Modern vehicles have an electronic element in the vehicle that is used to run and operate all the different components. The EPA mandated a change for cars that were made after 1996 and they now all have common denominators.
The common element allows vehicles made after this time frame to be equipped with solutions that can help with diagnosing and fixing issues with relative ease. You’ll find that the most common devices are known as OBD scanners or adapters.
You can download software alongside these devices, many of which come with a unique interface. Amidst the most common of these is the ELM327 interface.
What Is ELM327 interface?
First and foremost, you should know that there are a lot of different types of interfaces you can use with diagnostic scanners.
OBDII can come with a variety of chip sets, but the most common across the world of automobiles is a solution that is made by the company ELM Electronics. They are the creators of the ELM327 interface. This is one of the most common, and used solution that you are going to find across the automotive world.
Mechanics and consumers alike use this option and it supports a wide variety of protocols.
Even though this is a common solution, not all of the OBD2 software elements are being used right now. Many options are now archaic, or are starting to go away. For instance, the RS series is no longer going to get updated.
However, you may find that there are USB, Bluetooth, and WIFI options are starting to proliferate a lot of scanner options.
Uses of ELM327 Interface
When you look at diagnostic software, you’ll find that this solution by ELM Electronics is made for simplicity. It’s a simple, low-level solution that many people start out with. It’s usually found updated with entry level, hand-held options, as well as brand specific options.
There are updates and supplementary elements that you can install after the fact, but the basic software has a great deal of information that can be ascertained through the connection of an adapter.
The most up to date software solution can be found with smartphones and tablets, which allow you to use a variety of connection points to relay information from your vehicle into the scanner that you choose to utilize.
The Clone Problem
ELM Electronics sold the original ELM327 interface without protecting it. That means that anyone could build their own controller and charge a lot less for it.
It has the same information that you would expect from the official ELM solution, but you’ll find that there are issues to be had. Just like pirating other items, the knockoff clones look and seem to be legitimate, and in fact, they are using the same chipsets and microcontroller codes as officially licensed ELM Electronic interfaces and scanners.
The different starts to come through with the bugs and software elements that come with the 1.0 microcode. Even though the clones do not get updated, many people fall for their releases and work with a variety of different components as it’s inexpensive to purchase a clone.
To spot a clone, you’ll need to look at the controller labels. If there’s no ELM official label, or sticker, then something is wrong.
Another way to tell whether or not you’re about to purchase a clone is the edition. The software options for ELM327 interfaces are found with 1.0 through 2.1. There are two variables between those two points, but not the commonly sold 1.5 edition.
If you see a seller that is trying to sell ELM327 interface 1.5, it’s not a real version as the company never put out a 1.5 edition.
Clones can work in minor ways, and in some cases can give you the codes, but they will not be the same standard as the official solution overall, simple as that.
The Benefits of Using A Scanner With ELM327 interface
If you’re not sure about purchasing an OBD scanner or may just want to know some benefits, you’ll find that a great deal of reasons come through in regard to using this interface. The biggest reason you’ll want to explore this a bit more is because it can help you understand what is going on with your car.
Over time, you’re going to find that your vehicle can break down. If your car has issues, you may not know how to fix the problem. A check engine light may turn on, you may hear something rocking under the hood, or you could be dealing with a variety of problems overall.
Whatever the case is, you may not have the expertise to help the issue. But with the use of an OBDII scanner and this simplified interface, you can get codes to help fix things.
The check engine light can turn on, you can scan the issue, and figure out what the problem truly is. Fixing it could save you thousands of dollars.
Buying The Right Scanner
Right now there are a lot of scanners online. You can look for ELM327 interface scanners, and you’ll have a lot of choices to consider.
Overall, the scanners that run this software will help you get the right codes.
When purchasing the right solution, consider the cost, the software updates, and whether or not it’s up to date. Whether you want to use this in conjunction with a smartphone, wireless internet protocol, or you want to use it with a laptop, make sure that you look for the interface that any scanner utilizes.
Knowing which one it uses will show you if it’s the ELM edition or something else.
At the end of the day, the ELM327 is a good solution to use. It’s simple, it’s up to date, and it’s an officially licensed software that is ubiquitous amidst a lot of mechanics overall.
You will need to do some of the work to fix errors when you get them scanned with this software, but it can at least help you notice if there’s something wrong with your vehicle, instead of guessing if something is going on.