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Old 01-29-2015, 08:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: socal
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Miller WAR Chip + MAF vs. Alphan-N for M3

Hello gruppe,

Looking to get some comparison or product use feedback from anyone who is running either Miller MAF + WAR chip or Alpha-N MAXX tuning solution on their E30 M3.

Alpha-N has been around for many years as standalone tuning solution for M3s and was also used on DTM race cars. Though, it seems it requires harness cutting, ignition system change amongst other things, not to include custom tuning.

Has it been a reliable EMS for those running Alpha-N?

Miller MAF + WAR chip appears to be fairly new. Uses an upgraded MAF, keeps original ignition system and still allows custom tuning and programs with WAR flexibilty.

Though, I have not seen much data on E30 M3s using Miller MAF + WAR chip? If you have this, please share some thoughts and feedback on ease of tuning and current reliability.

Looking to go either route for tuning, which will also help maintain SMOG compliance here in California.

This is primarily to start upgrade of motor. Along with either EMS mentioned, I plan to add a carbon fiber intake plenum at same time to get full benefits of intake system modification.

Other upgrades due in time: schrick cams, 2.5ms rebuild, exhaust + headers. So having something flexible for the additional modifications is best.

Interested in a reliable solution that can possibly be reversed and put back to stock.

Have seen lots of details on Alpha-N, any California cars with this? Or Miller MAF + WAR chip? Smog issues?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-05-2015, 02:06 AM   #2
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There is also a piggy back type of alpha N. The maxx alpha N e.g. It works in conjunction with the existing Motronic. It comes with a harness to connect to your engine harness. You dont have to cut up your engine harness, but you do have to connect about 9 wires at the main ECU plug. It easy to do and reversible.

Via your laptop you can tune fueling on the fly, while the engine is running. Starting from scratch you can tune a map in about 2 hours. The system comes with a base map.

The newer versions of maxx alpha N include support for wbo2 (lambda) closed loop control. The user specifies a target AFR map, and the system then controls fuel according to the specified target AFRs. The car will start and run well right out of the box with pretty much any map. So you dont really need to go to a dyno.

The control loop also shows you what corrections are being made to the base map. You can use this info to fine tune the base map yourself, which will then result in a smaller correction range.

The AFR target map looks like this on your laptop:

The system does not allow for on the fly tuning of ignition. This is not really a problem as we can supply dyno optimized chips for the motronic (with modified ignition tables) for most of the common s14 engine combinations. 2.0, 2.3, 2.5 and 2.7 S14 and for many common cam setups: schrick 284, 292, 308 or MS 292, 304, 312, 320 or 324. For stock engines you dont really need to change much to the ignition map. If you have another tuners chip that worked with your AFM, then you can still use that with alpha N.

With this type of alpha N, you dont need a custom harness and usually dyno time is also not required. This simplifies the conversion. Install takes about 2 hours and is straight forward to do. It comes with sensors and harness, ready to install. World wide there is quite a large user base especially for S14 engines, and used on street cars and race cars (on board race footage available if you like to see how well wbo2 closed loop runs in a race car).

If you are installing a carbon airbox, to realize the full potential of that modification it is recommended to use some type of alpha N engine management be it a piggy back system or a "stand alone" ECU. About 99% of the installs with CF airbox are running some form of alpha N.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:25 AM   #3
Grease Monkey
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Having proper control over the ECU is far superior to a piggy back system that interupts or manipulates a signal.

Not being able to control ignition, idle speed, rpm limit etc isn't ideal. Obviously, it can work as the MAXX guy above says, but again, its leaving some critical control on the table.

I have seen a few people who like their Maxx ECU setup but I have also seen people who ended up removing it and coming to our system. I am sure the same can be said for the other way around.

I can get you in touch with people in LA who have or have had cars with our system on it.

We will be in LA next week tuning cars in person. We will even be installing and tuning our setup on an M3 as well with a carbon air box so if you want to come check it out and maybe get one installed one the spot let me know. PM me for details.

And by the way, our MAF comversion has been around for almost 10 years now. Hardly "new."
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:37 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Regarding proper control.

The maps on the motronic are load indexed (not TPS indexed). The maxx alpha N does not interupt or falsify any signal, it provides a load signal just like the AFM would. Using this load signal all tables on chip are indexed. The AFM maps the engines air flow to load. The alpha N does the same thing. So alpha N is then mapped to any changed air flow requirement. Basically on a stock engine the map inside an alpha N looks just like a map of the AFM if you measured it over all of its operating points.

The ICV is also controlled and accounted for by the alpha N.

Most importantly, wideband O2 closed loop control is supported, so the fuel control is automated. In most cases it works so well that you dont even have to go on a dyno. It runs out of the box. The wbo2 control also automatically compensates for day to day changes in environmental conditions. Air temperature and pressure compensation is accounted for.

It is true that the end user cant adjust ignition timing himself via laptop directly. That is probably good in most cases as adjusting ignition timing should be left to people experienced with tuning these engines.

On a mostly stock 2.3l, you can continue to user your chip that you used with the AFM (if it already worked well with AFM) as the ignition timing does not change appreciably. The fuel tuning changes far more than the ignition tune does with respect to changes in engine breathing. The ignition timing changes only with more radical modifications that move the torque curve and engine resonances by a significant amount. To account for different engine hardware configurations (increased displacement, larger cams, etc.) we have many dyno optimized chips done on load peggable dyno. These have been tested in the field so we know that any result achieved on the dyno (which is just a snap shot for a certain set of operating conditions) isnt going to cost engine bearings later at a track day.

There are more than a thousand maxx AN / CF airbox systems running on S14s world wide, and many of those on race/track cars. Its not so much of a question that they "can" work, they work and the reliability has been very high.

In terms of chips we have complete access to every map, table, or constant. Several hundred S14 engines, mostly highly modified, have been tuned all on the same dyno, so there is a large library at disposal. Following pic shows data and tables of chip, and of course it is more than just ignition and fuel base tables, but like I said above on a stock engine it isnt necessary to change all of this and if you do need to change it, it isnt something most end users are capable of doing. We can also change the resolution of maps to increase the number of sites used or use site clustering. For a modified S14 we will usually spend an entire day with a car on the dyno and sometimes 2 days. If you show up to a dyno day where there are other cars, a tuner doesnt really have the time, so ends up just glancing over things and to be honest, they will also first get the fueling done and then look that ignition is in a range that the car runs. But that isnt the same as optimizing a map. You also need a load peggable dyno otherwise you just waste your time.

and lastly, the reason we or basically nobody here in europe uses MAF, is that with large cams it doesnt see load changes fast enough. The impulses in the intake tract effect the signal. Of course if you dont want to use a piggy back style of alpha N (which BMW MS also used on early gr. A cars), you could go to a full stand alone ECU (which BMW also eventually did).

if I find that video Ill post it up.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:39 PM   #5
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2.3l m3 at the nordschleife in the VLN


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Old 02-05-2015, 03:20 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
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I evaluated low cost stand alones, MAF conversion and Alpha-N a number of years ago. I decided to go with the MAXX Alpha-N system primarily due to bang for the buck, ease of installation and support. The number of E30 M3 owners using Alpha-N far exceed any other system on the market. We recently had this discussion on the SIG and a number of S14 experts (Don Fields, Mario Langsten) chimed in. I would search the threads for this discussion. I will be installing MAXX Alpha-N on my E30 M20 stroker.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:38 AM   #7
mach schnell
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Does MAXX have an app in development? I want to run mine via an Apple iPad, not on a desktop/laptop PC.
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Old 09-15-2015, 05:41 AM   #8
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would have thought there would be a pnp MSx by now
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Old 09-15-2015, 06:08 AM   #9
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There is.
"I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

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Old 07-04-2016, 11:39 AM   #10
mach schnell
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Originally Posted by mach schnell View Post
Does MAXX have an app in development? I want to run mine via an Apple iPad, not on a desktop/laptop PC.
Bump - anyone know?
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:31 PM   #11
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:06 AM   #12
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there is no app for ipad, iphone, or android avalable.
the software is only available for windows. it can be run on a mac via a virtual machine software (e.g. oracle VM).
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by maxx-automotive View Post
there is no app for ipad, iphone, or android avalable.
the software is only available for windows. it can be run on a mac via a virtual machine software (e.g. oracle VM).
Martin, I sent you a email
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