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Fact or Fiction: Can Innovate Motorsports' Free Logworks iPhone App Infer Horsepower?

Debunking Tuning Myths

Luke Munnell
Jul 26, 2010

It's always entertaining to see the same product marketed by different features according to the times. Ordinary tire pressure gauges nearly always include some "fuel saving" benefit on their packaging today, and polarized sunglasses slung on late-night infomercials spontaneously became "HD" with the popularity of digital TV. Cell phones have legitimately evolved into the new Yellow Pages, video game consoles, car alarms, etc., but when the accelerometers included in certain models only to detect which way they're being held (so as to re-adjust screen orientation) are written into a free program that purports to measure your car's horsepower and acceleration . . . we raise a suspecting eyebrow.

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The Claim:
Innovate Motorsports' Free Logworks iPhone App Can Infer Horsepower.

Regular readers will recall our testing of Bunsentech's Dynolicious mobile-dyno iPhone app that claimed to use elapsed time, a vehicle's weight, and an iPhone's built-in accelerometers to accurately infer 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration, trap speed, horsepower, g-forces, and more. You'll also recall our mixed emotions when the $13 app returned decent quarter-mile and ET figures, but struck out in the horsepower/torque department. Well, Innovate Motorsports is claiming their system does it all better-for free.

The Logworks iPhone app is part of Innovate's OT-2 system, which works with a wireless module that plugs into a car's OBD 2 port and relays engine functions to your Logworks-loaded Apple device of choice: iPhone, iTouch, or iPad. The system can function as an OBD 2 scan tool, relay thousands of engine/vehicle parameters via virtual gauges (coolant temp, oil pressure, boost, transmission temp, etc.), simultaneously data-log up to 16 channels of those functions, and calculate fuel efficiency, among other features-that much is fact.

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Adding in the functionality of an appropriate i-device, Innovate claims the OT-2 system can accurately infer acceleration times (0-60, 0-70, etc), braking distances, lateral G-force, elapsed time (60-foot, eighth-mile, quarter-mile), trap/top speed, can be used to plot dyno curves over engine or wheel speed, can help you plot torque/traction loss, and even help you calculate shift points. The OT-2 module retails for about $179, but the Logworks iPhone App is free to download, and the Innovate team claims it can deliver precise horsepower and acceleration numbers completely on its own. We'll save testing with the complete OT-2 system (with wireless module) for another installment, and focus solely on horsepower numbers you can expect from the free app.

The Logworks iPhone app was created specifically to work with the wireless OT-2 module. Since a Logworks-loaded iPhone cannot read engine and wheel speed on its own, and most of Logworks' calibration options aren't available without the wireless module (only vehicle weight and min./max. rpm "guesstimates" can be used), we weren't expecting it to do wonders. We rolled our OBD 1 Integra DC2 across town to MD Automotive in Westminster, CA, and hit the Dynojet to establish baseline power/torque averages with several Second-gear pulls. Next, we made repeat Second-gear acceleration pulls from a dead stop, down a stretch of secluded, off-highway pavement and back again (to account for incline variance) with our Logworks-loaded iPhone inferring numbers

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One immediately noticeable point to mind when testing with the Logworks-loaded iPhone is that the iPhone must carefully be installed in the vehicle: It should lay as flat as possible, face-up, with the Power button facing forward, and should not move at all during testing. Finding this "sweet spot" took us some time. Packing tape helped.

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The Verdict:
Plausible

Once averaged, the horsepower numbers returned by Logworks-loaded iPhone varied by 10 whp from those given by the Dynojet. But there were obvious variables in our road testing: We were testing a vehicle with semi-compliant chassis bushings and a stiff suspension over an imperfectly paved surface-engine vibration and ride quality were much more harsh than usual, which probably taxed the iPhone's accelerometers. Still, representing about a 6.9-percent margin of error, the Logworks numbers didn't outright fail-making the free app a bargain. We'll be looking forward to testing the complete OT-2 system soon.

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Sources

MD Automotive
Westminster, CA 92683
714-891-1113
http://www.markdibella.com
Innovate Motorsports
Irvine, CA
714-372-5910
http://www.innovatemotorsports.com
By Luke Munnell
294 Articles

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