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Bluefire - a cool tool
06-23-2020, 15:53 (This post was last modified: 06-23-2020 22:23 by mbulriss.)
Post: #1
Bluefire - a cool tool
Well, I finally broke down and bought a Bluefire for motorhomes ECM reader to monitor the DDEC. I have to admit, it’s a very useful tool. I have been using it to read some very recent and vexing DDEC codes and clear them as I fix things, but that’s a different thread.

I downloaded the corresponding app and am running my new “glass dash” on a spare iPad. It verifies my suspicions (and in some cases, hopes) that some of my analog gauges were reporting incorrect readings. In that sense, it’s reassuring to be viewing better information on the engine and tranny. Plus it’s interesting to see the instantaneous mpg figures when going downhill! I hit a high of 340 mpg at one point! Yeah, that didn’t last long.

FYI, they have recently substantially reduced the price on these things. Plus if you use coupon code of “Amazon” they take even more off. My only negative comment is that there doesn’t seem to be much for direct customer support, except through an online forum of Q&A postings.

But all in all, I have found it to be a very useful tool to add to your bus.

Mike Bulriss
2001 LXi 43' DS Millennium Edition
San Antonio, TX
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06-23-2020, 17:34
Post: #2
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
Mike,
Have you had any experience with the Vmspc software? Just wondering how it compares to the Bluefire.

John Mace
96 42 big bird
living in the wild hinterlands of the north
free to roam without the man getting me down
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06-23-2020, 22:53 (This post was last modified: 06-23-2020 22:59 by mbulriss.)
Post: #3
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
John,

I have no experience with the VMspc. I did a lot of reading though and my impression is that the VMspc has not had any software upgrades in a long time. The Bluefire developer makes regular updates and seems quite receptive to suggested upgrades. For instance, your dash gauges can extend beyond one page and you can scroll through the pages. The Bluefire has LOTS of options to customize your personal dash. That’s good and bad - the user has more ways to mess up! Trust me, I searched for a set up error for quite a while. I also like that the interface is via Bluetooth from the adapter plug to your viewing device which can be a PC, tablet, phone, Apple, Android, Windows and others. The Bluetooth connection has been very stable. I will say that the software does not react well from going from landscape to portrait mode on the fly. Set your dash (or alternate dashes) up for one mode and stick to it for that dash. Yes you can load alternate dashes. You can also do split screen with different GPS systems. As I said, lots of options for customizing to your desires. There are separate pages for trip routing, repairs, active/inactive alerts, fuel fill ups, etc. if attached to the web, it will even show you the closest dealer if you need service. The product has customized Software versions for over the road trucks, RV/motorhomes, fire trucks, so there is some cross pollination of good ideas. Lots of info on their website. You buy a ECM adapter particular to your rig’s diagnostic port and then download the free app software of your choosing (for our use, Bluefire for Motorhomes), read the tutorial and start setting up customized dashes to your hearts content.

One caveat, the system reports SAE standard codes so you have to translate them to DDEC codes (in my case) in order to track the code errors and potential resolution in the DDEC literature.

I think Ross may have more input on this matter about the other product.

Mike Bulriss
2001 LXi 43' DS Millennium Edition
San Antonio, TX
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06-24-2020, 16:05
Post: #4
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
Mike,

Thanks for that explanation. That pretty well sums it all up! When I was looking at the VMspc yesterday, it did look like their website was quite stagnant. I do like the Bluetooth aspect for connectivity.

How much difficulty are you having converting from the SAE codes to the DDEC codes?

John Mace
96 42 big bird
living in the wild hinterlands of the north
free to roam without the man getting me down
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06-24-2020, 20:14
Post: #5
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
John,

No problem with SAE to DDEC Flash Codes once I found this cross reference listing:
http://www.dmbruss.com/images/Schematics..._Codes.pdf

This site also has all the debugging and diagnostic steps once you know the code. Now finding the error and repairing is another matter.

Mike Bulriss
2001 LXi 43' DS Millennium Edition
San Antonio, TX
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06-24-2020, 23:19
Post: #6
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
Finding the problem is always the tough part. At least having a starting point is better than not!

John Mace
96 42 big bird
living in the wild hinterlands of the north
free to roam without the man getting me down
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07-07-2020, 13:40
Post: #7
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
I'm hearing that some folks are having troubles with the Bluefire either not connecting or when it is connected, some original dash gauges don't work. Is anybody experiencing that and have you figured out how to fix it?

John Mace
96 42 big bird
living in the wild hinterlands of the north
free to roam without the man getting me down
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07-12-2020, 23:42
Post: #8
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
When I hear that, I immediately think: what Coach manufacturer, which engine, which engine ECM, what device is the Bluefire running on and what operating system on that device?

I have had none of the problems referred to and I don’t read of such problems on the Bluefire user forum.

As far as the dash gauges not working, I have a hard time understanding any correlation. For instance, on our S60 engines, the oil pressure sensor for the DDEC ECM is different than the gauge on the dash. I haven’t traced them all, but I think most of them are/have to be separate because the DDEC uses 5v (Electronic industry signaling) to all the sensors and the dash gauges use automotive 12v signaling (mainly AC Delco signaling). I am at a loss to see how the reported dash failure has much of anything to do with the Bluefire reading the ECM data. In fact that was one of the main reasons I bought it. I had little faith in my dash gauges readings. I was correct. The ECM readings seem much more realistic and stable in our extreme southern heat. Besides the “glass dash” I am using with the Bluefire is pretty cool.

IMO, many reported “issues” revolve around user error. I can attest to how easy it is to screw something up on the Bluefire in a heartbeat without even trying. It’s a fairly sophisticated tool that you customize a lot of settings to your particular coach/engine to match your desires and needs. With flexibility comes increasing opportunities for errors. It’s the old garbage in, garbage out rule. I still haven’t got everything I want on the dash and the last time I touched it, I screwed it up And had to restore a backup copy, so I am serious about user error. I read it often on the Bluefire forum posts in the Q&A process and followup: Hey, ‘xyz’ doesn’t work on my coach. Minutes later, oops, never mind, found it.

It’s a really cool tool for the price and I’m glad I finally got it.

Mike Bulriss
2001 LXi 43' DS Millennium Edition
San Antonio, TX
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07-14-2020, 13:20
Post: #9
RE: Bluefire - a cool tool
This is on some coaches with Cat engines and I don't know how they're set up. Mostly I was curious to see if it had occurred to others and what they'd found to fix it. It sounds like it could be a useful tool.

John Mace
96 42 big bird
living in the wild hinterlands of the north
free to roam without the man getting me down
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