For years, the term “data mining” has been all too familiar to Web developers and, more recently, to just about everyone using Google or Facebook. While marketers love to remind us that information is power, this maxim becomes particularly poignant if you own a C6. In this scenario, information can help you make power—as well as improve fuel economy, track down problems, measure your car’s performance, and even entertain you.
We all know that the modern automobile stores an incredible amount of information in its computer. But until recently, retrieving this information required expensive specialized tools or the awkward use of a laptop while trying to drive.
Things have changed, though, and for the better, thanks to the DashBoss. DashBoss is a portable, wireless performance monitor and scanner system for your ’05-up Corvette. It’s perfect for the performance enthusiast who demands far more information than is supplied by the Corvette’s stock gauges, but who isn’t willing to clutter up the interior with aftermarket gauges or permanently mounted monitors.
DashBoss connects wirelessly to your Apple iGadget, be it an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch via Bluetooth. The manufacturer likes to call it a “brain scan for your vehicle,” which is an apt description given that the device allows you to measure your car’s performance, log any data parameters you desire, monitor vehicle functions in real-time, and check and clear diagnostic trouble codes.
While there are plenty of products that allow you to data log and deal with DTCs, one area in which DashBoss really shines is in performance testing. Here, too, there are a number of choices in the marketplace, but no others that we’re aware of let you measure 0-60, quarter-mile, and 60-0 braking performance with weather-corrected results. Say you baseline your car before making a mod like an exhaust system. Maybe the install took a little longer than you planned, and the weather cooled dramatically. Whereas with other products you’d be left guessing if the performance improvement was a result of your equipment change or the air density and temperature, DashBoss removes the guesswork. Pretty darned useful in our book.
Another huge advantage is the ability to integrate data from up to two external sensors. For instance, say you’ve added a wide-band O2 sensor to help tune your car. With DashBoss, you can gather and display this information real-time and log it with the rest of your data. DashBoss has made this painless, too, as it incorporates a pigtail on the unit to allow easy connection.
Further, it features pre-configured dialogs for various sensors that measure pressure, voltage, position, wide-band O2, low-temperature (<300 degrees C, like post-turbo or -supercharger, intake-air temperature, or oil temperature), and high-temperature (>300 degrees C, like exhaust gas) sensors. The only requirement for the sensor is that it provides a signal between 0 and 5 volts. DashBoss then allows you to easily configure what the input “means” in the app.
DashBoss is the first, and currently the only, Apple-certified product of its type. According to DashBoss co-founder Ken Mosher, “The Apple iOS products were just getting off the ground, and we took the ‘path not yet traveled’ and decided to go through the Apple certification process to do a full Bluetooth solution. This provided security, a solid connection, and the ability to auto connect—just like headphones or your in-car hands free system—without having to fiddle with configuring and connecting the device all the time.
“In addition, we designed and built our hardware. The firmware is fully customizable by us; we do not have the constraints of using off-the-shelf OBD chipsets like other products. The Bluetooth is also much more user friendly and less finicky than wi-fi solutions.”
DashBoss consists of just one key component: a sleek module that plugs into your Corvette’s ALDL port beneath the dash. Once connected, it can easily be stowed behind a trim panel or any other convenient spot. If you choose to leave it in your car, it will to go into a deep “sleep” when not in use, preserving the battery. It doesn’t need to be unplugged unless the vehicle sits for many weeks at a time without being started or attached to a battery tender.
It’s also easily transferable and will work with a wide range of vehicles. This means you could use it to monitor your tow vehicle and then plug it into your Corvette at the track. A couple taps in the app, and you’re ready for a day of high performance.
Currently, DashBoss only works with Apple products: iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5; iPads (including the iPad mini); and iPod Touch with Bluetooth. Other users are out of luck for now, but DashBoss is in the planning stages for a possible Android product.
Mosher is also quick to point out that the development team is completely made up of car enthusiasts. “We listen to our users and adapt the product based on feedback from them. We have contacts and equipment that allow us to add more parameters and data items quickly. We have a very active Beta community that is very good at picking out stuff and helping us to get things in shape for release. We have spent a lot of time with the GM guys in the past, so there are a ton of unique parameters and GM specific functions—such as the CASE relearn—that we have incorporated into this product.”
We really appreciated the user-friendly interface and familiar iPhone functionality, which made initial setup and subsequent use very intuitive. You needn’t be a hard-core performance enthusiast to benefit from DashBoss. It’s also great for keeping tabs on your car’s general health and monitoring any irregularities before they become problems. And if you are hard-core, you may find DashBoss to be a practically indispensible tool. Its flexibility and seamless integration are everything we could hope for. Happy mining!