OBD1 BMWs – what you need


OBD1 BMWs are an example of how our products get used for applications that we never intended.  Loosely speaking, this range of ECU appears to be in the 1985-1995 range. Many of our tools are “generic” chip burning and emulation tools that target a type (or types) of EPROMs and will work with just about any computer that uses the same kind of chip.  Most of these BMW ECUs use either 27C32, 27C256 or 27C512 EPROMs.  These ECUs can be tuned using the same tools that we originally intended for GMs ( G2 0.6″ chip adapter, BURN2, SST27SF512 chip, Ostrich 2.0).  At some point, TunerPro definitions became available for these computers, which opened things up for enthusiasts to more easily tune them.  Someone figured out that the address trace feature of the Ostrich2 could be a useful tool for tuning these vehicles.  And here we are…

As of November 2014, there is another option available from Renovelo, offering polished commercial tools aimed at a select group of OBD1 BMW ECUs (list), primarily the ‘413 and ‘506 DMEs found in the (approx.) 93-95 “E36” 325i, 525i and M3 vehicles. Moates hardware is used by the package.  The Renovelo offering is considerably better documented and ready-to-use for someone who doesn’t have extensive knowledge of this platform than any of the other “community” supported options, which are often incomplete and totally undocumented.  While vehicle support is certainly limited, it represents the best option for supported vehicles where you’re looking for something that “just works.”


We don’t know much about these applications.  We noticed that a lot of people were using our tools for these vehicles and asked enough questions to figure out what was going on and where the necessary software was coming from.  We aren’t going to be able to give you any help tuning these ECUs.  We aren’t going to be able to give you much help with definitions.  We don’t have any contacts or secrets to help you.  The expertise and recommendations we can give are very much limited to publicly available tools you could probably find yourself with a little creative use of search engines.

What You Need for ‘413 and ‘506 DMEs

If you have one of these DMEs, you can either:

  • Contact Renovelo and get commercial grade software for tuning your vehicle
  • Follow the directions below to source community supported tools

What You Need, In General

Hardware-wise, these ECUs use standard EPROMs.  Most that I’ve seen have a socketed EPROM, meaning that you can remove the chip without having to desolder it from the board.

  • Most early ECUs have 27C32 or 27C64 EPROMs which are 24 pin.
    • Most of our tools are intended for 28 pin EPROMs.  We do not sell tools to erase or reprogram 24 pin chips.
    • To use any of our chip programming tools, you will need to desolder the factory socket and solder in a G2 0.6″ chip adapter, at which point you will be able to use 28 pin chips like the 27SF512
    • You can use the Ostrich2 emulator.  The Ostrich supports native 24 pin operation (with 4 pins of its cable hanging off) and also works with a G2.  You may be able to get away with using the EMUC2806 (6″ cable) instead of the 18″ we normally supply or the SocketBooster 1.0 can be used to ensure reliable operation.
  • Most later ECUs have 27C256 or 27C512 EPROMs which are 28 pin.
    • Most of these ECUs are socketed.  You can remove the factory EPROM and replace it with the 27SF512 we sell using the BURN2 to program it.
    • These ECUs are a direct-fit for the Ostrich2
  • We do NOT offer any tools for datalogging on these ECUs.  A very limited amount of data can be gathered using the “trace” feature of the Ostrich2, which lets you see which data in a ROM is being actively accessed.  There is NO history or logging of trace, only immediate feedback.

Software-wise, we are only aware of TunerPro RT being used with these ECUs.  TunerPro RT supports the BURN2 and Ostrich2 hardware natively.  TunerPro does NOT work with all vehicles.  You should consult the TunerPro Definitions page to see if an XDF exists for your particular ECU before purchasing any hardware.  We will not be able to help make a definition for your ECU if one does not already exist.