Wireless USB TPMS Review
Review by forum member: fixerofallthin
1. What is the typical setup time for a 4 sensor kit and costs? (This includes having sensors mounted at a tire dealership)
The typical time to mount sensors is about the same as mounting 4 new tires. When a reputable tire shop replaces tires on a vehicle equipped with factory TPMS they are supposed to dismount the sensors as well to replace the sealing gaskets. So when you contact your tire shop to make an appointment be prepared to allow about 1-2 hours work time plus whatever wait time involved.
See this product on the mp3Car Store here.
Our shop charges $25.00 per wheel to mount and balance tires so if you are doing the spare as well then $125.00 is an average price. If you are replacing your tires then we would not charge to install the sensors since the tires would need to be off anyway. Be sure to have the tires rebalanced if you did not replace them as the stems and sensors will alter the balance.
If you are wanting to monitor your spare tire as well be sure the spare wheel will accept a sensor. Most temporary spare tires (donuts) are not meant to be dismounted and might not have room for the sensor.
Be sure the shop uses a torque wrench to mount the sensors correctly.
2. What is an ideal mounting location for the USB TPMS receiver, for both aesthetics and reception?
The instructions tell you to install the receiver in a central location such as the base of the windshield. I found a central location in my truck to be the center console, which just happens to have a USB hub installed in it. In testing the sensors I spread them around my house and even put one in the freezer and refrigerator to monitor temps and to test reception distance and I was very pleased with how far away I could still communicate with all the sensors. 2 of the sensors were 25 feet away from the receiver and I still saw no issues, so I think just about anywhere you do not have excessive RF interference should work. When you first set up the system you are instructed to unplug the receiver several times so be sure to set it up completely before you tuck it away permanently.
3. How do you install and use the software? (Both plug-in and standalone)
I followed the directions that came with the kit to check the system before I mounted the sensors.
RRTMS (from MP3Car.com forums) comes with the plug-in for RideRunner and a tool to configure the sensors and messages that are displayed and spoken (there is a typo in the dialog that speaks when the tire pressure is too high, it says "hight" instead of "high", so check that while you are installing the software). Download the file and extract it to your RideRunner plug-in folder. Be sure to register the .dll file after you copy it to its final location. You will need to add or modify a button in your skin to launch the TPMS screen. The button command is "TMS" and it launches TMS.skin. You can build your own screen to match the skin you are using or there is a test skin included in the RRTMS folder.
CFTPMS (from the Centrafuse downloads section on http://forums.fluxmedia.net/) installs the plug-in for Centrafuse 2.0. It is a simple install. It is an exe file that puts everything where it needs to be. When prompted be sure to install the tools also. The tools folder in your Fluxmedia>centrafuse>plugins>tpms will have a program called TPMS doctor that is used to test communication. Once you install the CFTPMS.exe be sure to go download the update 18.104.22.168. Now that CFTPMS is updated you can set one of your buttons to launch tpms by clicking and holding the button you want it assigned to and selecting it from the list; Then go to settings and select advanced settings and you can enter the tpms section and set your preferences (PSI vs. Bar and such).
4. How do I re-learn the sensors?
I was able to set up my software before I even mounted the sensors in the wheels because the kit is prelearned by the manufacturer. I installed the software as listed above and was able to monitor the temperatures and battery levels to check communication. The manufacturer includes a sheet with the locations the sensors should be mounted.
The instructions say not to use Centrafuse to set up the sensors because it is buggy, but I used both Riderunner and Centrafuse with no issues.
When you rotate your tires you simply change the location of the sensor.
5. How do I add a spare sensor?
Using RRTMS I erased all sensors from the receiver and relearned them following the instructions that came with the kit. Once you select the sensor, you change the tire pressure until the receiver "sees" the change and it registers the sensor.
See this product on the mp3Car Store here.
Would the receiver be compatible with factory sensors?
Unlikely. They are specific to the aftermarket unit that is being used.
what Mhz does the sensors transmit at? they should say on the sensors
well that sucks my sensors on my car run at 315mhz was hoping to try the receiver to see if it could pick up the sensors. the recevier dont happen to have a external crystal does it?
Could it handle 6 sensors?
Just to give you guys an idea for future development. We already have plans to improve the hardware but there are many features we have already built in that just can't be used due to software limitations. The reciever board can actually handle up to 10 sensors however we still don't have the appropriate software in place so there would be no way to learn sensors to those locations or even display any data. We are currently working on some new software that will be able to harness the fully capability of the hardware, I can't tell you too much just yet but I will state that the new software will work without use of a front end, will handle between 8-10 sensors, and should work much better than the existing plug-ins. Be sure to check out the Portal Media Gadgets and Accessories subforum for updates. We may have a beta test program for the new software so that we can see what it is capable of before we release it to the public.
Originally Posted by TimmyM
Xargon I am not sure what the extent is of your technical knowledge but I would strongly discourage trying to modify the device, especially on the RF side, unless you know what you are doing. Even after matching the frequency you still need to figure out the logic behind the sensor data as nearly every TPMS manufacturer uses a different logic. Also changing the frequecy to i.e. 315 MHz would require a significant change in components, changing the crystal would be just one of the many components that would need to be replaced.
Originally Posted by Xargon321
That is good news. I was going to ask if the 5 sensor limitation was in the hardware or the software.
Support for 8 sensors would be ideal for me, as I use different wheel/tire sets in summer and winter. Looking forward to new developments with TPMS.