Hypertech Power Programmer (HPP) Information

I am not associated with Hypertech Inc, in any way.   This site consists of infomation that I have gathered from non-Hypertech sources and from my own observations.   Please, don't bother Hypertech with any questions you may have about this site.   They probably don't even know it exists.

I will not be held responsible for anything you do with this information.   If you find anything that is wrong on this site, I'd appreciate it if you let me know, but don't blame me if you do something silly after reading this page.

This page is how I organize my infomation about Hypertech Power Programmers.   I have been playing with them for a few years, now.   I have only been working with the programmers for GM vehicles, so I don't have any information about the Dodge, or Ford models, so please don't ask me about them.

HPP General Description

Hypertech was one of the first companies to make/sell performance chips for computer-controlled GM vehicles.   But, in '1994, GM started using embedded flash chips in some of their cars [e.g. F-body, Y-body].   Hypertech's answer was the Hypertech Power Programmer [HPP].   The HPP is a small computer that "talks" to the computer in the vehicle.   The HPP modifies the tables in the computer's flash memory.   Think of it as replacing the chip without actually touching the vehicle's computer.

In the good ol' days, your buddy would buy a chip for his Firebird.   If you had the same model of Firebird, your buddy could loan you his Hypertech Power Chip, so you could spank a Mustang or two.   If you liked the chip, you would buy your own.  

Now, with the flash technology, Hypertech had a problem to deal with.   How were they going to prevent one person from buying a programmer and using it to program all of his friend's cars?  

The answer was already in the vehicle's computer.   GM [i.e. Delco] had stored the vehicle's VIN [i.e. serial number] in the computer.   An HPP reads the vehicle's VIN and saves it.   If the HPP is connected to another vehicle and the VINs don't match, that second vehicle can't be programmed until the first one has been returned to stock.   Think of the HPP as the chip you let your buddy borrow.   You have to put your original chip back in your car while your buddy borrows your Hypertech chip.

How the HPP Works

From what I can tell, the HPPs have three different types of memory in them:

HPP Program Memory

This is the memory that holds the program of the HPP.   This program communicates with and indentifies the vehicle, communicates with the user [asks the Y/N questions], and contains the data that will be used to updated the tables in the cars computer.

HPP Flash Memory

This is the memory that the HPP uses to save the original contents of your computer's flash memory.   The HPP will write all that info back to the computer if you return your vehicle to stock.   Different programmers appear to have different amounts of flash memory in them.   The memory number that is displayed when you turn on the HPP is the amount of flash in the HPP.   Some vehicles have more memory than others.   For example, a '94 Firebird has only 256K of flash, but a '98 Firebird has 512K flash.  


There appears to be a small [256 byte] EEPROM in an HPP.   That device appears to hold your VIN information and flags that tell the programmer what options you chose when you used it last.

HPP Troubleshooting

If you try to use your HPP, you may encounter one or more of the following problems.   I'm going to attempt to help you understand those problems.

HPP Already Programmed Locked or Married

If the HPP has already been used on a vehicle, it will have the VIN of that vehilce in its EEPROM.   When the HPP initially communicates with the vehicle, it'll compare the VIN of the vehicle to the VIN stored in its EEPROM.   If those VINs don't match, you'll have to return the 1st vehicle to stock, before you can use that HPP on the 2nd vehicle.

Those already-used HPPs are sometimes called "locked" or "married".   If you buy an HPP that has already been used on a vehicle, you'll need to track down the original vehicle or get the HPP reset.

Not Initialized Message on and HPP

Something has gone bad wrong in the EEPROM of the HPP.   At power-up, the HPP performs a check of the EEPROM.   There appears to be special locations with special values.   If those values aren't there, HPP assumes it hasn't been setup yet.   If the EEPROM isn't bad, a reset should get it back on track.   The EEPROM has been a problem in the older HPPs   I have heard of quite a few bad EEPROMs over the years.   There doesn't appear to be a newer EEPROM that is pin-compatible with the old one.   If you want to fix your HPP, you'll need to get parts off an old HPP.

Hardware Error on and HPP

At power-up, the HPP performs a simple hardware check.   If it can't talk to the hardware, it'll complain.

HPP displays Calibration Not Found

"calibration not found" means that the programmer couldn't figure out what programming is in your vehicle.   The vehicle's computer contains an ID value that indicates what version of programming is in the car/truck   If the HPP doesn't recognze that ID value, it can't be sure of the location of the tables in the vehicles flash.

That usually means you have an early version of the HPP.   It probably only knows a few calibrations.   You were probably trying to use it on a vehicle that was built later in the year.   The HPP isn't sure about the settings, so it doesn't want to do something that will goof-up your vehicle... so it does nothing.

Hypertech used that technique to get the newer calibrations.   They would release the HPP early in the year.   If the HPP encountered a new calibration, it would download it and tell the user to contact Hypertech.   Hypertech would make up some story to get the user to send the programmer to them.   Hypertech would download the calibration and figure out all the settings for the new calibration [if it was different].   They'd send the updated programmer to the owner... the owner is happy, and Hypertech didn't have to do anything to get the lastest GM calibrations.... pretty smart.

If Hypertech already has the new calibration, then they won't need the calibration from your car.   If you didn't buy the HPP new from a Hypertech dealer, they probably won't help you.

Think of it like installing new software on a PC:

When you plug the HPP into your truck, the HPP asks the truck "what version of windows are you running?"   The truck says "I'm running Windows XP."   The HPP thinks "I don't know anything about Windows XP, so I better not try to install mods to this computer."   The HPP then downloads the computer contents and displays "calibration not found"

That programmer isn't married to your vehicle.   It will still work on another vehicle.   You can sell it on ebay as a "ready to run" HPP.

Hypertech Power Programmer Reset Service

Be careful if you have someone reset your GM HPP.   Some services will simply read the VIN displayed in the HPP, program a different PCM with that VIN, connect the HPP, then chose the return-to-stock operation of the HPP.

That may appear to work, but it doesn't actually clear all the data stored in the flash or EEPROM.   I've seen some HPPs behave quite oddly after that type of reset.

We have a way to perform a factory reset on certain GM HPP units.   This will clear onboard flash and wipe the EEPROM.... just like a factory-fresh unit.

We have had great success with resetting HPP Plus and HPP III units for GM vehicles for 1994-2001 or so vehicles.   If your HPP counts-up RAM when you first turn it on, odds are pretty good that we can reset it for you.

Assuming your HPP doesn't have any hardware problems, We'll reset it for $60 [including return shipping].   You ship us your HPP.   If we are able to reset it, we'll let you know.   You will then send us $60 via money order or non credit card paypal funds, and we'll ship your HPP back to you.

To give you an idea if we can reset your HPP, perform this little test:

If HPP says something like "Finding Memory" on the top line and "512K RAM" on the bottom line, we should be able to reset it.   That is assuming there are no error messages, either.

Send an e-mail to hpp@oldpizza.net for more info.

Reset Deadbeats

I used to help folks out by shipping their HPPs before I received payment.   It worked out well for a while, but there are always a few bad apples in the batch.

The following is a list of folks that have demonstrated a problem with paying their debt to me. I have made many attempts to contact these folks, yet we have still not received payments.

Name Location Debt Due Date Description
J. R. Hansen Green Bay, WI $60 20 Feb 2009 I returned his HPP in working order. He never sent payment
Preston Danna Austin, TX $60 24 Feb 2009 I returned his HPP in working order. He never sent payment
Jered Aguilar Thornton, CO $60 02 May 2012 I returned his HPP in working order. He never sent payment

If you find your name on this list, there is an easy way to get it removed. Pay your bill.

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