Battery health is a key variable for the longevity of your vehicle and there is a lot that you can do to conserve it, so we think it is well worth the extra effort to scan every month. Also if you own a ‘Generation 1’ Leaf, the scanning system can give you a lot more accurate information about your state of charge. Real enthusiasts have it running and logging continuously as they drive so that lots of added trip data are stored.
You can participate in most of Flip The Fleet’s reporting without scanning your vehicle’s battery regularly, but by using it you will get information about your battery health that cannot be gained from your dashboard. And just a small note – please use any advice on this page at your own risk – we’re not aware of any issues that have been historically caused by scanning your battery, and we do it all the time ourselves – as do a large portion of Flip The Fleet participants, and most modern car mechanics around the world when doing a service – but still, you agree that you won’t hold us responsible should something out of the ordinary occur with your vehicle/s.
LeafSpy is usually used to scan Nissan Leafs http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Leaf_Spy_Pro. EV Positive also supplies an app for scanning the Mitsubishi Outlander http://evpositive.com/evbatmon-for-phev.html and iMiEV http://evpositive.com/evbatmon-for-i-miev.html
If you want to scan your electric vehicle:
- It’s best if you use an Android smartphone or device (eg. Tablet) to receive the signals from the OBD2, but LeafSpy works on iPhone’s OS provided you have bought the appropriate OBD2. EVBatMon does not work on iPhones.
- Download ‘LeafSpy’ or ‘EVBatMon’ to your device. The ‘Lite’ version is free, but if you wanted added capacity (beyond what is needed for basic Flip The Fleet reporting) you can purchase LeafSpyPro for around $20.
- Purchase or borrow an OBD2 device. It plugs into your vehicle’s data streams that reach the dashboard and records a lot of stored information about your battery in particular. The OBD2 sends either a Bluetooth or WiFi signal when plugged in an activated. The best OBD2s cost around $90 (can be purchased from most car parts & accessories suppliers) but you can get a cheaper Bluetooth versions that work on Android devices for around $35. Make sure the specs for the OBD2 match the requirements of the LeafSpy or EVBatMon app. Sadly though, while we’ve heard good things (And tried many of) about the dongles suggested below, now and then, there’s a bad batch, and it just won’t work so you may need to ask for a replacement.For a Bluetooth dongle (Android devices), the Konnwei KW902 has repeatedly shown it works well (USD $12 or so, 2-weeks free shipping to NZ). You can get it from overseas here, or for a local supplier, check out a StahlCar unit ($70 NZD) here.
Also, you may wish to get an extension cable to move the OBD2 scanner away from the factory location in the Nissan Leaf – you may end up kicking it with your knee if you want to use it while driving. Safety first! Even if you get an extension cord, please run it well away from your pedals and secure it well. You can get one from StahlCar (NZD $30 with dongle, $35 without) here, or if you are waiting for an overseas dongle anyway, you can find one overseas for a few less dollars (from around USD $2) here.
- Full instructions for LeafSpy and interpretation of the data can be found at: http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Leaf_Spy_Pro
- Plug the OBD2 into the socket situated under the dash near the steering column (Leafs and Mitsubishi) or to the right of the dash behind a cover (eNV200 vans). Make very sure that the OBD2 is seated well into the socket. We heard of a local person kicking the OBD2 by mistake while it was plugged in and causing quite a lot of damage to the electronics, so take care not to knock it while it is operating. We take ours out and store it in the glovebox, but others like to leave it in continuously, log the rides and automatically upload the data to their PC or similar via WiFi reaching their garage
- Switch on your vehicle.
- Hit the start button on the top of your OBD2 – it should glow and you may also have one that has a green light that flashes to show that it is receiving and transmitting data from your Leaf.
- Start-up your device and make sure the appropriate system (WiFi or Bluetooth) is switched on.
- Pair your Bluetooth to your OBD2’s signal and connect to the OBD2’s WiFi signal. Within Settings scan for the WiFi or Bluetooth signals, press down on the one from your OBD2, and highlight the button to pair it. The device is now receiving signals from your car’s CPU.
- Start-up LeafSpy and select your connection method (Bluetooth or WiFi) in the LeafSpy’s ‘Settings’ menu (top right parallel lines icon). You can also select units and the year of your vehicle in the set-up settings.
- Now cross your fingers and hope you get connected! You’ll need to wait a while for it to Synch with Torque and the Car’s data streams. Once it starts to syn the yellow tabs at the bottom right of the screen will go green. A full screen of data will appear on your device once it has connected and synced.
- If you are not connecting, try switching off LeafSpy (select ‘Exit’) and then Restart it and give it a few more minutes to sync with your OBD2. You should also check that the OBD2 is transmitting – if your model has a flashing light, try wiggling the OBD2 gently till it starts flashing. If that still doesn’t work, try the following: (a) switch the car off with the OBD2 still inserted; (b) pull out the OBD2, and then reinsert it; (c) start the car again. These things are notoriously temperamental and it can be frustrating, but often just waiting awhile brings it all together.
- Once you have got it going the first time it will be much quicker next time – ours work almost instantly but was erratic at the start, so please persist if you can be bothered.
- For Flip the Fleet we most want three statistics for the monthly records:
- Battery State of Health i.e. remaining Battery capacity when fully charged (as a %)
- Fore Leafs and eNV200s, the number of Rapid charges (called ‘QC’ by the app) in the life of the battery so far. It is in the second line of the screen you land on when you first open LeafSpy.
- Fore Leafs and eNV200s, the number of slow charges (called L1 and L2 by the app) in the life of the battery so far. It is just to the right of the QC Count.
The last two statistics will therefore allow us to calculate how many times you charged since last scanning your battery (hopefully over the past month if you become a regular user). Be aware that if you put your car onto a timer for charging, you L1/L2 click’s twice: once when the car is plugged into the timer, and then later one more time when the charge starts.
- You can either write the key stats in your log book, or some devices allow you to take a screen shot and store it; or you can store the log and upload from your device later.
- If you have LeafSpy on a Tablet, you can swipe sideways to see lots of other data. If you want to log the data, go to settings within the LeafSpy app and set that up.
- Ring Henrik (027 2268688) or Email (email@example.com) if you need help.
- Although not directly related to the LeafSpy app, or the OBD2 scanner, there is a cluster of 4 buttons that you should use to find, switch between and reset the average speed and the average efficiency – all of which are vital parameters for Flip The Fleet. The cluster is located to the right and slightly below the steering wheel in the Nissan Leaf, and to the left and slightly below the steering wheel for an Nissan e-NV200. And the numbers are read out right in the middle of your dash.
OK, have fun. Thanks for helping us all Flip The Fleet.
Henrik Moller & Dima Ivanov