Geeking out with the Car – ODB2 to my Phone

I don’t think I’ve mentioned our new car much. It’s nowt special, just a Zafira A. This is it after I gave it a clean last weekend!

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Something this car has that my old one doesn’t is an ODB2 port that can supply live data about what all the sensors in the car are doing. So with the right adaptor, and some software you can unlock a whole tonne of geeky data in pretty much real time. So to get the data from the ODB2 port I needed an adaptor, there are LOADS of these, but I wanted a tiny bluetooth one. I opted for this one from Amazon after a REALLY cheap one from eBay didn’t work. Also Amazon are fab with returns, so if this one screws up I can get my money back fairly easily.

The next thing I needed was the software, the adaptor came with some PC software to use with a laptop, but I wanted to go a little geekier. I wanted it all displayed on my phone! On Android there is a WONDERFUL app called ‘Torque Pro‘ which can ‘talk’ to a whole range of adaptors and put the data on screen in hundreds of different ways. There is a free version of Torque which is missing features, but it gives you a good indication of if the full version will work with your adaptor. I believe there are similar bits of software for Apple handsets too!

Setting it up was straightforward, I had to pair the ELM327 with my phone, and then tell Torque which adaptor to use, and it just works! You can then view Fault Codes, Real Time Information, Create Graphs, there are so many little bits and pieces to delve into. This is a screen grab of some Real Time Information, all the displays can be configured exactly the way you like, and there are all manner of dials and read-outs you can add.

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It’s one of those bits of software you can spend hours fiddling with and tweaking, and there are even plug-ins that add MORE functionality! The only annoying thing is the ODB2 port is still ‘live’ after the ignition is off, so you can’t leave the adaptor plugged in, which is a bit annoying, there might be some cunning switch I can install somewhere.. HMMM…

Have any of you tried setting something like this up?

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2 Comments

  1. Daddacool 02/05/2013
    • Kip Hakes 03/05/2013

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