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BoosterPlug alternatives - Be aware of copies !

The BoosterPlug is not the only Plug and Play Tuning device - Are they all the same ?

Certainly not. Technical solutions, build quality and price vary a lot:
  • The BoosterPlug concept have proven extremely efficient, and look-a-like copies are arriving on the market. (We are actually a little flattered about this) 
  • The exact internal setup of the copies is mostly unknown to us, but you should know that a poor construction is a potential danger to your engine. 
  • It’s difficult to tell how much knowledge there is behind all the fancy words, so you must be confident that the solution you buy is made by people who know what they are doing. 
  • The slick sales talk to promote these devices is all the same, but most people prefer to make their choice from facts and knowledge. So we have compared the different "solutions" you will find out there. This page is probably the only available source of this overview.

Please read on to see the facts on different resistor tuning devices.

General construction principles:

There's a well known product out there that simply sets the ambient temperature - as seen by the CPU - to a fixed low temperature. This device is nothing but a fixed resistor with no temperature compensation at all..  
  • This will result in a very, very rich mixture on a hot day. 
  • In temperatures below the fixed point, your bike will actually run leaner than stock - This could harm your engine!! 
  • To avoid legal complications, we'll not provide the name of the product in public, but feel free to ask us by mail. 
  • You really should avoid products of this type. Stay away !!!

The typical DIY approach is to add a fixed or adjustable resistor in serial connection with the original sensor, but you will find commercial products too, which are nothing but a serial resistor in a fancy box. Serial resistor solutions without temperature compensation will suffer from the same problem as the fixed resistor, but to a lesser degree. 
  • The enrichment of the mixture will vary a lot with temperature. 
  • If the resistor value is properly calculated, it's not likely to harm your engine or Catalytic Converter, but you don't really know.
  • Having an adjustable resistor (potentiometer) is NOT a solution, because you would have to adjust it every time the ambient temperature changes. Moreover, you are blind to the correct settings.

A few products claim to have temperature compensation made by including a second NTC resistor (AIT sensor is a NTC resistor too)
  • The extra sensor must be able to measure the approximate same temperature as the AIT sensor in the air-box to work correctly. 
  • It should be located somewhere where it is not affected by engine heat and where it will receive a reasonable amount of airflow. 
  • If the sensor is included in the module, it will sit under a shield with no air flow around it, and the temperature can be +20 degrees celsius higher than ambient temperature, because the engine will heat up the area. That's not very useful. 
  • The BoosterPlug is the only resistor Tuning device to offer real Temperature Compensation



The Graph below shows the performance you will achieve with the different aproaches to Resistor Tuning.

  •  Green line  shows the fixed resistor method
           - Very poor performance due to the large variation in fuel enrichment
           - The only "solution" that can actually make your bike run leaner than stock
  •  Red line  is for the set-up where you have a fixed resistor in serial with the original AIT sensor (The typical DIY approach)
           - You will still have a lot of variation in enrichment with changes in ambient temperature
           - If you only ride your bike when the temperature is say 15-25 degrees, and you chose the resistor value correctly, you can have "OK" results with this method - not excellent, but probably an improvement if you stay in the same temperatures.
  •  Yellow line  is what happens if you have temperature compensation with a second NTC sensor located in an area where it's affected by engine heat.
           - For the calculation, I assumed that the second NTC would measure + 20 degrees Celsius over the AIT sensor measurement. The line will move up or down if the temperature span is something else.
           - It's obvious that this set-up will lower its performance when the twin temperature measurements are not 
             equal - the higher the temperature difference, the lower the performance.
           - Even with very large differences in the temperature measurements, the line will not drop below zero %, so
             it will not harm your engine, but the benefits are long gone
  •  Blue line  is the BoosterPlug Performance
           - You'll see the line tends to trail off a little at extreme temperatures, but in the temperature range where you would actually consider to ride your bike the BoosterPlug will deliver a steady performance

    The BoosterPlug compared to the alternatives


Sensor size - Reaction speed

If you managed to read through the text on this page and the "How it works" section without falling asleep, you should now be aware that the external temperature sensor in the BoosterPlug is essential if you want correct temperature compensation – which you obviously do.

But you also want a fast reacting sensor that will adapt to changing temperatures in seconds. The faster the better.

Again, the original BoosterPlug stands head and shoulders above the copies:
  • The BoosterPlug sensor is a tiny 6mm diameter stainless steel sensor that will sense changes in ambient temperatures almost immediately. The weight of the sensor is only 2,4 grams.
  • The copy product has a 9mm diameter brass sensor with a weight of just over 5 grams.

Original BoosterPlug sensor and copy product compared.

Bottom line is that the BoosterPlug will adapt twice as fast to changes in temperatures compared to the copy device. 

There's a lot of hidden engineering involved in making simple devices brilliant !.


Build Quality

The motorcycle is a pretty rough enviroment for electronics, and we want our bike to perform right every day.
  • Make sure the device of your choice is build to withstand the heat, water, and vibrations that it will endure.
  • If the tiny fragile components are just soldered to the wires, and nothing have been done to stabilize the set-up from vibrations, your device may not last very long.
  • The BoosterPlug is a Heavy Duty Quality module with all components properly sealed and supported.
Poor BMW tuning quality

BoosterPlug look-a-like copies:
  • Resistor tuning is basicly simple, but the calculation of a setup that will provide a steady and correct output in all realistic temperature ranges, is actually rather difficult to do. 
  • Just the rather simple task of selecting a sensor with the right temperature/resistance curve involved a lot of work, as these sensors have very different specs. 
  • We have no idea about the internal set-up of the BoosterPlug copies, but you should know that a poor set-up is a potential danger to your engine. 
  • Most customers will have no way of checking if the fancy advertizing claims have any relations to reality, so the key word here is confidence. 
  • You really need to be confident that the constructor knows what he's doing. Who would want to accept the risk of damaging an expensive bike, by purchasing a poorly engineered product?

Real life example of a low confidence product.

We had some internal discussions if we should include this example as it could be seen as a cheap trick to slash a competitor's product, but we decided that it's important to show the difference in the knowledge and technology involved in these devices. So we will give you the story, but keep the name of the poor device to ourselves :-)

The module in this case story was originally advertised with a fancy computerized graph, claiming that the device would abruptly stop any enrichment below 0 and above 40 degrees (Celsius) 

     - This is quite interesting as we really want a steady output in all temperatures
     - Also, a set-up like this is not at all possible with the components involved. 
     - Jens (Inventor of the BoosterPlug) provided his knowledge and opinion in a forum where this issue was discussed, and                 the seller of the copy module replied rather aggressively.
     - Life is too short for angry discussions where facts are ignored, so Jens withdrew from the discussion. 
     - But the fancy graph was removed from the website shortly after ! 
     - And now the vendor claims a steady enrichment in the -30 to +80 degrees C range.
     - Also this guy seemed very anxious to justify that an external temperature sensor (Like on the
       BoosterPlug) was not necessary at all. 
     - But after a while he suddenly introduced an updated device with a second temperature sensor on an 
       external cable - clearly a BoosterPlug look-a-like copy.

Get the idea? 

     - First he proves that he has no idea what his device actually does.
     - Next he contradicts his own firm statement by introducing an "extended" version of his device, that 
       is clearly a look-a-like copy of the only successful concept !!!!! 

We'll rest our case, and humbly suggest that you stick to the original and well proven solution: The BoosterPlug.



What about a Power Commander ?

  • Well, for 95% of all owners, the BoosterPlug is a better solution. Simple solutions can be brilliant.
  • The factory's technicians actually know what they are doing, and the BoosterPlug works with the ECU, not against it. The BoosterPlug will just add the little extra fuel your bike wants for optimum driveability and performance. The factory guys can't do this due to legal restrictions.
  • With the Power Commander or equivalent products, you can change almost anything, and most of these products will shut down closed loop operation. With so many features to change, it really takes a very experienced guy and a lot of Dyno time to get things right.
  • Most Power Commanders are never correctly setup, and the simple BoosterPlug will actually outperform 80% of all existing Power Commander installations, because the BoosterPlug is based on the very good factory map, and will just make the air/fuel mixture slightly richer where you need it.
  • If your bike is a real hardcore racer with sharp camshafts and big bore pistons etc. you may well need the Power Commander. If you're like most owners that ride your standard bike, or just fit other air filters and exhausts, you're better off with the BoosterPlug.
  • More details on the BoosterPlug vs Power Commander in the FAQ section.