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Old 08-01-2006, 05:39 PM   #1
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Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

Hi there.

I recently got a laptop for college, and I thought it would be cool to hook it up to my OBD-II port and do some diagnostics, etc. I have a 2002 v6.

Well, I started looking, and the cable/converter kits cost more than $100! I'm probably wrong, but this looks like something that costs $1.38 max to manufacture, and yet these companies charge so much because they know normal people couldn't do it. But come on... $100 for a small solid-state converter? You've got to be kidding me!

Basically, is there any cheaper way to get a useable signal into my laptop? I know the software is all free, it's the dang hardware that I can't afford. Anyone got any ideas?
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

There are connectors out there that are cheaper. I remember because I wanted to diagnose the engine light on my dads 4-Runner. I've seen some from 30-$50. it was a few months ago when I was searching so I can't remember where I found them. I'm sure I just did a yahoo search and tracked them down.
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

Well, the cables are cheap. It's the converter box that is expensive. From what I've read, the output signal is of the wrong frequency to work in a laptop, and the box makes it the right frequency.
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:27 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

Hey, im definitely interested in this whole hooking up youre laptop to the car to do diagnostics. Wat can u do if u hook it up to the car? Wat kinds of diagnostics are u talking about? And can u post the links to where i can get the softwares and what they do? and if u find anything new, plz post, cuz id definitely like to get in on that. Any tuning potential with the software? ( just thot id throw it out there)
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:36 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

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Originally Posted by iceman08 View Post
Hey, im definitely interested in this whole hooking up youre laptop to the car to do diagnostics. Wat can u do if u hook it up to the car? Wat kinds of diagnostics are u talking about? And can u post the links to where i can get the softwares and what they do? and if u find anything new, plz post, cuz id definitely like to get in on that. Any tuning potential with the software? ( just thot id throw it out there)
I'm pretty sure you can tune, but only if the software allows it. As far as diagnostics, you get realtime temp, speed, RPM, and all sorts of other stuff. Also, it can tell you your 1/4 mile and 0-60 time to the thousandth of a second. So far, the cheapest I found is about $50. They use the ELM323 chip, which is compatible with a vast number of free software apps.

It's cheaper than going to the dealer everytime the check-engine light goes on, and it's pretty cool to boot (Hey guys! My computer is plugged into my car!)

I'll post more as I get more info.
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:43 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

My SCT XCal 2 allows me to do that all I want. To datalog any number of parameters while driving, store to disk to analyze/share any time I want, and tells me any codes that are thrown.

I know it is a $400 piece (got mine for $250) and not what you are looking for, but it serves everything I need...logging, diagnostics, and tuning. All in one simple solution. It also gives me the cool "Hey guys, my computer is plugged into my car." effect as well. I know it got lots of looks at the gas station when I pulled in to look at some WOT logging.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:32 AM   #7
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

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Originally Posted by Smurfin View Post
My SCT XCal 2 allows me to do that all I want. To datalog any number of parameters while driving, store to disk to analyze/share any time I want, and tells me any codes that are thrown.

I know it is a $400 piece (got mine for $250) and not what you are looking for, but it serves everything I need...logging, diagnostics, and tuning. All in one simple solution. It also gives me the cool "Hey guys, my computer is plugged into my car." effect as well. I know it got lots of looks at the gas station when I pulled in to look at some WOT logging.
yes and no.

the handhelds are decent, to a degree. theyre sufficient for, id say, 75% of the population.

i really wish i could show some of you DSMlink and/or get it to be compatible(or take the source code that they will give you) and modify it for a mustang ecu.

imagine tuning EVERYTHING the ecu can, a logging program that can do 300samples per second, and "on the fly" tuning, meaning you can still drive the car and make chances to the ECU, making pull over tuning a thing of the past(if you have a trusted co-pilot). DSMlink puts just about every Dynoshop to shame, who needs a Dyno when you can do a 3rd gear pull on the freeway under realtime conditions(wind, weather) and log everything down to your dome light voltage draw at 6700rpm. plus the option for auxilary inputs(using extra unused ECU pins) for things like Wideband 02's, EGT probes, MAP sensors, anything that can do a 0-5v output can be logged. plus the ability to simply plug in injector ratios(global fuel settings, dead time) and be running within minutes on a general fuel curve.

plus you can control auxilary modules, like a Nitrous or Meth/Alchy injection system with it. set them to engage at any RPM, Load(throttle) or gear, and if they have a variable motor, you can control their strength(so you can spray a little meth in 2nd and alot in 3rd, and maybe not so much in 4th). possibly next years version will be able to spray h20/meth/alchy based on knock values(if it starts to knock, it adds more, after learning a few runs, it extrapolates and figures out when it should add to keep knock away before it starts)

version 3 coming soon will have load based tuning ability.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:56 AM   #8
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

OK This is pathetic. I know somewhere out there in cyberspace is a supergeek from the 23rd century with the power to do this cheaply. I am going to ask the supergeeks here where I work.
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

:woo:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danger Dude View Post
OK This is pathetic. I know somewhere out there in cyberspace is a supergeek from the 23rd century with the power to do this cheaply. I am going to ask the supergeeks here where I work.
Woot for supergeeks!! wish I were one. I'd be rich beeyatch.
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap OBD-II to Laptop with converter

OK, here is the cheapest I found. It's a hair over $50 after shipping. It doesn't specifically state compatibility, but it looks like it would work with Ford cars. This includes the interface and cables. It uses the ELM323 chip, which seems to be very popular among the laptop diagnostics group.

Has anyone found anything cheaper?
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