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Review: DrewTech's DashDAQ Datalogger

Updated on November 22, 2012

Ranking the DashDAQ

5 stars for Drew Technologies DashDAQ XL
Our DAQ had to be compatible with this Haltech ECU
Our DAQ had to be compatible with this Haltech ECU

Logging data on a formula-style race car

Today I'm going to do a quick review of Drew Technologies' DashDAQ XL datalogger. I am currently on a team of engineers building an open wheeled race car. This car runs on a Haltech ECU that can stream performance parameters, but there was a need for a comprehensive datalogging solution. There are many dataloggers on the market, some complex and some cheap. However, this application is a bit out of the ordinary. We did not need an expensive race system. The car required a cheap device that allowed us to log RPM, air-fuel ratios, manifold air pressure, and shock velocity. We also needed something with a display. This would allow logs to be reviewed quickly during testing and troubleshooting without going to a laptop. It's important to keep these requirements in mind while I review the DashDAQ, as you may or may not have similar needs.

The DashDAQ XL Unit
The DashDAQ XL Unit | Source

Data Inputs

The DashDAQ has two serial and two analog inputs in addition to its OBD2, SAE J1962 port. We actually spliced into the OBD2 port to connect to Haltech's Datastream. The DashDAQ allowed for direct monitoring and logging of speed, temperature (transmission, coolant, EGT, etc), air-fuel ratios, pressure (fuel, oil, boost, etc), and voltage.

This combination of inputs provided us with the necessary amount of data and allowed us to log everything we need.

Deciding Factors

Our team ultimately chose the DashDAQ XL datalogger over its competition because the device met our stated requirements, is widely available, and supports a wide range of software upgrades. Unlike similar devices, the DashDAQ allows us to add GPS location logging. It is also compatible with phidgets sensors. The only issue we had with the device was in splicing into the included OBD2 cable. This, however, is not likely to be a common need for production vehicle owners.

Overall, the DashDAQ allowed us to log a plethora of data, the touch screen is bright and responsive, and we're still experimenting with additional plug-ins. It even gives us visual and audio warnings when pressure drops and temperature rises. The device allows extensive customization over how data is displayed, and this keeps our car functional while looking good. This earned the DashDAQ a 5 star rating.

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