Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.
Mark, who has been with the business for
over 20 years, is an ASE Master
Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE L1
certification, and has an associates degree in business
(Printed in the Journal
of The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, AASP)
Automotive technology comes to us in many different forms and ways. More interesting is the fact that you can often find it often without even looking.
Recently, I was browsing the Internet for weather forecasting equipment. Being somewhat of a weather bug at heart, it is amazing to see the amount of products that are available. Much of the equipment is now wireless, which lessens installation time and increases portability. Many of the wireless weather consoles look like a mini laptop and can display indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, wind chill, expected forecast trends and more. Many units just consist of a portable weather console that you can place anywhere in the house and the sensor array that transmits from outside your home.
While browsing the Davis Instruments company website, (www. DavisNet.com), I came across an Automotive link on the top of their home page. Clicking the link took me to their automotive electronics page.
On this page Davis manufactures and sells a product called CarChip. Davis' CarChip is a small recorder that plugs into any vehicle with an OBDII connector. The CarChip is designed to record many hours of datastream information from the vehicle's Powertrain Control Module, much like driving with a scan tool in ‘record mode'. Davis markets the CarChip from everyone from parents that are interested about monitoring their teens driving habits to automotive technicians and truck fleet managers.
The company advertises that the basic model will record 75 hours of trip data including distance traveled, speed, idle time, hard acceleration and decelerations, DTC's and engine parameters during code set. Their optional E/X model adds the ability to record RPM, TPS, Load, STFT, LTFT, Voltage, CTS, MAF, O2 readings and more. Both models include the software needed to display the data on a Windows 98 and up computer with available USB port.
Seems to me that this item could come in handy for those customers reporting intermittent driveability problems. I know we could have used this technology years ago on all those GM cars with ‘phantom stall'.
Just plug it in and let the owner do the work then have them return when they have experienced running problems.
For less that 200.00 it seems like it might be a good, inexpensive, bit of technology to add to your shops repair arsenal.