A far out app idea...

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by bazar6, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    that I can't claim for my own, a buddy asked me about it, I guess I'm a little slicker with the phone than he is... Here's what he wants to do, I think it's possible to get the hook-up, but translating the data I think would be the hardest part, if not impossible, for an Android app to do. But read on, let me know if you think this is possible.

    He wants his phone (Moto Droid 1, pretty sure he's not rooted, so it'd be the latest OTA that was pushed) to connect to his truck's on-board computer. He's already built a box and is using SpeedView on my recommendation, because it's about as close to what he wants, as of right now.

    He wants the app to read the data from the truck computer, and display it. Everything about his truck. Engine temp, oil temp, rpm's, pretty much everything that could be read off of the computer be read by the phone, and displayed to him.

    I'm sure there could be a cord that you'd have to buy, to go from the computer (not sure what kind of cord that is), and connect to mini USB (phone). But for me, I don't think an Android OS would be able to convert the raw data from the truck. It's a fairly newer GMC/Chevy (I forget), and it has the V8, which drops to 4 or 6 on the highway, so I know the on board comp is pretty advanced.

    What do you guys think of this? Is it possible? Would anyone be willing to dig around in the code to see if it is possible? I want to get in to app building/theming, but this is not a good first step to take.

    Thanks y'all.
  2. bthomp21
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    bthomp21 New Member

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    bluetooth with adapter and the app torque i believe does this, dont quote me
  3. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    Dude, thats awesome. I guess my market search wasn't very thorough, cuz I have not heard of this, and did not see it. Thanks a ton, that was exactly what I was looking for!

    I guess it can be done...
  4. bthomp21
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    bthomp21 New Member

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    Not a problem, I plan on downloading it and getting the adapter this spring. It's an amazing app.
  5. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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  6. bthomp21
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    bthomp21 New Member

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    Sounds good, is that one of the adapters he said works with it?
  7. bthomp21
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    bthomp21 New Member

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  8. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    I hadn't seen that page before. They're too expensive for me tho. The page I bought it on says its good for it. :

    "Technical Details
    Just Plug it in to Your OBD2 Port
    Download Torque for your Andriod Device
    Link - and Go!
    You MUST download the Torque program from the Andriod Market off course."

    That's why I'm not buying the app til I have the ELM327 in my hand, just in case it doesn't work. And I was looking for something domestic too, I don't trust a ton of stuff that comes out of hong kong
  9. takeshi
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    takeshi New Member

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    Not too far out there. IIRC there's at least one for iOS as well.

    Thanks for posting this though. I've been meaning to get a BT OBD2 adapter.
  10. bthomp21
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    bthomp21 New Member

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    I really want this so if it works, let me know and im buying it too!
  11. spaz33g
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    spaz33g Rescue Squad

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    My friend works in automotive and was telling me about this last week. He's getting ready to buy it for his car and his my touch 4g.

    tappin and a talkin
  12. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    I gotta say... This thing is pretty cool.
    Props to the guy on amazon I bought it from, got it from USPS way earlier. Custom instructions, saying that he had tested it on a 96 Dodge Ram like 3 days earlier. He sent the mini disc that it came with from the manuf, but said that it doesn't include a driver, and is filled with "outdated freeware which has been known to have viruses, so I wouldn't even use the disc."

    Turn the key to "On" or actually turn the engine on (crank).
    THEN plug the bluetooth adapter in to the OBDII port.
    With your bluetooth on, pair with it (I forget what the name is right off the top of my head).
    Enter the password (came on the instruction sheet, usually its simple).
    Once it's paired, it won't actually showed that its connected (D1 running 2.2.1)
    Turn on your GPS (if you want, that's how you can calibrate speed too [what it says in the app])
    Then go to the Torque app (I'll be getting the paid version in a little while)
    It'll connect, run some connection tests, check for error codes, etc.

    Be sure to go in to the settings of the app and change to mph, Fahrenheit, your engine Liter size, max RPM, car/truck weight (in kilos :/ ), and I forgot to hit "toggle logging."

    Theres a ton in the free app already, not sure if I'd recommend the HUD tho, SpeedView has a much better HUD. And based on all of the comments in the market and appBrain, doesn't look like the dev is keeping up with it.

    Screen shots attached (not recommended while driving lol, it was one and done for me)

    Big Plus tho: you can still be paired with the OBDII thru bluetooth and you'll still be able to connect to a bluetooth headset. When doing this, you might want to definitely plug your phone in.

    Side note, unplug the adapter every time you turn the truck off, because it'll still be broadcasting and pulling info from the ECU even when the engine is off: can kill the battery.

    Screen shot from mine:
    [​IMG]
  13. JohnBo
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    JohnBo New Member

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    Wow, thanks for this terrific info! 50 bucks for a OBDII-bt interface that works well with a long-used android app? I'm so there.
  14. tktouch12
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    tktouch12 New Member

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    this is pretty sweet. it would definitely be cool to have, but i have no idea how to go about installing that adapter. i might look into this though
  15. lookEVO
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    lookEVO New Member

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    i have several different scanners and a few bluetooth adapters. guess im somewhat numb to this.
  16. JohnBo
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    JohnBo New Member

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    I just looked at this amazon page again and realized some stuff I find interesting. At first glance, I see the pic with 2 views of the device and a giant (ELM327) chip in the foreground, and along with the long, all caps title think it's some foreign guy's lame marketing. Also this
    reads more like a description of the torque app than this adapter. I also clicked on another XiTech product, a OBD2-USB interface:
    Amazon.com: XiTech XR7 OBD-II PC Based Advanced CAN Bus Scan Tool: Automotive
    The pic shows a device that says XiTech on it, but there's no sign of ELM327 anywhere in the pic or title, or whole page for that matter. Reading the comments this seems to be a clone, and after some google searching I see that ELM327s are OBD-serial chips that run up to $30 or more still these days, and there's been a bunch of chinese outfits selling cheaply made devices that use a cheaper clone chip. So now I understand the reservation in buying a less expensive OBD i/f.

    Also on Amazon I noticed that what appears to be the same BT device is sold by another partner for 4 bucks less:
    Amazon.com: Bluetooth ELM 327 Scanner OBDII PC Car Diagnostic: Electronics
    So with also free shipping and almost no risk from amazon I think I'll try buying 1 soon.

    It's probably easier than it sounds. Example:
    [​IMG]
    You are looking for something to plug this device into:
    [​IMG]
    Of course, if you don't find it after looking for a min or 2, I'd suggest you google your vehicle's model name and OBD for hints on where to look.
  17. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    I honestly didn't look down there. But this definitely isn't the highest end / most reliable pieces of hardware to use, especially if you're a mechanic and have to rely on this stuff being 100% correct. For something as simple as giving you an advanced HUD, and some deeper engine diagnostics, this definitely fits what I need it for.

    I threw my phone in to the car dock and mounted it on the windshield, just above my gauge cluster. Almost feels like a rice burner out of The Fast and the Furious or something lol. But it does what it says. Just uses a ton of battery. I was fully charged getting in to the car. Plugged in the charger before even connecting the two, and left it charging for the ride home, and it still lost battery life, as well as running my phone CPU to 125degrees.

    And I got mine from clicking on the little link that says "2 new", listed at $39.99, cuz it's thru someone else other than amazon. Amazon.com: Used and New: ELM327 BLUETOOTH OBDII OBD2 DIAGNOSTIC SCANNER VAG-COM CAN ELM 327 SCANTOOL CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAR CODE READER > Right side: "Price at a glance"
  18. JohnBo
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    JohnBo New Member

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    You have reliability issues with the OBD-bt? Uh-oh. How often does it fail on you? Does it seem more flaky than other bt devices - they certainly do seem to have issues now and then in general.

    That's interesting that Torque is so taxing to the phone. I'd guess it couldn't be worse than several classes of apps, like say a nav - gps in use, 3g in heavy use, also BT if using a headset or whatever, and intensive processing and display.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experiences
  19. bazar6
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    bazar6 Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    No no no.. I haven't had any problems with it. Its just, to me, something of this quality (not the highest) and price (the absolute lowest, unless you get something from China off eBay) wouldn't last for long; but so far I've been proven wrong, because it's been great with no issues. The higher end pieces that do the same thing cost upwards of $100. I don't need to throw that kind of money just to get some stats about my engine, I'm not a mechanic, I just need something simple and it works. But I've also only had it for a few days and used it only a few times; so I can't say its going to last forever either.

    The battery part is because it requires to have GPS on to compare speeds and show altitude, as well as constantly sending info over Bluetooth. And of course having 3G, which I'm sure is syncing constantly with email (gmail and exchange) and texts and all that. But definitely the double process of bluetooth info from the car, as well as GPS info, makes it work harder. You can go without GPS, you just have to rely on the cars speed, and not GPS.

    I'm going to take a video of it this weekend to show my buddy, I'll post it on here too so you can see how it gets used by me.
  20. veloracer
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    veloracer New Member

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    I've been playing with this app for a little while now. It's very informative but some of the features of Torque I just haven't gotten figured out yet.

    I can't seem to export the PIDs that I specified to be the ones I want to log.

    I also am looking for an enhanced PID that would allow me to track my oil pressure. This one is more for my car manufacturer more than anything.

    It does tax the battery, but I have Droid hooked up to a power source so it's not a big deal.

    I'll update anything that I find would be worth knowing.
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