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Chip tuning tool reviews: CMD vs Alientech

chip tuning tool reviews | Independent author ZIPtuning | CMD Flashtec Alientech EVC Byte Shooter Frieling Racing Dimsport Magic Motorsport


Chip tuning tools are the most important tools of a tuningcompany. When you are new in the world of chiptuning / remapping it is not easy to make the right choice regarding the chiptuningtool that you need to buy. There are many different chiptuningtoolsuppliers. Which brands and chiptuningtools are the best? We help you to make things clear. Today we compare CMD versus Alientech.

Introduction of chiptuning tool suppliers

CMD Flash (Flashtec SA) and Alientech SRL are two of the largest and most professional chiptuningtool suppliers on the market today. Both companies have been around for many years and are originally from North Italy located within 150 kilometers from eachother. Another competitor named Dimsport is also located in the north of Italy. It seems the Italians dominate the tuningscene. Which company is the best?

History of chiptuning tool suppliers

CMDsupplier of chiptuningtools

History CMD Flash

Old website:
New website:

This company is now called Flashtec SA. The company has Italian roots and is now based in Switzerland. They have been in business for many years and CMD was one of the first to introduce a stable OBD protocol for the Bosch EDC16. CMD has products like CMDFLASH OBD, CMDFlash - BDM, CMDFlash - Nexus, Boost ST10/C167, BOOT-MODE BOSCH MEDC17 TRICORE, MAP3D, My Personal Flasher and SpiderBOOT.

Alientech supplier of chiptuningtools

History Alientech SRL


Since 1991 they are working in the field of enginetuning and chiptuning. During the years they released many products. Like ECM2001, KESS, Powergate, BDM pro, ECM Titanium, KESSv2, K-TAG and Powergate 3. Alientech is one of the first companies to develop stable protocols with recovery functions for other ECU’s than developped by Bosch or Siemens. They developped protocols for JTAG Nexus, JTAG Renesas, Mitsubishi bootloader, etc.


Users CMD Flashtec and Alientech

Both companies have many customers and we assume have enough profit for many years. This makes these companies stable which is important for a long term partnership. The customers pay an annual fee this is also the commitment to their costumer to develop new protocols.

ECU tuning, development new read write protocols

In the world of tuning / chiptuning / remapping it’s all about the ECU. For example VAG brings out a new car/engine, immediately the ecu is taken out and many tests are done to try to succesfully read/write/modify the software in the ECU and to create a stable read/write protocol for their customers. Ofcourse every company has his own knowledge and network to do research and development. In reality we see that both Alientech and CMD can do much of the same ECU’s. The time of release of new protocols differs from 1 month to 4 years after introduction of a new engine of the carbrand. But if one toolsupplier has a protocol ready, in most cases within a few weeks/months the other supllier has this protocol ready too.

Technical Support

In our own experience we know that support is very important. We use the equipment of CMD and Alientech for 85% of our chiptuning. We have tuned over 10.000 ecu’s with their tools and tested every protocol. The protocols are not in all cases perfect and a lot of mistakes can be made by the customer who uses the tools. Both companies have proper support if you are a professional tuner with enough experience. If you are a newby, this is different. In this case we advise you to ask advise of your tuningfile supplier. A good tuningfile supplier does not only sells files, but also writes the tuningfiles themselves in the cars of their own customers for their own companies. They use the tools daily on all kinds of cars and ECU’s and can tell you how to avoid traps and give you realtime all the tips, trick to make the reading and writing succesfully.

Chiptuning by OBD or BOOT?

Both Alientech and CMD have many read/write tools. We can devide them in 2 groups

1. OBD read/write by diagnostic port (KESS v2, CMDFlash OBD)

CMD Flashtec OBD use in ZIPtuning workshop

  • Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Takes less time to work on
    • Foolproof
    • Not many accessories needed

  • Cons
    • Not all ECU’s are available. (most new ECU’s are only done directly on ECU.)
    • If reading/writing because of some cause is not succesful, recovery is not always possible
    • Only partial data is read

2. Directly on ECU read/write (KTAG, CMDFlash BDM - Boot

Alientech KTAG realtime use in workshop ZIPtuning

  • Pros
    • The highest amount of protocols available. old ECU’s, new ECU’s, future ECU’s, special brands
    • Newer ECU’s protcols finished earlier after introduction of ECU
    • Protocols are more stable, better recovery if needed
    • Most chips can be read. eprom, mpc, eeprom. (important in case of immo off, recovery, etc.)

  • Cons
    • More difficult to use. you have to take out ecu of car, open the case and use the manual to connect the ecu to the tool.
    • Not foolproof, user can make mistakes that can destroy the ECU
    • Connecting takes more time, especially when testing on dyno this is a problem.

Chiptuningtool Prices

CMDFlash Slave OBD Flasher (only OBD) € 1,746.00
CMDFlash Slave OBD + BOOT ( st10, tricore) (OBD + directly on ECU) € 3.449.00
CMDFlash Slave OBD + BOOT ( st10, tricore ) + BDM 5xx (OBD + directly on ECU)  €4,280.00

K-TAG Slave Full (All protocols enabled) price (no OBD, only directly on ECU) € 1,200.00
KESSv2 Slave OBD Flasher (Car + Bike + Agriculture protocols) price (only OBD) € 3,400.00
KESSv2 Slave OBD Flasher (Car + Bike + Truck protocols) price (only OBD) € 3,400.00
KESSv2 Slave OBD Flasher (Car + Bike protocols) price (only OBD) €2,000.00
KESSv2 Slave OBD Flasher (Truck + Agriculture protocols) price (only OBD) € 3,400.00
KESSv2 Slave OBD Flasher Full (all protocols enabled) price (only OBD) € 3.495.00

New chip tuning protocols, Updates, revisions, bugfixes

Both companies use an annual subscription. On first glance this seems like a waste of money but in reality this is very usefull and important. This makes it possible for the companies to develop new protocols for new ECU’s. You will always be up to date with the newest protocols, newest checksum corrections and bugfixes. This is the main reason why clone chip tuning tools are not interesting. The market is constantly evolving. Updates of protocols are crucial.

Comparison table tuning tool supplier

+++ = positive experience
--- = negative experience

company name        Alientech SRL CMD FLASHTEC SA Other supplier
stablecompany      +++ +++ ++
price   +++ especially in case of KTAG +++ ++
development new protocols   ++ +++ rightnow EDC17C64, Simos 8.5, SIM12 possible -
bugfixes   ++ + +
checksum calculation   ++ ++ +
support   +++ ++ -
installation guides   +++ ++ +

CMD Flashtec CMD screenshot realtime chiptuning in workshop ZIPtuning

Alientech Ksuite Ksuite screenshot realtime chiptuning in workshop ZIPtuning

The best chip tuning tool - conclusion

What tools are the best? This depends on the user. Both brands have very good products for a reasonable price. Do you want to keep things easy and simple? Buy a OBD tool like Kess v2 or CMDFlash OBD. Do you want to modify many different brands from all over the world and especially newer ECU’s?, then buy a boot tool like CMDFlash + boot + KTAG of Alientech. Do you want full readouts? A large number of ECU’s possible to modify, for the lowest price? Buy a KTAG of Alientech. Is your business growing fast and you have enough money to invest? Buy OBD and boottools of both brand. In this case you can modify many types of ECU’s and in case of failure, you can use the other tool for a second try.

positioning-frame-cmd-flashteccmd-flash-OBD-toolKtag AlientechKessv2-Alientech

Did you make your choice already? Buy a chiptuningtool at ZIPtuning we offer very low prices to our customers, the lowest prices in the market today!

Do you have questions about specific products of CMD or Alientech or perhaps other brands? We have daily experience with most of the toolsuppliers. Contact us.

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