New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGauge-II

Discussion in 'General' started by peacefrog_0521, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Hi All - I took a chance and ordered an Ultra-Gauge, which had been advertising on TV recently during the Mecum Auto Auctions. (I watch it because I enjoy seeing people with more money than sense.) I just installed it last night in my '08 Sonata and will have a longer review in about a week, but here are a few impressions and quick hits, and quick comparisons to the ScanGauge which I've had for a couple years:

    * Cost: $48.95 + $7.86 Priority Mail shipping Michigan. I ordered it on a Sunday and it arrived on Wednesday, so not bad. They are also offering a $9 mail-in rebate, more on this later.
    * Size: approx 3.5" W x 2.5" H x 0.4" thk (smaller & thinner than ScanGauge)
    * Connects to OBD-II with fixed cord wired into side of unit.
    * Screen is LED-backlit blue LCD display with adjustable contrast and ambient light sensing.
    * Shows detailed gauge info on three different screens, each of which can show 6 separate readouts. Each page has a default set of gauges, or can be user-configured to display specific info.
    * Screens can be paged through manually, or with an auto-paging feature that automatically cycles through each page of info. Auto-paging is configurable for number of seconds to display each page.
    * One of the default screens shows both Instantaneous MPG and Average Trip MPG at the same time, as well as Distance to Empty (DTE)
    * Scans and clears DTC trouble codes; also checks for "Pending" codes which the ECU may send but which do not set off the Check Engine Light
    * Features automatic fuel level sensing and automatic fuel fill-up sensing. Also allows manual entry of fuel fill-up in case of partial fill.
    * Includes windshield mount with suction-cup and flexible gooseneck; also velcro tabs
    * While the U-G offers automatic fuel fillup sensing, this only resets the Fuel Level, TTE and DTE gauges. The Average MPG and other related gauges must be reset manually, just as in the SG-II.

    To claim the rebate is an unusual and tedious process. I had to go to a special website listed in the package, whereupon I entered my order lookup information. Then, the next few screens showed excerpts from the user manual showing warnings regarding the windshield mount, menu use, etc. In order to proceed, rather than clicking on an "I Agree" or similar type button, it was necessary to answer multiple-choice quiz questions pertaining to the text of the manual excerpts. This, I suppose, was their way to ensure I had actually read these and not just skipped to the end. Which is good, I suppose.

    The next screen, however, was extremely tedious. It asked me to put in not only my year, make, model, and trim level, but also the month and date of assembly. It then actually required me to hook up the Ultra-Gauge to the OBDII and run it through the Factory Test procedure, which showed a series of about 40 or 50 hex codes. These hex codes then had to be entered exactly into the web form. Inevitably, there were errors which required re-checking and re-entering.

    After all that, I'm not sure if it was really worth $9.

    Anyway, I've had it for a day, and here are some of my impressions:
    * I'm not used to having to read the info so quickly with the auto-paging feature on. I'm used to just glancing at the ScanGauge and seeing what I want. I extended the auto-page interval to 6 seconds and this seems to work a bit better. I may decide just to stick with one screen and leave it at that.
    * Does not have ability to enter cost of gas, and therefore no readout for Cost per Mile.
    * When in FAS, shows 0.0 mpg, where SG-II shows 9999.
    * Initial setup includes entering size of tank. U-G allows entry to tenths of a gallon, where SG-II only allows to nearest gallon. So, I can actually enter 17.7 gallons instead of 18, and presumably get a more accurate DTE.

    I'll have a better review including photos and stats after my first tank with the Ultra-Gauge.

    -Raj
     
  2. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Raj,

    Does it stay on when you're FASing? Judging from its FAQ, it sounds like it shuts off and loses data when the gas engine goes off.

    Does it provide a means of calibration?

    Can you set a cutoff value for DFCO?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  3. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    I browsed the owner's manual and found it does have a method for calibration. I'm leaning heavily to ordering one at the sale price for my wife's Elantra, since it's AT and never gets FASed.
     
  4. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    What does the trip average do in a FAS? It could be displaying 0 mpg instant to avoid divide-by-zero errors. As long as the trip average updates correctly, that's fine.
     
  5. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Hi Guys - Sorry I should have been more clear, the Instantaneous MPG shows 0.0 during "FAS". So far as I can tell, the trip avg doesn't seem to change much, if at all, during "FAS", though I don't usually get to do more than a quarter-mile, sometimes a half-mile, and even that is rare. I've found over the last couple years that's usually not enough to move the needle much anyway.

    Also my car (2008 Sonata 2.4L 4cyl) is an automatic so it may not be what you'd call FAS, though it seemed to fit the definition (shift to N, key off, key to RUN, coast to light, restart engine and shift to D).

    This weekend is Woodward Dream Cruise, and while I'm not going to drive it, the sheer number of cars & people makes it a bad time to try FAS, even several miles away where I live. Next time I take 8 Mile Rd to go home I'll try to pay more attention, as the lights are timed better and longer stretches may be possible. But 8 Mile has a lot of distractions. ;-)

    As Darrell said it does appear to have calibration, both for distance and fuel level. I just set it up with the nominal tank size and reset the tank when I filled up that day, so far after a couple days' driving the Distance-To-Empty (DTE) seems to agree closely with that on the dash display. The ScanGauge used to overestimate, largely because it thought the tank was 18 gals vs. 17.7 gals.

    I also reset my in-dash trip computer when I filled up, as I always do, and it and the UG are about 1 mpg or so apart for Avg MPG, with UG reading lower. However, I don't recall, I may have accidentally reset the UG again shortly after fill-up while fiddling with the buttons. (Why the hell did they put them on the back?)

    But I did not see an adjustment for DFCO (I never played with the one on my SG-II anyway). In fact, there aren't really many adjustments or programmable functions at all in this thing compared to ScanGauge-II. On one hand this might make it less appealing for the more hardcore users like those on this site. On the other hand this might be more appealing for more average or casual users like myself, and like "significant others" of hardcore users.

    I did finally turn off the auto-page feature, it got annoying. I went ahead and set up just one screen with Inst MPG, Inst GPH, Ave MPG and Trip MPG (which right now are the same), Throttle Position %, and DTE. If I could have fit one more, I'd like to get Engine Load % on there, maybe I'll use this in place of TPS or DTE.

    I'm maybe a little disappointed that Trip MPG doesn't automatically reset like in the SG-II. But then if I hadn't gotten used to SG-II I'd never have noticed. Really, it works just like the in-dash FCD, which is also user-reset. Not sure then if Avg MPG (General) resets automatically after fill-up, or not at all, the manual isn't quite clear on this.

    But yeah if you're thinking about one for your wife or SO, I think it might perhaps be a better match for them than the SG-II. Better readability, compact and sleeker form factor, and maybe less complex or intimidating (except for the rebate part).

    BTW the link for the manual is http://ultra-gauge.com/ultragauge/support/ultragauge_user_manual.pdf

    Best Regards,
    -Raj
     
  6. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Thanks for the thread, Raj. I ordered an Ultragauge, even though I already own two Scangauges. I'll be able to compare them, and leave the Ultragauge in my wife's car. If I absolutely hate it, I can always give it to one of my kids.

    At the rebate price, it's a bargain, even if it ends up not quite as functional as a Scangauge. If it lacks a cutoff adjustment for DFCO, that won't bother me much. I probably don't DFCO once/month anyway. I'll notice it if it shuts off during FAS, though. I think that would severely compromise its usefulness to me, although I could be wrong. I should find out soon.
     
  7. sidfreak

    sidfreak Well-Known Member

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Hi, I don't have a scan gauge but my hih has on board displays that help with fe. With this thing coming out so cheap, I figure i can now show my wife and some family members, what I've been talking about for the past 6 months, and how I've been getting the mileage that I have. I'll get back in this thread when it comes in and give my opinion on whether it sucks or doesn't suck, hopefully the latter.
     
  8. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    I skimmed the manual, and this gauge looks very promising. It looks like you can display six gauges at once, and it has a few little features that the SG lacks.

    I enjoy the simplicity of the SG's five button interface and miniature dot-matrix display. But with the UltraGauge at one third the price, and apparently having all the same features, the UG looks like the better deal.

    I wonder how LinearLogic will respond. ScanGauge III? $40 SG II?
     
  9. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    I received my UltraGauge today. Ordered it on Friday, and it arrived Monday. I went through the tedious rebate procedure described above by Raj,and it's every bit as bad as he says. My Factory Test codes only totaled 15 hexadeximal pairs to validate my rebate, so it's worth the effort for the $9 rebate. More importantly, by ordering during the introductory sale, I saved $20. The price is now $59.95.

    I plugged mine into my wife's AT Hyundai Elantra, and took it for a short 6 mile drive. First impressions? The UltraGauge is GREAT for mild hypermilers who don't FAS. It's a lot smarter than my SGIIs. It recognizes the Hyundai as having an oddball KWP2000 protocol, and comes up with 35 (I think) recognized gauges. With the SGII, you have to tediously program strings of hexadecimal codes (different for each protocol) into xgauges, find out which ones work, and select which ones to display - an hours long procedure that you have to repeat if you swap your SGII between cars. With the UG, it does the scan and identifies the protocol and available gauges within a minute or two.

    When I shut it off after the drive, and back on, it retained the trip mpg. The default displays are pretty useless for me, so I need to customize them. I'll most likely keep the instantaneous mpg and average trip mpg on the big displays on all three screens, then have load, voltage, ignition, and general average mpg (assuming it's tank or day mpg) on the first screen. I may leave that as the default, or cycle to the two other screens, keeping impg, trip mpg, and load on all three screens, but using the other two screens to show (perhaps) tank distance, TPS, and IAT on the second screen, and instantaneous GPH, average GPH, and TPS on the third screen. The UG keeps a display of a loop permanently on - either open or closed. You don't have to "waste" one of your gauges to determine whether you're in open or closed loop.

    I'll plug it into one of my MT cars Tuesday, and drive it on my test loop back to back with the Ultragauge and Scangauge. That should settle the issue of what happens during FASes, and I can calibrate the UG, after a 10 mile drive, since it appears to allow fine adjustment for calibration.
     
  10. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    I drove my test loop in my xB with the UltraGauge and ScanGauge II, back-to-back. The UG is a fully-capable drop-in replacement for the SG. It behaves nearly identically to the SG, reporting the same distance and mpg as the SG, both under cruise control, and under full-FAS P&G conditions. At the end of my loop, under cruise control, the UG and SG displayed 9.6 and 9.7 miles. I adjusted calibration on the UG, based on the same fuel consumption, and it came out the same 13.5% calibration factor as the SG.

    One quirk of the UG is its trip mpg average display is the impg display for the first minute after you do a trip gauge reset. At first, I thought it was a distance issue, but it turns out to be a time issue. Instead of an average value, the display jumps all over the range, from 15 mpg climbing hills, to 200+ mpg descending them, until that first minute passes. Another quirk, as Raj mentioned, is the UG keeps accumulating trip mpg, miles, and fuel consumed until you reset them manually from the gauge menu. Following photos show the main and gauge menus.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The only visible difference with P&G is the UG displays 000 mpg during a FAS, and the SG displays 9999 mpg. Both UG and SG displayed 9.3 miles driven under P&G. I got about 53 mpg in cruise control with both SG and UG on the 9.6 mile test drive, and 62.0 mpg P&Ging the same route. Next two photos show UG FAS and pulse displays. Note the open and closed loop displays, respectively, in the upper right portion of the UG.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I love the quick interchangeability of the UG. I plugged it into my wife's Hyundai, and it scanned the KWP2000 protocol and found 33 gauges within a minute. I plugged it into my Scion, and it found an 11 bit CAN protocol and 44 gauges, including barometric pressure, again within a minute. In order to get barometric pressure shown for the Scion with the SG, I had to experiment with the xgauge coding for all the listed protocols, a process that probably took an hour. Plus I spent more time testing the SG for my SE-R and my wife's Hyundai, only to find they don't display barometric pressure. With the SG, you have to program every possibility, knowing that if LF4 works, LF1-3 probably won't work.

    After the UG does its quick scan, it displays its software revision # (mine is ver. 1.0 dated 8/13/10, just a week before I ordered mine), # gauges, whether or not the car has a fuel sensor, its type of mpg sensor (MAF or MAP), and its OBDII communication protocol. Following photo shows completed scanning display, and has a size comparison of the SG and UG. The display shows 43 gauges, but the initial scan said 44 were found. The missing gauge is open/closed loop.
    [​IMG]

    You go to the main menu's Vehicle Setup choice to set engine size, fuel tank size, and calibration. Calibration is a breeze, because you can enter fuel in .001 gallon increments. So after my 9.6 mile drive, I was able to enter .181 gallons of gas, and get a 13.5% calibration factor long before I could do it with the SG. As I mentioned, the calibration value is the same for both the SG and UG in my Scion, probably indicating they use the same method of calculating mpg for MAF systems.
    [​IMG]

    Another improvement of the UG over the SG is it warns you of pending trouble codes. My xB routinely gives a nonsense P0000 TC. The UG started showing me a pending trouble code 25 miles ago, and gave me the option of disabling the alarm. I'm letting it run to see how it handles it.

    The UG is a better hypermiling tool than the SG, at roughly 1/3 the price.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  11. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    It looks like something we'll be seeing more of around here.

    Is it easy to read the screen when it's very bright or very dark out? Can you read it out of the corner of your eye like the ScanGauge? How does it attach to the dash?
     
  12. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    It's a nice looking gauge... I couldn't find the Insight listed in their database of tested vehicles. Or the wife's FFH.

    Is there any capability for programming new gauges? If not, it won't be as useful to Prius and FEH owners who track battery status.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  13. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Yes, it's easy to read the UG under bright and low-light conditions, as well as out of the corner of your eye. It automatically adjusts its brightness to compensate. There is one caveat that it dims when temperatures get too high, as a cooling measure.

    It comes with a window suction mount, and mounts on the end of a long flexible arm with a ball joint. Alternatively, it comes with two adhesive velcro pads for dashboard mounting.

    There's no provision for self-programming gauges, nor for updating firmware revisions on our own. Firmware revisions have to be done at the factory.
     
  14. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    I'm kinda exited about this... be nice to have something in the Sedona, and a secondary in the Prius for watching load and iMPG. I could then use the SG for more xGauges and this for more "stock" gauges.
     
  15. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing you cannot daisy chain devices with UG like we do with SG? So either 1 UG or 1 or 2 SGs per car at once.
     
  16. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    You might be able to daisy with a scangauge first and then the UG.
     
  17. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Don't think so. Earlier it was noted that the UG is hard wired. The end of the wire would be the OBDII connector, not a RJ-45. Maybe you can whack off the cord and install a RJ-45 to plug into a SG.
     
  18. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    IIRC, splitters can be bought which present two OBDII type connectors for plugging devices into. Whether the two devices will confuse each other by chatting on the bus is something that remains to be determined.
     
  19. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    Oh, right. Never mind.
     
  20. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Re: New Ultra-Gauge: First Impressions, Quick Hits, and quick comparisons to ScanGaug

    This cable would make the physical connection so your SG and UG would both be connected to the port. Whether either will step aside to let the other talk to the ECU is open to question, as Sean notes. Second question is what would you do with both of them connected?
     

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