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    What an M156 (63 AMG) ECU/computer ruined by a tuner looks like and how to fix it

    We are not going to name any names here but chances are there are a few M156 ECU's out there that look exactly like what you see here. This ECU was drenched in epoxy gunk which essentially ruined it without the owner knowing or providing consent for the ECU to be modified in this manner. The only way to remove the material to be able to tune the ECU was to use a CNC machine carefully to remove it over a period of a couple hours. It was a coin flip whether the board would be hit essentially creating an expensive paperweight but the ECU was able to be salvaged and tuned as the material was removed without hitting/damaging the board. Make sure you do not have to go through this ordeal with your ECU and be careful what tuner you go with.

    This ECU comes from a member who was having their car re-tuned and lives in Asia. The issue was discovered when the ECU was opened to the surprise of all involved.

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    LOL, looks familar. Epic Fail for the tuner(to remain nameless), looks like your "security" was not too secure afterall.
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    LOL..."chances are there are a few M156 owners ecus that look like this" come on, just let the cat out of the bag or I will. This could win you a $#@!ing pulitzer prize Sticky.
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    Did the circuit board overheat ? How was this found ?? I can only assume the tuner who did this was attempting to make sure no one else could use a BDM to pull the file...What kind of a $#@!ing hack would do this ?? Can anyone say FIRE HAZZARD ??????

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
    LOL..."chances are there are a few M156 owners ecus that look like this" come on, just let the cat out of the bag or I will. This could win you a $#@!ing pulitzer prize Sticky.
    I have no desire to hurt anyone and only help those that may be affected which we obviously know is a decent amount of people.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
    I can only assume the tuner who did this was attempting to make sure no one else could use a BDM to pull the file.
    Exactly. It's fine if there is consent but to do it without telling someone is a major no-no. Would I be furious? Yes.

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    Although I do believe in the holy power of CNC, I have a hard time believing you could mill this goo of the circuit board without damaging the components.
    The tolerances involved (circuitboard, soldered components, screwed down board) are such that the best chance would be to mill the goo down to the lacker protecting the circuit board, scraping off what was left of the goo inbetween the copper leads, and resoldering the SMD components lost in the milling process. I really would like to see what was left of the ECU after milling, not just one loosely clamped down ECU on a milling bed.
    There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
    Although I do believe in the holy power of CNC, I have a hard time believing you could mill this goo of the circuit board without damaging the components.
    It was done.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
    Although I do believe in the holy power of CNC, I have a hard time believing you could mill this goo of the circuit board without damaging the components.
    The tolerances involved (circuitboard, soldered components, screwed down board) are such that the best chance would be to mill the goo down to the lacker protecting the circuit board, scraping off what was left of the goo inbetween the copper leads, and resoldering the SMD components lost in the milling process. I really would like to see what was left of the ECU after milling, not just one loosely clamped down ECU on a milling bed.
    It was done, trust me.
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Reputation: Yes | No
    So who epoxied the ECU?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oldgixxer Click here to enlarge
    So who epoxied the ECU?
    There is ONLY one tuner that I know of that uses that tacticClick here to enlarge

    I'll let Jrcart or sticky drop their intitials

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oldgixxer Click here to enlarge
    So who epoxied the ECU?
    Its not epoxy...its a "security feature" LMAO
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Reputation: Yes | No
    Honestly, I have no idea what wattage an ECU of that caliber is running, but if they are calling themselves "tuners" - they have a problem.

    That is probably one of the more laughable things I have seen someone do to try to prevent someone from pulling a chip off a board... Thank the lord no one was hurt. In all honesty, he should recall every single one of his ECUs that he "secured" to the board.

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    That looks like the mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oldgixxer Click here to enlarge
    So who epoxied the ECU?
    Without knowing with certainty, given the individuals posting and their history, this almost has to be MHP. FWIW, this exact issue (with a picture) was addressed already in a Benzboost thread, further down the first page:

    http://www.benzboost.com/showthread....-regarding-MHP

    Excerpt:

    Yes we at MHP use a special epoxy to cover the BDM pads so theives/hacks can't get to the files as easily. This is unfortunately necessary because both BDM and CMD encryption are incredibly weak. Here's the rub: With the correct solvent and tools I can remove my epoxy in 15-45 minutes depending on how much I use. Others that don't have the correct solvent/tools cannot which is the point. So if you're a legit customer and just want the best tuning, you have nothing to fear. If a customer were ever to send back the ECU to go back to stock (has never happened to date) I can remove all traces of the epoxy (unlike the burnt ecu hardware in Steve's car) in 2-3hrs tops. I've practiced as much on spare ECUs so I know this to be true.
    Here is a pic of one of the ECU's I've done and what my epoxy looks like. I have no idea what pictures Jeremy posted on MBW as I can't see them so I wanted to post my own:

    Click here to enlarge

    Like I said, if you're a legit customer it's not a problem you'll ever have to worry about, if you're trying to steal IP then it's going to ruin your day.


    Of note, the second-to-last sentence in the first quote... if one wishes to have MHP's tuning taken off of his ECU and put back to stock, one is encouraged to send the ECU back to MHP for tuning/epoxy removal. So... why is this one being CNC'd? Did the owner of the ECU contact MHP to have the ECU put back to stock? If yes, and Andy told him to pound sand - that's newsworthy. If the owner did, and Andy said "sure thing, send it over and I'll take care of it" but then the owner decided to have it CNC'd locally - that too would be newsworthy.

    Sticky, FWIW, you're starting to come across like a scorned lover. This issue was already discussed here at length - your new thread title "ruined by a tuner" sure sounds bitter. Especially when, later you post the ECU "was able to be salvaged" - which is it? Ruined or salvaged? If you felt this new thread sheds some additional light on this topic, you easily could've titled it "Technical Bulletin: CNC machines can successfully remove ECU epoxy" if presenting a professional appearance is of any value to you.

    Regardless, this is your sandbox, you'll do as you see fit... carry on.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
    Without knowing with certainty, given the individuals posting and their history, this almost has to be MHP. FWIW, this exact issue (with a picture) was addressed already in a Benzboost thread, further down the first page:

    http://www.benzboost.com/showthread....-regarding-MHP

    Excerpt:







    Of note, the second-to-last sentence in the first quote... if one wishes to have MHP's tuning taken off of his ECU and put back to stock, one is encouraged to send the ECU back to MHP for tuning/epoxy removal. So... why is this one being CNC'd? Did the owner of the ECU contact MHP to have the ECU put back to stock? If yes, and Andy told him to pound sand - that's newsworthy. If the owner did, and Andy said "sure thing, send it over and I'll take care of it" but then the owner decided to have it CNC'd locally - that too would be newsworthy.

    Sticky, FWIW, you're starting to come across like a scorned lover. This issue was already discussed here at length - your new thread title "ruined by a tuner" sure sounds bitter. Especially when, later you post the ECU "was able to be salvaged" - which is it? Ruined or salvaged? If you felt this new thread sheds some additional light on this topic, you easily could've titled it "Technical Bulletin: CNC machines can successfully remove ECU epoxy" if presenting a professional appearance is of any value to you.

    Regardless, this is your sandbox, you'll do as you see fit... carry on.
    Bottom line, the Tune/IP might be the property of the tuner but the board itself is NOT. No tuner has the right to put epoxy on a board for "security". IP should be addressed with encryption security, not a makeshift physical barrier of epoxy becuase the tuner can not figure out a way to properly protect his IP. What if said tuner ever went out of business, how would customers have the epoxy removed and flashed back to stock then? IF you want to buy into that BS that's your right, but it makes you look a fool IMO. There's absolutely no excuse for this being done to an ECU board.
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    One more thing...There is absolutely nothing wrong with the title of this thread. What if I laid a nice dollop of epoxy on the hood of your car? Would you consider it ruined or would you say, it's not ruined, I can just scrape it off and repaint my hood????? The same thing here, really no difference at all, it took a great deal of work and time to get the epoxy off and the board back to usable condition.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
    Bottom line, the Tune/IP might be the property of the tuner but the board itself is NOT. No tuner has the right to put epoxy on a board for "security". IP should be addressed with encryption security, not a makeshift physical barrier of epoxy becuase the tuner can not figure out a way to properly protect his IP. What if said tuner ever went out of business, how would customers have the epoxy removed and flashed back to stock then? IF you want to buy into that BS that's your right, but it makes you look a fool IMO. There's absolutely no excuse for this being done to an ECU board.
    I don't disagree with the logic in your post. Frankly, while all tuners tend to lose sleep about lost/stolen IP, I've yet to see any legal conclusions suggesting the tune itself constitutes IP for the tuner in the classic sense. Since, the real "IP" is at the MB/AMG level, and the tuner is simply modifying existing code. Furthermore, once validly and legally purchased, the customer might have every right to do whatever they wish with the product (is modifying code a product or a service?) they purchased, post-sale.

    If someone wants to start an "Intellectual Property: legal position and relevance to the tuning industry" thread, it may be best to discuss further there.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
    One more thing...There is absolutely nothing wrong with the title of this thread. What if I laid a nice dollop of epoxy on the hood of your car? Would you consider it ruined or would you say, it's not ruined, I can just scrape it off and repaint my hood????? The same thing here, really no difference at all, it took a great deal of work and time to get the epoxy off and the board back to usable condition.
    The definition of "ruin," literally, is "to damage beyond repair." Ruined is definitive and final. Ergo, something salvageable is not ruined. Damaged, perhaps, but not ruined. Or the wishy-washy "essentially ruined" phrase (that doesn't even make sense) used in the first post. We get enough sensationalist drivel in the mainstream media...

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
    I don't disagree with the logic in your post. Frankly, while all tuners tend to lose sleep about lost/stolen IP, I've yet to see any legal conclusions suggesting the tune itself constitutes IP for the tuner in the classic sense. Since, the real "IP" is at the MB/AMG level, and the tuner is simply modifying existing code. Furthermore, once validly and legally purchased, the customer might have every right to do whatever they wish with the product (is modifying code a product or a service?) they purchased, post-sale.

    If someone wants to start an "Intellectual Property: legal position and relevance to the tuning industry" thread, it may be best to discuss further there.
    This thread is not about IP, I just brought it up becuase that is clearly what the tuner in this instance was trying to protect. Whether or not a tuners "tune" is legally considered IP I have no clue whatsoever, maybe Yomamma69 can chime in since he is an internet attorney(I beleive I recall him saying that) and can probably give us more insight on IP law but what I do know is that the vehichle owner owns the physical ECU board and no tuner has the right to physically alter that board in a way thay might render it useless down the road....PERIOD!
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
    The definition of "ruin," literally, is "to damage beyond repair." Ruined is definitive and final. Ergo, something salvageable is not ruined. Damaged, perhaps, but not ruined. Or the wishy-washy "essentially ruined" phrase (that doesn't even make sense) used in the first post. We get enough sensationalist drivel in the mainstream media...
    I don't agree with that, but I guess we are all allowed to have different opinions, right?

    Where do you live? I'm going to stop by and drop a dollop of epoxy on the hood of your car just like I said...would that damage the paint or ruin the paint? My guess is that you would say ruin if the shoe was on your foot, right? Sure you can fix it, take it to a body shop where they would scrape it down, strip and sand your entire hood and repaint it...fixed, right? Hopefully they will get that color match just perfect. Maybe the finish will be as good as the factory finish, but then again maybe not. Maybe the body shop will keep things on the downlow and not enter a CARFAX report on your car that says it's been painted. Maybe when you go to trade in your car or sell it you won't get dinged on the value should a CARFAX report show that the cars hood was painted. If someone sees painted hood on a CARFAX they are going to instantly think accident, right?

    You "ruined vs damaged" theory is plausable but try that shoe on for yourself now and see how it fits.


    ...and for the record, you brought up MHP not me or Sticky.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
    This thread is not about IP, I just brought it up becuase that is clearly what the tuner in this instance was trying to protect. Whether or not a tuners "tune" is legally considered IP I have no clue whatsoever, maybe Yomamma69 can chime in since he is an internet attorney(I beleive I recall him saying that) and can probably give us more insight on IP law but what I do know is that the vehichle owner owns the physical ECU board and no tuner has the right to physically alter that board in a way thay might render it useless down the road....PERIOD!
    Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??

    Hell, in the MB tuning scene, quite a few guys buy spare ECUs, especially the M156 guys since every tuner has to physically crack open the ECU at least once and that itself may raise warranty concerns. Albeit expensive, the ECU is a replaceable part.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
    Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??

    Hell, in the MB tuning scene, quite a few guys buy spare ECUs, especially the M156 guys since every tuner has to physically crack open the ECU at least once and that itself may raise warranty concerns. Albeit expensive, the ECU is a replaceable part.
    I am a "pay to play" guy. I fully understand the risks involved in tuning and modding a car but I really don't see what that has to do with this thread???? I do own multiple ECU's, but again I don't see what that has to do with anything here?

    If my motor popped today I would not blame any tuner, my car is pushed to the absolute extreme limits and I beat the $#@! out of it on a regular basis, only a $#@!ing retarded $#@! would mod the $#@! out of a car and then blame a tuner for blowing it up....AGAIN, WHAT DOES ANY OF THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THIS THREAD?????????????????????
    Last edited by JRCART; 10-18-2011 at 10:52 AM.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
    Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??
    The only way and I repeat the ONLY WAY I would ever be pissed at a tuner if my motor popped was if it was proven that he did something reckless, an extreme lean tune or crazy amounts of timing or something like that. Other than that a popped motor is all on me, if somebody does not have $40,000 sitting in a savings account to replace a blown AMG motor they better not even consider modding their car IMO, better yet take your money that you were gonna spend on that tune and buy an extended warranty and keep the car stock. The last thing I want to hear is some $#@! coming on here because he asked a tuner to push the envelope and the motor went bang and now the customer is looking for restitution.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
    I don't agree with that, but I guess we are all allowed to have different opinions, right?
    I guess it's just Merriam-Webster's opinion of what ruin means - you're entitled to your own made-up definition. I'm good with that.

    FWIW, your analogy falls apart in-so-much that aesthetics don't matter with an ECU - it's buried away inside the vehicle, and simply has to function properly. Aesthetics do matter with exterior body panels, as how they look is a significant part of their function. Regardless, to answer your question - if the epoxy could be removed with solvents without compromising the factory clear coat... no, I wouldn't consider the hood ruined. Frankly, even if it did compromise the clear - the hood wouldn't be ruined... but the factory paint job would be.

    ...and for the record, you brought up MHP not me or Sticky.
    True, I did. Glad we got that on record. A casual reader of this thread probably could've figured that out, but I'm fine with making it official. Frankly, the CNC angle is the only new news here - MHP already posted about this freely themselves, in the thread I already referenced.

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