Post by Paul Post by Todd Williams
Ok, been running PC systems for years and a basic tracphone for
emergencies, but to date never had an interest in "smart" phones nor
anything else in that category for that matter. Recently though, a
friend was showing me some of the apps he used on his "smart" phone
and I was quite impressed. Unfortunately, most of the apps he showed
me are not available for Windows. One of them was called "Torque
Pro", a program that reads car data from a data connector and provides
a bunch of info about the car.
So.... what is the minimal I'd need to get apps running? The Torque
Pro program sends data over bluetooth, so may need something that has
that or at least a USB connection. A total newbie here to apps and
android, but if too expensive to get a minimal set up running, will
just forget it and stick to Win based programs.
Installing in a VM.
VirtualBox has USB passthru. You could try plugging a USB to
Bluetooth dongle into the computer, use the USB passthru, and
see if the Android VM can use its driver for Bluetooth access.
What you should see in that case, is the Windows host OS no
longer has the USB device in Device Manager (as you wouldn't
want the Windows host providing a driver and running the
To test that, it'll cost you the money for the USB to Bluetooth
device (having checked first that Android x86 could pick it up).
Somehow, I doubt that Android can pick up just anything, but your
testing will tell you that. The reason for the USB to Bluetooth
choice, is VirtualBox has USB passthru, which is one of the few
ways to get hardware access into the VM guest.
A Windows quad core tablet is around $100 to $200. Since this is
a virtual machine application, you'll need the $200 unit, to get
close to enough RAM. The low end tablets running Win8.1 are hobbled
on purpose (by Intel CPU limitations) to having not enough RAM.
An ordinary memory bus could support 8GB on a single DIMM, if Intel
would let it. And a VM does need some RAM. Allow 1GB for the host
OS, and some for Android (1GB?). 2GB would likely be barely enough.
You are likely to find some Android device that's going to
do this for less. If you're going to run Android, run
it native. There's bound to be some cut-rate computing
product out there, that can meet your price point. (Every
Android sold, Microsoft gets some money from patent licensing,
so in fact some of your money *still* goes to Microsoft.)
I have an OBD reader, and don't need any other stuff to make
it work. It has a small LCD readout, and I can get my scan codes
from that. As long as I print out the code listing on typing
paper and keep it in the glove box, I'm all set. Not all subsystems
have OBD information for them. On my car, I can't get any airbag
codes. The scanner at the dealer can though. The display can be
mounted inside the car permanently if you want. Just make
sure to keep it away from the air bag areas! If an airbag
fires, the last thing you want is one of these going along
for the ride. In a modern car, that leaves few safe mounting
points, that are close enough for you to read. At -20C, the
display on one of these becomes hard to read.
The last time the car dropped a code, it was an emissions code - the
charcoal cannister rusted through, and it gives equivalent symptoms
to the gas cap being loose. You cannot pass an emissions check,
for as long as the car continues to throw that code. I almost
suspect the mechanic disconnected whatever checks for that
condition - I was fully expecting more codes of that type, even
though the cannister has been replaced.
Great to come across knowledgeable people who have OBD scanners. My
came on in Jan, which also happened to be my inspection month. That
sensor. Online forums said it probably wasn't the O2 sensor, but a
vacuum leak somewhere. Some folks suggested a portable scanner and I
picked one up from Harbor Freight. I checked the fuel trims, which
bad pcb valve. Replaced that, turned off the light, did a drive cycle
and the car passed inspection by mid Jan. However, there are other
issues with both of my cars and the scanner shows limited PIDs. Not
enough to trigger the MIL, but noticeable. One person suggested using
an OBDLink SX cable and then downloaded and tried FORscan to read PIDS.
left with questions. FORscan shows no fault status for all 6 fuel
injector 1. Not being sure which program was correct and hearing all
trouble. I do actually run Virtualbox VM's as another poster mentioned
and I am on one right now.. Ubuntu with XP host as I have been for
several years now. Never knew I could set up Android as a VM. I think
differing results. Maybe I could just compare with another Win OBD if I
could find a decent one.