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 08:27 AM by Jensen2000
Mp3car typically focuses on mobile computing applications. The reason why this fits on our blog is that Brian from Palmer Performance has ported his car PC OBD and performance application to the iphone. This is a two part interview. The first part is going to be a tour of his new iphone application. We will follow this up later in the week with a tour of his carpc installation and the features of his car computer software. Brian has made some interesting hooks in his windows application that will allow for integration into roadrunner, centrafuse or other applications.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 03:24 PM by ecog