Announcing the PriusChat OBDII Phone App Project

Discussion in 'Prius OBDII Third-Party Apps' started by TonyPSchaefer, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    We're going to see how this goes. It's worth a try.

    As a community, we should have the knowledge, skill and ambition to develop phone apps for plugging into the OBDII port of any car and pulling vehicle information.

    The plug-to-phone cabling will need to be developed and the programming for the apps will need to be developed. There have got to be many people capable of those tasks around here.

    Let's see what we, as a community, can do!
     
  2. 13Plug

    13Plug Active Member

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  3. greenewl

    greenewl New Member

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    could we get a group price break on the modules? I saw the apps out there already on itunes.
     
  4. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    I've looked at he Kiwi setups and an App called DashCommand (DashCommand - Palmer Performance Engineering, Inc.)

    Here are my thoughts:
    - the bluetooth and wireless would seem expensive for he average person.
    - DashCommand seems geared for high-performance racing.

    Hardware wise, I was thinking about a wired plug like this: http://gopointtech.com/blog/products/

    I guess I was thinking more along the lines of putting the emphasis on driving greener with the other stuff available if desired.
     
  5. reeed

    reeed Junior Member

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    Exciting :)

    I'd like to help out with software development if we agree to release it under one of the Open Source licenses.
     
  6. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder
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    It'll definitely be released under one of the Open Source licenses.
     
  7. Ryanpl

    Ryanpl Active Member

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    The gopointtech mod makes me want an Ipod touch now. Darn you Tony.
     
  8. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Hey while you're at it can you buy me one too? :D
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It looks like that and the Kiwi Bluetooth are both about $99, and both come with apps for the phone. The big question is, how extensible are those apps? If they have a way to import our PID tables (and maybe DTC definitions too, would be nice) that's a 95% solution right there. Has anybody checked the docs for either piece of software yet to see how it stacks up on that front?

    The other 5% of a perfect solution would be defining new vehicle specific displays (pretty gauges or animations for HSD behavior or battery temps or what not). It's probably less likely (but still possible) that the existing software apps make it easy to create new graphical displays. As with most projects, it'd be easy to spend a whole lot of the effort on the last 5%.

    I would bet there are way more than two smartphone obdii apps already devloped or in development, probably some that are open source. I would guess a good place to start would be to compile a table of those, comparing them on the ability to define new PIDs and DTCs and to create new displays. If that table's on a wiki, several people can investigate different apps and contribute findings.

    Have you already chosen a place to host (sourceforge or the like) this project? I have an old sourceforge account (they're free) and can set up a new project there if nobody has another preference. I can check in the NHW11 PID tables we've already got, and also put a wiki there, which would be a good way to handle design discussions and the review of existing apps and their capabilities. I can't commit to be project lead though; I can be the guy who sets up the project hosting and the initial list of participants, and then I'll be one of those.

    I've just looked over the sourceforge terms of use, and they force a decision on which open source license we want to use; it's supposed to be designated before any code is uploaded.

    -Chap
     
  10. JAD73

    JAD73 New Member

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    Since my check engine light went on a few weeks ago for my '02 Prius, I bought a Bluetooth ODBII scanner from Ebay for about $35. It shipped from China, sure, but it works well so far and was dirt cheap compared to most of what you find here. I use is in conjunction with an Android-powered HTC EVO phone. I've tried several ODBII programs so far, but Torque is the easiest to use and seems to be the most powerful (as in, full of options I'd be too afraid to play with). It's both free and premium. I'm using the free version, but I think I'll be a big spender and pay the $8 for the full version. Suffice to say, Torque and the others I've downloaded (all free, btw) seem to offer all the options that those expensive programs I looked at over the web do.

    That said, none of these programs offer car-specific settings that I've noticed. Especially not a Prius specific interface, which would be ideal. I oddly got a trouble code reading of P2000, which is not in any list of trouble codes anywhere... Best I can tell, it might mean something is problematic in the O2 sensor of the catalytic convertor...
     
  11. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    FWIW - I have the Kiwi ($150) and the Rev App ($40), both of which work well, though the Rev app obvioulsly doesn't have some of the hybrid specific parameters the hypermilers want to see. The Rev app seems well put together and has a nice design quality. The gopointtech is definitely cheaper, at $100, and unlike the kiwi, it has auto shutoff, so it can't put a vampire drain on your battery if you don't turn it off.

    Here a Rev app link: DevToaster - Rev - iPhone app development, Great iPhone apps, and more
     
  12. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    No. I have no idea what it takes to make any of this happen. This is why I believe it's the perfect community project.
    Heck, if I had all the know-how I'd do it all myself and charge for the app. As it is, I strongly believe that a collection of intelligent, motivated individuals could easily do anything they put their minds to.

    You might say I'm a dreamer.
    But I'm not the only one.
    (everyone hold hands now)
    I hope some day you will join us.
    And the world can code as one.
     
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  13. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I like that attitude. Let's maybe throw a dart and pick one of the open source licenses already written that will satisfy sourceforge (I should ask Graham Davies if he has a preference since some of his stuff's in the NHW11 PID tables) and I'll set up a sourceforge project for it.

    Whoever wants in, get a free sourceforge account if you don't have one already, let me know the name and I'll add it to the project.

    -Chap
     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    ... I'm partial to the most unrestrictive ones, like MIT, myself ....

    -Chap
     
  15. priushippie

    priushippie New Member

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    Please make it for Droid too!
     
  16. wfolta

    wfolta Active Member

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    To get a little techie here, I'd recommend not using a GPL. I've read so far about two apps being forced off of the iTunes store by GPL advocates because even though they're free, even though anyone could download them, and even though their source code can be obtained freely as well, it's not "free enough" for GPL because you can't download it on your phone and then transfer it to someone else's phone.
     
  17. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Is it possible to install and run an iPhone app without getting it from the iTunes store? What if we have the app available here, via Priuschat, for free download?

    Is that possible?
     
  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I'm not an authority but my understanding is that the answer's no, that the iPhone uses technical measures to prevent installing an app that didn't come from their store. (Some people do jailbreak their iPhones and get around those measures, so in that sense the answer is yes, but not on an un-jailbroken iPhone if I understand it right.)

    I hadn't been following that story, so in case I wasn't the only one wishing the earlier poster had supplied a link, here it is (from the FSF's side):

    FSF on App Store usage terms

    As a practical matter, the choice of license may have a lot to do with what existing code is out there and how it is licensed. If a nice open source obdii app exists that does nearly everything we want, can be extended with Prius PIDs, and is under the GPL, we would have to have way too much time on our hands if we wanted to duplicate all that effort from scratch just to use a different license.

    My feeling, I'm happy to, say, MIT-license my own stuff, which doesn't really create any license conflicts for anybody else. Assuming we don't develop a whole obdii app from the bare metal up, we'll be finding useful pieces by others to include. If we can find all of those in MIT or BSD licenses, great. If some of them are GPL then the overall combination is GPL, which might complicate distributing an iPhone version, but the alternative would be to pass up free code that's already there to use and redevelop it from scratch.

    My own leaning would be to try to find the best existing pieces to put together and if some of them are GPL then concentrate on an Android distribution first and see how Apple resolves the issue (which might even happen by the time we actually care).

    -Chap
     
  19. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    For those not bored by such things, here's another discussion with a few interesting comments strewn about:

    Can GPL iPhone apps exist?

    -Chap
     
  20. reeed

    reeed Junior Member

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    hi Chap.

    my username on sourceforge is 'reeed' :)
     
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