                  I am "shocked" that you do not know what Cyntex is/was. Cyntex had one of the first Alpha-N products in the US, worked with Jim Conforti. I forwarded the link to the folks at MAXX Automotive, I would like to get their input on not using wideband. You are right, I am not an electrical engineer.
                  SHOCKED again LOL. Wow.

                  They went tits up before we were ever in business I guess. Been around for 10 years now and JimC's hayday has come and gone at least in terms of attention to these older models. Not really on the radar at all anymore.

                  Of course maxx will have something negative to say as this is now a directly competing product! We decided to go ahead and develop this system because of the inadequacies of the MAXX system caused by the use of his piggyback. We had a customer bring in his maxx powered car wanting to switch to our MAF. Curious as to why he was unhappy and what was causing his issues we analyzed the system and monitored what was going on from the perspective of the ECU. The funniest thing is he doesnt consider his "controller" to be a piggy back. Anyway, we adressed the issues and were able to deal with them with no external box and dramatically improved the performance of the car.

                  As for e36 stuff, we plan on playing with alphaN for sure. I want to do something for my WAR machine and it should be even easier to do with M3.3.1 than it was to do with M1.0

                  We can do alphaN for m88, s38, m20 and M30 on the stock ECU, its just a matter of getting around to it now that we have developed a proper ECU-only method.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Alpha-N

                    Brody if I may suggest that you stop criticizing your competition and tell us exactly why your product is better, back it up with proven data, dyno runs etc. I think this would help market your products.

                    I can tell you that Martin (MAXX) has a wealth of experience and if there were improvements to be made, he would have done so, for example developing closed loop, he did that and it works great. Plus he is very honest. I looked at installing his product on a M20 engine and he told me the only plus was throttle response, no power gains.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      ^It's already better if you are using the original ecu.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Well for starters, with our system, you can be up and running in 20 minutes or less. there is NO, repeat, ABSOLUTELY NO wire modifications that need to be done. No cutting, no splicing, no soldering ANYWHERE. Install the TPS and temp sensor, plug in our harness to the factory BMW harness connectors outlined in the manual, install the chip and start the car. We will make a video of how fast "plugging in" our system is as we are installing this on two cars in L.A. today and Tuesday.

                        Secondly, the way we have done it is the way BMW would have done it from the factory up until the late 90's as wideband wasn't used on production BMW's until mid 2000's. We have reconfigured everything to do with engine "Load" added tables, turned off or deleted tables and changed load scaling references as needed to properly control the system.

                        Using any sort of a piggy-back system causes problems with cell referencing on the stock ECU. Without inviting you over to see in person what we are talking about and in short, if you were to watch how the stock ECU "hits" on certain cells that are critical to driveability you would see major scatter. Like our MAF, when the air flow is too turbulent you get poor driveability and scattering on the air flow table instead of having one or two cells only referenced at one time. With our alpha N system, it hits on ONE cell at a time, which not only proves the ECU likes the signal MORE, but it dramatically improves the accuracy of what is being read and what is happening.

                        The Miller Alpha-N system allows the end user full control over the fuel and ignition maps as well as idle speed, RPM limit O2 sensor control, cold start etc etc with the included Miller WAR Chip. Having proper control over the values in the ECU for fuel and timing is far superior than having to control that externally. You could use any external piggy back to make an alpha-N system with something like an SMT-6. In the very very early days of our MAF conversion, we used to use a piggyback. As we grew our knowledge of how these ECU's work, we found that the piggyback was actually causing more problems than it was worth. We figured if we could rewrite the code in the ECU to use the MAF properly and DIRECTLY, it would be far superior. It was! Our MAF conversion is still the best and only factory controlled MAF conversion for early model BMW cars out there. Providing the most power and performance you can bolt on to your BMW by far.

                        The Alpha-N system will not make any more power than our MAF conversion. BUT it will cure some super light throttle and super light load issues S14 MAF converted customers can have and it is also far superior to use it on the carbon box systems as those can only amplify low load drive-ability issues that a MAF conversion can have on an S14.

                        The ease of converting back to stock for a vehicle inspection or WHATEVER reason is bar none too. Again, 20 minutes or less.

                        Our intimate understanding of these ECU's allows us to do the things we do with them and be as confident as we are in our systems. Unlike other tuners that used to cater to these cars, we are still actively developing and improving systems and strategies for these older cars. Most others have moved on and offer stuff they developed 10 to 20 years ago with no improvements, no updates, no new ideas.

                        It is unfortunate we can't be everywhere in the country. If we were local to you Cdeason, we would love for you to come as see some technical details in person. The MAXX system has been around a long time and has a good name for the alpha-N method. BUT, we feel and so far so do our customers who have driven our system, our approach is better suited and slightly better in execution than anything currently available for the stock ECU. As time goes on, I hope to have more "proof in the pudding" for everyone to see.

                        Check out our facebook page to see what's happening over the next couple days with these in person installs. Right now, we are installing one on a fresh off the boat Evo3 M3 that was just cleared for import late last week.
                        Last edited by brody; 05-17-2015, 06:01 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          This is basically the same thing Jim C/Cyntex did back in the 90's from what I've seen except with the Miller WAR chip, one can switch between 4 different preset maps. Since there's no real time tuning this means a lot of dyno time with every future engine modification change and the eprom would have to be rewritten...correct? Perhaps this is the shortcoming of this approach? The MAXX unit shows real time data and allows for rolling road tuning. The upgraded unit also supports wideband closed loop. MAXX doesn't control ignition however, ignition timing is still controlled by the chip and trimmed by the FQS.

                          I was part of the first batch to run the MAXX AN piggyback and have had great success with it over the 10+ years I've had it. Worked right out of the box with basemaps. I tuned it on a narrowband first, then a wideband. I hit 209rwhp on the stock 2.3 with cams, 48mm TB's, evo headers on a Dynojet. It's done everything well and even better with the wideband closed loop upgrade so I'm not sure why Tolofou/BattleM3 never got his to run right but there are many factors. TPS calibration is critical.


                          Here's a quote from Jimmy P on Cyntex EPROM based Alpha N.

                          " Thats because it was a black art back then and pre-dated the internet.
                          You will find little to no documentation on it.

                          The factory cars used it,,, and in the earliest days had a fake AFM there for show.
                          Then at some point they stopped having the fake AFM. I assume the homologation rules changed.
                          There are very few photos of the Grp A cars with the fake AFM mounted up but they are out there.

                          The factory cars used the ECU4A


                          John Johnson who can be a polarizing person I know, is an encyclopedia of this stuff.

                          In the USA, Alpha N style fueling as it applies to our S14 engines became a project of Jim Conforti and the two owners of Cyntex, a tuning company outside of philadelphia.
                          They made a chip that replaced the stock eprom, along with a short adapter harness and a new full sweep TPS.
                          That chip took the throttle position and translated it to replace the combined signal from the AFM and the stock TPS into just reading the throttle opening.
                          It was marketed for a short time through Racing Dynamics. Cyntex also sold setups themselves out of their small shop in Philadelphia. I have both versions.

                          The "Cyntex" system worked REALLY well,,, IF it was tuned for the car it was on,,, but had serious adaptability limitations. It simply really needed to be tuned for each car.
                          Too many people tried one size fits all applications of it, thus hurting some motors and all of a sudden Alpha N style fueling got a very bad name in the US.
                          It then almost vanised from the USA for a decade (barring a few of us brave souls who knew how to use it).
                          It reappeared when the MAXX AN systems hit the market. To his credit, MAXX or John Johnson was a pretty strong figure in re-introducing Alpha N style engine mgt into the US. It was considered a black art by many for a long time. Jim Conforti tried to poison anyone who would read his writing on the concept.

                          I could write way more, much of it has been written here already if you search. Many discussions.

                          Last edited by jimmy p.; 08-14-2013, 05:57 PM
                          "

                          I'm sure the Miller AN method is improved over the Cyntex version but seems to me they both have the same shortcomings. You would need some sort of data acquisition and/or a dyno since there's no real time interface. Would it be fair to say, the customer's car is benefiting from being dynotuned more than just the switch from MAXX to Miller?
                          Last edited by reelizmpro; 05-18-2015, 04:21 AM.
                          "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

                          85 323i M TECH 1 S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZE
                          88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/SCHWARZE
                          89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/M TECH CLOTH-ALCANTARA
                          91 M TECHNIC CABRIO TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH CLOTH-LEATHER

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by reelizmpro View Post
                            This is basically the same thing Jim C/Cyntex did back in the 90's from what I've seen except with the Miller WAR chip, one can switch between 4 different preset maps. Since there's no real time tuning this means a lot of dyno time with every future engine modification change and the eprom would have to be rewritten...correct? Perhaps this is the shortcoming of this approach? The MAXX unit shows real time data and allows for rolling road tuning. The upgraded unit also supports wideband closed loop. MAXX doesn't control ignition however, ignition timing is still controlled by the chip and trimmed by the FQS.

                            I was part of the first batch to run the MAXX AN piggyback and have had great success with it over the 10+ years I've had it. Worked right out of the box with basemaps. I tuned it on a narrowband first, then a wideband. I hit 209rwhp on the stock 2.3 with cams, 48mm TB's, evo headers on a Dynojet. It's done everything well and even better with the wideband closed loop upgrade so I'm not sure why Tolofou/BattleM3 never got his to run right but there are many factors. TPS calibration is critical.


                            Here's a quote from Jimmy P on Cyntex EPROM based Alpha N.

                            " Thats because it was a black art back then and pre-dated the internet.
                            You will find little to no documentation on it.

                            The factory cars used it,,, and in the earliest days had a fake AFM there for show.
                            Then at some point they stopped having the fake AFM. I assume the homologation rules changed.
                            There are very few photos of the Grp A cars with the fake AFM mounted up but they are out there.

                            The factory cars used the ECU4A


                            John Johnson who can be a polarizing person I know, is an encyclopedia of this stuff.

                            In the USA, Alpha N style fueling as it applies to our S14 engines became a project of Jim Conforti and the two owners of Cyntex, a tuning company outside of philadelphia.
                            They made a chip that replaced the stock eprom, along with a short adapter harness and a new full sweep TPS.
                            That chip took the throttle position and translated it to replace the combined signal from the AFM and the stock TPS into just reading the throttle opening.
                            It was marketed for a short time through Racing Dynamics. Cyntex also sold setups themselves out of their small shop in Philadelphia. I have both versions.

                            The "Cyntex" system worked REALLY well,,, IF it was tuned for the car it was on,,, but had serious adaptability limitations. It simply really needed to be tuned for each car.
                            Too many people tried one size fits all applications of it, thus hurting some motors and all of a sudden Alpha N style fueling got a very bad name in the US.
                            It then almost vanised from the USA for a decade (barring a few of us brave souls who knew how to use it).
                            It reappeared when the MAXX AN systems hit the market. To his credit, MAXX or John Johnson was a pretty strong figure in re-introducing Alpha N style engine mgt into the US. It was considered a black art by many for a long time. Jim Conforti tried to poison anyone who would read his writing on the concept.

                            I could write way more, much of it has been written here already if you search. Many discussions.

                            Last edited by jimmy p.; 08-14-2013, 05:57 PM
                            "

                            I'm sure the Miller AN method is improved over the Cyntex version but seems to me they both have the same shortcomings. You would need some sort of data acquisition and/or a dyno since there's no real time interface. Would it be fair to say, the customer's car is benefiting from being dynotuned more than just the switch from MAXX to Miller?
                            Tony's TPS was calibrated properly. It was the problems I have described above with poor referencing on table data etc. We have had a fair amount of remote customers switch from Alpha-N to our MAF conversion for many years now. This time we were able to see the customers car in person and educate ourselves as to what was causing the driveability issues they would complain about. The piggyback interferes with the signals and the quality/speed of those signals getting to the ECU and that causes issues. You can tune around them for sure, but it is way more work than needed.

                            Wideband control works, but by no means was it excellent nor is it required for a proper tune.

                            The WAR Chip shouldn't take any longer to tune than the MAXX system. You are right, it does not offer real time tuning, but as long as you understand what you are looking at, you will know where you are needing to make changes and you simply upload them via USB to the WAR Chip. You can use the 4 tunes to your advantage and upload 4 revisions at a time and test each one on the fly before you need to upload new tunes.

                            I wouldn't call the FQS a tuning tool either LOL. Taking global timing and increasing or decreasing it is hardly refinement and should not be used as "tuning" when the tools exist to deal with it properly.

                            A pair of eyes and a wideband AFR gauge for reference is all that is technically needed to bare bones tune the car. Obviously a dyno is the safest and easiest environment to tune a car, real time or not.

                            I see you are also in LA. I would love for you to come out and talk to Dan in person. See the system, see the cars they are going on and feel them for yourself. I will PM you and I will give you Dan's cell. Shoot, we can even emulate your alphaN car just to see if and how bad the signal is scattering on your car. Not going to sell you anything, it would just be great to have the educational opportunity to show you what we mean so more people will understand.
                            Last edited by brody; 05-18-2015, 11:01 AM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Alpha-N

                              Brody,I have to respectfully disagree with you. We had at least 2 Miller MAF systems for sale on the E30 M3 SIG just this month. I know owners that have pulled the Miller system and installed the MAXX system but not the other way around. I would bet you $100 the E30 M3 owner that you helped had an incorrect install, poor tune and/or a incorrect EPROM chip. I have attached the response from MAXX below. I am not attempting to rain on your product introduction. I just think you should concentrate on what makes your product better, explain this to the group and back it up with proven data.

                              The individual responding from MAXX is an American electrical engineer that married a German lady and currently lives in Germany and works with MAXX Automotive.

                              "its somewhat surprising that this subject resurfaces every few years. it doesn't matter what I or anyone else has to say.


                              it is not true that the ECU "jumps around between cells" inside a map, when it is being fed from a signal by the AN. not sure where this is notion is coming from.


                              I have an eprom simulator. we hook that up on the dyno and allows live mapping of everything inside the eprom.
                              The alpha N is connected up as well.

                              when we change loads on the dyno, or accelerate thru rpms at a certain load, you see the ECU correctly walks thru each cell in the map along that load and rpm range. But we are using a load peggable dyno. so if you have a stock engine with stock chip and load up a AN map for the stock setup, things will be working correctly. If you have a highly modified engine, then you do need a different chip, which is also true for AFM setups. If you convert to a 2.5l engine e.g., you shouldn't be running a 2.3l chip.


                              the alpha doesn't intercept any signals, process them (falsify them) and then feed them back into the ecu.
                              it synthesizes the load signal electronically. the AFM creates same kind of load signal, but mechanically (by movement of the vane/door). the load signal is what is used to index all the maps on the chip. so basically the AN is simulating the AFM electronically, the AFM and the flow restriction it created is eliminated.


                              An advantage of indexing tables via load is that it smooths out the response curve. It removes the strong nonlinear behavior of engine response vs. TPS angle for low TPS angles. That was one of the problems with the chip-AN solution. In that setup, its best to delete the ICV as the additional air is not correctly accounted for (it degrades the idle / near idle tuneability and consistency).


                              Sometimes people have engine running problems, e.g. something wrong with a sensor, wiring, grounds, or intank fuel pump. We've all read about such problems before. Occasionally someone might first think its a problem with their alpha N, but so far has not been the case. If inconsistent signals are fed into the system, then obviously you will have running issues.

                              Even if you just worked out your perfect tune on the dyno, initially the car can run very well and then sometime later something is off. e.g. this can happen if there is a problem with the intank fuel pump. Initially the problem is compensated for in the tune, but then later intank fuel pump degrades/changes further, and the problem returns. Of course when the new pump is installed, the tune is still off and needs to be re-tuned.


                              We've helped solve a lot of running problems over the years. Ive personally tuned cars when on track visits (here and when in the USA). Free of course. When you go to BMW and tell them you have a running problem they will charge for that, even if the AFM that is installed on the car originally came from them... There are only 24 hours in the day."









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