What is a Bricked ECU?

The quick “Is it Bricked” guide

Starting with the big question…
What is a Bricked ECU?!

Yes I know, its a bit of a funny term.
But it literally means turning an ECU into a brick. (Well.. almost!)

A bricked ECU is where a corrupt flash, incompatible operating system/Calibration or failed update has caused the ECU to no longer function correctly, in most circumstances an event like that results in the ECU being unable to communicate to scantools or be reflashed.

Once in that state, its about as useful as a brick, hence the name Bricked ECU!

The Deadly ECU Bricking Sins..

Unless your looking to build a house out of bricked ECUs, then theres a few things you should avoid to prevent bricking.

Sin number 1, flashing an ECU with a bad or low battery. This is one of the most guaranteed ways of bricking an ECU. It would be like sleep depriving a marathon runner then expecting them to win gold! Its simply not going to happen!

Sin number 2, interrupting a flash. Flashing can take anywhere from 2 to 20mins, but its a short time compared to the headache of a bricked ECU. When you start flashing, do not play around with the laptop/scantool or work on the car. It takes one little mistake to knock out a cable or unplug a loom to interrupt flashing and ultimately kill the ECU.

Sin number 3, the infamous mix and match. We see it all too often, ECUs with wrong operating systems or calibrations which result in them becoming unresponsive. Unless you 100% know what your doing, then don’t take the risk!


How Do I Know if My ECU is Bricked?

Its usually pretty easy (and quick) to identify if the ECU was bricked. If the ECU no longer responds to scantools after reflashing, then its bricked.

If it looks like a brick.. and sounds like a brick.. then its a brick.
But before you go throw it in the bin.. read our next section about recovery!

ECU Repair and Recovery

If your ECU has been bricked, don’t worry..all is not lost!!

We specialise in recovering bricked ECUs, restoring them back to functioning order by reinstalling factory operating system and calibrations.

To see the repair and recovery services we have available, please click on the button below.