When the iPhone was introduced in June 2007, we knew it was revolutionary. It combined a phone, MP3 player, video player, internet browser, hand-held game console, and GPS all in one device, and did it with a beautiful and slick interface. What we didn’t expect, however, is that a new batch of creative developers would create applications to turn it into much more than what it already is.
A perfect example of this an app that turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into an automotive analytics platform that can provide the same OBDII-reading functionality of high-end test equipment costing far more, and it can do it wirelessly. Simply titled “Rev,” this app costs only $40 in the app store, or you can download the limited “Lite” version for free. Check out the cool 50s-style intro video to Rev below:
By itself, the app can measure 360-degree acceleration using the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, and a GPS Track feature which will map out the track you’re driving on after one lap. To use this app to its full potential, however, you will need to buy a piece of hardware to connect to your OBDII port in all 1996 or newer cars. We used the excellent new PLX Kiwi Wifi. This tiny $150 device connects directly to your OBDII port (usually under your steering column,) and sends a Wifi signal to your iPhone, transmitting all sorts of useful data for you to analyze. In my experience, it was very easy to set up from beginning to end.
With the Rev app and Kiwi Wifi working together now, you can read a wealth of information regarding your vehicle stats. One feature is an engine code reader if your check engine light is on, which will also clear the codes for you, saving you money at a repair shop and helping to diagnose issues. The coolest thing about Rev is the real-time reading and display of all sorts of stats, including:
Engine Coolant Temp
Calculated Engine Load
Intake Manifold Pressure
Air Intake Temp
Mass Air Flow
EVAP System Vapor Pressure
The information displays in either virtual gauge or graph form, and can be recorded. It’s worth mentioning that not all stats work on all vehicles, due to individual vehicle limitations, not the software. This is an incredible tool for those of us who like to tune our cars and measure the difference, anyone who takes their car on the track, someone diagnosing problems with their car, or someone who’s just a stats geek like me. It even features a data logging and export function that allows you to record multiple metrics simultaneously and export them via email for review. Check out the video below for a brief demo of some of its features:
For those who are serious about this or need even more functionality, the Kiwi Wifi will also let you add-on up to 32 additional sensor modules and multi or single gauges.
The Rev App and PLX Kiwi Wifi combo will cost slightly under $200 total, which is a bargain when you consider the price of many other similar-featured vehicle metrics tools. And imagine showing this to all of your gearhead friends! For us car enthusiasts, this is the best tool out there for the iPhone, and I very highly recommend it.