You could swap boost maps and play Super Mario World all on the same Gameboy.
There’s been an uptick on social media showing this video of a one-of-a-kind proprietary software capable of tuning a turbocharged car using a Gameboy Advance SP and yes, it’s true.
It’s called the TurboXS DTEC Boost Controller Pro (DTEC-BC-PRO) and using a TurboXS DTEC Unit attached to your Gameboy Advance SP you could literally monitor and data log information from your car’s sensors and use that information to fine-tune your boost accordingly.
Check out the company’s website (via archive.org above,) a copy of the DTEC Boost Controller instruction manual below, and a handful of photos and video, too.
Per the instruction manual, the tuner isn’t loaded onto some cartridge, it’s a separate DTEC Unit that taking in inputs from your engine’s wiring harness (throttle position sensor, injector duty, RPM, knock, etc) and, using the boost maps you’ve programmed or that are programmed into the unit, controlling the boost solenoid (provided) to fine tune the amount of boost going to your turbocharger.
More or less boost at certain, specified parameters equals more or less power.
Better yet, here’s how TurboXS described their DTEC Boost Controller Pro.
Finding a photo of the DTEC unit was difficult, but you can sort of see it in these for-sale photos gleaned from forums.
And here’s a wiring diagram from the owner’s manual, so you can get a rough idea of what I mean.
Why use a Gameboy Advance SP?
First, here are screenshots of some of the popular boost controllers of the time (early 2000s) from some well known JDM tuner companies.
As you can see, the user interface (controls) on these boost controllers are not as user-friendly as a Gameboy Advance SP’s and by using an aftermarket supplier for their displays, these JDM companies were stuck using lackluster displays that don’t have a lot of detail.
What Turbo XS did is leverage what’s already an intuitive form factor (a handheld gaming device) and repurposed its controls and display to control their boost controller.
Gameboys have been re-purposed successfully prior to Turbo XS’s Boost Controller coming on the market.
The Gameboy pocket was famously used as a sewing machine interface that allowed a sewer to, “to control the (sewing) machine with the Game Boy and customize stitch styles as well as a variety of patterns like shapes and letters. “
As this demo video shows, tuning your turbo is easy as navigating and changing values on any Gameboy game.
With a bright, multicolored backlit display, inputting values isn’t an eyesore.
Plus, with a responsive and relatively detail capable display, engine values like RPM, boost pressure, MAF Load, TPS, and Knock Level are all easily viewable with a few button and directional key-pad presses.
Priced at $550, Turbo XS claimed to be cheaper than the competition while offering more features.
The DTEC BC PRO did not come with a Gameboy Advance SP, those were $99.99 new in the mid-’00s.
While TurboXS is still alive and kicking, the DTEC BC PRO has since been discontinued and is no longer supported.
Finding DTEC BC PROs on eBay and Amazon is rare as those who bought them new (now older millennials) either upgraded to something new and sold it or just plain forgot about them as today, they have bigger things to worry about (the whole adulting thing, working, buying a house, health insurance etc.)
Your best bet to source one is to ask around.
You’ll have to find these “elders of tuning” if they have one in a shoebox in their closet. I’m sure many are still out there, stuffed away collecting dust.