Trying a "hybrid" approach to a Scangauge

Discussion in 'Fuel Economy' started by Bennett, May 6, 2012.

  1. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    I've been interested in getting at some of the detailed info my car knows, that I don't. Things like throttle position and load to start with. A Scangauge is a not-insignificant investment...

    However, I have several old smartphones and a PDA hanging around. A little digging around on the interwebs revealed that there are Bluetooth OBD plugins that will interface with the right hardware, and there is dedicated software written for the older Windows Mobile phones.

    So, I have a Bluetooth OBD plugin on order (24 bucks), due to arrive Tuesday, and I've resurrected my old Touch Pro 2 with an in-car charger. It's set up on the dash just to the right of the upper arc of the display on the HCH-II, so it's easy to glance over without taking my eyes off the road. I have two free software packages installed and I'll see how they each work out.

    Interestingly enough it's also a perfect dash-cam should I want it to be :D

    I've also got it to use WIFI to sync my calendar so while I'm at home it will stay updated through the home wifi and I can review (with voice commands) my daily schedule on the road. And it gives me a pretty weather display on the main screen too.

    Yes, yes, I am a nerd.

    Of course with the HCH I still have a second power socket available for other things. Like the inverter I have stashed in the center console....

    I'll try to throw up some pics of the setup, and I'll be updating the thread with the story as it unfolds. I figured this was a nice way to keep what is a pretty good piece of hardware performing a rather useful function.
  2. FXSTi

    FXSTi Well-Known Member

  3. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    Ya, I just need to get another Y-splitter for ODBII so I can start using Torque in my Prius.
  4. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    I think that was one of the posts I pulled up when I was researching the idea :)

    I had some angst over the choice of hardware - I don't have anything like a 7inch screen available. Both of my WinMo devices are 3.5-3.7 inches - the slightly smaller one is a widescreen with a much faster CPU and better battery life, so I opted for that (battery is an issue as I will only be charging it on the road, otherwise I'd have to bring it inside every night)

    I have the iPad but would need a wifi OBD reader which was more expensive and the software seemed more expensive too, as well as having an issue with placement.

    One of the WinMo programs has an HUD mode, where the display is inverted so when you place the phone on the dashboard you see the info reflected onto the windscreen :D if that's not in keeping with the rest of the HCH dash I don't know what is...
  5. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    Just got an SMS that the bluetooth OBD device was delivered! :woot:

    I will probably play around with it tonight and may even take Zephy out for a spin just for poops and giggles.

    In other news, I successfully reset my tank instead of my segment as I was leaving this morning. :rolleyes:

    It's getting easier and more consistent to drive well and efficiently thanks to all the advice and posts from you all here. Thanks!

  6. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    First run - I'm trying three software packages. OBD Bluetooth pairing works well, car has to be keyed to stage II or ignition started it seems to get the dongle working.

    Software one was "OBD gauge 1.3" - version 1.1 is out there somewhere too. Sadly first attempt resulted in the software hanging once it linked to the OBD. I did install all the .NET runtimes it asked for and no joy. A reinstall only made it crash on startup. This is with a WinMo6.5 touch pro 2. this is disappointing because when I had it running the interface looked quite promising.

    Second package was HobDrive V1.1. That worked fine for a short run into the village and back (average of 55mpg over 10 miles on rolling hills in the rain, FWIW...). It was able to read RPM, MPG and provide estimated LOD and a TPS along with a TON of other stuff. One big downside is that the interface, especially on the specialty sensor readouts, is cluttered and the numbers are hard to read. I didn't really use the readout at all at this point, I'm just curious as to what I can see and I'll figure out if it's useful later :D. A big downside is that the readouts aren't customisable, so I can't see RPM at the same time as LOD, for example. One nice touch is that it has a "Honda" theme which is color-coordinated with the HCH dash lights.

    Third package is OBDMobile, which is a 3 day trial and 4.99 if I buy. It lost connection a few minutes into the drive after refuelling today, and faced with the choice of fiddling with the phone on the dash while driving, pulling over, or just carrying on to work - I just carried on to work.

    The device itself had some software called OBD2Spy, which wouldn't even install.

    Ironically the software out there is either written optimally for WinMo 2003 or there is a push to write something for Windows Phone 7 - and the 6.0-6.5 devices are a little neglected. Sadly Microsoft hasn't yet allowed the Bluetooth in WP7 to be fully open to developers. They are playing a card from Apple's deck with their "walled garden" approach to the new WP devices.

    I left the device plugged in overnight. A small red LED remains lit but the Bluetooth is not active (and I presume it's not querying the OBD). No significant battery drain it seems (was at 11V on startup...seemed ok to me) but I wouldn't want to try leaving it in for more than a day or two, just in case.

    Once I get comfortable with a layout and how to use it I can look into applying some of the data to my actual drive. I was able to toy once with a true DWL scenario uphill for a quarter mile or so. Hints and tips on what parameters are most useful for an HCH would be great...
  7. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    Ok, first real use a long highway run to NJ, and I'm going to see if I can use the load and TPS to help out at all, or if just driving by gut feel works out ok.

    I know my major limitation will be wifey rolling ahead at 70 and wondering where I am...I have a feeling it's going to take me a bit to convert from urban/country driving to highway :)
  8. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    Ok, so stunning success, albeit in fits and starts.

    The setup works well enough (OBD Bluetooth under the dash, WinMo phone on the dash, power from the center console ACC port). When the ignition goes on everything connects and the software makes a nice "starter motor" sound, which is ironic since the car doesn't actually do that :)

    The pairing is easy - I discovered a hiccup in that if you do a FAS instead of an autostop the connection gets screwed up. Easily fixed by restarting the software, although that's not as easy as it sounds when you're on the move. The thing still works, but it updates every few second, rather than every second or faster. Not as helpful when trying to avoid losing SAHM.

    The most useful screen was the "sensors" screen, which shows the load and TPS, although its quite cluttered. Load was easy to see as its on the far right side of the screen and I used that pretty much exclusively, along with the iFCD, tach, speedo and charge/assist gauge.

    The most shocking thing was how reliant I was on it for finding and staying in SAHM - there seemed to be two "sweet spots" at 45-52% and under 45%. Under 45% it would run around 90mpg. Up to 52% it would sit around 70-80mpg, but the tiniest smidge above that and it would drop ubruptly to 50-60mpg. It was an astonishing thing to see the car travelling UPHILL at a steady 50mph at 90mpg. I used the load rather than rpm on the highway - in the back roads rpm was more helpful and what I've grown used to for my commute.

    In SAHM it would slowly, oh so slowly drift down in speed over a few minutes, then I would pulse up 5-10mph to get back to a target speed, then go back into SAHM and repeat. My right foot was getting numb by the end of the ride...

    Traffic was mostly light, and where it was heavier the PSL was generally 55 or under. Made use of the slow lanes on hills a few times :D I wasn't going nuts with the mpg, but instead trying to stay reasonably up with traffic. I don't think I beat the PSL at all except on some back roads where I would drift above 35mph on a downhill to get momentum for the next hill. The VAST majority of the 260+ miles was highway driving. One god-awful stop and go stint where we moved about half a mile over 30 minutes.

    The end result was a total run a smidge over 57mpg over 260 miles. I'm sure I could do more if I had let it drift under 45mph on the highway (didn't feel safe doing that in traffic) and if I hadn't been nailed by that traffic jam. I need a better sense of where and how I'm losing my mileage. Left to its own devices the car will happily cruise at or around 50mpg.

    I am VERY happy with this first highway run, way better than wifey's first run of 44 (her second run was 50mpg). It is a third of the gasoline I would have used in my other cars...awesome.
  9. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    Run back was pretty good too. 260 miles, some stop/go traffic around NYC but generally a straight run. A nasty headwind at the start, and I was hindered by extra baggage and a passenger, who graciously put up with my outbursts of "an original Insight!" or "Blimey, that was a CR-Z!" as well as a less-than-typical highway speed. I did hit 70 once on a downhill :)

    Return leg of 55.0 on the nose, all told an average of 56. Plenty of room for improvement depending on traffic conditions and weather and general self-control. I took advantage of the cc on a few occasions to give my foot a rest.

    The gauge was incredibly helpful - at one point the sun was beating on the phone and the battery heated up so it refused to did sort itself out tho (so I never lost the connection) but I may look into an alternative position. There are some clips you can get that attach to the vents, and that may be a way to cool the thing while it's running.

    Noticed an odd vibration when it got above 55 so I'm going to have someone check the alignment etc. it's not something I would normally experience on my commute. The highway runs definitely shook the dust off the thing. The battery pack is behaving MUCH BETTER, almost like it needed a full charge or two rather than a recalibration forced charge. I experienced the odd behavior of it refusing to regen going downhill as the pack appeared to be full! I'm fairly sure I have the latest software flash as its been allowing me multiple autostops in traffic but we'll see. Oil life is at 60% so I'm torn between bringing it in for an extra visit or waiting it out. We'll see how my schedule goes this week...
  10. Socal Monster

    Socal Monster Active Member

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