As a BMW or MINI Cooper owner, mechanic or even enthusiast, you have undoubtedly heard the terms DME (Digital Motor Electronics) or ECU (Electronic Control Unit) used interchangeably. You may have wondered what exactly this means to you or your car.
Well, the DME/ECU is a computer with internal pre-programmed and programmable computer chips that controls the key functions of the engine's operation while maintaining optimum reliability and maximum performance as well as minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.
What Does It Do?
The DME collects data every second such as engine speed, air intake volume, air temperature and density, coolant temperature, throttle position, accelerator position, vehicle speed etc. By using input sensors and output components, it then proceeds to compare and contrast the data received to the rest of the engine’s operations. In the event that there is an error or unreliable data, the DME replaces it with Preset Standard Values. It can also cut fuel flow to the cylinder in case of a spark plug failure in order to prevent engine damage.
The electrical system is also monitored by the DME. Information received from input sensors enables the DME to gauge the condition and level of the engine’s battery as well as the electrical consumption of the car. It uses this information to manage the power and maintain the optimum battery level to prevent a flat battery or any damage.
Where is the Unit in my Vehicle?
Now you may wonder, “What DME/ECU do I have and where is it located?" Usually, for BMW and MINI Cooper vehicles it is located In plastic box next to the battery beneath the hood. We have a few links with diagrams to help you with finding and removing the DME in specific models. You can find this information under the "Technical Support" tab on our website.
The DME can be susceptible to various problems such as water damage, getting "Bricked" due to failed programming or developing specific fault codes that may have to do with singular or multiple components inside.
A common reason for a DME failing is corrosion on the pins or inside the DME on the motherboard. Although these units have seals that keep the environmental moisture out, the seals can break down over time and become weaker thereby enabling moisture into the DME. This eventually leads to corrosion and makes the unit malfunction.
The car battery sometimes has a part to play in a DME going bad. The standard voltage required by a DME is 9v but it is recommended to have 12v. However, if the voltage drops to 6v or below, this will create problems in the DME. Also, while the battery is being jump started the cables need to be securely attached. Failure to attach the cables properly may result in a voltage spike that may adversely affect the DME.
There are various repair services and solutions that we offer depending on the problems or fault codes present.
For a bricked DME that does not communicate due to programming failure, there are Revival Repairs available to bring the DME back to life.
In situations where there is no available repairs and the DME needs to be replaced, a used replacement DME can be programmed and aligned to the Original EWS or CAS to work with the original Keys for your vehicle.
Where We Come In
At Rpm Motorsport, we specialize in DME Repairs, Used DME Programming and DME Replacements. No matter what problems your DME might be encountering, we can provide optimum support and solutions aimed at getting your vehicle back on the road in no time.
With 1-to-2 day turn-around time and our one (1) year warranty on repairs and remanufactured DMEs, we are the premium choice for your BMW / MINI Cooper DME/ECU needs.
View our full collection of Programming and Repair Services by clicking below.