Hacking my Toyota Prius – Fun with OBDII

Toyota did not intend for Prius owners to perform maintenance on their own vehicle. Without a tool that can send commands to the car’s ECU/computer, standard maintenance such as changing brakes, flushing the radiator, or changing the transmission fluid cannot be done properly. As I perform my own maintenance on my car, I became interested in OBDII (On Board Diagnostics) tools and researched the difference between dealer and consumer OBDII tools. Consumer OBDII tools such as the Scanguage2 and ELM327 can only pull diagnostic codes and read data from the ECU while Dealer tools can issue commands to the ECU and even reprogram the ECU. Definately dangerous if you have no idea what you’re doing 🙂

In the video, I’m toggling my on/off the power indicator light (see top left) using Toyota Techstream TIS (dealer/mechanic software), Drew Technologies Mongoose OBDII cable, Windows XP (32-bit) virtualized on my Mac.

Gallery of Prius in Maintenance Mode and various OBDII tools

OSX Virtualization, Hackintosh, 4 phases of assimilation into the Apple Computer Cult

Phase 1: The Resistance – Below are my attempts to run OSX without owning Apple Hardware.
OSX can be virtualized — it just runs like ass on my old Thinkpad.



In 2012, using some recycled parts, I was able to build a high end Hackintosh (specwise, obviously) for $800.


Phase 2: Coercion – If you do any kind of iOS development, you will eventually convert to a Mac (likely with kicking, cursing, and screaming).

Once you get over the:

  • New workflow (“forced to use it for work”)
  • OSX UI elements are completely opposite of Windows
  • Many options like “Viewing hidden files in Finder” require a terminal intervention.
  • Paying double or triple what you’d normally pay for a comparable PC

Phase 3: Adoption  
**gasp** You might actually start liking Apple computers and wondering why it took so long to convert.**gasp**

Phase 4: Acceptance
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the Apple Cult – really, because all Operating Systems are crap and OSX is just slightly less crappier than Windows 😛