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-   -   Re: TurboLink Information/History - DISCONTINUED & NO SPARE PARTS OR ADAPTERS (

kenmosher 03-04-2010 01:54 PM

I get a lot of private messages and emails regarding TurboLink lately (where were you guys when we were trying to sell these? :D :D :D) ... and thought I'd put some information out to maybe help some folks. I'm really touched (and proud) that the product actually still has some loyal customers out there that like it and use it! However, it was basically discontinued in 2008 when Edge blew out the remaining inventory (about 10-15 units) to someone on one of the forums and purged it from their active parts lists.

As a result, I don't have any spare parts, adapters, magic wands :D, or any other way to fix or upgrade TurboLink units.

It's amazing that some of the very first DOS/Win95/98 units from the early/mid 90s are still changing hands out there! Unfortunately, none of those will work with modern laptops. For starters, most laptops don't have SERIAL ports let along the old LPT1 Parallel ports any more! Secondly, even if you get a port replicator or some sort of funky USB/Parallel adapter, then a) it probably doesn't behave as a "real" hardware parallel port which TurboLink V2.x needs and b) beyond Win98 the old DOS based v2.x software can't access the port because Windows won't let it. The v3.x was a complete redesign of both software and hardware and designed to work with Win2K up. It was superseded by v4.x, which add new hardware again to support P4 ECMs with their "faster" baud rates and more sophisticated interface. The v4.x software would interface with the v3.x hardware.

Some history/timeline:

In 1991 the very first ugly hand-wired box (using stereo DIN connectors, a gray radio shack plastic box and pins jammed in the ALDL) was made and installed in my GN. After most of a cold Nebraska winter with a datascope, I had hacked away on some software and had the datastream in some pretty basic DOS based C code and started using it at the track.

By 1992, I'd had a lot of requests to make other boxes, but I knew it wouldn't hold up to hard use. I partnered up with Mike Palmer from Canada (eh?) who was a talented hardware guy who designed the compact board that fit in the end of a PC Parallel port cable. We hammered out the software to refine it and add the trademark gauges and displays that people came to know and use (and copy in other products) by late 1992.

I made a (what I thought at the time) was a big investment in a batch of boards, enclosures, cables, and molded end shells (for the ALDL) and put them up for sale, hoping I'd break even and sell them. To my surprise, the first batch was gone in about a week! (50 units). This was in early 1993. Thus began a steady "backyard engineering" business/hobby when I could get time from the family/and my "day job". This was version 1.x and ended with version 2.13.

By 2000, it was apparent that the DOS stuff wasn't going to cut it anymore. Windows 2000 was launched and didn't like the way we accessed the hardware directly and parallel ports were becoming extinct. That year we moved to Colorado as part of an Internet startup venture, which ended up being caught in the tech bubble and folded by early 2001. At that point, I partnered with some bright folks that I had worked with at Cybercrop (the startup) and we started Accelerate Technologies as a high tech consulting firm. We did consulting on handheld computing platforms (mostly the iPaq), large enterprise networks, and custom software projects.

This was going well, so we spun off Accelerate Performance Products and did a complete redesign/re-implementation of TurboLink, including Windows software, new hardware to support serial cables (and USB via a USB/serial adapter). We launched v3.x in late 2001/early 2002 and expanded vehicle support to other OBDI GM cars, including many P4 cars (like the Syclone/Typhoons, the LT1 Camaros/Vettes/Impalas, etc.)

In 2003 we were acquired by MotoTron (a spin off from Brunswick/Mercury Racing), to help them pursue automotive aftermarket systems utilizing their really neat ECUs.

They also acquired rights to TurboLink as part of the deal. Our original group continued with support and software enhancements, but sales and such were taken to MotoTron's facility in Wisconsin. In 2005, I moved to Edge Products (a customer of MotoTron's) to pursue more automotive performance ventures. TurboLink fit that model better, so Edge took over TurboLink from Mototron and my involvement pretty much dropped away to a couple of support phone calls here and there. I didn't have access to inventory or anything once it became integrated into their sales/inventory systems.

Sales dribbled off as time progressed ... I didn't have cycles to spend on it, my team was up to our elbows in work with new products, Edge was acquired by MSD Ignition (and we became an R&D group for other products), and Edge really didn't find a fit for TurboLink in their product offerings.

In 2008, MSD did some serious restructuring of the company and basically downsized most of the engineering staff that wasn't directly involved in ignition products (which meant myself and my team as well!). Edge then had no support for TurboLink, so they purged their inventory (someone on one of the forums bought the last 10-15 or so units) and the last shovel of dirt was on the grave at that point.

As of 2009 I've partnered with some bright guys (some of my original team from Edge/MSD) and we're working on some neat stuff right now, but TurboLink is retired now for almost 2 years. No parts or spares remain to my knowledge, and even though I'm a pack rat, I don't have anything left other than one unit I kept for my own use. I do have archive versions of a couple of the software releases, so if anyone needs those I can probably dig that up. Beyond that, I can't help much more.

So ... that's pretty much the low down and I want to thank all the great folks in the automotive community for the support and friendships over the years, often started as the result of buying a TurboLink!

kenmosher 03-08-2010 09:52 AM

Re: TurboLink Information/History - discontinued
1 Attachment(s)
I think I've posted this before, but the HELP is integrated into the v3.x-v4.x vesions (just hit F1).

Here's the User Manual for v2.x

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