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Old 09-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
Rivet Master
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,432
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Cheap OBD2 solution

I've been interested in an OBD2 reader for some time - I'd like to check how much power is actually needed to shift my trailer, how warm the transmission gets, exact fuel consumption, that kind of thing. And yes, I am also a geek who likes toys.

The reader of choice appear to the the Scangauge II, but that's $250 - a lot of money for a non-essential toy and well above the discretionary spending limit that my wife and I have agreed upon (we talk about all purchases over $150). Also, I didn't like the 1980's monochrome screen and very basic operating system.

Enter this: Torque Pro, a $5 Android app with all sorts of cool gizmos built in, including error code reading and resetting. $5 vs $250 seemed a no-brainer, but now of course there was the question of how to get the data from the car into the phone.

Enter, the bluetooth enabled OBD2 reader. The app developer recommends readers that cost around $100 (yikes again) but a quick trawl around ebay found this: A bluetooth reader for just over $10.00.

The app developer warns that these cheap readers sometimes don't work, but I figured that I could gamble ten bucks. The reader arrived yesterday, I plugged it in this morning and had my Nexus 4 phone connected a minute later - the reader instantly showed as a bluetooth device and started delivering data to the phone.

Really excited to have a working solution for less than 20 bucks. I have no affiliation with any of the sellers linked to, just very happy with their products. If you've thought about getting an OBD2 reader but have been held back by the cost, this works for me.

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Old 09-28-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
Vintage Kin
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Corpus Christi , Texas
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I'm pleased with ULTRAGAUGE.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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2011 28' International
Chatham , Ontario
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I had a look at the various alternatives to the Scangauge, including the app driven offerings using your phone of tablet. I did go with the Scangauge in the end, but only after DW offered it as a Christmas present and after a lot of gum sucking on my part.

I'm quite pleased with the Scangauge, though, mostly because it is small and needs no additional power. It sits on the steering column housing and looks almost like it's part of the instrument display and I don't need to drag my eyes very far from the general driving view to see it. Yes, the display is very basic but it does deliver the information I want and cycling through the various lines is easy.

Its big failure in my car is nothing to do with the ODB2 reader but the sensors that Toyota provide on my model. Transmission oil temperature only has a "good or bad" sensor I'm sure I could get Toyota to fit a full temperature sensor but we spent all our money on the Scangauge!

I know you've mentioned it before, Andy, but watch the Horse Power reading, it's very illuminating.
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
Tampa Bay , ^
Join Date: Jun 2002
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I read loads of reviews on the Torque App, as well as the "Chinese Bluetooth" OBD2 sending unit, and the overall functionality of the combo. The overwhelming response was very good... for such a small investment. I also watched dozens of Youtube videos on the app and sending unit, set up, installation, videos of the various screens and outputs. Very impressive... again, for the price.

I even downloaded the Free Torque app (Android) just to play with it and it seems pretty simple and full featured. I am currently on the prowl for a newer tow vehicle, and I will probably purchase the sender and app just to plug in to a vehicle that I am testing to check on error codes and such.

As for the trans temp setting, I read on a few Forums related to the app that they can be added on. Sometimes it depends on your vehicle and the year as to the availability. Some of those forum members (related to the Torque App) were using it for the specific purpose of monitoring their trucks vitals while towing their RV. Again, very happy reports.

For less than $25, it is worth a shot!
My 77 Sovereign Renovation
Out in the woods, or in the city, It's all the same to me.
When I'm drivin' free, the world's my home....When I'm mobile.

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Old 09-29-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I run an Edge Evolution on my 6.0 diesel. It displaces any 4 gauges I select from the on board computer plus has an input for exhaust gas temperature. Complete error code read out with alarm notification for hard codes. It also has 4 built in programing selection that ally me to add up to 100 hp.

Bought the unit used on E Bay for about $200.00
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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