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We’ve covered OBD-II readers before on Toolmonger, and it’s our experience that they generally fall into two categories: the inexpensive ones which offer a read of instant data only, and the expensive ones which show and record real-time data. It makes sense, as it takes a lot more computing power and design to handle the real-time data than it does to just show you the current readings. But what if you’ve already spent a few hundred bucks on a pocket computing device that has plenty of juice to drive such a display — like, say, an iPhone?

Griffin launched a “car monitoring sensor” this week at CES that plugs into your OBD-II data jack and connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. Their app records and displays the data via the iPhone’s pretty high-res touch screen. Total cost: about $90.

Cult of Mac (whose staff is braving CES so we, thankfully, don’t have to) reports that the app not only reports common OBD-II data but also integrates fuel consumption rate, acceleration, and more. It even calculates a “carbon score” to help you estimate how much you’re adding to various world ecological problems.

But hey, forget all the extras. I paid over $100 for the basic code reader I own, and I’d happily trade it for something like this that offers a hell of a lot nicer display of the data — especially for less cash. Color me interested.

(Thanks, Cult of Mac, for the press-release-based photo.)

Griffin Launches Car-Monitoring Sensor for iPhone [Cult of Mac]


15 Responses to Griffin Announces iPhone OBD-II Reader

  1. Jaxx says:

    This sounds like a good idea, and the Griffin itrip has worked well for me in the past, untill the latest update when the device suddenly became no longer supported : (

  2. Or you could buy any existing bluetooth ODB-II reader for $50 or less and install an android reader app and save $40:

    • Sonja says:

      But that would involve me downgrading my phone or tablet to an android based one.

    • ryan says:

      The apps and support are way stronger for Android. apple is so tight is what they allow you are very limited in this area. Beside the software in this area being more numerous and superior to apple, it is also way cheaper. You can get the equivalent on a Droid for less than a quarter of what it costs on an apple product.

  3. James says:

    Belkin seems to be a day late and a dollar short, here. There have – for quite a long time now – been OBD-II devices which connect to a computer using USB or Bluetooth.

    Most of these devices are built around a single-purpose OBD-II chip called “ELM327” with is then joined with either a USB management chip or a Bluetooth management device.

    I have one of these: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.16921

    And I use it with my Android phone using an application called Torque: http://torque-bhp.com/

  4. ShopMonger says:

    There is one available for Droid also….Tourque-BHP app with BT OBD2 Doggle


  5. jeff_williams says:

    Man, about time. I’ve been waiting for an affordable reader that takes advantage of consumer hardware for years.

  6. Todd says:

    I’m hoping they account for the ability to tweak the stats based on larger or smaller tires (speed and odo correction)
    if it has this or the ability to work with other iPhone software like Rev or Dashcommand it looks like a really good option!

  7. Ben says:

    Whoa! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. I just bought this:


    And it looks like I can get the “Torque” app and be able to do similar stuff with my Droid.

    Thanks Tool Monger!

  8. ttamnoswad says:

    I like this idea, though I would prefer to have a stand alone scanner that stays inside the toolbox. But the nice screen would be a definatte upgrade.

    My hands tend to be oily, greasy or dirty when I am working near the car and I would not want to get that all over my frilly phone.

    On another note, am I the only one getting iphone fatigue. I barely use 5% of the apps on my phone already.

  9. Eric says:

    Doesn’t get me to excited. I’d much rather leave the real time stuff to my scan gauge II, then it’s always available for me to look at whenever I want. And if I want to get more in depth I could pull out my sct x-cal 3 and record every output known to man to analyze on my laptop later. And there is always the pocket dyno and speedometer apps on my iphone if I want even more data.

  10. Mike says:

    Great idea, but it is a monitor, the same type of thing that is in my wife’s Murano navigation system. I checked Griffin’s website, there is nothing that says it will clear codes. For 40 more bucks I will get a code reader with live data.

  11. Greg says:

    Here is one created by students at Kettering University (formerly GMI) here in Flint, MI. Only cost is the cable. Software is free I think.

    Clears codes too:



  12. Eric G. says:

    I didn’t see if it offered diag code interpretation of manufacturer specific codes.

    right now i have to read off the codes from my harbor freight cheapo code scanner and plug it in to alldatadiy.

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