23. REVIEW - Rixster (vent integrated) Boost Gauge (version 2 with CANbus)
I believe that anyone who is modifying his car considerably - as many here are doing -, a tool to watch some of the most important parameters of the engine is a must-have. I have owned the Bavarian Technic tool
for quite some time, and is has been very helpful to diagnose and datalog. However, it's always a hassle to connect it to the OBD port, take out the laptop, connect it to the laptop etc. - and you can't really watch the data while you're driving, so either you have a passenger doing that or you save it for later analysis.
What I really wanted was a tool that let me watch some of the parameters in real time while driving. Of course I knew that there were boost gauges already on the market, but most of them either looked too much out of style with the interior of my car, and also simply being able to watch the boost didn't really appeal to me.
However, at the end of 2010 I saw that P3Cars
was in the process of developing an upgrade to their existing boost gauge, which included CANbus integration and therefor the possibility to display a considerable number of parameters such as intake air temperature, water coolant temperature or throttle plate. I really liked the seamless integration of this gauge into the OEM driver side vent, which along with the orange colour of the digital readout looked very much stock (see also here: P3 Cars - Vent Gauge v2
). I didn't want my car look too much like a boyracer car, and therefor the OEM looks that this particular gauge had appealed to me quite a lot. An additional feature that I liked was that the gauge had two additional analogue inputs (besides one that is already used for the boost sensor), which I intend to use at a later point for measuring the flow of my methanol kit.
It then took some time until the development of the gauge was finalised, and a few months later it was possible to subscribe for the first batch of it for 399 USD, IIRC. That's certainly not cheap, but the looks and multitude of features distinguished it from anything else in the market, so I went for it.
I received it some time after ordering it, and it came well packaged and with everything needed for the install. I had opted for the version that was already integrated into an OEM vent, so that the installation was mostly plug & play. The only difficulty was to find some space for the module itself, as behind the covers of the footwell there were already quite a few cables from my methanol kit and Bilstein B16 Ride Control suspension. It worked out quite well, however, and my garage said that they had no trouble at all installing it.
Here are a few photos:
Boost gauge installed (1):
Boost gauge installed (2) - OBD port:
Display option - Intake Air Temperature:
Display option - Rounds Per Minute:
In my opinion this gadget looks really great. If you didn't know it, you could easily believe that the car had this display when coming out of the factory. The possibility to use metric measurements but displaying the boost in psi is eminently practical; and it's simply fun watching the boost go up as you floor it.
Also, this enabled me to watch the efficiency of my methanol kit in real time - you could see the air intake temperatures decreasing each time the methanol started being sprayed. Very useful! Also, the feature to display and delete codes is very helpful as well, even though for properly diagnosing and datalogging an additional tool such as the BT tool is indispensable.
The vent itself still works, of course, although it's not possible any more to direct the air stream - but which is not really a problem.
The OBD port can still be used as well - for this the cable of the gauge that is plugged into it simply needs to be unplugged. That was important for me as I would not be able to use the BT tool or the GIAC mapswitcher without this feature. A more permanent install option for those for who this isn't necessary can also be bought, so I am told.
Here's another link with an overview over all features of it: Overview - features of P3 Cars - Vent Gauge v2
None of any importance, really. It has performed flawlessly since I installed it, and has made it possible for me to keep an eye on some of the most important engine parameters while driving.
As I use the GIAC mapswitcher from time to time, as well as the BT tool, some fumbling is always necessary to get the gauge unplugged, but that is really a very minor gripe.
All in all I'm very happy with this product and can recommend it without any reservation.