Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
March 5, 2010

Handheld tuning devices have been around for quite some time now and at the forefront of this technology is SCT. The company's latest offering is the flagship of the handheld lineup, and puts wireless tuning technology into the end user's hands.

The Touch Screen Extreme (TSX) is SCT's new Bluetooth wireless automotive performance tuner and all-in-one monitoring system for Ford car, truck, and diesel applications. SCT claims that the TSX offers more data and features than any other performance tuning system on the market. The Touch Screen Extreme is shipped in a durable molded-plastic case, and includes a USB charging system for your laptop or 12-volt vehicle input, multiple two-pin input/output assemblies, a hard-wire connector, a high-quality dash/window mount, and an instruction CD.

Once you're linked up and ready to explore the unit's capabilities, you'll find that the TSX is capable of uploading performance or fuel economy programming into both gas- and diesel-powered vehicles, as well as read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). The touch screen has adjustable screen themes, built-in shift lights, an image viewer, a music player, and a GPS. SCT included an external SD card slot that allows you to insert multi-media files onto the device-just throw away whatever electronic gadgets you're using now.

An external OBD-II-mounted Bluetooth dongle key accepts both 0-5-volt analog signals, and produces additional output signals. Once plugged in, the dongle key can be hidden under the dash of the vehicle, all the while performing for the Touch Screen Extreme.

So you think you've heard it all, and you're probably sold on the TSX by now, but that's not all there is to it. The TSX also performs the role of a datalogger, and can be configured to offer visual instrumentation of the vehicle's various sensors and functions using completely wireless technology. You can mount the screen anywhere you choose with the included mount; then just tap and scroll your way to tuning bliss.

But there's still more to the TSX. Two additional 0-5-volt signals can be monitored and recorded through a special two-channel Firewire analog input, while two separate two-pin hardwire inputs are also available for up to four different signals at once. And since the SCT guys are racers at the core, there is even a 12-volt, two-pin output port that allows you to run nitrous solenoids, water/methanol pump drivers, or any other 12-volt switch that you may need to flip.

Now that you've cleared some trouble codes, played some music, and watched your fuel injector pulse width on the wireless touch screen, it's time to go out and have some fun with the TSX's internal three-axis accelerometer. Inside is a performance calculator that will measure horsepower and torque, quarter-mile times, 0 to 60-plus-mph times, as well as braking distances. SCT thinks that the TSX bridges the gap between expensive instrumentation and datalogging systems, complex tuning systems, and real-time data acquisition systems.

We only had a limited amount of time to tinker with the TSX on our subject vehicle, but we were very impressed with the quality of the TSX's construction, as well as the multitude of functions that it performs. While the retail price of $899 might seem steep, it's pretty inexpensive when you consider everything it does. And it may just be the last tuner you buy-that is until they incorporate a cell phone into one.

The Touch Screen Extreme is available through SCT's custom tuning dealer network and warehouse distributors throughout North America.

The TSX is capable of uploading performance or fuel economy programming into both gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. While the retail price of $899 might seem steep, it's pretty inexpensive when you consider everything it does. SCT claims that the TSX offers more data and more features than any other performance tuning system on the market.

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