Friday, December 11, 2009

Cool Auto Gadget

Earlier this year, I finally broke down and Garmin GPS for my car. Like my tie, my Garmin 265WT is a clip-on. Wow, I thought, this has a computer, a touchscreen, a GPS sensor, Bluetooth, why doesn't it have any of the cool programs available for the iPhone? Here's something cool that's coming next year.

Garmin's EPS module is a small box that attaches to your car's OBD-II computer in your car's engine bay. You know all that data that they read off your car when you take it into the shop, EPS should be able to convey all that information to your Garmin Nuvi GPS device. The EPS sends the signal to the GPS display unit via wireless Bluetooth signal. In addition to checking and clearing fault codes, you can monitor instantaneous fuel flow and even set up your own customized set of engine gauges. Think of it as a glass cockpit for $200.00. (I'm just guessing the price. No actual prices have been announced.) For those who can't wait until next year, a system with similar capabilities is advertised online by Zeitronics for $749.00. Oh, yes, there are OBD-II reader programs available for the iPhone, but it doesn't look like there's a standard and inexpensive way to get the signal from the automobile's computer to the iPhone. Besides, I don't have an iPhone, and I'm not going to get one soon. I don't a phone it would kill me to lose, and I don't want to be an indentured servant to AT&T for three years.

More info on the Garmin EPS at the site is here.

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