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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Onstar telemetry is cool in theory. In practice most of us have noticed the poor reliability. The smartphone app or myvolt.com sometimes doesn't connect for mysterious reasons. Quite often, I do not receive charge status messages from my Volt.

As it turns out, the Volt Driver Challenge app is a good tool to track Onstar's reliability. It shows the day crossed out in black when for some reason Onstar 'cloud' did not connect to the car:

photo.jpg

I counted that this happened on 45 days in 2013, which suggest an abysmal 84% service reliability. I cannot think of any service that has an as poor reliability as Onstar: Pizza delivery, cell phone call, airlines, cars etc etc all can be counted on with 98%-99% reliability.

What could cause this? Is it the onstar module in the Volt, the Wireless service, or the Onstar cloud software? I live in densely populated Silicon Valley with good cell phone coverage, so its unlikely the cell coverage. Most likely the antiquated setup of the communication protocol (based on old-fashioned text messages) is fundamentally poor in reliability.

This is my log of the number of missed days in 2013:

December 2012: 0
January 2013: 5
February: 9
March: 4
April: 2
May: 2
June: 5
July: 7
August: 0
September: 7
October *: 4
 

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Probably depends on your specific conditions. A lot of OnStar functionality requires a reliable cellular data connections. Just as cell phones have dead spots, OnStar also would have similar issues.

In my case, OnStar never failed because I have good coverage. What Onstar could do more to improve reliability? Use more radio bands, multiple carriers and support WiFi (when at home, it can connect to my home wifi if I allow it)
 

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My results are similar - 46 working days of 56 available = 82%. These are completely missed days as indicated the Volt DC app. There are also some days when total daily mileage was not accurate (low) but I gave the app full credit for these days.
 

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yes, VoltDC is as buggy as a simple phone app can get- oddly enough, it still has the total miles correct, and the month miles correct, just not the year miles. on top of that, only the "EV Miles" is really meaningful. both % EV and MPG are meaningless numbers. oh well, it was a nice idea, just poorly executed. and your rank may bounce around meaninglessly.


Oh yea, don't equate voltDC performance to OnStar reliability- its' just a little app running on your phone. It gets some information from the OnStar database, but what it gets and what it does with it is entirely dependant on the App itself.
 

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Because of the missed data the lifetime MPG on my Volt (220 MPG) is now different from the one displayed by Volt DC and voltstats.net (217 MPG). MyVolt.com and RemoteLink display 220 MPG. The Volt DC app started missing days on September 15th. It did not do that beforehand on my account. The days missing on Volt DC on my Android device are different from the days missing on my iPhone. It seems that the different apps are getting data from different systems at OnStar.

Maybe it is more appropriate to be called OffStar ;)
 

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Mine is a bit worse.

Dec 12 / 31
Jan 2 / 31
Feb 2 / 28
Mar 0 / 31
Apr 11 / 30
May 29 / 31
Jun 4 / 30
Jul 10 / 31
Aug 2 / 31
Sep 16 / 30
Oct 3 / 23

Total 91 / 327

28% down, 72% working
 

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I deleted the app off my phone, it's useless. I had a day that recorded 14 miles when I was away on a cruise and the car was sitting at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh yea, don't equate voltDC performance to OnStar reliability- its' just a little app running on your phone. It gets some information from the OnStar database, but what it gets and what it does with it is entirely dependant on the App itself.
I don't think that the VoltDC app is the problem. Rather, I think its the Onstar backbone infrastructure. The DC app, the onstar remotelink app, voltstats.net and myvolt.com are all based on onstar's cloud infrastructure that talks to the car via text messages. And they have problems that also indicate incomplete communication: Myvolt.com misses random charge events, often RemoteLink and myvolt cannot reach the vehicle and the charge alerts programmed through Remotelink have a similarly poor reliability.

One theory that I have is that when the onstar module in the Volt (essentially cell phone hardware) does not retry sending the text message with diagnostic data if it fails the first time. We have observed the behaviour that the module goes to sleep in order to prevent the battery from running down. So it could be that it uses some some battery conservation method and doesn't try too hard to get the message across at all (power) cost.

Given how poor this is, I will certainly not pay for a monthly subscription after the 3 'free' years expires.
 

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Voltstats checks twice a day - Do the same test with their data.

It has only been the last few months I see the gaps in the VoltDC information.

we also can't run the Scripts program the last month to get the same information -
 

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Just my two cents but I think its the application itself. Why do I think that? I have seen days where the information was pulled in and populated but only later to. Log back in and see the same day blacked out.
Ex.
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