Garmin ecoRoute HD – A Geek’s Best Car Toy?
If there’s one thing a geek loves more than anything else – besides gadgets – it’s information. Information on anything and everything that interests him or her. This is part of the reason geeks love upscale cars so much because those vehicles have gauge clusters that show you a ton of stuff other cars don’t; they also have much more sophisticated interfaces to access that stuff.
Well, not everyone can afford a Cadillac, BMW or Mercedes-Benz – however you can use a compatible Garmin nüvi to get the next best thing, ecoRoute HD.
What ecoRoute HD does is give you more gauges – all configurable of course – that your existing car doesn’t have, fed through an OBD-II cable and directly wired to your compatible nüvi. What you see on the nüvi screen is coming directly from your car’s computer.
The best part is that you may already have a compatible nüvi. ecoRoute HD works with nüvi 1200, 1300, 1400, 1600, 2300, 2400 and 3700 series.
Two things are required to made ecoRoute HD work. First is the software, which is free. Instructions on how to install the software are included with the cable. Second is the OBD-to-nüvi cable, which is not free. On the Garmin site it’s $99, however if you do a search for ecoroute hd on eBay you’ll find the cable for about 20 to 30 dollars less.
After connecting the nüvi to the OBD-II port, the unit calibrates and ta-da, instant super-cool info of all types about your car are just a few taps on the touchscreen away.
Some notes on OBD-II
OBD-II is On-Board-Diagnostics. More info on that is here with a photo of what one looks like. Generally speaking, just about every car made from 1996 to present has an OBD-II port, and it’s usually directly under or next to your steering column. When you climb under there, the port should be in plain sight.
An alternative product to using ecoRoute HD is ScanGauge. While not nearly as fancy, their support area lists all the cars it works with post-1996. Only a scant few aren’t supported, but chances are if your vehicle is listed as one of the unsupported vehicle models, it would encounter similar issues with ecoRoute HD. Otherwise everything should work A-OK.