OBDII Scan Tool FTW!

A buddy of mine on Mechanics.SE is doing an experiment to see if there can be a general rule of thumb applied to volumetric efficiency (VE) on engines running at idle. To me this is a really cool experiment to garner some real world results.

I originally was using my Innova 3160 hand held scanner which reads live data from the engine. After returning the results, my buddy told me the lbs/min reading was just too granular. He wanted to see if I could get a better reading by doing grams/sec. The scanner doesn’t have an option to change the units, so I went Amazon and found a Bluetooth reader which would work with my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. The one I found was this one:

I’m always a little apprehensive about purchasing cheap products like this, but since it was only about $22, I decided it wasn’t going to leave a big dent in my wallet. Luckily the reader works perfectly and I’m very pleased with the purchase.

I wasn’t very pleased with the USPS, though. We order most everything on Amazon with Prime. With Prime, you get complimentary 2-day shipping … well, you’re supposed to. While I shouldn’t complain too much, it actually took it three business days to get here (five actual days because I ordered on the weekend). This wasn’t a problem with Amazon, but rather with the US Postal Service. They don’t seem to like to abide by Amazon’s two day shipping very well. It’s more like “2 days or whenever we decide to get it to you“.

I downloaded the app Torque Lite for my phone. It works okay for the most part. There are a few design issues I’d like to have a hack at, but it does work. The Mass Air Flow (MAF) output for it is in grams/second, so is inline with what my buddy needs for his experiment. There are a ton of things you can display through the app, along with seven (or is it nine??) screens you can display stuff on. Most of the readings are pretty rudimentary, but it does work.

All-in-all, it works pretty good. I’m happy with the purchase. I’m thinking about delving into programming an app for the Android which will allow me to better customize what I want the app to do, rather than utilize what’s on the market. I got the idea from a different guy on Mechanics.SE. He does this type of work all the time. I know I have the brainpower to do something like this as I’ve done scripting/programming in the past. It would just be a pretty serious ramp up in my skills to make it happen. I guess time will tell if I can. There’s nothing I need to do on an emergency basis to get it done, so if it takes a few weeks, months, or years, it’s not a big deal. If I do do something like this, you can rest assured I’ll throw something uper … post a blog entry about it.