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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Garmin ecoRoute HD GPS add-on monitors engine diagnostics and resets codes

8

August

lf-lg.jpgLast week I told you about my adventures with Yoda using my new Garmin GPS. The little, green Jedi and I spent the weekend together and everything worked flawlessly. I even had a few visits from Obi Wan Kenobi. The GPS I 'm using is the 2460LMT. It has a bright, 5-inch display and it's packed with features including voice-command capability, lifetime map updates, lifetime traffic updates, hands-free calling through Bluetooth pairing with your phone and Lane Assist for finding the correct lane at busy intersections. One additional feature is ecoRoute, which monitors your driving habits for better fuel economy and optimized trip routing. And for even more-detailed performance in formation you can add the ecoRoute HD wireless module to monitor your engine's performance right on the GPS.

The ecoRoute HD dongle plugs into the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II) port in your car and when paired with a compatible Garmin ecoRoute GPS, it wirelessly sends diagnostic information to your GPS display. A set of gauges provides detailed system data, including manifold pressure, air intake temperature, timing advance, coolant temperature, battery voltage and more. The gauges can be configured to display the information you want to see with a maximum of five gauges visible at all times. You also can view and reset diagnostic error codes and "check engine" warnings which can save you a trip to a mechanic and also could save you money.

My MINI Cooper has "idiot gauges" for coolant temperature, oil pressure and engine temperature but all they do is tell me when something has gone wrong without any details. With the ecoRoute system always running, I can monitor my pressures and temperatures in real time, taking data straight from the on-board computer, to identify a problem before the "something's wrong" light goes off. I took a trip to Cape Canaveral over the weekend and watched as the gauges on my GPS displayed fluctuations in my temperatures and pressures when I accelerated and when I was coasting down hills.

Installation is a snap. You just plug in the ecoRoute HD module and secure it with the included double-stick tape or zip ties. Then you turn on your car and GPS to wirelessly pair the dongle by pressing a few buttons on the screen. The dongle stays paired to your GPS as long as it remains plugged into the OBD II port.

Similar systems are available for iPhone and Android smartphones, but I like this solution better because it's ready to use all the time and doesn't tie up my phone. To use the ecoRoute HD module you must have a compatible Garmin GPS and a car that is compatible with OBD II.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 10:50am]

    

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