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Thread: Review: TouchScan OBD-II Software

  1. #1
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    Review: TouchScan OBD-II Software

    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.




    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.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate wi77iam's Avatar
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    Can you display other engine parameters besides rpm, mph, load and temp on the dashboard dials? IE is the dashboard customizable?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wi77iam View Post
    Can you display other engine parameters besides rpm, mph, load and temp on the dashboard dials? IE is the dashboard customizable?
    The dashboard is not customizable in the current version but I have plans to support this in a future version. Upgrades are free once you have a license so any future additions will be easily obtainable.

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    I like the look of this software, especially the MPG calculations - is there a trial version of this so I could take a look myself?

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    Too bad there is no option to use info from how much fuel the injectors are spraying for MPG calculations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by probonic View Post
    I like the look of this software, especially the MPG calculations - is there a trial version of this so I could take a look myself?
    I can provide a fully unlocked trial version. Just PM me your info (name and email address).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjo151 View Post
    I can provide a fully unlocked trial version. Just PM me your info (name and email address).
    PM sent

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    I just purchased and installed Touchscan and I have to say...pretty sweet! Very easy to embed in Centrafuse, easy to read guages, quick setup. Very reasonable price.

    I'm looking forward to customized guages, but for now, this will work.

    Update: Yes, you have to disable the OBD plugin for Centrafuse unless you have a virtual port setup so you can split the OBDII signal out to two programs. I have that and it does work, but at this point I don't really see why I'd be using the Centrafuse plugin as this does just about everything I need.

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    New Release

    TouchScan 2.2 has just been released. Anyone with an existing license is eligible for a free upgrade, just visit the website to download.

    New features include:
    * Freeze frame support
    * Additional PID support (over 90 PIDs supported)
    * Ability to customize day and night skins
    * Two new methods of calculating MPG - Mass airflow sensor no longer required
    * Continuous/non-continuous monitoring test results
    * Multiple bug fixes

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    unless you have a virtual port setup so you can split the OBDII signal out to two programs. I have that and it does work.
    Would love to know what program and settings you are using to split the obd2 between 2 programs. Thanks.
    CAR: 2007 G35 Sport Coupe 5AT
    HARDWARE: Dell D630 w/ dock, internal 80G HD, internal 320G HD, Verizon Wireless Card, iBlue GM-2 GPS w/iGuidance, OBDPros w/DashCommand, Visteon HD Radio w/ Home Made Cable, Current Version of RR w/ DFX Skin. My Install.

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