Discussion:
cheapest way to set up and run working android apps?
(too old to reply)
Todd Williams
2015-02-11 17:47:53 UTC
Permalink
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.

Thank you,
Todd
Mayayana
2015-02-11 18:41:21 UTC
Permalink
Interesting issue. I also have a Tracphone...
with about 1,000 minutes on it because I
just don't have much use for portable phones.

I have an OBD II error code tool I got at Auto
Zone for $40-50. It was worth the investment. It
sounds like what you're talking about doesn't
need any extra tool. That's impressive, but you'd
still have to figure in the cost of having a smart
phone, which seems to be $200+ for the phone
and $100+- per month for the service. Plus the
cost of the apps. Plus the disadvantage that
you're walking around with a tracking collar, being
tracked by Google.
Even if you don't care about privacy, you can
buy an awfully lot of gadgets for the cost of
maintaining a smart phone.

I don't see how you
could run those apps on Windows. Even if you
had a laptop with bluetooth, those apps are designed
to run on Android, from a phone and are downloaded
from the Google store. Are you imagining running some
kind of Android emulation on a PC?
Todd Williams
2015-02-11 23:01:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mayayana
Interesting issue. I also have a Tracphone...
with about 1,000 minutes on it because I
just don't have much use for portable phones.
I have an OBD II error code tool I got at Auto
Zone for $40-50. It was worth the investment. It
sounds like what you're talking about doesn't
need any extra tool. That's impressive, but you'd
still have to figure in the cost of having a smart
phone, which seems to be $200+ for the phone
and $100+- per month for the service. Plus the
cost of the apps. Plus the disadvantage that
you're walking around with a tracking collar, being
tracked by Google.
Even if you don't care about privacy, you can
buy an awfully lot of gadgets for the cost of
maintaining a smart phone.
I don't see how you
could run those apps on Windows. Even if you
had a laptop with bluetooth, those apps are designed
to run on Android, from a phone and are downloaded
from the Google store. Are you imagining running some
kind of Android emulation on a PC?
Just what I figured, which is why I thought I'd ask here. I already
have a handheld OBD scanner that does the job for some of the PIDs, then
recently got a OBDLink SX that interfaces the car connection to USB.
And some very good free software on Win 7 that reads a LOT more PIDs.

I was just looking for a bit more portability, but if it's going to be
that costly, I think I'll just stick with what I have.

I wondered if one HAD to have some subscription to a service just to
download and use the APPS, and I guess from what you say, you do. And
the tracking issues like you say.

Thanks for your input, I will just stick with what I have.

Todd
Char Jackson
2015-02-12 00:58:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Williams
I wondered if one HAD to have some subscription to a service just to
download and use the APPS, and I guess from what you say, you do. And
the tracking issues like you say.
No, you don't need an active cell service plan in order to download and use
Android apps, but you do need some kind of network connectivity. I have an
old Android phone that has no active service plan, but it still connects to
my Wi-Fi and can access and download apps that way.
--
Char Jackson
Gene E. Bloch
2015-02-12 01:30:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Char Jackson
Post by Todd Williams
I wondered if one HAD to have some subscription to a service just to
download and use the APPS, and I guess from what you say, you do. And
the tracking issues like you say.
No, you don't need an active cell service plan in order to download and use
Android apps, but you do need some kind of network connectivity. I have an
old Android phone that has no active service plan, but it still connects to
my Wi-Fi and can access and download apps that way.
A detail or two:

If I browse Google Play (Google's source of apps) on my PC I seem to
need an active account (which I had anyway) to send an app to my Android
tablet (which has WiFi connectivity to my router, but no phone).

OTOH, if I browse on the tablet itself, I don't seem to need an account
with Google to D/L an app. But that may be misleading. I do have the
tablet synced with my account, so maybe a login is just happening
without my knowledge.

Note that I am talking about accounts, not cellphone plans.
--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)
Jeff Layman
2015-02-11 19:30:52 UTC
Permalink
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.
Is this of any use?
http://www.bluestacks.com/app-player.html
--
Jeff
Roger Mills
2015-02-11 20:12:25 UTC
Permalink
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Torque Pro reads vehicle data from the vehicle's on-board diagnostic
(OBD-II) socket. All modern cars are fitted with these - under the
dashboard or somewhere around the driver console - and they look a bit
like SCART (Euro) connectors. In order to get this data to an Android
device, you need an OBD-II reader - which plugs into the car's OBD-II
socket and communicates with the Android device over bluetooth. You can
pay varying amounts of money for these, but a relatively cheap one like
this works perfectly well for many people:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-ELM327-OBD2-OBDII-V1-5-Bluetooth-Diagnostic-Interface-Scanner-/120992229704

These devices will work with more or less any Android device which has
bluetooth - so it doesn't necessarily need to be a smartphone since a
cheap tablet will do. You don't need an internet connection for basic
operation - just the reader, the tablet and the app - though I have a
feeling that the app may need to access the internet to be able to
interpret some of the error codes it reads. Even so, if you're doing it
at home - or somewhere with WiFi - you still won't need a 3G connection.

I note that another poster is suggesting the possibility of running
Android apps on a PC by using an Android emulator such as bluestacks.
I've no idea whether apps such as Torque Pro would work in this way -
but they just might.
--
Cheers,
Roger
____________
Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
checked.
Roger Mills
2015-02-11 20:50:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roger Mills
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Torque Pro reads vehicle data from the vehicle's on-board diagnostic
(OBD-II) socket. All modern cars are fitted with these - under the
dashboard or somewhere around the driver console - and they look a bit
like SCART (Euro) connectors. In order to get this data to an Android
device, you need an OBD-II reader - which plugs into the car's OBD-II
socket and communicates with the Android device over bluetooth. You can
pay varying amounts of money for these, but a relatively cheap one like
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-ELM327-OBD2-OBDII-V1-5-Bluetooth-Diagnostic-Interface-Scanner-/120992229704
These devices will work with more or less any Android device which has
bluetooth - so it doesn't necessarily need to be a smartphone since a
cheap tablet will do. You don't need an internet connection for basic
operation - just the reader, the tablet and the app - though I have a
feeling that the app may need to access the internet to be able to
interpret some of the error codes it reads. Even so, if you're doing it
at home - or somewhere with WiFi - you still won't need a 3G connection.
I note that another poster is suggesting the possibility of running
Android apps on a PC by using an Android emulator such as bluestacks.
I've no idea whether apps such as Torque Pro would work in this way -
but they just might.
I should also add that - if you're primarily interested in reading
ODB-II data - there are PC programs which work directly with the reader
rather than needing anything 'Android' - but that doesn't necessarily
apply to Android apps in general.

[I'm also cross-posting this to comp.mobile.android - where it might get
some response from Android experts.]
--
Cheers,
Roger
____________
Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
checked.
Mayayana
2015-02-11 21:59:07 UTC
Permalink
| In order to get this data to an Android
| device, you need an OBD-II reader - which plugs into the car's OBD-II
| socket and communicates with the Android device over bluetooth.

I wonder what the point is if the reader is still
needed. I have a reader. It gives me codes,
clears codes, and came with a booklet listing
code definitions. Any code it comes up with
can easily be looked up online. I can't think
of any further functionality I might be able to
use.
Roger Mills
2015-02-12 12:31:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mayayana
| In order to get this data to an Android
| device, you need an OBD-II reader - which plugs into the car's OBD-II
| socket and communicates with the Android device over bluetooth.
I wonder what the point is if the reader is still
needed. I have a reader. It gives me codes,
clears codes, and came with a booklet listing
code definitions. Any code it comes up with
can easily be looked up online. I can't think
of any further functionality I might be able to
use.
I presume that your reader has some sort of display? The sort of
inexpensive reader which I cited has no display - it simply reads the
data from the car's OBD-II socket and beams it over bluetooth to any
listening device. So you then need a PC/tablet/smartphone/whatever with
a suitable software or app to be able to accept that data and display it
in some meaningful way.

The Torque PRO App can do more than just displaying fault codes. For
example, it can read all the engine parameters and display them in real
time on its own user-customisable dashboard.
--
Cheers,
Roger
____________
Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
checked.
Mayayana
2015-02-12 13:58:24 UTC
Permalink
| I presume that your reader has some sort of display? The sort of
| inexpensive reader which I cited has no display - it simply reads the
| data from the car's OBD-II socket and beams it over bluetooth to any
| listening device.

I see. Yes, what I've got is a small screen that
shows codes. Simple, but effective. I didn't realize
they came screenless.
I find most of the usefulness is the information
I find online once I know the code. It turns out
that many of the codes are not definitive, but
there's a great deal of info, advice and videos
online for any given code.
Gene E. Bloch
2015-02-12 00:42:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roger Mills
Torque Pro reads vehicle data from the vehicle's on-board diagnostic
(OBD-II) socket. All modern cars are fitted with these - under the
dashboard or somewhere around the driver console - and they look a bit
like SCART (Euro) connectors. In order to get this data to an Android
device, you need an OBD-II reader - which plugs into the car's OBD-II
socket and communicates with the Android device over bluetooth. You can
pay varying amounts of money for these, but a relatively cheap one like
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-ELM327-OBD2-OBDII-V1-5-Bluetooth-Diagnostic-Interface-Scanner-/120992229704
These devices will work with more or less any Android device which has
bluetooth - so it doesn't necessarily need to be a smartphone since a
cheap tablet will do. You don't need an internet connection for basic
operation - just the reader, the tablet and the app - though I have a
feeling that the app may need to access the internet to be able to
interpret some of the error codes it reads. Even so, if you're doing it
at home - or somewhere with WiFi - you still won't need a 3G connection.
All good information.
--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)
ray carter
2015-02-11 20:22:06 UTC
Permalink
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.
Thank you,
Todd
You might have luck with either an android 'emulator' or android86 in a
virtual machine.
Paul
2015-02-11 21:30:27 UTC
Permalink
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Installing in a VM.

http://www.howtogeek.com/164570/how-to-install-android-in-virtualbox/

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
Bluetooth).

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.

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608037236365201115&pid=15.1&P=0

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.

Paul
Todd Williams
2015-02-12 01:27:22 UTC
Permalink
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Installing in a VM.
http://www.howtogeek.com/164570/how-to-install-android-in-virtualbox/
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
Bluetooth).
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.
http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608037236365201115&pid=15.1&P=0
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.
Paul
Great to come across knowledgeable people who have OBD scanners. My
story is this: not very mechanically inclined to cars, my MIL light
came on in Jan, which also happened to be my inspection month. That
also happened to be my mechanic's month of the year off, so I went to
Autozone to get the codes read-- PO171/174 and they also mentioned O2
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
showed a large value that dropped with idle and a smoke test revealed a
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 interface to my laptop that has an LM327? chip within and I picked up
an OBDLink SX cable and then downloaded and tried FORscan to read PIDS.
BIG difference in the amount of PIDs over the scanner, but now I'm
left with questions. FORscan shows no fault status for all 6 fuel
injectors, but Scan XL Pro, a higher end program that can be purchased
to work with the cable, shows an intermittent fault status for fuel
injector 1. Not being sure which program was correct and hearing all
the good things about Torque Pro, I was thinking of downloading it and
seeing what it showed but I don't think it's worth going to all the
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
it would just be better to find out why both programs are showing
differing results. Maybe I could just compare with another Win OBD if I
could find a decent one.

Todd
Paul
2015-02-12 02:38:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Williams
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Installing in a VM.
http://www.howtogeek.com/164570/how-to-install-android-in-virtualbox/
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
Bluetooth).
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.
http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608037236365201115&pid=15.1&P=0
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.
Paul
Great to come across knowledgeable people who have OBD scanners. My
story is this: not very mechanically inclined to cars, my MIL light
came on in Jan, which also happened to be my inspection month. That
also happened to be my mechanic's month of the year off, so I went to
Autozone to get the codes read-- PO171/174 and they also mentioned O2
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
showed a large value that dropped with idle and a smoke test revealed a
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 interface to my laptop that has an LM327? chip within and I picked up
an OBDLink SX cable and then downloaded and tried FORscan to read PIDS.
BIG difference in the amount of PIDs over the scanner, but now I'm left
with questions. FORscan shows no fault status for all 6 fuel injectors,
but Scan XL Pro, a higher end program that can be purchased to work with
the cable, shows an intermittent fault status for fuel injector 1. Not
being sure which program was correct and hearing all the good things
about Torque Pro, I was thinking of downloading it and seeing what it
showed but I don't think it's worth going to all the 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 it would just be
better to find out why both programs are showing differing results.
Maybe I could just compare with another Win OBD if I could find a decent
one.
Todd
Wiki has an article on the ELM327.
Apparently there are knockoffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELM327

Also an article on PIDS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBD-II_PIDs

"Non-standard PIDs

The majority of all OBD-II PIDs in use are
non-standard. For most modern vehicles, there are
many more functions supported on the OBD-II interface
than are covered by the standard PIDs, and there is
relatively minor overlap between vehicle manufacturers
for these non-standard PIDs.

There is very limited information available in the
public domain for non-standard PIDs. The primary source
of information on non-standard PIDs across different
manufacturers is maintained by the US-based Equipment and
Tool Institute and only available to members. The price of
ETI membership for access to scan codes starts from US$7,500.

Some OEMs refuse to use ETI as a one-stop source of scan
tool information. They prefer to do business with each tool
company separately. These companies also require that you
enter into a contract with them."

So that might explain how the tools get different information.

I wouldn't know, because mine just returns standard stuff
on its built-in display. It can also work out a few things,
like how much gas it would take to fill the tank at present.
The list in the above article, doesn't hint at how it
can do that.

Paul
Dave
2015-02-13 18:22:26 UTC
Permalink
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.
Thank you,
Todd
Since you already have tracfone, the easiest thing is to spend $50 (when
on sale) for a smart tracfone. You get triple minutes and can transfer
your existing minutes and remaining time. Once you get one, you might,
like me, find extra things you might like, such as syncing the calendar
with your windows google account. I have the ZTE model, it's great but
every couple of months the screen won't display and I have to remove and
replace the battery. This seems to be a known problem, so you might want
to look at one of the two alternative models tracfone carries.
Mayayana
2015-02-13 21:39:02 UTC
Permalink
I'm veering slightly OT of this OT thread here,
but it's sort of related and I found it very
interesting:

I got a new credit card with a paypass chip.
Master Card won't send me one without it. I
wanted to destroy the chip before using the
card, but how to be sure it was destroyed?
I couldn't find any RFID readers for sale, to
test the chip. It turned out that there was a
free app called NFC Reader that can read my
card using the NFC chip in an Android phone!
Having never before used a smart phone,
I was able to get the app going on a friend's
phone in just 5-10 minutes. (Despite a number
of confusing, inadvertent side trips into Google
maps, various other buzzing, blinking events that
I didn't understand, and a positively microscopic
keyboard.)

Now I'm curious. But it seems the biggest
challenge with phone apps is that "you don't
know what you don't know". There must be
other very useful things available (like the
OBD apps you're looking into). But I don't
even know how to start thinking about that.

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