Welcome to my review of the TouchScan OBD-II monitoring software. First off I would like to thank mp3Car and OCTech for donating TouchScan for me to review. I've written this as somewhat of a walk through of the program, sharing my findings along the way with plenty of visual aides. First off is the installation. It is the same as pretty much any other windows application and only requires a few clicks of the next button and an agreement to the usage license. The serial number is entered upon starting the program for the first time. If you don't have a serial number the program will operate in demo mode.
See this product on the mp3Car Store here.
After entering your serial number you are prompted with a warning about using a touchscreen while driving. I found the option to disable this a nice feature, often software leaves the user no choice due to liability concerns.
Once you click past the dialog you are greeted with a nice left side menu and top tab interface. After a few exploratory passes through all the options TouchScan has to offer (There are a lot!) I found it pretty easy to find what I was looking for in the menus. My TouchScan journey began in the Setup section where I was easily able to select my desired Com Port and Baud Rate. I had no problems connection to my generic ELM327 in my vehicle nor my ELM323 software emulator that I use for testing. I should note however that it was a little difficult to select the correct radio or check mark boxes in the setup section under the Connection or PID Monitor tabs with a touchscreen. It's nothing too serious since you will likely only visit these sections once. I had no problem hitting most of the other buttons in the interface with my finger. After successfully connection to my ELM I proceeded to look through the PID Monitor and PID Setup tabs where you are able to adjust a variety of options, including polling settings, dwell time to adjust update rates, as well as the polling rate for each individual PID. I found the individual polling rates to be an exceptionally nice feature that allowed me to retrieve the core values and well as secondary ones without sacrificing speed as much if I polled for all of them at the same interval.
The General tab allows you to adjust the unit system and switch between day and night mode, as well as adjust remembering preferences. While the Device Info tab lists the type of device you have connected.
Clicking the Diag Icon brings you to the set of tabs which allow you to read/clear trouble codes and monitor PID values as well as view the raw hex traffic between TouchScan and the ELM. I had no trouble codes to read so I was unable to test that feature but I found the PID Values to update relatively quickly, and do so at a rate in tune with the polling rate as things should be. Next up is the Dashboard section which is what is likely desired by most. MPG broken down by total, instant, and trip is displayed as wekk as fuel consumed and distance. In addition to the numeric displays are gauges representing RPM, Engine Load, Temp, and MPH. The possible dealbreaker for some is the fact that a MAF sensor readable through the standard PID is required in order to calculate MPG with TouchScan. Unfortunately, my Honda was not equipped with a MAF sensor so I had to test the MPG feature with a software emulator instead. Testing showed the calculated numbers to be consistent with those generated by Bruce Lightner's formula, MPG = 710.7 * VSS / MAF, so they should be pretty accurate. The last, but far from least section is Logs. Selecting the Logs icon presents you with the Plots, Plot Config, Data Logging, and Stats tabs. While the names are fairly self explanatory I found the plotting function to be nicely configurable with adjustable scales and sampling time and support for what appears to be as many plots as you have PIDS available. The Data Logging option is also a plus for analyzing data at a later time. And I found the Min, Max, and Mean shown under Stats to provide a nice snapshot of your overall trip.
In summary, if you have a MAF sensor in your vehicle that can be read via the standard PID I would definitely recommend you take a look at TouchScan. The Dashboard was easily visible on my 7" touchscreen and I see no problems embedding the app into RideRunner or any other frontend as everything is resizeable. If your vehicle lacks a MAF you need to determine how important MPG calculations are to you, as you will be unable to receive them with TouchScan.
See this product on the mp3Car Store here.
Updated 12-26-2009 at 09:27 AM by Jensen2000
Testing is one of the most important steps in putting a computer in your vehicle or car and is often skipped. We highly recommend testing your system on the bench for a day or two before you put the device in your car. We previously did a video on how to build your own car computer. This video will give you some insights into this next step.
Updated 10-15-2009 at 02:01 PM by Heather
At the SEMA 2008 Azentek booth, we interviewed Donnie to hear a little bit about their new navigation smart mirror product. Windows Mobile devices really donít fall in mp3carís sweet spot, but this is an interesting form factor for a PND. Without giving it a full run through or a drive test, this mirror seems like it would be perfect for users who wants something that works out of the box.
So What is happening with their car computing efforts? Azentek is no longer bringing their original double din car PC into production and are starting on a brand new double din model which will be on display at CES, but not available for purchase until Q1 or Q2 2009.
The main features of this redesigned product set for release at CES will be increased tolerances to environmental and shock extremes as well as the ability for users to upgrade the Intel processor. More details will be available at CES.
Azentek also confirmed that Centrafuse is their software platform of choice and they will be using that in a modified Azentek branded form for the release at CES.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:25 PM by ecog
Hyundai Genesis Apple Mac book / air / mini explosion & Sneak peek
Everyone has been setting up for SEMA for the last 3 days. I happened to walk by the Hyundai booth yesterday while one of the vice presidents was rehearsing for their 9:30am press conference today. They had the usual un-blanketing of cars and performance celebrities there to talk. What I was really there for was the car computer geerkery. The real details about this project will have to wait until Tuesday when the real press conference starts, but here are some sneak peek photos.
I am already slightly disappointed with the mac install. It seems like more of an attempt to get press than a functional implementation. I saw one of the macbook airs plugged into an AC port which would imply no ignition integration. It is always harder to put in a DC-DC regulator. Why do installers just use inverters especially on a high profile car like this? Is it laziness or unknown technical mojo that is driving this?
Answer this question and talk about this install on our forums.
If there is hot mobile computer tech at SEMA that we havenít written about, Let us know.
For you Hyundai or Genesis addicts I posted a quick 1m video of their VP practicing and doing a quick dance.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:11 PM by ecog
Hello, my name is Scott. I am an intern at Mp3Car. Prior to my employment here I spent a lot of time on the forums doing research and dreaming up the perfect driving machine. Unfortunately, I lack the funds to move my dreams to reality in a timely fashion. But, thanks to Mp3car I have made a lot of progress in the past few months.
Here at Mp3Car I spend most of my time preparing and shipping orders. I get to see everything that goes in and out. The coolest part of my job is that I can see what people order and imagine how they are going to make it work in their car. If you had a problem with your shipment, Iím sorry; it is more than likely my fault. Aside from all that, I take time to read the latest forum posts and test products new and old.
In the future, I hope to give you all more insight on news and products related to the hobby. Keep up the good work guys! You all continue to impress me more and more each day.
"The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown" - Albert Einstein
Updated 09-17-2009 at 03:51 PM by ecog