Tested: Palmer Performance Engineering's DashCommand
By Steve Rockwood
Technology is amazing. Back in the heyday of the import scene, people who had serious setups – or wanted to look like they had serious setups – had rows on rows of gauges. The closer the resemblance to the cockpit of a Boeing 747 your Civic's dash looked, the more street cred you had. These days, however, products like Palmer Performance Engineering's DashCommand takes those rows of gauges, and puts them into a device that fits in the palm of your hand, the same device that can also call people, surf the Internet, play music, update your all-important Facebook status, and a myriad of other things you probably haven't thought of from places you don't even want to visit. We tested DashCommand on an Apple iPhone 3GS, and learned quite a few things about the product and our car along the way.
|The DashCommand home screen. From here, you can navigate to the “Dashboards” and see just about anything your ECU monitors through OBD-II, run diagnostics, skid pad for acceleration numbers, Race Track for lap times, and, most importantly, connect to your car's ECU.|
Palmer Performance Engineering's DashCommand, available for Windows computers, as well as Android and Apple iOS devices, integrates all OBD-II data into a series of user-customizable screens to display and log just about any combination of data your gear-driven heart desires. Android and Apple iOS devices with built in GPS and accelerometer sensors get the added benefit of advanced features like Skid Pad and Race Track
Perhaps the coolest feature about DashCommand is the huge number of user-designed skins, called “Dashboards”, available for it. Always wanted to have the Multi-Function Display (MFD) from a GTR on your dash? Done. Star Trek themed display? Ditto. These skins can display anything your OBD-II computer is tracking in your car, but most of us are interested in items like boost/vacuum, injector duty cycle, real speed (through the computer or GPS), instant MPG readouts, and real water temperature (as opposed to the cold, warm, and replace engine outputs most OEM water temp gauges show).
|With user-designed skins, you can bring all sorts of cool things to your handheld device from this GTR MFD clone, to Trekkie-themed displays. A nerd's dream.|
|Built into the application is the DashXL.net site, where you can find and select new dash skins for the “Dashboards” part of DashCommand.|