EXPEDITING ECU FLASH REPROGRAMMING PROCESSES: REPLACE ONLY WHAT HAS CHANGED

As an automotive engineer, manager, executive or technician, you have heard this one before: Electronic Control Unit (ECU) software reflash. Whether it’s for a bug fix or recalibration for enhanced system operation, it is a very common occurrence; it can also be a very timely one. How can we reduce the reflash time and regain the lost reflashing resources?

Let’s take a high level look at the typical reflashing process: There are partitions of the ECU’s memory (like the C:\ drive of your PC for Windows users) that have specific programming for proper operation. These partitions may be as small as 100 kilobytes or as large as 40 megabytes (or even larger!). Maybe you have experienced the time it takes to reflash a head unit with a considerable memory map. I have experienced some head unit reflashes that take as long as an hour and a half! Why does it take so long? Typical reflashes replace the whole memory partitions, even though just a portion of the new software has been changed.

Exclusive Origin has a Diff File Creation algorithm that compares the old and new software and generates a reflash strategy that only replaces the altered memory in the ECU. This allows for faster reflash activities. How much faster? If only 10% of the software was altered in the hour and a half flash I witnessed, it would only take approximately 15 minutes. And you know the saying—Time is Money!

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