UltraGauge Review (OBD-II Gauge/Diagnostic Tool)

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Ebag333, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Update:

    Here's a quick review of the updated unit (the EM version released August 2011):
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-t...d-ii-gauge-diagnostic-tool-4.html#post6915637

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are a couple of threads on this, but nothing really organized or detailed to the 80 series, so thought I'd put some stuff down.


    Original threads:
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/408002-cheap-scangauge-ii-alternative.html
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/407933-alternative-scanguage-ii.html


    Ordering/Shipping
    I ordered my UltraGauge (from their website: http://www.ultra-gauge.com/) as part of a special they had for $48.95. There was a $9 mail in rebate that I didn't bother worth. The current deal is $59.95 after the $9 mail in rebate.

    E-mail communication was fantastic. I received a payment confirmation (as I paid via PayPal), order confirmation, welcome e-mail. I received a ship confirmation when the product was shipped the next business day, via Priority Mail.

    Shipping cost was a reasonable $7.26.


    Product and Accessories

    In addition to the gauge itself, you also receive a windshield mount and some velcro strips. The windshield mount is very high quality. It attaches easily and well to the windshield, and keeps the UltraGauge in place.

    There is also a lock ring included for the mount that you are not supposed to use, unless you find that the UltraGauge is moving around too much (pivoting on the ball). I do not have a problem with the UltraGauge moving on it's own, but sometimes it will move too easily if bumped or attempting to adjust it.

    The UltraGauge supports up to 74 gauges (more on that later). Some of the neat features it has is a built in temperature sensor, and a light sensor (to automatically adjust the backlighting).


    Supported Gauges

    On my '96 LX450, there are 33 gauges that are found when the UltraGauge did it's initial scanning. There has been one report of it working on an 80 with a build date of 01/1995, which also had 33 gauges. The UltraGauge only supports OBD-II vehicles.

    The supported gauges are:
    1. % Engine Load
    2. Coolant Temp (*F)
    3. Short fuel trim bank 1
    4. Long fuel trim bank 1
    5. RPM
    6. MPH
    7. Timing Advance
    8. Intake Air Temp (*F)
    9. Mass Airflow 1 (g/s)
    10. Throttle Position %
    11. Bank1 O2 1 Voltage
    12. Bank1 O2 2 Voltage
    13. Mass Air Flow 2 (g/s)
    14. Instantaneous MPG
    15. Average MPH (general)
    16. Average MPH (general)
    17. Average Gallons/Hr (general)
    18. Run Time (general)
    19. Distance (general)
    20. Fuel Used (general)
    21. Fuel Instant Gallons/Hour
    22. Fuel Level (gallons)
    23. Distance to Empty
    24. Time to Empty
    25. Average MPH (trip)
    26. Average MPG (trip)
    27. Fuel Used (trip)
    28. Average Gallons/Hour (trip)
    29. Run Time (trip)
    30. Distance (trip)
    31. Distance (Oil)
    32. Distance (Service)
    33. UltraGauge Temperate (*F)

    The user manual has detailed information on each of these, quite good documentation.

    http://ultra-gauge.com/ultragauge/support/ultragauge_user_manual.pdf

    In addition, there are two permanent gauges. One is the heartbeat gauge (heart shaped icon that "beats"). As long as that's beating, the UltraGauge is still getting data from the ECU. The other is the open/closed loop indicator, which is found in the upper right hand corner of the gauge display.


    Selected/Displayed Gauges

    The UltraGauge allows you to display up to 6 gauges per page, with three pages available. Selecting which gauges go where is somewhat cumbersome, I was not really thrilled with it.

    The pages are setup with a letter for each slot. It looks something like:

    Code:
    A  B
    C  D
    E  F
    
    G  H
    I  J
    K  L
    
    M  N
    O  P
    Q  R
    
    The down side to this design/setup is that you can only use a particular gauge on one page. There are several gauges that I would like to show up on different pages.

    The setup I am currently using is:
    Code:
    O - % Engine Load
    R - Coolant Temp
    N - RPM
    M - MPH
    Q - Timing Advance
    P - Intake Air Temp
    G - Instantaneous MPG
    H - Average MPG
    L - Ave Gals/Hr
    J - Fuel Inst Gals/Hour
    K - Distance to Empty
    I - Time to Empty
    
    This categorizes the current running info onto one screen nicely, and all the MPG info all together. I haven't decided what to show on the third page yet.


    Alarms

    In addition to turning Alarms off or on (visual and audible alert), you can se the alarm siren frequency. The frequency range is from 3,000 to 5,000 Hz.

    5k will be out of the range for people who have hearing loss, even if it's mild. 3k will be too low for anyone except those who are limo quiet. I found that I had trouble hearing the alarm regardless of setting, and have read reports of folks with mild hearing loss not being able to hear the default frequency.

    Regardless of what you choose, the alarm volume is probably going to be too quiet. I could barely hear it when moving at speed, and it could easily be missed. Fortunately the gauge repeats alarms fairly frequently, until the issue is corrected or you select to ignore the alarm.

    UltraGauge also can trigger an alarm for a trouble code (CEL). There is also a setting for a pending trouble code alarm. From what I have seen, the pending alarm does not work with our ECU. I do not believe that the UltraGauge recognizes when our ECU flags something as potentially being a problem (two trip logic).

    You can set a min and a max alert for any monitor. By default the only alarms that are enabled are:
    Obviously some of these settings would be rather bad for our trucks. I can't imagine hitting 250* coolant temp! :eek:

    I dropped the Coolant Temp to 210*, as that's below the AC cutoff which (IIRC) is about 226*, so should give me plenty of advance warning that something is wrong. Intake Temp I dropped to 175*.

    The fuel level I set to 2. We already know that the empty light comes on with 5 gallons remaining, so this is just a backup to that. Distance to empty I bumped up to 25 miles.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for other alarms we can set?


    Mounting Locations

    The windshield mount allows for many different mounting options. I initially tried the standard lower drivers side corner mount....

    [​IMG]

    (image borrowed from dgerst)

    The problem with this location is heat. On a 100* ambient day, when I went out to start my truck to go home for the day, the UltraGauge reported a temp of 180*! :eek:

    (It was about 140* in the cab, so that temperature was probably accurate since the gauge was sitting in the sun.)

    My current mounting solution that I'm playing with is here:

    [​IMG]

    Normally I use the sun visor to hold the cable out of my way. If I keep it here, I'll put the cable between the gasket and the windshield, fits nicely there.

    Some nice things about this is that it keeps the gauge out of the way. It doesn't block your vision (as mounting it lower on the windshield can). It keeps it out of the heat (since I moved it here I haven't had a high temp warning). The cable is plenty long enough, that's not an issue. It does not block the visors where I have it.

    The down side is that it's somewhat of a pain to view the gauge. Even though you're used to looking in the rear view mirror (you are, right?), it's just a little bit further than you're used to, and you have to spend longer looking at it than you do the rear view mirror.

    So far I'm happy with the location, but I intend to try a few other ones. Suggestions on alternate mounting locations are welcome.

    Other mounting locations:

    [​IMG]


    Calibration

    Here is a list of calibration numbers. The calibration will be based on gear ratio, tire size, etc. Calibration may very slightly depending on how far the tires are worn, PSI, etc.

    Gearing: Stock
    Tire Size: 315/75r16
    MPG: 1.1
    Distance: 1.15

    Gearing: Stock
    Tire Size: 285/75r16
    MPG:
    Distance: 1.054
    Thanks 2 E L O!

    Gearing: Stock
    Tire Size: 37x12.5x16.5
    MPG:
    Distance: 1.215
    CIMG_2010-08-25-091834.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  2. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

    Messages:
    15,269
    Location:
    PRK
    nice writeup
    good to know.
    Although it seems like it's really more like 14 tech gauges. The other stuff is derivative fuel stuff and some of it could be had with a GPS too.
    Are those 14 all that's there to be had with OBD2 or can one get more info with a full scanner?
    Still, neat for the price.
  3. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    A lot of the gauges either use other gauges to do calculations, or calculate the same gauges in different ways. Such as the average fuel and average fuel per trip. Define what you mean by "tech gauges," because if we eliminate the gauges above there's really only 11 "tech gauges." For example, engine load is calculated based on air flow, and mass air flow 2 is the calculated (not raw) number, so both those could be had with other gauges.

    Heck, even out of those 11 some of them are just calculations by the ECU, so not that different than those that are calculated by UltraGauge to give different data. :meh:

    I think a lot of it is somewhat redundant, so I really agree with the heart of what you're saying. I don't use trip that often, but I could see when it'd be useful from time to time. 98% of the time I wouldn't even care if it didn't exist. OTOH, I know people who would probably cry like little girls if you took away their trip functionality so they couldn't track exactly how many miles they've gone.

    I suppose that's why I only have two pages of data, I just don't care about a lot of it. Some of it might be periodically useful, but 99.9% of the time it doesn't matter to me.

    There are some gauges I wish it had, such as the tranny temp. Hmm, interestingly enough that's a gauge not even mentioned in their documentation....


    That's a good question, and one I'd like to know the answer to. I know some others have used a laptop, maybe they can chime in....
  4. ardentyota

    ardentyota Flexy

    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Mine should be waiting for me when I get home tonight, so I'll have more to add then. At this point, I can attest to the quick shipping and good email communication though. I ordered mine on Sunday, and according to the tracking info, it should be on the mail truck or in my mailbox today. Shipping from CA to CO was $7.46, only $.20 more than to OR apparently... :D

    I'll add more later once I've played with it more. Based on the above info though, I don't think I'll regret this one. Engine temp alone will set my mind at ease.

    Tranny temp is more dependant on the tranny as I understand it. If the computer doesn't report it, the guage can't display it.
  5. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

    Messages:
    15,269
    Location:
    PRK
    Looks to me like coolant temp is the main info to be had for most people. (I already measure mine as well as AT temp with a little setup I built.) That could pay off big time, especially with the alarm for :princess: etc :)
    I can see that rpm and timing might be good to have for smog check purposes.
    And IAT possibly interesting if one were inclined to do some cooling mods.
    O2 useful too I guess (but could be measured with a meter?)
    Could the fuel trim measurements help with injection diagnostic?

    How come it doesn't have the battery voltage? That's also good to know.
  6. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    90% or so of shipping is getting it boxed up, on the truck, etc. The distance is that last 10%. :meh:


    I think I've read that tranny temp can be reported, but it has to be specially looked for as it's not a standard code. I know people were bugging Scangauge to add it.



    Ahah, found it.

    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/195541-trans-temp-w-scangauge.html



    The voltage the UltraGauge gets isn't necessarily 12 volts. It'll run on a 9 volt battery fully functional. Even if it measured the voltage, it would be what the ECU is sending to it and may or may not be actually whats coming from the battery.

    In some vehicles the ECU monitors voltage, but that is what the ECU is looking for and again may not be the real battery voltage.
  7. ardentyota

    ardentyota Flexy

    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Right, the ECU must have it somewhere, but 2 years later (from that thread) no one (that I've seen) has a scanner that reads Tranny temp on an 80.

    I wish it were there though! It would really be nice to not have to install a manual gauge like e9999's.

    :steer:
  8. Grench

    Grench SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,664
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Still - it looks like it -might- be possible...

    Autoenginuity's reader connects through the OBDII.

    Toyota Engine Module List
    Search that for transmission - find the line:
    ATF | Automatic Transmission Fluid Temp

    I can check if it works on our trucks the next time I have my truck at my brother-in-law's place.

    So - in theory anyway. Now, trying to figure out what they're sending/receiving to get there... I'm not sure how to do that.
  9. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Taco's (IIRC?) has a tranny temp sensor that works on Scan Gauge if you add the code. That code does not work for the LC however.
  10. Grench

    Grench SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,664
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Autoenginuity charges $149 just for the Toyota specific code pack. Hopefully they have something in that package. I don't know if our transmission temp code is in there - but I can check.

    It might be a few weeks though. The installation I have access to is 60 miles away and I don't have anything planned that puts me there with my truck in the immediate future.
  11. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Before I dropped $149, I'd want to know exactly what that "package" gives you. It'd suck to only get 2 or 3 extra monitors that are completely meaningless (for your vehicle). I wonder if they can even answer that....

  12. warpdriv

    warpdriv SILVER Star

    Messages:
    3,342
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Great write up!
  13. 95Fantasma80

    95Fantasma80

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    Southern California.
    I love my Ultra Gauge, It cost me $58 I can check my Engine temperature, check "CEL" and clear them... SO effin' Awesome.

    My current code is P0401 FUUUU! lol

    Review to come shortly.
  14. corsair23

    corsair23 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,174
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    Just FYI I have a Scangauge and a Nakman/Gamiviti bezel with battery monitor dealyo and a HAM radio that will tell me the battery's voltage when first turned on.

    All 3 of them read the same voltage 99% of the time. The actual battery monitor dealyo is the most accurate IMO because it doesn't round up to the tenths position. The Scangauge is getting its information from the ECU of course while the battery monitor and the HAM radio are getting their measurements directly off the battery.
  15. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Good to know!

    I'm betting that the Ultra Gauge doesn't have a voltage meter in it, or a way of seeing the voltage unless the ECU tells it what it is. I would guess that this is a cost vs function issue. Would another $10-$20 bump in price be worth it? I'm guessing for most people...probably not. As big a bummer as that is for us.






    One thing I forgot to mention is the Alarms.

    In addition to turning Alarms off or on (visual and audible alert), you can se the alarm siren frequency. The frequency range is from 3,000 to 5,000 Hz.

    5k will be out of the range for people who have hearing loss, even if it's mild. 3k will be too low for anyone except those who are limo quiet. I found that I had trouble hearing the alarm regardless of setting, and have read reports of folks with mild hearing loss not being able to hear the default frequency.

    Regardless of what you choose, the alarm volume is probably going to be too quiet. I could barely hear it when moving at speed, and it could easily be missed. Fortunately the gauge repeats alarms fairly frequently, until the issue is corrected or you select to ignore the alarm.

    UltraGauge also can trigger an alarm for a trouble code (CEL). There is also a setting for a pending trouble code alarm. From what I have seen, the pending alarm does not work with our ECU. I do not believe that the UltraGauge recognizes when our ECU flags something as potentially being a problem (two trip logic).

    You can set a min and a max alert for any monitor. By default the only alarms that are enabled are:
    Obviously some of these settings would be rather bad for our trucks. I can't imagine hitting 250* coolant temp! :eek:

    I dropped the Coolant Temp to 210*, as that's below the AC cutoff which (IIRC) is about 226*, so should give me plenty of advance warning that something is wrong. Intake Temp I dropped to 175*.

    The fuel level I set to 2. We already know that the empty light comes on with 5 gallons remaining, so this is just a backup to that. Distance to empty I bumped up to 25 miles.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for other alarms we can set?

    Does anyone know off hand what the ECU RPM cut out is?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  16. Tools R Us

    Tools R Us

    Messages:
    18,207
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Mine came yesterday, ordered Sunday afternoon, nice looking unit. Having a hard time imagining how they could have made the rebate process more of a pain?

    Used the sucker thingy to mount in the default left side place. Removed the default gauges and mostly programed temp related. Turned off all alarms, except water temp at 220F. Turned the display down to 70%, the manual indicated this will help with unit temp. Works great, the display is easy to read, even to my "experienced" eyes. Probably wont run it all of the time, just when I'm playing with something or having an issue?:hillbilly:
  17. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    You're not like the rest of us an always paranoid that you're always having an issue? :lol:
  18. Tools R Us

    Tools R Us

    Messages:
    18,207
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Paranoid why? It's a :censor: Land Cruiser, designed to take a beating pretty much forever. It is well proven, I count on it daily, it has taken me to some very remote places, thousands of trail miles and always came home without failure. I'm shocked when it has an issue.:hillbilly:

    It came from the factory with a full set of gauges, capable of letting me know if there is a serious issue. IMHO adding gadgets takes away from the driving experience by giving too much stuff to concentrate on. Especially on the trail, I'm there to take in the scenery, concentrate on the trail, enjoy the drive, socialize with buddies, not play with/worry about gadgets.:hillbilly:
  19. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

    Messages:
    15,269
    Location:
    PRK
    seen any monitor readiness flags yet?
  20. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Nope. I haven't seen anything in the documentation for them either.

    Thanks for the reminder. I think I'm going to post something in their forums about it....

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