How to use iOS/Android devices as “Stats for nerds” gauges in your Tesla Model 3 with an easy DIY OBDLink MX+ install

Posted by Paul Braren on May 18 2020 (updated on May 19 2020) in
  • Efficiency
  • Tesla
  • You know how YouTube on PC playback has the right-click feature where you can show stats for nerds? There are apps that are kind of like stats for nerds for your Tesla's battery, performance, and much much more. A close look under the hood while your EV is powered up and about to embark upon it's next big adventure. Detailed stats and metrics can also be viewed by your copilot while underway, or by content creators like myself who'd like to share a better understanding of exactly how the Model 3 operates with my audience.

    Soon, everything in this article will likely apply to Model Y as well!


    PAUL68544--Tesla-Referral-Program-Paul-Braren-TinkerTry.PNG

    Free Supercharging: If you find this article of value and decide to order a Tesla, please consider using this ts.la/paul68544 referral link when placing your order so you and I both get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging. If you order Solar, it's a $250 award after system activation.

    Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We financed the purchase of two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!


    scan-my-tesla-screenshot-by-TinkerTry-May-16-2020
    scan my tesla for iOS

    The Tesla Model 3 may well be the very first mass-produced vehicle to get a waiver on the usual requirement for having an OBD-11 port that's usually associated with "engine" diagnostics. Soon enough, the aftermarket blessed us with wiring harnesses and Bluetooth dongles, allowing an easy DIY retrofit your Model 3. The uniquely rapid signaling of the Tesla on the Can bus was handled with the late 2018 arrival of the OBDLink MX+. Yes, you can now buy one Bluetooth module, and it will work with Windows, Android devices, and iOS devices (iPhone/iPad). There is an increasing focus on iOS apps now too, including well-known scan my tesla arriving in iOS form in May of 2020, so I was eager to give it a go!

    2020-05-19_14-00-00
    CANBus Explorer for iOS

    There's a wealth of information about adding visibility into your Tesla Model 3's normally unseen CAN bus in my See Also section below, but I'm kind of assuming that you're interested in seeing my 4K video first, to determine whether this DIY project is something you'd like to take on for yourself.

    TinkerTry's new 4K video covers:

    1. unboxing and close look at the cable adapter and OBD adapter
    2. simple installation at the rear of the Model 3 center console
    3. basic ScanMyTesla iOS app overview

    Video

    TinkerTry - May 18 2020 - How to use iOS/Android devices as stats for nerds gauges in your Tesla Model 3 by adding OBDLink MX+
    TinkerTry - May 20 2020 - Tips and techniques for using your Tesla Model 3 OBDLink MX+ with both scan my tesla and tesLAX

    You'll clearly want to check out some of the other OBDII videos in the video gallery below as well.

    This first release of scan my tesla is a very early iOS version of the software, with the Android app currently much richer in features and functions, www.scanmytesla.com explains:

    IOS version is out in beta, planned release May 1, 2020. Please note that these pages are not yet updated to reflect it, however the plan is that these two versions will merge more in the future.

    In other words, more goodness to come!

    DISCLAIMER:
    Please contact the manufacturer of the wiring harness, the OBD adapter, or the software for guidance on usage and operation. I'm just a customer sharing my initial experience with this new capability. You are responsible for all risks of installing and using 3rd party hardware in your vehicle AT YOUR OWN RISK. Do not use while driving. Please obey all traffic laws and do not drive while distracted.

    I have no interest in making changes to my vehicle aka hacking. I'm only seeking visibility into my car's internal operating parameters. This knowledge could help me be better prepared for long winter road trips in the future, by keeping tabs on the battery temperature as I warm my Model 3 up in my unheated garage. I personally feel more comfortable with the longevity and safety of this OBD adapter and wiring harness than I would with the wiring splices needed for frunk and trunk automatic lift devices. No wires are cut for this simple DIY installation, and it's fully reversible.

    WHERE TO BUY

    There are 2 pieces of hardware and one piece of software you'll need to perform this DIY project on your Tesla Model 3. You may need some kind of plastic pry tool, but even a guitar pick would do the trick, as it takes very little force to get the trim off.

    PART #1 - OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth Module

    mxp

    OR

    Also sometimes available at Amazon:

    PART #2 - OBDII Adapter Cable Harness

    In the US, choose your Model 3 model year:

    hrn-ct20t1

    OR

    hrn-ct20t11

    kabelsatz-m3

    If you're in EU, try e mobility driving solutions for Jan 2019 Model 3 or later:

    PART #3 - Software

    id879636351
    • OBDLink for iOS
      I used this app's Settings / Firmware Updates feature for updating my MX+ from 5.0.0 to 5.4.0, which took just a couple of minutes. Best to do this before trying out other apps.

    scan-my-tesla-screenshot-2-by-TinkerTry-May-16-2020
    scan my tesla

    I tested the iOS version only, and occasionally I have to tap on the app's bottom-left Exit button (or force quit the app) to get it to connect when launched a second time. This is true even if the Bluetooth connection was verified to be "Connected" prior to launching this app.

    184588
    tesLAX - CANBus Explorer
    The Tech of Tech - Apr 21 2020 - Get 2,000+ gauges for your Tesla with the OBDLink MX+ [iOS, Android]
    Bjørn Nyland - Oct 22 2019 - Scan My Tesla OBD tool installation and explanation
    TechTesla [Josh Wardell] - Feb 21 2020 - CAN Signals Intro and new TesLax App
    TechTesla [Josh Wardell] - Feb 25 2020 - Basic Signals - Power, Voltage, Torque
    TechTesla [Josh Wardell] - Apr 26 2020 - Model 3 Battery and BMS Signals
    TechTesla [Josh Wardell] - May 22 2019 - Mobile Connector Teardown

    Wow, Josh is actually developing a slim AC vent HUD, but also working on a way to add yellow blind-spot warnings near the side view mirrors! You might want to subscribe to his channel.

    TechTesla [Josh Wardell] - Apr 07 2019 - Speed and BSM display

    May 19 2020 Update

    MX+ firmware updated, with article above updated accordingly including making OBDLink for iOS the first software download recommendation. I'm still having some issue with reliably connecting OBD apps after Bluetooth is connected, but am working on finding fixes or at least work-arounds.


    See also at TinkerTry

    All Tesla related articles:

    tech-breakfast-2020-05-04

    close-4k-look-at-tesla-traffic-light-and-stop-sign-control-beta-used-safely-on-public-roads

    model-3-lost-profiles-after-hw3-fixed-by-tesla

    tesla-model-3-westport-ct-police-cruiser-tech

    tinkertryd-tesla-charging

    CrossClimate

    first-v3-supercharger-in-the-northeastern-us-in-fairfield-connecticut

    tesla-on-hgg429

    differences-between-2018-and-2020-tesla-model-3

    one-year-and-25k-miles-of-tesla-model-3-is-going-incredibly-well

    tesla-tuesday

    model-3-blows-leaf-and-bolt-away

    tesla-model-3-known-good-charging

    tesla-model-3-known-good-accessories

    experiencing-the-first-falcon-heavy-launch-from-7-miles-away

    elon-musk-powerwall-inspires-world-change

    See also

    home
    • Scan My Tesla info landing page:

      'scan my tesla' is an Android app that will connect to a Tesla Model S, X or Model 3 diagnostics port, and show and log hundreds of readings.

      IOS version is out in beta, planned release May 1, 2020. Please note that these pages are not yet updated to reflect it, however the plan is that these two versions will merge more in the future.

      This app gives you numerous live statistics such as:

      • Battery power / voltage / current / temperatures
      • Drive Unit electric power / torque / horsepower / RPM / temperatures
      • Battery lifetime stats, capacity estimates and mileage
      • 12V system current, voltage, temperature
      • Trip recording and statistics, including charging
      • HVAC controls and readings
        ...

    184588

    teslax_canbus_explorer_now_available_for_ios

    teslax-canbus-visualizer
    • tesLAX CANBus Visualizer
      Mar 09 2020 by Jake Bordens:

      tesLAX is a CANBus Explorer and visualization tool. While it may be useful for other vehicles, such as the Model S and X, tesLAX was specifically designed with the Tesla Model 3 in mind. tesLAX can connect to an OBDLink MX+ bluetooth adapter to show live CANBus data from your vehicle. Additional wiring, and installation is necessary. Damage done to your vehicle may not be covered by vehicle warranty. Proceed at your own risk. Other FREE features of the app include:

      • Predefined visualization with many useful signals for the Tesla Model 3, S, and X.
      • Out of the box signal database with currently known signals from the Tesla Model 3.
        ...