A review of Palmer Performance Engineering's DashCommand. Includes screenshots of the program, install and operation tips, lessons learned, opinion and general product overview.
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 DashCommand Product Review Cover Shot

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.

 

DashCommand Product Review Home Screen
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). 
 

DashCommand Product Review GTR MFD
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.

 

DashCommand Product Review DashXL.net Skin pages
Built into the application is the DashXL.net site, where you can find and select new dash skins for the "Dashboards" part of DashCommand.

 

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Comments
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Friday, October 21, 2011 10:28 AM
Damn. One of these days I'm gonna have to get me one of them newfangled OBDII cars...
Adam
Adamlink
Friday, October 21, 2011 11:01 AM
Hardware is not included with the software when you purchase it online for smart devices. So an additional cost is required for the OBD-II interface cable. If you are like many people and already have an Innovate WB02 or 2 then the logical thing to do would be to use the OT-2 from Innovate. (Use Caution!) To be honest I was really disappointed with the way Dashcommand interfaces with the OT-2 from Innovate Motorsports. It worked with my 1999 OBD-II GM vehicle, but wouldn't work at all on my 2007 OBD-II (CAN-bus) GM vehicle. Actually had to hard reset both of my smart devices after trying to connect. (Bit of a pissing match on both forums as to who's problem that is..)

However the Dashcommand software itself is impressive and has lots of colorful objects that move around on the display. They look really good on a smaller iPhone, but even better on a larger iPad.
I love the software, but more than a little ticked off that I have to fork out another $100+ for another OBD-II dongle.
EFILive for tuning, OT-2 for watching gauges and WB02,and now ELM or OBDLink for Dashcommand?


Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Friday, October 21, 2011 11:15 AM
@ Adam: I edited the article to specify that the table was for software only.

Thanks for the heads up on the OT-2 compatibility issue. Luckily, I used the Palmer OBD-II dongle.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Friday, October 21, 2011 9:31 PM
Thanks Steve for throwing out the pros and cons on this, I read conflicting reports from people, not pros. Like the DAQ functions especially! When this reads codes, does it just spit out the code number or does it give somewhat of a description as well? Look at all those codes to read and only one gas motor among 'em. That could be fixed too ......... M9R :)
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Saturday, October 22, 2011 11:39 AM
It spits out a small description of the code as well, which is much better than a code scanner.
Galen Helmgren
Galen Helmgrenlink
Sunday, October 30, 2011 4:02 PM
Does anyone have any experience or recommendations on hardware? Specifically the bluetooth units?
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