Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to Use Car Scan Tools

Popular Mechanics has a good item on "How to Use an Auto Scan Tool" (Mike Allen, July 2008). This describes how to use low cost On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) devices plugged into the car to report diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs):
To get started, plug the scan tool into the OBD II connector under the dash. Turn the key on, but don't start the engine. The tool will ask for a number of things such as the VIN, the make and model of the vehicle and the engine type. Follow the onscreen instructions.

You'll get an option to check for trouble codes, as well as a couple of other menu choices. Some higher-end scan tools give you a text explanation of the code onscreen. ...

From: How to Use an Auto Scan Tool", Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, July 2008

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Dashbaord Mounted Engine Monitor

Auterra DashDynoThe Auterra DashDyno seems to be taking On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) for car engines to a new level. Rather than a hand held device you get out when you want to service the car, this unit is designed to be fitted to the dashboard. This way the car can be monitored all the time (and you have an impressive extra gadget for the dashboard). As well as interfacing to the car's diagnostic code interface, the unit will take position information from an external GPS device and include that in the log, along with engine parameters. Linear Logic make a cheaper dash mounted unit, but without GPS.

The unit is small enough to fit in a standard car radio DIN slot, but they do not seem to have a mounting kit for this. This is a shame as it would fit well under the Car PC.

Size 5.2" W x 2.4" H x 1.4" D
Processor 32-bit, software upgradeable
Screen High contrast monochrome, white LED backlight
Keys Backlit silicon rubber
Expansion Slot Support for MultiMediaCard, SD and SDIO cards
File Formats FAT12, FAT16, FAT32
Card Size 1GB max
Power OBD II cable or AC adapter
Sleep Mode Auto power-off
Keypad Backlit, secondary function keys
Aux Port 1 Mini-DIN, four analog inputs, 5V output
Aux Port 2 Mini-DIN, one digital input, one digital output, serial port, 5V output
Aux 5V Output Current limited 25mA max (combined both ports)
Analog Inputs Selectable ranges of 0-6V, 0-12V or 0-24V, 10-bit ADC
Analog Input Impedance 95k ohm 6V range, 62k ohm 12V range, 54k ohm 24V range
Oscilloscope Mode 200Hz bandwidth, 1mS sample rate
Digital Input 24V max, 4V high min, 1.6V low min
Digital Output Open Collector, 15V max, 75ma sink max
External GPS Baud 9600, 19200, 38400
External GPS Protocol NMEA 0183
USB Port Mini USB type B
OBD II Port Modular
OBD II Cable 6ft, low-profile OBD II connector
Alarm Lights Three high intensity LEDs
Mounting Two brass 8-32 rear mounting screw holes
Windshield Mount Suction cup with quick release
OBD II Protocols J1850 (VPW, PWM), ISO 9141, ISO 14320 (KWP), and ISO 15765 (CAN bus) protocols
Ambient Temperature Operation 14ΊF to 131ΊF (-10ΊC to 55ΊC)
Ambient Temperature Storage - Short Term -4ΊF to 140ΊF (-20ΊC to 60ΊC)
Ambient Temperature Storage - Long Term 32ΊF to 86ΊF (0ΊC to 30ΊC)

From: DashDino Specifications,

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