Tuner Blog Posts

Hypertech Max Energy Code 1000 Programmer is Disabled

As a company who has now been selling for over ten years, we have heard of the fair share of error codes showing up on tuners and helped our customers troubleshoot those errors.  We have also seen many different errors come up on some of the tuners we have rejected during our thorough testing process.  However, just over the past year we’ve experienced a new one a few times on Hypertech Max Energy Programmers.  This error is Code 1000 – Programmer is Disabled.  The first time we saw this was testing a tuner that was traded in towards a new purchase and it had us scratching our heads, but with some research and talking with the technicians at Hypertech we have learned a lot about it and what it means.

Since a tuner will marry itself to the vehicle it is used on to prevent people using one tuner on multiple vehicles, many people want to find a way to get around the lock and unlock the tuner without returning the vehicle to factory settings.  Well there were a couple of eBay sellers out there who discovered a way to open up the casing of the tuner and alter the internal hardware components to reset the tuner and get around the VIN lock.  Hypertech was made aware of this and set up their updater program to be able to discover tuners that have had this hack performed on them.  When one of these previously hacked units is attempted to be updated, the Hypertech server will disable the tuner, rendering it useless.  This will result in the tuner displaying “error code 1000 – programmer is disabled” when it is used next.  We are proud to say that we have never hacked a tuner and therefore none of our refurbished tuners are at risk for this error, but it is definitely something you should be aware of when purchasing a used tuner from other online sellers – even though the tuner may appear to be in working condition at the moment, after an update it could be turned into an instant paperweight.

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do if you have a tuner that has been disabled, the only option Hypertech provides is to pay them $200 to reset the tuner back to working condition.

Benefits of a Tuner/Why You Should Buy a Tuner

 If you’ve come to this page, you may already know what a tuner is and the benefits of installing one on your vehicle, but not everybody knows just how beneficial they are and what the heck they really do.  Well today, I’m going to explain what exactly a tuner does, what the benefits are, and the reasons why you’re crazy not to have one!

I’ve gotten used to the question from friends and family when I tell them about my career “what the heck is a tuner?”  In fact, I’ve gotten so used to it that I usually just tell people that I work for an e-commerce site selling auto parts to prevent the confusion from even beginning.  Odds are that if you’ve landed on this page you already know that a tuner is used to plug into the diagnostic port on your vehicle to remap the computer settings to optimize engine/transmission performance and usually fuel mileage as a result of that, but do you know how it does those things?  I’ll just scratch the surface today, but look for a post in the future that gets more into the details of performance tuning.  The major changes a tuner will make are fuel, spark, and transmission (and turbo settings on turbocharged vehicle).  For fueling, the tuner will alter your wide open throttle air to fuel ratio for increased power (the cruise A/F ratio remains the same as stock for optimal fuel mileage/safety) as well as the conditions for taking the vehicle out of closed loop mode and into power enrichment mode.  Spark timing is usually increased throughout the entire throttle range which will lead to increased power and throttle response.  The only difference between different octane tunes are the amount the spark timing is increased; since higher octane fuels can handle higher spark timing without pre-detonation the tuner will increase the timing higher for those fuels which is the sole reason why you see better power numbers on 93 octane tunes vs 87 octane tunes.  Transmission settings are also altered such as shift pressure and speed as well as the shift points.  Some tuner companies will also alter torque management in their tunes which will result in a noticeable difference as well.

The benefits to a tuner are huge and there’s really no negatives to having one.  People always seem to automatically ask things like “So what’s the catch?” but there really isn’t one when it comes to these tuners.  You’ll experience power gains of 10-40HP on gas engines and 75-200HP on diesel engines and anywhere from a 1-5 mpg improvement.  You’ll also notice things like improved throttle response and more responsive shifting.  There also may be dramatic improvements in random things like the delay to get into power enrichment mode.  One example of this is a lot of GM trucks have a huge delay after the throttle is pushed (10 seconds or more on some models) before power enrichment mode is enabled.  GM did this to prevent people from going into a mode where gas mileage isn’t optimal but when you want the power, it really is not enjoyable.  I have seen the Diablosport tunes where they have removed this delay entirely, which is what it should be since you want the power right away!

So now my final point for today, which is why you are crazy for not having one of these.  In the previous paragraph, I said that there is no catch…well, I guess the cost of a tuner could be the “catch that” prevents people from purchasing one.  We have plenty of cost effective options for most vehicles for under $200 and there’s few vehicles we can’t provide a tuner for under $300.  But the cost is really more of an investment, and you’ll end up getting it all back.  First of all, the value of these tuners is very stable.  In fact, looking at some of the tuners we first sold when we started in 2006 for $240, we’re still selling the exact same model for $180.  We frequently sell 20 year old tuners for $150+! What this means is that you can tune your vehicle today, drive around for a few years until you decide to get a different vehicle, then sell your tuner (after returning your vehicle to factory settings of course) and recover most of the initial costs of the tuner.  However, one of the side effects of having improved power in your vehicle will be that you will most likely see a gas mileage improvement.  From what we’ve heard from our customers throughout the year, a 1-2 mpg improvement is pretty common on gas vehicles and diesel vehicles will usually see an even better improvement, especially during towing; we’ve had reports of diesel towing mileage improving from 12 mpg to 20 mpg, that’s an 8 mpg improvement!  So, what do these mileage improvements mean in terms of dollars?  Well, I’ll give you a few examples of what you’ll see driving a very typical 15,000 miles a year with gas at $3.00 per gallon (which is right about the average price of gas over the past 5 years):

Example number 1:

For example number one, I’m going to go with one of the simplest examples, a 1 mpg difference using an 87 octane tune on a vehicle getting 15mpg with the stock tune.  Driving 15,000 miles per year a gain of 1 mpg would equal a savings of 62.5 gallons which at $3 per gallon comes out to $187.50 per year.  Let’s say you drive that vehicle for 5 years, you’d see a 5 year savings of $937.50!

Example number 2:

For the second example, I’m going to use a premium tune instead of an 87 octane tune.  As stated earlier, the spark timing for premium fuel will be significantly increased which will improve power and mpg even greater than the 87 octane tune.  So, although the cost of premium fuel may be greater, you’ll use less fuel which will result in that cost being offset.  Let’s say this vehicle was getting 18mpg with the stock tune and since the premium tune will see better gains, let’s assume a 2 mpg improvement.  With that improvement in fuel mileage, you’d use 83 gallons less per year if you drive 15,000 miles.  Even if the premium fuel costs 25 cents more than regular, you’d still see a $62 savings per year which equates to a 5 year savings of over $312.50!

Example number 3:

For the final example, I’m going to use one of our past customers who purchased a tuner for his diesel truck that he was using to tow his camper all around the country.  He saw a massive improvement while towing going from 12 mpg all the way up to 20 mpg!  Since the haulers of America are putting on a whole lot more than 15,000 miles per year, I’m going to use 40,000 miles per year for this example.  In this case, the 8 mpg improvement would result in a 1333 gallon savings which equates to $4000 per year!  The 5 year savings would be $20,000!

Now, are all of these results typical?  Of course, you may not see the same results, maybe you won’t even notice any difference.  But from what we’ve seen, the majority of people do see an improvement.  All of our employee vehicles have had cold air intakes and tuners installed and seen a 1-2.5 mpg improvement.  And that was all while getting a huge improvement in power and drivability.  I’ll end this post with once again saying, you’re crazy if you don’t have a tuner!

Tuner Updates - What they are and what the process is

If you look at all of the tuners out on the market right now, you’ll notice that one of the common features they share is the ability to be updated online.  Today we’ll be talking about this feature, why it’s important, why it’s not important, what you get with an update, and what the process is.

The invention of a handheld tuner was an awesome thing.  One of the first companies to manufacture them was Hypertech with the Hypertech Power Programmer.  The tuner would connect to your vehicle, recognize the computer calibration, and retune the car for improved power and driveability.  The only problem is that sometimes the vehicle manufacturer would come out with a new calibration for the computer after the tuner had been manufactured.  Because of this, the tuner would not be able to recognize the calibration and would be unable to tune the vehicle.  The user would receive a Code 6D or calibration not found error on the screen and disappointment would soon follow.  Hypertech recognized this and offered updates where the customer could mail the programmer in to them to have the hardware updated for the new calibration.  However, as time went on and the vehicle manufacturers started updating their computer calibrations this became highly inconvenient and time consuming to a growing number of customers.  This problem was solved in the next generation of tuners which included the Hypertech Max Energy, Diablosport Predator, and Superchips Flashpaq.  With this new generation of tuners, the manufacturer could create a new tuning file and put it on their server whenever the vehicle companies came out with a new computer calibration.  Now their customers could simply connect their programmer to their PC at home and update themselves in a matter of minutes.

Now I know we often hear people talking about the updates and thinking they need the most up to the minute update so they can get the best tuning and most power out of their vehicle.  Unfortunately, the update feature is really not going to change anything with your tuning as it rarely involves any tuning changes, the updates are really just there for application support to support new calibrations and sometimes additional vehicles.  So no, you are not going to get another 10 horsepower by installing an update.  For the most part, if the tuner works on your vehicle there is no reason to be worrying about the updates.  The tuner companies aren’t constantly working to improve tuning on your 2005 Silverado, they already did the work 10+ years ago and made sure they got it right at that time.  Contrary to what most people think, the tuning you’ll get for a 1996 Silverado from a 360202 Hypertech Power Programmer is going to be exactly the same as what you’ll get on a brand new Hypertech Max Energy 32500.  Hypertech (and all of the tuner companies) just take their tuning they had on the old version tuner and put it on the new version tuner.  So even though that Power Programmer might be 20 years older than the Max Energy, it’s going to have the same tuning for your truck and you’ll get the same power improvement, so you might as well save your money and buy the Power Programmer…but I know us gear heads have a hard time not wanting to buy the best and newest things.  Now let’s talk about the different tuners and update programs.

Now all of the tuner companies have update programs, but they differ significantly in their speed and ease of use.  Hypertech has had one of the best update processes of all of them.  Simply download and open the Tuner Update software available on their website, plug your programmer in to your PC using the included USB cable, click on “update”, and select your vehicle from the list.  The updates usually take less than a minute to install and it is very easy, user-friendly, and nearly impossible to screw up.  The new Max Energy 2.0 programmers do take a little longer, probably around 5 minutes, but it’s because they have enough memory on them to store the tuning files for every application.

Superchips has had a really great update program as well, but it does take a little longer.  Simply download and open the Spark update software from their website, connect your tuner using the included USB cable, and the software will automatically recognize the tuner and let you know if it needs an update.  If it does, the update button appears and you click on it to install the update.  The program is very simple but seems to have errors fairly frequently and the updates can take a long time, 5-30 minutes depending on the application.  The new F5 tuner uses the Ignition program which is basically the same thing except that the updates are lightning fast and typically install in a minute or two.

Diablosport started out pretty terrible compared to the other manufacturers with their Predator updates but they have improved significantly with the inTune and the i2 probably has one of the easiest update programs of any of them.  The original Predator was not internet updateable (these can be identified by checking the version number.  The ones such as 1.03 or 2.10 are not updateable but the newer ones such as 7r19, 8r10, 9r01, etc. are updateable) When Diablosport sold the Predator, they didn’t include any update cables with them.  Instead, they sold the update kit separately which included a USB cable and a power supply.  This was an expensive kit, around $60!  The update program can be found online and the specific files for the update were online.  That’s right, instead of the files automatically being downloaded for you, you had to hunt for them and make sure you select the correct one.  The update cable is also very tricky to get the drivers installed in some situations and different Predators needed different protocols to be followed.  The update files are no longer available online (but don’t worry, we have them saved!) and Diablosport stopped supporting updates on the Predator a few years ago so there will not be any new ones coming out for the Predator. 

With the release of the Diablosport inTune, they decided to make things a whole lot better by including a USB cable with the tuner and improving the update software dramatically.  The coolest thing about the inTune updates is that the update program is located on the tuner, so you don’t have to download a program before being able to run it.  Simply plug the inTune in and wait for it to load up.  A drive should appear on your computer and in that drive is the update software.  Run the software and it will automatically install the update.  This is incredibly easy but it does take a long time, I’ve seen it take as long as two hours!  Over the years, it has gotten more difficult to install the updates on the i1000 inTune because the first update software was replaced by a newer version.  So if you have any old inTune, the first update will actually only update the updating program on the inTune.  After that, you need to run an update again to update the actual tuning on the tuner, and this frequently causes issues where you have to manually place an update on the tuner and then run an update.  On a lot of these tuners, it take us 3 or 4 hours just to get them updated, and we’ve got experience doing it!  A new customer would probably get highly frustrated in the process and need to wait for tech support’s help, I could easily see it taking a couple of days for a newbie to get their i1000 inTune updated.  The new i2’s however have been drastically improved and updates seem to work really slick and fast.  So it took Diablosport a while and they had some growing pains, but I think they now probably have the best update process of any tuner on the market.

If you have any questions about updates or if you’d like some help getting your tuner updated, be sure to send us a message, we’d love to help!



How to Unlock or Unmarry a Performance Tuner and What That Means

Every tuner manufacturer makes their tuners lock to your car or truck in order to prevent you from being able to use one tuner on many vehicles; it's their way of making sure they get paid for every vehicle out there with their tuning on it.  Basically, when you program your vehicle the tuner will read your VIN number and store that number inside of it.  As long as that vehicle has the performance tuning on it, the programmer will only work on that vehicle; if you try to program another vehicle you will get some sort of error message and programming will not be possible.  Once a tuner is used to install performance tuning on a vehicle, that tuner becomes "VIN locked" or "married" to that vehicle.  However, once the original vehicle is returned to factory settings using the tuner, the programmer “unlocks” or “unmarries” itself from the original vehicle and now becomes ready to be used on another vehicle and will function exactly the same as a brand new tuner.

So that gives us to the first answer of a way to unlock a programmer, to reset the original vehicle to factory settings.  Now this may seem pretty simple but many people do make mistakes when doing this.  One common mistake we see on Hypertech products is that people will actually go in to performance tuning mode and then when custom selecting their options they will select “stock” for all options.  This actually will not unlock the programmer, even though the vehicle will be at factory settings.  In order to correctly reset a vehicle to factory settings with a Hypertech programmer, you must press “Y” when the programmer first connects to your vehicle asks you to press Y if you want to reset to factory settings or press N to enter programming mode.  Another common mistake we see with Diablosport products is that people will do something similar to the prior example where they will install the stock with options tune instead of installing the original backup.  The stock with options tune is completely stock, but is for users who want to customize everything themselves instead of using the Diablo Tune.  Luckily, all of the programmers we sell go through our rigorous testing process to ensure they are in fact 100% unlocked.

The second way to unlock a tuner device is to pay the company a hefty fee to unlock it.  There are many different programmers, companies, methods, and fees, but here are a few of them.

  • Hypertech Power Programmer – Hypertech no longer supports these and will not unlock them.
  • Hypertech Max Energy – Hypertech will unlock these for a $200 fee.
  • Diablosport Predator (versions 1.xx & 2.xx) – These are the original Predators and there really aren’t a lot of them around. Some that come to mind that we see in these old versions are U7198, U7192, U7193, U7195, U7185, and U7180.  Of course, these also come in the newer versions as well, it just depends on when yours was manufactured.  In order to have these unlocked, Diablosport requires you to mail these in for a $100 hardware upgrade fee to be changed over to the new version and they will charge a $50 unlock fee on top of that.  In addition, you’re going to need to cover two way shipping charges and you’re going to need to wait 6-8 weeks.  So in total, you’ll be looking at around $180.
  • Diablosport Predator (versions 8rxx, 9rxx) – These are the newer version Predators and Diablosport can unlock these over the phone for a $129 fee. You need to have the Predator powered up, they’ll have you go into a secret menu that displays a keycode.  Using that keycode, they will provide you with a password which is a specific key sequence to gain entrance to the Expert Menu.  Once in there, you select “Expert Registry Reset” and the programmer will unlock itself.
  • Diablosport inTune – Similar to the newer version Predators, Diablosport will unlock these over the phone, except that the fee is increased to $159.
  • Diablosport Trinity – These are unlocked the same way as the newer Predators and the inTune, over the phone. However, the fee on these jumps up to $179.
  • Superchips Flashpaq and Superchips Cortex – These can be unlocked using Superchips Spark or Superchips Ignition software for a fee of $100. Simply follow the update process and once complete you will see a screen with the option to purchase a VIN Unlock.  Fill in your payment information and complete the order.  Then close the program, unplug the programmer, open the update program back up, and reconnect the programmer.  The program will go through a quick unlocking process.

Many people have searched high and low looking for a shortcut around unlocking, but the tuner companies are really smart!  There is no way around unlocking a programmer other than returning your vehicle to factory settings or paying a fee to have the company unlock it for you.  Trust us, we’ve been searching for a method for the past ten years and still haven’t found anything that legitimately works!  Of course, if you don’t want to pay for an unlock fee or return your vehicle to factory settings (or if you don’t have access to the vehicle), you can always sell it to us and put that money towards a purchase of one of our many tuners!  We buy tuners in all conditions including ones that are locked, so if you have a locked programmer and don’t know what to do with it, be sure to contact us!

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