Nexus 7 Head Unit Installation – Part 4

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Nexus 7 + OBDII + Torque = ???

This was something I wanted to try out after watching some YouTube videos about Torque Pro in action. I figured my new android head unit installation would be a great opportunity to get Torque Pro up and running, showing some gauges and all sorts of fancy things. Okay, so what did I need to get started?

  • Docooler Mini ELM327 V1.5 OBD2 OBD-II Bluetooth CAN-BUS Auto Diagnostic Tool: I picked this up for $18.99 from Amazon.ca. If you haven’t picked up on it already, I’m a huge Amazon nerd so if I can find something that’s “prime” and at a decent price, it’s my go-to option. Reviews for this item were pretty good, and I read a handful that reported success in Audi vehicles. The other benefit was that this adapter is bluetooth as I didn’t want a wired USB version and Torque supports a variety of bluetooth OBDII adapters. Some quick googling revealed Torque Pro support for ELM327 based adapters, so I figured I was on the right track with this.
  • Torque Pro App: Andddd of course, I needed to purchase the app. I went ahead and purchased the app for $5, since it wasn’t a bank breaker.

Installation

Okay, I’ll skip installation of the app on the tablet because that *should* be pretty straightforward. You don’t do all that much just to get it running, but I *did* go ahead and make a profile for my car within the app.

Next up was actually getting the adapter in my car. I’ve never actually done anything with OBDII before, so I had to dig up on the Internet where I should start to look for the connector. Funny enough, all of the examples I saw for Audi TT’s seemed to show it in different spots… and none actually corresponded to where the location was in my car!

In the 2012 Audi TT RS, the OBDII connector is actually directly above the foot rest on the underside of the entire dash. The following screenshots should help indicate where it is:

ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Adapter

ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Adapter

ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Adapter

Functionality

Now that everything was plugged in… What was the functionality like?

First up was getting my tablet to pair with the device. I’m not sure why, but this was pretty problematic for me. In reality I didn’t have to do anything, but I think I assumed because the LED was turned on on the unit that the device was active… Turns out I had to start the car (I think?) before my tablet would actually notice the bluetooth device. I believe it was just listed as a bluetooth MAC address and nothing fancy, but that was okay because it was easy for me to identify (no devices nearby to suddenly one… coincidence?!)

Now that my tablet could see the OBDII device, I booted up Torque. Torque was able to report that it was fine to start communicating with the device, so this was a good sign. So I did what any sane person would do… Revved the shit out of my engine.

Nothing.

So that was kind of disappointing… Not sure why Torque didn’t register any revs for me on the main dial. Darn. Okay, so I moved onto one of the widget layouts within Torque that has a bunch of different dials for various readings in the car.

Nothing.

Okay, more disappointment. I was finally able to get torque to register the idle RPMs of my vehicle just by waiting long enough, but it never seemed to update properly while I was revving the engine. None of the other dials seemed to update over time either, despite Torque reporting that it could communicate with the device without any issues.

My last attempt for success with Torque was reading my error codes… And that actually worked. The process took a few minutes (on the range of 5-10) but it finished successfully in the end. It let me know about one of the engine light errors I’ve seen pop up every now and then, so it wasn’t a total waste.

Next Steps

Well, I was pretty disappointed with this setup, to be honest. I haven’t spent too much time researching online to see if other people are having similar issues, but I sort of just hoped I’d get more live readings coming off of the car. I still think that for $25 being able to read error codes whenever I want is a decent deal.

I think when I get a little bit further with my setup I’ll revisit Torque and spend some more time troubleshooting. I don’t think I’ve given it a fair chance, but I also don’t think I set my expectations too high either.

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