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I just wanted to take a moment to pass on my experiences with a carchip pro from Davis. The carchip is a small device that plugs into the OBD connector under the patriot's dash and captures various information from the onboard computer. I'm pleased to share that it works quite well with the Jeep patriot (at least confirmed on my '08) and provides some interesting stats.

For example, in my case I have a daily commute where I carpool with a friend - 18 miles each way. The device captures the exact time and length (miles) of my trip as well as if I have any hard accelerations/stops, maximum speed, waiting time, etc. I also capture metrics from the computer such as engine load, coolant temperature, throttle position, etc.

For those who tow with their patriot - the amount of load, accelerator position, etc. when towing vs when empty on the same travel route would be very useful/interesting to capture.

It's pretty geeky I know, but the information has actually proven fairly useful for me in: (1) reducing my commute time via timing the 'real' time required to take alternate routes at the same time of day; (2) solved a 'bet' I had in my carpool as to which route is consistently the fastest; (3) making minor adjustments to my driving habits to improve mileage, etc.

I recently connected the chip to my brother's C-series Mercedes and captured the various trouble code information that was causing his check engine light. In this case, the problem was due to an oxygen sensor, but he had replaced the wrong one the first time (revealed the correct one to replace). The device will also reset the trouble codes. Having this built in code-scanning ability I anticipate will be useful for me in the future should I see problems crop up with my 08 Pat. The automatic 'last 12 seconds' data capture for accidents (AKA 'black box') could also prove useful in any accident cases where insurance refuses to pay as well as disputing speeding tickets, etc. with the police (the computer doesn't lie).

On various trips I have set the device to capture different metrics; A recent 300 mile trip yielded some interesting information about average speed, ambient/outdoor temperatures, typical areas on the trip that impact overall average MPH, etc.

One note - the device's software is PC compatible only. If you want to use it on a Mac, you'll have to us VMWare Fusion and install windows or partition and boot to windows. (I've used successfully on a Mac with VMWare Fusion, as well as a standard pc laptop).

The software is straightforward and easy to use. Data received from the chip can be viewed on the software or exported (delimited format) for use in programs such as Microsoft Excel. (I've done this as well).

The chip has a built in accelerometer that 'tattles' on you with an audible "3 beeps" if you accelerate faster or brake harder than specific G settings you have set. You can also set a maximum MPH/KPH where the unit 'chirps' at you if you exceed the speed you set. If you are one who has had several speeding tickets (I haven't) I suppose that this could be a good reminder as then your patriot will "nag" at you to slow down. I've tested this as well and found it to be quite accurate in when it will start to nag if you are going faster than the limit you have set and when it 'shuts up'. All of these audible features can be disabled.

In terms of 'gripes' about the product: (1) I have not been able to get it to work properly with my 2003 Ford Focus. Davis (manufacturer) support has not responded to my questions; (2) While it can capture 23 different metrics from a vehicle's onboard computer, it can only capture 4 simultaneously. You have to connect it to a PC and change what you want to have captured. Capturing up to 12 or more at the same time would be even more useful, especially when doing on-road diagnostics of a problem.

In the coming years when my kids begin to drive on their own, I can find this chip to be a very useful device. I would not 'sneak' the device into the vehicle. Rather, I would give them the freedom to drive and let them know that if they regularly step outside the limits of safety (many jackrabbit starts, regularly exceeding the speed limit, etc.), there would be consequences (loss of driving privileges). I could easily see if they have removed the trip or manipulate the results. Insurance these days is already bad enough for young drivers.

This chip is used in some cases by insurance companies to determine 'safe drivers'. Some municipalities in the US are also discussing using such chips, combined with GPS technology, to bill drivers for the amount of miles driven instead of gas tax. (carchip also offers one with GPS ability). My US state governor has already proposed it. In my case, this steps over a line - of loss of freedom.

Voluntary use of such devices, as I have demonstrated here, can have very practical use for the typical enthusiast - and I can only imagine how much fun it would be to download the stats from trail rides on 'trail rated' patriots (mine's just FWD). Having the data of how varied your speed was, max RPM, how much load was placed on the engine, etc. would add an interesting dynamic/to the story you share afterwards. This combined with GPS would also be useful in determining 'trouble spots' on trails and even improve 'race times' if that is your thing.
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