The RoadRunner is the only available full blown emulator for LS1 PCMs – unlike other “emulation” software, the entire contents of the flash is emulated Real-Time, not just certain maps.  It can also be used as a general purpose emulator in custom applications (Bosch Motronic, BMW, Miata, Nissan, …)  It is designed for PSOP44 chips like 28F200 28F400 28F800 29F400 29F800

Hardware Available

At this point, there are two (and a half) versions of RoadRunner you can buy:

1. A RoadRunner pre-installed in a rebuilt 12200411 GM LS1 ECM.  This is intended for all supported GM applications.

2. A RoadRunner “guts kit” containing just the raw circuit board, cables and hardware to mount the device in place of a 28Fx00 EPROM.  This is intended for all custom applications.  If you purchase the guts kit, you should specify whether you want a 512k (28F400) or 1024k (28F800) version. (we’re counting these two variants of the guts kit to get two and a half)

GM Compatibility

At this point (August 2009), there is only ONE officially supported target for the Roadrunner: the 12200411 (or just “411”) ECM.  The 12200411 is plug-and-play with ’99 and up Corvette LS-1’s (throttle-by-wire), ’99 and up Camaro/Firebird LS-1’s (cable-throttle), ’99-02ish Gen III Vortec trucks (cable throttle), ’00-02ish Gen III Vortec trucks (throttle-by-wire).  The 12200411 can also control 4L60E and 4L80E transmissions.   In case it wasn’t clear from the application list, the ‘0411 can control both drive-by-wire and drive by cable engines – pretty much any GM vehicle with a 24 tooth reluctor wheel(“24x”) is fair game for full sequential fuel and spark operation.  The ‘0411 can also be used to run 97-98 LS1s with minor rewiring or “green plug” 1024k PCM vehicles with slightly more extensive wiring changes.  It can also be used with a Van OS to run distributor applications with only a 4X reluctor.  The ‘0411 can also be used to run LTx/Gen2 retrofits with a custom conversion kit from EFI Connection.

Please note that the RR does *not* function identically to a “normal” PCM in terms of long term keep-alive memory.  When you turn the key off with a RR PCM, the PCM will reset every time.  If you need to pass emissions or do other functions that depend on this memory, you may have to use a normal PCM.

Later (LS2/LS3+) engines switched to a different style ECM (E40, E38, E67, E37, etc.) that is electrically incompatible with Roadrunner.  There will never be a RoadRunner for any late-model ECM.  Period.

Late model engines also switched to a different style crank trigger setup (58X / 60-2) that makes it impossible to use a LS1 ECM to run the engine.  People have succeeded in using a RoadRunner in a 411 ECM to run a late model engine by a combination of creative wiring changes and swapping the crankshaft reluctor to a 24 tooth unit.  This is not for the faint of heart.  We do not officially support this application so we can’t really assist you with this conversion, but again we’d recommend Mike at EFI Connection as a capable source for wiring and conversion needs.

Unsupported GM Applications

Previously, a Bluetooth option for Roadrunner was available.  This has been discontinued – it is no longer available.  There are no plans to offer this in the future.

Previously, there were Roadrunner versions available for LB7, 1024k PCMs and 98 PCMs.  All of these applications had issues which is why we no longer offer “ready to run” Roadrunner PCMs from these families.  These have been discontinued – we cannot guarantee that these applications will work fully.

Why did this happen?

  • 97-98 LS1 Core PCMs are hard to find.  The 99-02 PCMs are superior and can be made to work in 98 applications with little effort.  If you’re bound and determined to use a RR in a 97-98 PCM, you could try this at your own risk but we strongly recommend conversion to an ‘0411 PCM.
  • LB7 PCMs come in several flavors.  Early PCMs lacked a driver that later PCMs had, making them incompatible.  Also, RR equipped PCMs had a tendency to present an invalid VIN.  This did not appear to affect operation, but…  VATS was also sometimes a concern and may need to be disabled.  Combine these issues with the extremely limited supply of Core PCMs and we decided to no longer offer a “ready to go” LB7 Roadrunner.  For a TUNER, none of the issues on this platform should be a show stopper but we would recommend caution in a daily driver application.
  • 03-08 1024K LS1 PCMs may all have 1024k of memory but they do NOT appear to be universally compatible.  During testing on an 05 Avalanche, there was a significant number of no-start conditions while using a stack of “random” 1024k PCMs fitted with a RoadRunner.  It was not determined whether this was due to differences in PCM hardware, The RoadRunner or another factor.  The decision was made not to offer a ready-to-go RoadRunner for vehicles requiring a 1024k PCM.

Getting an Unsupported RoadRunner

If after reading why we no longer offer a RoadRunner for a PCM you have and you still want to try it, there are options.  If you want to try one of these applications, you will need to either:

  • Send us a Core ECM.  Order a RR Guts kit.  Order the RR Install service.  Receive the PCM you sent us back with a RoadRunner installed
  • Order a RoadRunner Guts kit.  Install it yourself.

Please note that these applications are UNSUPPORTED meaning that if you have strange problems, we aren’t going to be rushing to revise the product in order to solve your issues.  These are intended for advanced users capable of troubleshooting and working independently.  Use at your own risk!

GM Software Compatibility

EFILive natively supports the RoadRunner.  In order to use it with EFI Live, you must purchase the Roadrunner license.  After purchasing the license, you can use the Roadrunner in any vehicle supported by the ECM.  You can tune as many RoadRunner equipped ECMs as you like – you do not need to buy additional licenses for additional RoadRunners.  If you want to flash a copy of the program in the Roadrunner into the vehicle’s original ECM, you can do this but standard EFI VIN or Stream licensing fees will apply.

TunerCAT OBD2 Tuner natively supports the RoadRunner.  Existing OBD2 Tuner customers can simply buy the RoadRunner upgrade.  There is a package that includes one definition file which is intended for people who want to use RoadRunner and TunerCAT to tune only one vehicle.  There is an add-on ***ONLY AVAILABLE FOR ROADRUNNER USERS*** that includes the WinFlash cable allowing you to reflash vehicles with TunerCAT.  There are also all-LS1 and all-supported-vehicles packages.  ***AGAIN, YOU MUST BUY ROADRUNNER HARDWARE TO BE ABLE TO BUY TUNERCAT OBD2 TUNER.  NO EXCEPTIONS.*** Updates for TunerCat Roadrunner users are available on the “Additional Links” section of the product page for RRTuner and WinFlash on our web store.  These links are updated to always point to the most recent version available.

Other Applications / Technical Specifications

The RoadRunner has been used successfully as a general purpose 16 bit data bus emulator for applications other than GM LS1.  (Bosch Motronic ME7.1 comes to mind.)   The RoadRunner uses the same FTDI USB-serial bridge as our other products, appearing as a COM port to the operating system.  It is designed to emulate a 28F800 (0r 28F400, 28F200, even 28F100) chip operating in 16 bit data bus mode.  The 28F800 is capable of presenting data in both 8 and 16 bit selectable modes, but the RoadRunner does not support this – 16 bit mode only.  The pinout of the RoadRunner is designed to match the pinout of these ICs – other 16 bit data bus chips could theoretically be emulated with creative cabling.  We have NOT performed extensive testing to determine the fastest access time for the Roadrunner, but we estimate that it is in the 65-80ns range.  90s is 100% safe.

The above picture illustrates the locations of pins 1 and 44 relative to the USB connector on the RoadRunner.

Full documentation for the protocols for talking to a Roadrunner for emulation and limited data trace are available on request. (They are very similar to the protocols used with the Ostrich 2.0 and our other devices but some minor differences exist.)  If you are interested in using the RoadRunner in a custom application, please contact us.  The hardware platform is a tried-and-tested 16 bit wide data bus EPROM emulation system available at a competitive price.

Specific Non-GM Application Usage Notes

The RR_on_BP5R write-up details fitting the RoadRunner emulator to the Miata BP5R (2000 1.8) ECU (Thanks James Holland!)  This ECU uses a 29F200 instead of the 28F400/800 the RR was designed for.

We have a byteswap board that allows the RR to fit inside the case of a ME7 Audi 2.7t ECM and performs an endian-swap for use with TunerPro RT on this platform.