Posted on February 9, 2011
Jugando con OBD-II
From a young age my father instilled in me a taste for trades such as carpentry and mechanics. Since then used to help you change spark plugs, oil and general maintenance, well, until I got to change drum brakes and disc. Over time, the automotive technology has changed and now cars use computers have replaced many mechanical functions that, in some ways is good, but difficult to diagnose equipment problems as needed “specialized” to read codes generated by these computers.
The OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostic) is a standard created to communicate with the car’s computer – factory-installed after 1996. The OBD-II is a connector that is usually between the wheel and foot controls, and once connected can read, transmit and edit data.
To access these data have to take the car to a mechanic or dealer to have an aid ODB-II reader. They connect to the car and can be diagnosed within a few minutes when the vehicle is the situation. The device is relatively expensive and the codes used are somewhat cryptic, which increases the cost of diagnosis made by the mechanic.
This reminds me when several years ago I was driving my SUV when suddenly all the dash lights came on, and started flashing the sign of “check engine.” Needless to say, I panicked, I immediately pulled over, turned off the car and turned on. The engine sounded good, did not have any noise, smoke or sign of failure, but all the dash lights indicate a fault with the “check engine” light still blinking. I finally called the dealer, who said I could do without a problem and take him the next day. Four days later and $ 350 less I replaced a sensor that was causing the whole mess.
This type of experience is what prompted me to look for a device to read the messages from the computer in my car and have a more clear picture of what’s happening in the motor.
After much searching, I found the PLX Kiwi Wireless Devices, which is a device that connects to the ODB-II and sends the data via WiFi to the iPhone, which is used in conjunction with a program. There are several applications to Windows and iPhone, but convinced me was one called DashCommand. – By the way, have a version for Android.
The apparatus and the program cost less than $ 200 usd and allow reading of data from the car through an instrument panel, such as oil levels, gas, pressure, torque, acceleration, rpm, level, etc.. It also measures the slip or skid, which displays real-time levels of lateral movement, acceleration and G-forces The inclinometer monitoring helps the field level in different types of road and race track creates a visual map of the path with acceleration and braking in order to analyze the changes occurred on the track.
Management and Consumer
What I like about this program is the diagnosis, which shows marked errors and their meanings, with the possibility to erase the mistake once read. A couple of times the oxygen sensor has sent me errors, which are important but not on my board listed only as “check engine.”
Occasionally I use Kiwi to monitor some tours, and see the performance of my car. Also use it to check the cars of my family especially when errors appear. The software allows you to separate the results by vehicles, recognizing each by the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and storing it in its own database.
One of the things that I like the device is a small switch on the side, this allows off and on at will, so it can be left permanently connected and only activate it when necessary.
Well that’s it’s all for now. I’m sure in a few months will Gadgets and more sophisticated programs that allow control and even modify (tuning) the on-board computer to give better economy, acceleration or whatever. Ford released the Ford SYNC MyFord Touch that allows a little more control over the functions of the car, internet and above all entertaining. Other devices such as Mavia can do all this and more, including GPS tracking, and other online options that have not convinced me, as subscriptions and “geotagging.” In short, the future is very “hackable”. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.