Flutterby™! : New (to me) car follies

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New (to me) car follies

2009-06-01 23:35:00.452031+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

Just ordered a ScanTool.net ScanGauge II display for the Mazda B4000 truck to give me an MPG gauge (and more) like Charlene has in her car. It plugs into the OBD-II port on all cars sold in the U.S. later than 1997 (and several cars earlier than that) and gives access to all sorts of interesting data. At $160 it ain't cheap, but thinking about where on the projects I have to play with the "hack up my own MPG meter" solution was, it seemed like I should just spring for it.

[ related topics: Hardware Hackery Automobiles Machinery Embedded Devices ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:19:59.034669+00 by: jeff

Very cool. Just out of curiosity, where was th OBD-II port located on the Mazda, Dan?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:23:50.410307+00 by: ebradway

What year is your Mazda again? The ScanGauge II doesn't provide speed, distance, or fuel economy in my 98 Ranger. Per ScanGuage's website.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:29:25.843477+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's a '97, the ScanGauge website lists the B4000 as having ODB-II since 1995.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:29:37.687253+00 by: ebradway

I'm thinking you may want to just hack with one of these.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:39:14.467657+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh. Huh. See the note now about the Ranger. Wellllll... will have to see once I get it, may be sending it back. Damn.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 00:54:18.537327+00 by: ebradway

Not sure why that particular two years of Ford Ranger and Explorer don't work. I'll be interested to see what happens when you hook it up.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 01:33:07.164431+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Hmmm... I guess if the ScanGauge doesn't work out I could drop a serial port on the Chumby and see if I can build a display that way...

But if there's really no way to get fuel flow info out of the device then I guess I'm back to reading the current on the pulses to the injectors, and that starts to become a real project...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-02 02:44:23.684882+00 by: meuon

The fuel gauge will be worth more than the truck AND the annual cost of gas. :)

But I've NEVER been guilty of that kind of logic.. Laughing..

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-04 03:24:24.657923+00 by: ebradway

FYI: Just dug out my Haynes Repair Manual for "Ford Ranger Pickups 1993 thru 2000 - All Models". Subtitle: "Also includes 1994 thru 2000 Mazda B2300, B2500, B3000, B4000". Flipping through, the book differentiates between model years and engine sizes but never once says "this is the Ford version and that is the Mazda version".

The manual, my the way, is better than nothing. But that's not saying much. I've never cared for Haynes. I used to prefer Chilton's repair manuals... At least, until I bought the Bentley manual for my Porsche 911 and my VW Bus.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-04 16:10:55.851784+00 by: Dan Lyke

Bummer. Oh well, if it doesn't give me MPG on this truck I've got a friend or two I can sell it to.

Thanks for the heads-up on the manuals, I need to get one preemptively.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-04 17:31:07.891028+00 by: Dan Lyke

Device arrived. The OBD-II port is under a little flip-down cover just to the left of the interior hood release under the steering wheel. Looks like the truck doesn't output speed, so I have fuel flow in GPH, but no mileage. Damn.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-08 20:16:59.286165+00 by: ebradway

Well - at least speed should be easy to hack. Fuel flow is the hard part. Does the ScanGuage look hackable?

I'm thinking you should mount a camera to your steering column and use video pattern recognition to determine where the needle is pointing!

Seriously, though. You could either integrate an OBD-II reader, like this with a GPS for velocity. It would also be interesting to strap a magnet to the drive shaft and read pulses - probably more accurate than the GPS. That's how the old after- market cruise controls worked.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-06-08 21:15:57.196415+00 by: Dan Lyke

Scan gauge doesn't look terribly hackable, but fuel flow may be enough: Just being conscious about the difference between 2GPH and 3GPH is a really good start. If I get into too much hacking I may get that scanner or something similar and build my own. The parts for the GPS should be here shortly, and I got an Arduino that ought to have extra capability to put such things in the device.