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USB port for a car

Bringing back the backyard mechanics for the 21st century
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After recently buying a car I realized how little work I would be doing to it since most of the car is computer controled. So to figure out what is wrong with the car or what sensor has gone bad, the car must be hooked up to some machine at the mechanic's shop.

So why not just add a USB port to the car so that the car's owner can hook up a laptop to it. A diagnostic program would have to be made for each car maybe and the computer would have to be capable to handle such a program but it would let car owners work by themselves again.

Since I am not a computer specialist, programmer, or mechanic input is welcome.

MrDaliLlama, Aug 28 2004

A consumer version... http://www.bmw-m.net/Gallery/bmwdis.htm
of the BMW modic? [st3f, Oct 17 2004]

37better motors http://www.37signal...r/motors/after.html
The way this should be done. [waugsqueke, Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       This could be expanded so much... laptop, ipod, pda, cellphone... anything electronic could be attatched and integrated into the car. BMW have already done the ipod, but the rest is coming I'm sure.
choaderboy, Aug 28 2004
  

       The only thing that I would add is a locking cover. My thinking:   

       With a GPS and the engine information, I could download the the information to a USB flash memory. This would give information on where the car had been, how fast, acceleration and braking. Would make the kids taking the car think twice.
Klaatu, Aug 28 2004
  

       Good idea. For the money that they charge for some of these motors they ought to give you a cut down version of their own diagnostics tool.
Whilst I understand that they are quite sophisticated there must be the option to do this. Traditionally it was all RS232 through com1 but the USB will be taking over since a lot of new laptops are USB only.
gnomethang, Aug 28 2004
  

       Wireless is the way to go. See link.
waugsqueke, Aug 28 2004
  

       Nice link, [waugsqueke]. There are devices that fit in a matchbox that can serve up a webpage. It is, indeed, the way it should be done. Your log in rights (e.g. admin or not) should also be taken into account as per standard Bill.
gnomethang, Aug 28 2004
  

       too bad car companies try to make it impossible for anyone other than their service centers to repair the car. Bastages.
Voltmeter, Aug 28 2004
  

       The McLaren F1 has a modem so that McLaren can remote tune it and remote diagnose any faults before flying the mechanic out. Old technology I know, but I like that they can do much of the work from head office.
wagster, Aug 28 2004
  

       Thing is, a McLaren F1 costs over $450,000 american! And since I live in canada(football sucks!), that's a lot of money. So it should have pretty much every option imaginable. Thus making it a bad example for technology going into a car like a Honda Civic or a Mazda Protege.
croissantz, Aug 28 2004
  

       1st link proves what I thought, which is that diagnostic equipment costs more than some houses do. So thanks (st3f). The other link of what I think is a car that can be monitored remotely via the internet is a neat idea, albeit a little on the big brother watching side. And while thinking this idea up I knew it would be against the service repair centers interests for this to become mainstream but if a big corporation like Microsoft decided to push their programs to be used with a USB port in a car, maybe the idea would float.   

       "Is that car compatible with WIndows XP?"
MrDaliLlama, Aug 28 2004
  

       This is a great idea, at least until USB ports get outdated, heaven forbid.
Jake, Jul 09 2005
  

       It is entirely possible to hack your car's computer to make it go faster. It is not condusive to the long life of your car to do so but I imagine it'd be a bit of a thrill.
Eugene, Jul 10 2005
  

       [jake] it already is; USB is used only as a hookup to auxilary hardware like printers, your keyboard and mouse, data sticks, and so on. Firewire would be far better suited to handle all the speed-of-transfer you might need to hook your laptop up to your car and fuck with it.
Eugene, Jul 10 2005
  

       <pokes at pile of ashes with a stick> "Is that all that's left after the firewire wirefire?"   

       "Yup"
Canuck, Jul 10 2005
  

       [Voltmeter] is right. Car companies have no interest in supplying you with ways to fix your own car. If you have to take it to the dealer, they have a monopoly and can charge what they want....
Minimal, Jul 11 2005
  

       That's right - for a car manufacturer, their worst option would be to publish some sort of open-source diagnostic tools interface/ developer kit. Then you'd have cheaper independent garages able to do the supposedly clever stuff only the franchised dealerships can do now.
hippo, Jul 11 2005
  
      
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