LIVE DATA READ­ERS

Performance Vauxhall - - TECH -

We’ve cov­ered OPCOM and the of­fi­cial dealer-level di­ag­nos­tic tools, but there are those of you who prob­a­bly think in­vest­ing in a Tech 1 or Tech 2 is overkill if all you want to do is keep a close eye on live en­gine op­er­at­ing data (al­though in-cabin OBD or OBDII ports would al­low you to do ex­actly that while on the move with ei­ther unit plugged in!).

Back in the day, you’d clut­ter your dash­board with a tril­lion gauges pro­vid­ing you with live read­outs of ev­ery­thing from boost pres­sure to oil tem­per­a­ture. We know many of you still choose to sac­ri­fice air vents for gauges, but there are more el­e­gant so­lu­tions avail­able for OBDII cars. Scan­gauge II, for in­stance, is a low-cost data and fault code reader with the abil­ity to show four live read­outs on screen at the same time. Mon­i­tor speed, man­i­fold pres­sure, throt­tle po­si­tion, rpm, fuel pres­sure, in­take tem­per­a­ture, ig­ni­tion tim­ing, en­gine load, boost pres­sure, ac­tive bhp, bat­tery volt­age and a wide range of trip com­puter and mpg set­tings. You can even change the back­light colour to match the il­lu­mi­na­tion in your Vauxhall’s cabin, plus take ad­van­tage of be­ing able to read and clear stored fault codes.

Those de­ter­mined to save their money will be pleased to know the fault codes of some older Vaux­halls can be read by per­form­ing a ‘pa­per clip test’, where pins in the host ve­hi­cle’s di­ag­nos­tic port are bridged, re­sult­ing in a se­ries of en­gine man­age­ment light flashes which can be counted and de­coded to re­veal stored fault codes. The same can be achieved with some later Vaux­halls, al­beit by de­press­ing the brake pedal and ac­ti­vat­ing the ig­ni­tion. The lim­i­ta­tions of this ac­tion in­clude not be­ing able to clear codes, not be­ing able to record live data and not be­ing able to tell if the codes are ac­tive, but at least you’ll have a head start when try­ing to fig­ure out what’s wrong with your car.

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