This is a Dragonfire / Tornado Eco Flex review / analysis and comparison. These Performance Chips were purchased on ebay from seller illuminationz-1. Let’s take a look:
The manufacturer is a company called Redline Technologies, according to the packaging. They did not seem to have a website at the time of this review.
The cost on ebay at the time of this review varies, from $27.49 up to $74.97. Once again, this price range is VERY suspect, as no real tuners can be designed this cheaply.
The OBD performance module comes in three versions as shown above. The Green and Blue ones claim to save fuel, the Red one claims to be a Stage 2 performance booster chip. We purchased one of each of these modules via ebay for testing.
Immediately we noticed some red flags. Note the packaging itself:
If you were with us for the NitroOBD chip review, you will notice the claimed manufacturer is a company called ‘Nicolay’. Here it is again on the Dragonfire packaging. This is not a good sign.
As for the claims, many products claim to do a lot of things, but, do they really work?
After removing the cover of each module, we noticed an old familiar circuit board design:
If you were with us for the Top Auto Accessory Scam, you will notice this identical circuit board immediately. The circuit board is built around a hidden SMD IC on the rear of the circuit board, which is a STM8S003F3 IC. Right away we see a problem here, because if we pull the datasheet for the STM8S003F3 IC, we can see from the manufacturer, ST, that this chip has a maximum program memory size of 8KB:
Online searching reveals that ECU maps for a vehicle will be at least 20KB or larger PER MAP! In addition to this, the chip must also have room for the code (programming) to communicate the map to the vehicle. This is way too large for the STM8S003F3 IC to contain. So, if this is the case, then there are no genuine vehicle maps onboard this module. What can be stored in such a small 8KB sized space then? Once again, we have our own suspicion.
We looked a little closer and noticed another BIG fed flag:
There are only a total of eight connections from the circuit board to the OBD shell. All other pins are NOT CONNECTED!
The only pins connected from the OBD connector to the circuit board are the following pins: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 15, 16. What does this mean? When we check the OBD protocols and which pins they require, we will see another red flag:
From this chart, we see the following protocols and which pins must be present for them to be used:
CAN – 4, 6, 14, 16
PWM -2, 4, 5, 10, 16
VPW – 2, 4, 5, 16
ISO – 4, 5, 7, 16
So we can conclude from this that the Tornado / Dragonfire modules:
Are MISSING PIN 6 – IS NOT CAN CAPABLE
Are MISSING PIN 10 – IS NOT PWM CAPABLE
Are MISSING PIN 7 – IS NOT ISO CAPABLE
The only protocol left, VPW, is only used on a very small number of vehicles. The vast majority use CAN or ISO protocols. This is the last nail in the coffin – even if the tiny chip were somehow able to produce some magic, the pins needed for most vehicles they claim it works with are not even connected to the circuit board! However, the two most important pins, 4 and 16, which supply GND and +12V to power the light blinker ARE connected!
In addition, the module claims to be custom programmed for a specific vehicle model. If this is the case, where is the programming port to flash the module with the vehicle programming? There are a few programming pads to the left of the stm ic, but they are inaccessible once the module is assembled. This means the module was programmed with one generic program before assembly. This is proof that it cannot be custom programmed for a specific vehicle! It runs the same code in all modules – a light blinker program!
We connected each of the chips to our 2012 BMW 530i 3.0L L6 as instructed and the lights came on as expected:
The lights began to blink in the exact same sequence as the NitroOBD chip did.
We followed the instructions and drove at least 200+ miles to give it the benefit of the doubt, and…… nothing. No power increase from the Stage 2 chip, no mileage increase from the Tornado or Dragonfire. We did, however, see a neat light show in pretty colored boxes!
It is clear from our analysis so far that the Dragonfire, Stage 2 and Tornado Eco Flex chips from redline technologies are nothing but another Nitro OBD light blinker scam. From others on the web, there are reports of ECU damage from NitroOBD, and, being that this is most likely the same thing in another colored cover, there is the possibility of vehicle damage at worst, a pretty light show at best. Also, one should always be very suspicious of chips who have numerous misspellings in the descriptions and show obviously false Dyno graphs.
We sent the following message to the company before completing this review, and received this response.
Our message to the company:
We are an automotive performance chip review group and saw your performance chip listing. We have a few questions about your product:
1) Can you assure us this is not a NitroOBD scam? If so, why does the PCB inside look EXACTLY like the Nitro OBD chip?
2) The Dyno graphs on your ad are obviously fake. Do you have any real-world proof?
3) Why is the manufacturer / brand ‘Nicolay’ listed on your packaging (the same as appears on the NitroOBD scam)?
4) Is redline technologies an actual company?
They again contacted us a few minutes later, not with proof that their product works, only with more taunts:
Another interesting area to research is the Userid histories of these scam sellers on ebay. Most of the time, legitimate performance companies will only change their ebay seller name only once, or even keep the same name they had when they first started selling on ebay. Not always, but most of the time, the scammers will change the name of their seller account Userids several times, trying to look ‘official’ to buyers and match the garbage product they are selling. Our lookup on illuminationz-1’s past Ebay Userid history shows this is indeed the case with Dragonfire performance chips:
This shows us that only recently, approx one year from the time of this review, this ebay seller changed his username to match his product – around the same time he began selling these scam chips. This is even more evidence to fuel our suspicion that this is just another scam.
From our research and review, it is our opinion that the Dragonfire, Stage 2 and Tornado Eco Flex chips from redline technologies DO NOT WORK. They are simply another Nitro OBD scam – light blinkers at best / ECU damage at worst. As from the company’s response, they obviously cannot defend their product but simply resort to threats and intimidation as they are profiting from a scam. Our goal is to objectively look at each product and evaluate it. We do not do too well with threats. This is the kind of company / individual that sells this product, and this is who will be profiting from it should you fall for it. Take our experience and avoid this scam. You will DEFINITELY want to avoid these!
FINAL GRADE: F
Company Communication Cost Design Operation Power Gains Safe for Vehicle Total Rating