DriveDeck/Read Cars: OBD Adapter and Apps in the Practice Test

Speed, speed, water temperature, fuel consumption this guide meet the motorists in everyday life. But who even something dedicated climbs a mountain pass or dares even for training purposes on a race track, would like to more accurately know what’s just happening under the hood: how many horsepower and what torque squeeze straight into the seat the driver during heavy acceleration? What forces push it in bold corners to the page? The car knows this data with special adapters and apps they come on the screen of the iPhone and Android smartphones. How well this works, AUDIO VIDEO tried photo image.

So comes the deluge in the Smartphone

Who wants to get the data in the engine, needs a special sensor. This is a maximum cigarette box large box that fits on the so-called OBD-2 connector. This Jack to the on-board diagnosis is mandatory in any car with a petrol engine (2004 diesel) since 2001 and is usually left next to the pedals in the driver’s footwell. It is intended for the mechanic, who reads lots of data of the motor control and other car electronics via this connection. The OBD-2 connector is now essential for the error diagnosis or the emissions test. A Smartphone receives the data depending on the sensor manufacturer via Bluetooth (DriveDeck Sport Pro) or Wi-Fi (read cars). An app evaluates the data and get them on the display. The flood of info can be saved and later evaluate the computer.

OBD: vehicle data is transferred to your Smartphone

OBD adapter and apps functionality of apps

The DriveDeck adapter costs a whopping $299, the app (Google play, and iTunes) is free of charge. You get the reading cars adapter significantly under 50 euro, such as Pearl. He works with various apps. AUDIO VIDEO photo image has DashCommand (8,99 Euro on iTunes; $ 9.99 at Google play) used by Palmer performance engineering. The drive deck app in the tested Sport Pro version provides only basic information: round instruments show power and torque, but not the speed. Also, informing them of conduction angle, mass air flow, as well as other data, filming even a driving video. The operation is simple, the built-in engine database contains around 500 models of all gasoline engines, diesel isn’t. Your own vehicle in the database is missing there is only garbage, but the manufacturer supplies missing data on request. DashCommand also offers a vehicle database, but the app also works when the user looks at his vehicle. Diesel vehicles are not a problem, the app reads everything what is the OBD-2 interfaces. The operation of many functions but not easy and works only in English. Video recording is not possible. Who evaluates the data on a PC, can export it as csv file with DriveDeck and transfer iTunes to PC. DashCommand sent the log files by E-Mail. The free software ScnXL by Palmer performance engineering converts the data in the csv format that can be evaluated for example with Excel.


The accuracy of the data examined the editors with two Opel Insignia OPC with 325 Horsepower and 435 nm torque a 2011 and a very current version. There was also a vehicle for the purpose of comparison measurement on the test bench. An Opel special adapter that directly reads the motor control data served as a more supervisory body. Result: The apps replace no test, but provide useful approximations for power and torque. DriveDeck noticed that curves and values virtually identical to the manufacturers pump curves and specifications are the revised acts and was not always the test reality. Giving DashCommand were closer to the test – and measurement of Opel.


For the record of the round on the Nordschleife, or the pass road in the mountains, the apps are great. DriveDeck preserved also great memories thanks to the possibility of video recording. Who wants above all the real performance data of the vehicle, however, is the much more favourable combination of read cars and DashCommand better.