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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had some time recently to look into what was really up with this product. There was a great review that is VERY informative and unbiased essentially lost in another thread. I didnt know it existed and would like to leave it here. Again all credit goes to @Bugasu for his time, investment, and efforts. I am simply making it easily viewable.


Well, my Turbo Transformer(s) arrived for review, and I've already finished within the 6 hours I've had them.
I took my time and made my challenge mostly for the entire Ecoboost community, to see if a device like this can work, and why/why not it will.

I will come right out, and say I'm indeed biased against devices like this, and am a huge skeptic of claims without some raw data being released for verification.
I don't like devices like this, but I promise I did not let that skew the results, as that would be irresponsible of me.

Before I talk about the device, I want to talk about @ameya. He was quick to respond to my challenge, and even though I was critical of his work, his was easy to work with and never for a minute (at least not vocally ;) ) resorted to taking my criticism harshly or as a personal attack. I appreciate his professionalism, and his willingness to meet all of my conditions to prove his work.
As far as I'm aware, Ameya is the only guy behind Turbo Transformer, and as someone with some experience in getting electronics products out the door, he's already done the hard part. He has his product out there, he has supply of parts sorted out (logistics is the #1 killer of electronics projects), and he had to make a lot of sacrifices to get this out there.

If you take away anything from this whole thread, take away that. I think he has stepped up to the plate, and he has earned my respect for doing so.

Now onto the fun!

My review of the product, the Turbo Transformer.
Ameya actually sent me TWO Turbo Transformers, one of the current design, and one of a newer design he is thinking about using going forward.
I will only be showing pictures and logs obtained from the newer design, though I will comment on where the older one varies.

I took some photographs (and I apologize to any photographers here, as my photography skills are lacking, as is my equipment.) to give people an idea of how it works.
View attachment 67133 View attachment 67135
So, this is what it looks like, against some "engineering" paper with the bold squares being 25mm x 25mm (Just under an inch by an inch for those of you who prefer imperial).
It's pretty basic, giving you the two connectors, one that goes into the TIP sensor and the other to plug in the harness to. Both make a good water-tight seal and I actually prefer
the male connector on the Turbo Transformer than I do the harness, as it has a better seal.
The wire is stranded 1mm wire, which is a little heavier than I expected, but it's pliable enough it should last.
The old design has shorter wiring, which makes it a little harder to install, so I imagine this one has them lengthened to help ease installation.

The case is a simple little project enclosure, with the logo silk screened onto it. There is a grommet for the wires entering, to help minimize the chance of the case ever cutting them and to help seal it up when it's closed.
View attachment 67136
The case opens pretty easily, like most project enclosures do. (Yes, I am a 20-something with beautiful hands!)

View attachment 67137 View attachment 67138
Surprise! Those of you in the Arduino world may recognize this. It's an Arduino Pro Mini, which is a small microprocessor.
Unlike standard "resistors" or the chip MCM has, this is basically a tiny little computer, and it can actually get stuff accomplished.
The old design had a similar Arduino Pro Mini by another manufacturer. The new design uses a pretty common (and more robust) design from Deek-Robot.

So what's it do? Well, we have the red and black wires coming in to Power and Ground respectively, and the white wire going into an analog input (which reads voltage),
and the yellow wire coming from a pin on the chip capable of PWM, which is used to output a variable duty cycle wave (which will be read by the the ECU as a voltage).
Inside, Ameya has code that would essentially map the input voltage to a different set of output voltages, so this chip "lies" about what the current TIP reading is.

Both boards were also coated in a conformal coating, which helps the circuit function even if it gets dirty, dusty, or even wet, which is a nice thing for the elements this
would be exposed to.

Some negatives:
- Directly soldering wires to a board is prone long term reliability issues, as vibration, tugging, etc directly effects the solder joint, which isn't capable of holding much stress. It would be nicer to see a connector used internally or sticking out of the case from the board.
- The board is just sitting in the case. There is no mounting point for it, so it is prone to vibration and movement issues. This can compound with the previous issue.

Next up, we have installation. It's straight forward, though if you can Houdini it like the video, you must have skinnier arms than I! I simply went from the bottom by popping the bottom cover out under the bumper, and reaching in that way. The connectors are pain in the ass to remove, especially if you have an aftermarket intercooler like I do with an angled mounting point, and I swore approximately 62 times during the installation.

So what you've all been waiting for:
Does it work?

My initial premise was the ECU would compensate by closing the throttle as load would be higher.
I was correct, and the ECU does its best to prevent the excess boost.
However, the ECUs response time isn't fast enough or strong enough, and it struggles to control load enough, so you do end up with a higher boost, and a correspondingly higher load.

The ECU does hold it back some (and oscillates slightly), but the lying works well enough to give you more boost, more load, and the ECU correctly compensates for the load with more fuel, so your fuel trims stay exactly where they were.
This is superior to a MAP sensor lying outright, which causes fuel calculations to be off, as this will have them on. In this regard, this solution is better than the BoostMAX in my opinion, as it doesn't have to rely on the closed-loop fueling to correct its mistakes.

This device does not really benefit you above 5000RPM, where timing is the only savior, but it does benefit you down low by adding more boost. You get more torque, and it is indeed noticeable on the butt dyno. I also got more wheelspin down low where I did not previously only slightly spun on the pure stock setup.

Because of the higher boost, but not higher fueling, there was a slight bit more timing retard, but the stock tune will quickly adjust that out, and high end horsepower will be the same as stock. Down low though, you will notice the extra torque.

So what do I think?
I think Ameya rose to my challenge, and his device worked to increase low-end power in spite of the cars torque control strategy. (You will note that I am also fully "Stage 3" which allows me to run similar timing on 91 Octane stock as 93 Octane vehicle, and the timing rises up to the stock tune ceilings thanks to my intercooler. So adding bolt-ons [specifically an intercooler!] does help an otherwise stock car slightly).
I think he passed, and I will honor my end.
@ameya, feel free to send me an invoice. You know my credentials ;)

- It works.
- Fuel trims are in line.
- Knock is as expected and the car adjusts as is appropriate.
- No CEL (not even a pending one!)

- It lies about a sensor. This is inherently not as safe as using the true measurement.
- It loses all benefits once you can tune, unlike other mods.
- Tune is FAR easier to install

Of course, I now look at price/performance gain. And it's good. Better than an intake and CBE on the stock tune. About par with an intercooler.
The device is really only about $50 production cost, but I will remind people, production costs aren't the only cost. Buying one of these also pays for Ameya's work, his website, his marketing, and as a small business, he does not get all the benefits of economies of scale. He started this in his spare time, and is just trying to offer a cheaper alternative to other solutions on the markets, and his works.

In comparison to other piggybacks (I'm looking at you BoostMAX!), Ameya's is better. No fuel trim problems, install is easier, and it's cheaper for the same gains.

However, in comparison to the benefits of a true tune from an AP or SCT, it's obviously lacking in every department. Many of you realize this, and consider this to have no market place because of that. I agree, and I dislike piggybacks in principle, but that doesn't mean they aren't the right choice for some people.

Also, I now release to all, actual DATA.
Turbo Transformer Datalog
Stock Datalog

Notice how TIP is the same in both (Ameya does a good job of blending the lie with some truth), but boost and MAP are higher. Fuel trims are similar between the two, and I tested in similar conditions or both runs, after having a fresh flash, I drove approximately 25 miles with varying engine conditions, and then did the logs. The Turbo Transformer runs were done with ambients of 63*, and the plain stock with 71*. While this would be enough to make a difference, the difference is minor via standard SAE adjustments (about 2-3hp/tq more expected from the Turbo Transformer runs, which VDyno is NOT accurate enough for reproducibility within that range.), and Turbo Transformer nets about 20-25 extra wtq down low.

As a comparison, I have my own 91 tune as well, same gas, same weight, etc. Obviously the AP wins out for total performance/$, and is the only way to really get more power above 4500ish RPM when the turbo starts its downhill slide as only timing can fix that.

View attachment 67141

TL;DR Pt. 2
Is it worth $200? That's up to each individual buyer. But at least now, I hope, they have some data they need to ease that decision.
Does it work? Yes.
Is the producer a nice guy? Yes.
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