Had read up on these things years back when i was comissioned to model one.
However I never actually got one for myself, since my android devices back then had really bad battery life, and were also entry level devices that i suspected would just hang if i ran Torque or other OBD (On-Board Diagnostics)apps.
Anyway now that i have a good device(nexus5 ) i went ahead and got a cheap OBD(On-Board Diagnostics) device from this Amazon listing .. heres what it looked like on the Amazon page..
This arrived today and it looks less toy like and sort of more like a premium product. hmm..
I havnt yet taken it for a proper "drive". Ideally would like someone else to drive the car, while i fiddle around on the phone, but my dad just went back to Afghanistan. So I now have to wait a few weeks for him to get back. Or find a friend to drive it for me..
I have however installed and tested it with the engine idling and revving.. you know
..to see if it actually works.
Finding the socket/port to plug it in was actually the trickiest part of the exercise. I first looked under the steering column, since thats where a few forums had said it was.. but on proper inspection i found it neatly within reach.. just below that latch that opens the hood.
|Chevrolet Beat 2010 Model|
|Its riiiight there...|
|You won't be able to reach it if your sitting in your seat... have to step out of the car and bend.. bend.. and twist a little.|
|There it is.. see it?|
After Plugging it in i checked to see if it was visible. some OBD devices will run off the car's battery even when you turn the car off. So its something you need to check on.. otherwise it will just drain your battery (bluetooth transmitters use up a lot of juice).
Anyway there was no device in range, so then i turned on the ignition and left the car idling..
now it popped up in the list of bluetooth devices(remember to make your device visible though).. pairing is easy.. it asks for the code.. and suggests using either 0000 or 1234 .. i don't remember which one i tried but it worked on the first try and then i was able to name the device(original name was just OBDII .. I added the Chevy Beat so i don't get confused later.
I had already installed Torque, and on running it, it asked me to switch on my GPS(which was on.. but was in battery saving mode).. once i turned it on and restarted Torque, it took a few seconds to search for the bluetooth OBD device.. but kept coming up with a "Device not found.. searching again" message..
one quick look in settings showed me that it had the option to manually select an already paired device..
That turned out to be a handy feature.
As soon as Torque found the device.. the dials and displays lit up.. and started reacting everytime a revved the engine.
I havn't tried it with any other apps yet(apparently Dash is good too)..
will post an update when i do.. for now am using Torque Lite (OBD2 & Car) the demo version of Torque.
Get it here at the android Play Store.
UPDATE: Safety issues
There have been concerns on various forums about whether a faulty OBD might mess up your car's ECU..
this guy adresses those concerns-
" I am an electrical engineer with 15 years experience, and for a few of those years I designed custom hardware and software for monitoring engine parameters over OBDII.
Even the buggy-est software sending the crappiest of messages is virtually incapable of messing up an ECU. Trust me, if anybody could fry an ECU by accident it probably would have been me - I put those things through hell as I tried to figure things out the hard way.
About the only messages that an OBD scanner can give an ECU are requests for info (which cannot mess anything up) and a request to clear the warning light (which either works or not). Deeper commands are proprietary to the auto manufacturer and are generally encoded (in other words, a bad dongle isn't going to accidentally be able to get into them). All OBD commands are checksumed to detect "crappy" messages and ignore them.
To mess up an engine (not an ECU), the software controlling the dongle would have to know the proprietary coding needed to access the deeper functions of the ECU, send a bad command (like uploading a crappy fuel map) in a properly formatted way. You might mess up the tuning, maybe even damage the engine, but that would not be the dongle's fault, would have to be very intentional, and makes it almost impossible to mess up the ECU.
In other words, don't worry about it. "
source - Robert Alan Gerhart's comment at http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/25/dashs-smart-driving-app-a-fitbit-for-cars-arrives-on-android/