It turns out that Maxwell really had been sick lately. Tuesday morning the electrical system totally died on the way to work. I barely made it back to the house. The trouble was with a bad alternator. The diagnosis was made easier when it started smoking while the fine folks at Way Motor Works were checking it out.

When I picked Maxwell up Friday I also picked up a Scanguage II. I've been looking at it for a while. If I had got it earlier I'd probably been able to tell that something was up with my charging system among other things. It's a tiny computerized guage that connects to the OBD II socket of the car. It can read all kinds of info from the car's ECU. It's also a trip-computer that's similar to what's on the cars these days but a few steps better.

It comes with the gauge, an OBD II connector cable, some Velcro and a manual.

Here's the OBD II connector... under the steering wheel. It's the same connector that they hook the computer up to for emissions testing.

Just open it up and plug the cable in to the socket.

Set your engine size...

Voila! It's reading stuff. I'm idling in the driveway going nowhere.

Still idling.. going nowhere. But my alternator is working! Wow... the water temp really does go up quickly when you're going nowhere.

I went to the gas station and topped off. This will enable the ScanGauge to compute a correction factor for the amount of fuel used next time (and every time) I fill up. It's also set to the fuel tank size so it should give me a "time until empty". The car does this too so I'll have to see how they compare.

After this I ran a few errands and went to the grocery store.

It's mounted with the Velcro on the dash. I had to move the GPS over a little bit but not too much. I also checked the speed reading of the ScanGauge against the speed reading of the GPS. They were pretty close. I did make a small adjustments as the ScanGauge often seemed a little fast.

Here's my mileage from my running around today. It keep trip counters for a single trip, the current day, the previous day and the whole tank.

You can also set the price of your gas when you fill up so it will compute how much your trips cost you.

It has a backlight that can be programmed to be 90-something different colors. Looks like their "amber" is already a close match for the rest of my dash instruments. Yay.

I'll report back later after I used it for a while. All in all it's a handy little tool. In addition to the gauge values it already reads, it's programmable so you can add more when you encounter new ones or car-specific ones. It will also read the fault codes when the SES and other strange lights in your car come on. It can also clear them once the issue has been addressed.

It definitely appeals to my inner-geek.


Jeff said...

That's very tempting. This could be a useful addition to my truck since most of my gauges don't work anymore.

Liberty .45ACP said...

How's the ScanGauge doing? I've been thinking about putting one in my PT,

grantbob said...

It's working well. It's easy to read and easy to use. It looks like it will take a few fill-ups to callibrate the gas useage. I thought the MPG it calculated was reading a little high and sure enough at my first fill-up it had calculated that I used 8.6 or so gallons when I put in 10.4 or something. You correct it and it calculates a correction factor for all of its other calculations. I figure a few more fill-ups from the same pump and the same place and it should get a lot more accurate.

The only other thing I've seen is that it sometimes gets the "day" messed up. It doesn't have a realtime clock so when it's been off for about 10 hours it assumes it's the next day. Sometimes it's off at work for more than 10 and sometimes it's off at home overnight for less than 10. No big deal but it was confusing the first time it happened.