AEM’s OBD-II Data Logger Makes Street Cars Faster

One advantage of running a standalone EFI system is the ability record copious levels of information via its onboard datalogger. With this information a tuner can learn how to squeeze even greater performance from a combo in response to the track, weather conditions or parts changes. Thanks to AEM’s new AQ-1 OBD-II Data Logger (PN 30-2501; $649.95), owners of street cars with stock EFI systems can easily record data from the factory PCM and external sensors.

To learn more about this powerful new tool we touched base with Eric Holiday at JPC Racing, who recently began using the AQ-1 for logging, which makes his job tuning cars much easier.

If you want to tune a 7-second street ’Stang like Mo Makki’s single-turbo S550, having ample data to examine is a big help. JPC Racing uses AEM’s new AQ-1 OBD-II Data Logger (PN 30-2501; $649.95) to record information from factory and aftermarket sensors.

If you want to tune a 7-second street ’Stang like Mo Makki’s single-turbo S550, having ample data to examine is a big help. JPC Racing uses AEM’s new AQ-1 OBD-II Data Logger (PN 30-2501; $649.95) to record information from factory and aftermarket sensors.

We get the question every week: ‘Hey, how do I make my car faster?’ — Eric Holiday, JPC

“We get the question every week: ‘Hey, how do I make my car faster?’ I don’t know. You have to give me some more information,” Eric explained. “Say someone has a car and mentally you think it should be a lot faster than it is. You start asking ‘How quick does the boost come in?’ or ‘How is this happening or how is that happening?’ If they have a log that they can send you, from there we can, essentially, say ‘Here’s where we think you need to improve,’ and try to help them dial it in.”

Because the AQ-1 is designed to tap into the factory OBD-II data stream, it really makes it easy for people to provide that information to a tuner. Simply wire the unit for power, plug in the OBD-II connector and set up the free software on your computer and you are ready to log the factory data. It will even read and clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes like a handheld tuner.

If that weren’t enough, the AQ-1 record data from the factory electronics, but it can be augmented with data from eight supplied analog inputs.

“The other cool thing about it is that it’s not limited to AEM sensors. Any 0-5 volt sensor, whether it is Auto Meter, a GM MAP sensor or whatever, you can just tie into those signals,” Eric explained. “So if you have an Auto Meter electric fuel pressure gauge, you can tie into that wire going back to your gauge and it will record fuel pressure. You just have to manually set up the sensor, but it’s pretty straight-forward stuff.”

With just power and an OBD-II connection you can plug in the AQ-1 and start logging. The software to read the logs off the SD card is free. Those extra wires on the harness allow connecting up to eight additional sensors, such as air/fuel ratio, boost, exhaust backpressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, coolant temperature, exhaust gas temperature and more.

AEM AQ-1 OBD-II Features

• Reads/logs channels from the OBD-II port of 2008-up vehicles

• All data channels saved to single log file with real-time clock

• Reads and clears trouble codes

• Four analog inputs

• Three switched digital inputs

•  Easy connection to AEMnet-enabled devices

• RS-232 serial input included for adding NMEA0183 GPS device

• Internal three-axis accelerometer ( /- 4g MAX)

• 2GB removable SD card included for log files (up to 32GB)

• Track-mapping capability

• Data downloadable via USB port or SD card

• Free AEMdata analysis software with HD video encoding for adding data overlays to videos

It also features three switched digital inputs, which can record data in response to a switch; say a nitrous switch or transbrake. It is even wired with the AEMnet CAN bus and an RS232 serial connection, which provide even more avenues to record data.

“Any AEM gauges that you have, especially the new X-series CAN bus stuff, don’t take up any inputs on the box,” Eric enthused. “You can just CAN them directly into the logger and you, essentially, have a free channel.”

These flexible inputs even make the AQ-1 useful on pre-OBD-II vehicles, as it has plenty of channels at the ready to record non-factory data.

“If you have an old Fox body, for example, and it’s not OBD-II but you want to see you mass air meter voltage you can tie you mass air meter into one of the digital inputs and it will log your mass air meter going down the track,” Eric said.

It even includes an on-board, three-axis accelerometer to log the car’s movements on a pass or lap. This data along with all the other parameters is saved to an SD card like the one you put in a digital camera. This makes the data infinitely expandable and easy to share.

“Even if you are open-tracking, you can just put in one card and for this lap and record the whole time you are out there racing,” Eric added. “Then you can come back and just replace the card, go out again and compare the two runs.”

The AQ-1 OBD-II Data Logger offers logging rates of up to 1,000 samples per second per channel and it can store that data on SD cards up to 32gb, so you will have plenty of data to review. JPC Racing’s Eric Holiday uses logs like this to learn how to maximize a combination.

It’s not all serious business, however. If you want to overlay some of that data on a video of your car in action and share it with your friends, the AEMdata analysis software features HD video encoding to get the job done.

For more on the AQ-1, you can check out the AEM site here.

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About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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