In the ’90s, just prior to the release of the OBD2 system that would eventually become a strict industry requirement, enthusiasts were downright scared. This new, unknown, unconquered system would surely mean the end to any and all thoughts of modifications as “Big Brother” would be keeping tabs on every single move we made. With it being far too risky to chance being fined or possibly worse, many chose to shy away from the very thought of purchasing or modifying an OBD2-epuipped vehicle. However, after the first wave of builders began digging into the new-age ECUs, most of the rumors were quickly crushed.
Today, as many of the most popular platforms to modify are overseen by OBD2, our community has managed to not only embrace the technology, but also build upon its attributes.
One such company is Palmer Performance Engineering. Well versed in the ins and outs of the OBD2 system, Palmer offers a full line of entry-level and professional-level diagnostic scan tools that allow viewing, charting, logging, and playback of diagnostic data in real time. One of the most unique features of the devices the company offers is the fully customizable dashboard graphics using the Dash XL technology. Full color and extremely high quality, the images are precise and easy to read, two vital components that many other companies choose to shortchange. Add to that a built-in virtual dragstrip and dyno, and you can see why Palmer is at the top of the food chain in terms of OBD-II diagnostics devices.
Palmer recently introduced its Dash Command software, an application designed to essentially transfer the ground-breaking Dash XL technology to the palm of your hand via your smartphone (Apple or Android). You can create virtual dashboards to relay info using the digital or analog gauges, utilize indicator lights, and you get a long list of built-in features like a virtual skid pad, racetrack, and even mpg monitoring to help keep your right foot in check.
Installing the Dash Command is a no-brainer. You simply pay for and download the app to your phone, then plug Palmer’s WiFi link into your car’s OBD2 port. For our S2000, the port was located on the passenger side, just to the right of the center console, under the dash. As soon as it’s plugged in, an LED lights up, and you simply locate the signal via your phone’s settings menu. Type in a little info about the year, make, and model of your vehicle and, boom, your virtual dashboard is ready to roll.
For the ultimate viewing and user interface, Pioneer’s revolutionary App Radio is completely compatible with the Dash Command system. If you’re not familiar with App Radio, it’s the first of its kind to bring your precious apps right to your dash. This increases safety on the road, and places your favorites like Pandora and Inrix right in front of you, rather than on your lap in an attempt to avoid a ticket. Instead of adding a bunch of moving parts that you really never use, like a CD player—I mean, honestly, when is the last time you picked up a CD or *gasp* a cassette (younger folks, please see Wikipedia for a description of this ancient artifact)? The majority of the population relies on smartphones for music, information, and its entertainment needs, and Pioneer was clever enough to come up with a head unit that integrates that necessity into a user-friendly interface. Now in its second iteration with even more features than the first, Pioneer’s App Radio gives you a multi-touch display head unit that’s compatible with your iPhone4/4s, iPod Touch (fourth gen), and select Android phones. Using the Dash Command system, you can transform your Pioneer App Radio into a full-color, highly detailed virtual dashboard. The 7-inch, 800x480 touch screen is easy to read and navigate through, even in bright sunlight.
Here are just a few of the options that will work with Pioneer’s App Radio:
- Dash Command
- Much, much more