OBD Readers or “OBD” scanners are used for a number of reasons. With the advent of the global marketplace more vehicles are being sold with built in “dummy” OBD scanners in their dashboards. This is great because it saves on the owner having to pay for a full on vehicle diagnostic tool but it does not help when problems with the vehicle come up that are not covered by the car maker’s diagnostic tool. Manufacturers have become aware of the fact that there are many consumers that want a vehicle tool that can address specific problems but not every car can support all the necessary tools. So, there is an increased interest in these vehicles as well and the portable OBD scanner is one of the most popular scanners on the market today.
When you are looking for an OBD scanner, it is important to understand that not all OBD products are alike. Each OBD product comes with it’s own specifications and there are differences in both the interface and the database that are supported by each product. If you are looking for a portable scanner or a Bluetooth car code reader, it is important to know what type of OBD information you are after and what you are after in terms of functionality. Here are some basic guidelines that you should keep in mind when shopping for an OBD reader or scanner.
Most OBD products have a serial interface and while some may use I-DAQ technology, the majority use the older bafx format. It has been documented that while the newer bafx formats support over three hundred scanners, the majority of vehicle OBD data has been written to older bafx drives. The newer bafx drives are hard disks that work with the UNIX operating system. If you are looking for a portable scanner then the most logical choice is a scanner that is compatible with the base format. Not only will this save you money on shipping costs, it will save you time when you need to travel to your local electronics store to pick up the needed base drive.
While it is true that some of the newer OBD products have some fancy features, like the new creader 3001 reader for example, they have been panned by the automotive community as well as by long-time auto technicians. Most have reported that the newer models do not work as well as the older models when it comes to diagnosing malfunctions. In some cases, the newer readers can actually cause more problems than they fix. The biggest complaint with these is that while they may be convenient, they tend to cost a lot more than the older bafx printers.
As an example, there is a newer Foxwell NTP compliant OBD reader that was recently released. The biggest complaint about this device is that it requires a USB cable for communication with the handheld computer. These cables can easily be lost or misplaced, which makes the reader prone to miscommunication. In addition, some of the newer readers require a PC-like interface for communication and many have reported problems with the lack of standard PC connectors. Some people report that they are able to get the unit to communicate with their computers via usb but that the process takes several attempts and often requires technical support to get things working right.
Another factor to consider is the compatibility of the electronic devices. The majority of scanners are designed to work with a specific brand of emissions monitor. In order to use the information from these emissions tests, you must also use the brand of vehicle that you are investigating. It is possible that you could end up having compatibility issues if you attempt to use a generic scanner on a vehicle that does not use that brand. This can prove problematic if you are in need of information on multiple vehicles in your fleet or business.
Finally, consider what additional features you would prefer over the basic version of the OBD reader. These devices generally have higher compatibility rates for latest OBD2 scanners and also have the ability to receive real-time data. Some of the advanced key features include auto diagnostic utilities, support for many common diagnostic utilities and real time information. These scanners have also become more compact in recent years and are now easier to use in any vehicle environment.
Before purchasing an OBD scanner for your fleet, make sure to do the research necessary to determine the level of experience and knowledge required for proper operation. The last thing you want is to purchase a scanner that will provide you with outdated or incorrect information resulting in you purchasing an outdated piece of equipment. Additionally, if you are a manufacturer, you should be familiar with any scanner standards used by your OEM. Many manufacturers will also provide technical support should you run into any problems using the scanner and may even be able to provide you with technical upgrades at no cost.