Carchip data loggers

In a recent thread a poster suggested the use of a Carchip data logger. It got me to wondering…
Have any of you used one of these?
Are they any good?
Are there any alternative recommendations?

Good for what?? The rental companies use them to detect abuse and speeding…

Good question. For solving difficult to fix intermittant operating problems.

I’m not familiar with “Carchip” if that’s a brand name & I don’t know how it works.

I do know that I have one of those USB connection OBDII scanners that pulls codes & acts as a basic scantool for live data. The really bad but free cheap software it came with will log data, so you can hook it all up, set it to record and drive.

I have found this to be very handy. So, e.g. when the TCC in my van started acting up I was able to at least determine that neither my MAF nor TPS were acting screwy, that I wasn’t experiencing any kind of intermittent voltage drops (only in general, not for the trans), and that the issues didn’t have anything to do with engine temps, etc. It also provides O2 sensor & fuel trim info should I ever need it…etc. I recently had reason to wonder whether or not my temp gauge on my dash was reflecting what the PCM thought the car’s temp was - I confirmed that they were largely in synch.

Data logging is handy.

Thanks Cig. It sounds like it moght be handy, but I have reservations.

What are the reservations? You can get these laptop versions really cheap so not much is lost there. I spent $100 but could have spent less. What comes after that are just the limitations of the device (they mostly do only generic unless you pay mucho $$ for the manufacturer specific softwares), and the user. I don’t use it very much, but I’ll always own one from now on.

I just hate to spend money for something unless I’ve at one point said “jeeze, if I only had a …”.
On the other hand, I did spend a few hundred on a borescope for a one-time need, and I spent another $70 on an infrared thermometer for a one-time need. Actually, I’ve probably got thousands of dollars in tools that I’ve bought for one-time needs…perhaps much more.

I guess I’ll wait until I need one at least once.

Here’s my method: the first time I need it I say “ahhh…I’ll get by…” The second time I need it - same thing. The third time I just say “ahhhh…forget it - I’m getting it.” Those “times” could be years apart, but nonetheless…

Its also the case that for lots of tools I find that I need them all the time once I own them - even if “need” is defined somewhat loosely.

You can also find the basic patch cord from OBDII to USB port for really cheap on eBay - I’ve seen Caddyman post them at around $25. Then there’s a free software (OBDWiz) that does the basic scantool functions.

TSM maybe this line of reasoning will help- it’s better to be prepared for a need :wink:

Get one and see all the neat things you can view and monitor. A need you can rationalize will crop up shortly afterward. Like quantifying your before and after modifications for example.

One tool I’ve never regretted spending money to acquire…

It may have been me that suggested using one in a recent thread. I’ve had mine for a number of years now.
They are nice for monitoring what the car is doing over time as it records parameters in a 1 minute interval for up to 300 hours. In other words, you can see what’s happening for the last 300 hours of driving.
That comes in handy. Sure, you can do the same with a laptop and a protocol plug but this thing just plugs into your OBD2 port, it being small and unobtrusive.

They are also great to monitor young (read ‘irresponsible’) drivers:
I’ll never forget that my daughter was visiting some friends up in Boston. We’re in SW CT.
She called me to tell her that she was leaving around 2. I got a call at 5 that she was in Boston - a ride that takes me over 2.5 hours and I don’t drive slow.

After she returned, I pulled the car chip in her car - it had a weird problem that I had fixed so wanted to monitor how it was doing. She was doing 97-99 for a good 45 minute stretch! Most of the other speed it recorded was in excess of 80 mph with some really hard brake events. /shock/

Needless to say, we had something to talk about…

TT, you may be right.

Funny you should mention my modifications. I just had more confirmation that they actually worked. The temperatures here are getting cold, in the teens some nights. We’ll have occasional below zero mornings in another month or so. I became concerned that pushing very cold air via a ram air system through a well insulated induction system might ice up the throttle body, so I removed the ram air parts and the insulating blankets. The first time I got back onto the highway I noticed the drop in power. My hiughway “punch” is gone. All I have left is the power the dealer sold me the car with. The difference was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I guess I’ll just have to suffer until spring.

Remco, that must have been one heck of a discussion…

Moutainbike: oh, you don’t know! She was still in college at the time so I was still paying everything.
She’s since slowed down. She’s a good driver now, so the lesson was learned.

If you have kids that drive, it isn’t a bad idea to plug in to what they are doing. If you fix your own car, every bit of information can be useful.
I like it.

I agree.
My kids were driving as newbies before all this technoology became available, but it’s a good idea.