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I've been reading that certain scanners are capable of logging data that can be recorded while driving. What sort of data are most popular to be recorded? Can someone comment with examples of data logging capabilities out there today?

  • Depends on the make and model of scanner. This question is too broad. – Moab Aug 13 '16 at 23:50
  • I think this question would lead to better answers if it were put in the context of what you're trying to learn or do through logging. In real life you'd also have to deal with the differences between cars, older cars tend to have less data available, newer one often have more. – dlu Aug 14 '16 at 3:47
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Scanners that can log things can generally log whatever they can also display.1

Also it wouldn't be unusual for a scanner that supports logging to let you choose what to log.

From an implementation perspective, it wouldn't really make any sense to make the set of loggable data be anything less than the complete set of readable / displayable data.

The real differences are e.g. how many parameters can be logged at once, or how often log entries can be written, or how long a log can be, or what format the logged data is in. For that you'll just have to check product description pages.

1 "Whatever they can display" may be a subset of all possible parameters -- this depends on the vehicle -- but in general if you can see it, you can log it.

  • Aha, so it sounds like they're always capturing time series data and all the data displayed in table format is simply the most current data point. Without logging enabled all that data gets discarded since only the most recent is kept. If logging is enabled then that time series historical data gets recorded someplace, some file in some sort of memory somewhere. – jxramos Aug 15 '16 at 2:00
  • @jxramos Yep, that's the essence of how those things are implemented, or at least how they appear to behave from a user's point of view. Read data => Display to you and / or save to file or wherever => Rinse, repeat. – Jason C Aug 15 '16 at 2:10
  • @jxramos PS I second the other answer's suggestion of the Torque app on a smartphone and a cheap Bluetooth OBD-II adapter as a starting point (I have this one and it works like a charm with an Android phone and my '01 Honda - might not work with iPhone but they make wifi ones too). Torque does support logging as well; it stores the data in CSV files on your phone that you can email to yourself from the app then open in Excel or whatever; log file size is limited only by phone storage. – Jason C Aug 15 '16 at 2:17
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It depends on what car you have - some cars provide data that other cars don't. It also depends on your scanner - some capture more data than others.

As a cheap way in, get a copy of Torque (for android or apple) and an ELM327 OBD transmitter (you'll need a bluetooth one for an apple). That pretty much captures everything, although you need to work a bit at it (e.g, knowing what you want to scan/graph really helps...)

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