Apexi Power FC - End user fair/friendly?

Over the past year I’ve had a few dilemma issues with Apexi. I’m not saying it’s the staff at Apexi USA or the staff at Apexra (Apexi JPN) but I wanted to get opinions on what other users like me think about their “CD key policy”, how it works, and end user tuning options.

When you purchase Apexi Power FC Commander PRO (software and a special cable that allows you to tune FC from a laptop) you’re given a CD key that you can only use once and is activated via the internet. (What happens if you don’t have the internet? Unlikely, but always a possibility)

My shop purchased back in November ’05 FC Commander PRO to tune a customer’s car that was towed in. Masaki was very helpful over the phone and did everything he could to familiarize us with the software and how it worked. Overall I was pretty pleased with how the software worked and how easy it was to install Apexi’s version of a standalone unit. (100% no additional wiring; truely plug and play)

Now we all know the abuse tuning laptops go through. These aren’t your normal to the office and back laptop work stations. These computers go through some tough times and (at least for my shop) are replaced more often then the average suit and tie business mans laptop. Our laptop died that I installed Commander PRO on but I managed to back it up to an external hard drive. Masaki told me in order for Apexi to issue you a new cd key you have to uninstall the software and during the uninstall process, a key will be generated that Apexi contacts Apexera with to generate a new key. Anyhow, I didn’t do that, I just saved the core files and the registry to a removable drive; this is my own fault for not reading the instructions. I contacted Masaki and managed to get a new key after months of emails back and forth. I was told the key he gave me was one of his personal keys and I would not be getting a third cd key that this was my last chance. (Side note: Our shop was also broken into around the same time and they stole the broken laptop so I didn’t even have a chance to uninstall the software to begin with; no big deal)

Meanwhile I’m in the market for a standalone system for my car and Intec Racing in Kent, WA (authorized Excel dealers; that’s what Apexi calls them) sell me on Power FC for my Integra. I was a bit leery on it at first but figured since I had Command Pro to use I’d be alright. I also decided to pick up an AVC-R as well to work in conjunction with one another.

Now the fun begins…. First I get the unit installed in my car. I emailed/phoned Masaki and he gave me a base map to start my car on. Well (and I still don’t know if I understand this correctly) according to Lawrence at Intec Racing and Masaki, Power FC had two different ECU models and I just happen to have the one that doesn’t work with my Commander PRO software initially. I had to drive my daily driver (’92 EG) 20 miles from home, use a jumper harness to convert to obdII, and then have Lawrence put the basemap onto the FC ECU that is intended for my Integra, and then drive back home and install. Good thing my Power Excel dealer is only 20 miles away! (Why can’t I have the same software? Even if it costs more I should be given that option!)

I come back to my shop and finish tuning the car with FC Pro and was very satisfied with the results. In the meantime the shop bought a new laptop (since the old one died) and I uninstalled the software to generate this “code” Masaki referred too and gave him a screen shot of it to simplify things. It’s been close to two months since I did this and I still haven’t got a new key yet. I never get phone calls back or emails. Masaki has contacted me once and told me he was waiting on Japan to issue me a new key.

Now to all the tuners or individuals out there that understand ways of copyrighting/protecting management software would you agree Apexi is taking the wrong route in licensing keys? I can’t believe you have to go through this process everytime you “upgrade” your laptop or for whatever reason get a new laptop. What does it even matter if you have the software installed on 100 machines? You only get one cable to communicate to the ECU from the laptop in the first place.

SCT, HKS, DFi, ect all use some type of USB token to unsure the tuner has access rights to the software and I think that would be a good idea as well for Apexi. I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to go to my Excel dealer every time I change/modify my car and pay $150/hr to retune my car, not to mention my shop isn’t the shop tuning it. What if my shop had competition with my Excel dealer? Do you think I’m going to want them to see what I’m bringing to the table? For whatever reason, what happens if you don’t have that exact laptop around? (Battery dies, you forget it at home, ect)

You’ve read all this and your asking yourself “What’s the point of this thread?” If you pay for something, you should be able to use it. Commander PRO software was two or three hundred dollars and that’s a little absurd that you can only install it once. (Not to mention the dealer gets a completely different software version) What if you could only install Windows XP one time with the given serial key? At least the XP serial key is cheaper then a new Commander PRO cd key and has the same end user options as everyone else.


thats pretty nuts. aem is great, they have a tuning/electronics forums where actual aem employees will help you with problems. they even gave me the info i needed to monitor my gas level over my laptop or aem serial gauges. =) plus all of their software is freeware and when u install aempro, the install puts all of the instructions and base maps on your computer for you. throw a damn aem ems in ur car and call it a day.

Do you have to rewire anything at all? Or is it just like a plug and play unit like power fc?

complete plug and play and u can throw away your obd1/2 conversion harness. with ems you tell it was distributor and sensors you are running. download aempro from aempower.com forums and check it out. they make the hardware side so easy to change that it actually makes tuning a little harder. its pretty cool tho. live gauges on your laptop and you can run aem serial gauges too. if you are going to buy one, get one with the uego in it. and throw an egt probe on there if u dont have one.

Just sucks I’m stuck with FC… I hate the idea that someone has greater software then I do

I noticed this thread is somewhat old, but I wanted to inform you about another solution that my buddies are using. Instead of purchasing software from Apexi they bought a FC Dataloggit software and a cable from them, it’s cheaper and you can run it on several computers since they have a detachable lock (I think it was a USB “thingy”-)

I’m very aware of datalogit… :slight_smile:

thanks for the tip! I should have updated the thread!

whats the go with installing a turbo kit and stock ecu is it posible to run??

or do u have to get a aftermarket one

what are people running?

i was lookin at a hondata is this any good???

i have a 92 teg i think that means is a obd1

does this also mean the §§§§§ needs upgrading or will the stock §§§§§ b able to do all this