Cruise Control Firmware
In May of 2010, Area 451 Parts announced completion of new firmware version (V1.30.x) that added a highly anticipated new feature for their cruise control - Pedal Mapping!
What is Pedal Mapping?
The smart car uses a drive-by-wire system so your accelerator pedal is really nothing more than a big switch sending out signals that tell the car's computer (ECU) how far down you've pressed it. Pedal Mapping modifies that signal. Other products on the market that perform identical functions are sold by names such as, "sprint booster" or similar which implies the car has become more powerful. While it is impossible (despite others' claims) for a function like this to actually affect the car's performance, it can have a very real effect on how your car feels and behaves. One map will make your car feel sportier while another might help you improve gas mileage by lengthening the travel of your pedal. Another way to put it... these maps can make your pedal more (or less) "touchy".
Does my Cruise already have Pedal Mapping?
No. For legal liability reasons, we are not able to ship any units pre-installed with the V1.30.x firmware. All units ship with the exhaustively tested and proven V1.10. To get the new version, you must purchase a programmer, download the firmware and update your own cruise control unit. While this may sound like a scheme to sell programmers... keep in mind we offer 16 different pedal maps and you'll want to be able to switch between them to suit your tastes. If we sent them pre-programmed, then you'd have to send it back to switch maps. Selling inexpensive programmers was the only feasible way to offer this feature with the flexibility of 16 maps! Besides, to get a dedicated "Sprint Booster" device you'd pay several hundred dollars and have to choose your "level" first. Other than the programmer cost, we're able to give you the same functionality with far more flexibility for FREE.
Will it void my Cruise's warranty?
No, not at all. While using the updated firmware is entirely at your own risk just like using the cruise control in general is... we will still back the product up 100%. As always, however, the warranty does not extend to labor costs or any damage to person or property and is limited entirely to the replacement cost of the item warranted.
So how do I do it?
It isn't very difficult! The firmware package found below contains a README file that you should read carefully, as well as a PDF document showing how to access the programming port and use the switches. You'll also need the free PicKit2 programmer software available from Microchip (links are below). Please note that the PicKit2 software has a ton of options that you don't need to use (and really shouldn't even try). The README gives very simple instructions to use the software and that is all that is required.
Other versions of the PicKit2 Programmer, including for Mac and Linux, are available from MIcrochip here (scroll down to the bottom)