Is there a difference between a chip and a programmer? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 11-26-2009, 10:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is there a difference between a chip and a programmer?

Hey there,

Been a long time since I have been on the site, I used to hang around the 6.9 idi forum until I sold my pickup a few years ago. I finally upgraded again and bought a clean bone stock 2002 f350. I love the pickup but want to do some minor performance upgrades like opening up the exhaust, an intake and possibly doing a progammer for fuel economy. Whats the best out there? I found a used Hypertech Max energy but don't know anything about them.

Thanks in advance for your help
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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skip the programmer and get a chip. 10x better!! They are adjustable on the fly... Get one from Dp tuner, Powerhungry performance... swamps... tw... tons of them out there. All of these are going to be better on your tranny then out of the box tunes from hypertech...
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First a couple of definitions that probably applies only to my posts: A "tuner" is a person - a computer programmer that writes programs we call "tunes" for our engines. A "programmer" is hardware used to install different tunes into your engine.

There are physical differences between chips and programmers. But the tunes are what you want, and there are good tuners and not-so good tuners.

A chip plugs into the PCM. The chip can have several different tunes on it. With a tune switcher, you can change tunes "on the fly". So for example, you could have a towing tune and an exhaust brake tune. At the top of the pass, change from the towing tune to the "decel" or exhaust brake tune. Then at the bottom of the pass, switch back to the towing tune. (The only time you can use the decel tune is when "comin' down the mountain".)

But a chip requires electronics wiring and cleaning of electronics contacts. And a chip requires you to pay for a stock tune on the chip, or else you must remove the chip any time you take the truck in to a Ford dealer for electronic diagnosis.

A programmer doesn't require any installation and messing with wiring or electronics contacts. It plugs into the OBD-II port under the dash (a.k.a, the data connection terminal or DCT), then unplugs and stores behind the back seat after you change tunes. So any idiot can install and use a programmer. But it has only three tunes, and it requires a coupla minutes to change tunes each time. So it's not useful for an exhaust brake or high idle tune. The stock tune is saved automatically, so you can change back to the stock tune without having to pay for a stock tune on the programmer.

As to the tunes, most chips and some programmers allow you to choose the tunes. So you might want a tow tune, and economy daily-driving tune, and a performance tune. But with most programmers you have to take the three generic tunes it comes with. If you buy your programmer from DP-Tuner or PowerHungaryPerformance, you can choose which three custom tunes you want.

The person that actually writes the computer program that becomes a tune is important. There are some companies that sell generic tunes that are okay but not great. But you want your tuner to be
Jody at DP-Tuner or
Bill at PowerHungaryPerformance or
Cale at Brian's Truck shop (BTS) or
Tony Wildman at TotalDieselPerformance or
maybe a coupla others.

You do not want generic tunes from anybody, including Edge, Hypermax, or Hypertech.

I have been very happy with my tunes from DP-Tuner. Right now Jody is probably the most popular tuner. And he can sell you either a multiple-position chip with your choice of tunes and tune switcher, or a programmer with either SCT generic tunes or DP-Tuner custom tunes.

What did I choose? I wound up with an original Edge Evolution programmer but flashed with DP-Tuner tunes of 60-tow and 80-economy, plus other tunes I don't use. That combo is no longer available, but Bill at PowerHungaryPerformance can do almost the same thing with the programmer he sells that is the same hardware as the Edge Evolution II.
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My Sierra Blanca in the sig pic was a great pickup for 11.5 years. I sold it a coupla years ago. I drove a hand-me-down 2003 F-150 SuperCrew 4.6L 2V for a while, but it was unacceptable for towing more than a rowboat. Replacement is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew Lariat that tows my 5,000-pound TT like a dream.

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Old 11-27-2009, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the in depth feedback. So how much do they run?
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hey SP.. id do with dp.. i think i payed 400 from sp with a few tunes.. and seriously youll never look back.. and on 80econ.. my milage (on the overhead digital display) actually meets what my milage reading says (330 miles left, i get 320 out of the tanks... used to read 330.. id get 250 maybe).. besides that.. towing is a treamendous improvement.. i have a pretty light landscape trailer.. now i dont even now its there.. and unloaded.. on highway.. give a little gas.. wont be dissapointed
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprdve View Post
Thanks for the in depth feedback. So how much do they run?
Warning: Never install a hot-rod tune until after you also have at least a pyrometer (gauge for exhaust gas temp).

On the low end of the price scale, assuming you already have aftermarket gauges, you could buy an F-5 chip for $200, add an EX switcher for $40, and EX mount for $15, and three DP-Tuner custom tunes @ $45 each. So less than $400 for a sweet setup. And you still have the option for adding several more tunes later.

Move up the price scale another $200 and you could have an F-6 chip. That allows you to download tunes from the internet and install them on your chip without having to pull the chip and send it away for enhancement. And they have fancier switchers for more money.

And they have several "special" tunes for either the F-5 or F-6 chips, such as high-idle RPM, decel (exhaust brake), valet, tunes that won't set a code when you do something dumb such as exceed the red line for turbo boost, and on and on. These extra tunes run $25 to $75 each, depending.

Surf around on the DP-Tuner website and you'll see the possibilities.
DP-Tuner

If you're like me and hate electronic wiring, then you could spend more money and get a high-end programmer from PowerHungryPerformance. It's not just a programmer, but includes gauges and diagnostic capability and three custom tunes of your choice by Bill the Guru tuner. $575.
PowerHungryPerformance Gryphon Programmer for 7.3L

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Old 11-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey Smokey, I bought a '99 the other day that came with an Edge Evolution already installed. I know absolutely nothing about it or any programmers or chips. Is it a good one that I just need to learn about or should I be looking for something else?
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1999 F350 XLT crewcab 3 inch body lift, 8 inch suspension lift. Edge Evolution programmer. AFE cold air intake. 37 inch tires. Pics are in link below.

1996 F350 XLT crewcab dually, (RIP) pulled a 50+3' step deck trailer and 30' cow trailer.
Pictures of it's death can be seen in link below.

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Old 11-28-2009, 05:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RopinandRidin View Post
Hey Smokey, I bought a '99 the other day that came with an Edge Evolution already installed. I know absolutely nothing about it or any programmers or chips. Is it a good one that I just need to learn about or should I be looking for something else?
I would use that one until you are dissatisfied with some aspect of the tunes. It has generic tunes, but they are decent tunes. Assuming it's the original Evolution we now call the Evolution 1, only one guru I know about can flash it with different tunes. If you are not satisfied with the tunes it has now, then contact Bill at
www.powerhungryperformance.com
and ask him if he can make it suit your need for tunes. If not, then I'm sure Bill will recommend a different setup that you'll like.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks Smokey, I haven't really even had a chance to play with it yet I just wanted to make sure it wasn't actually bad for the truck in some way.
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1999 F350 XLT crewcab 3 inch body lift, 8 inch suspension lift. Edge Evolution programmer. AFE cold air intake. 37 inch tires. Pics are in link below.

1996 F350 XLT crewcab dually, (RIP) pulled a 50+3' step deck trailer and 30' cow trailer.
Pictures of it's death can be seen in link below.

My Pics

I PREFER DANGEROUS FREEDOM TO PEACEFUL SLAVERY-Thomas Jefferson

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Old 12-02-2009, 02:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What about TS Performance?
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