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How to Install ELM327 USB Cable on Windows and OBD2 Software
Posted by Alex (Im) E. on 13 October 2011 02:18 PM
elm327 scan tool
Typical ELM327 USB Car Diagnostics Scanner
This article will guide you how to install ELM327 USB cable/scanner on your Windows computer. It will then work with OBD2 software (like award-winning TOAD) and your car.

(If you don't do this, then OBD software is not going to work. So it's CRUCIAL that you follow below steps).

Other Resources:

 

STEP 1: Download and Install Latest Tested ELM-327 Driver Files

(Cable should NOT be connected to your laptop yet. Only connect it when instructions say so.)

Windows XP, Vista, 7:

If you bought genuine ELM327 cable from Total Car Diagnostics here, then you only need to install Driver Pack 3. Then go straight to Step 2 to test it's working ok.

If you bought ELM327 cable from elsewhere (clones, eBay, other manufacturers) then install all driver packs below... (because they cover widest range of chip makers)

 

That's it!

Go to Step 2 below to test if everything is working ok...

 

Windows 8, 10:

If you bought genuine ELM327 cable from Total Car Diagnostics here, then you only need to install Driver Pack 3. Then go straight to Step 2 to test it's working ok.

If you bought ELM327 cable from elsewhere (clones, eBay, other manufacturers) then install all driver packs below... (because they cover widest range of chip makers)

  • Driver Pack 1
  • Driver Pack 2
  • Driver Pack 3
  • Driver Pack 4

    Steps to install Driver Pack 4:

    1. Unextract

    2. Right-click on "ser2pl" (icon has a little gear pic in it) and choose "Install", as per below pic:
      windows 8 prolific drivers

    3. Connect ELM327 cable to your laptop. Then...

      Go to: Control Panel » System » Device Manager » Ports (COM & LPT)

      You will likely see a yellow mark next to "Prolific", like this:
      windows 8 prolific

      Right-click on it » Update Driver Software

    4. Click "Browse my computer for driver software".

    5. Select "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer".

    6. Untick "Show compatible hardware".

    7. Select: Prolific driver version 3.3.2.102
      windows 8 prolific

    8. Install. That's it! The yellow triangle next to "Prolific..." should be gone.

 

That's it!

Go to Step 2 below to test if everything is working ok...

 

 

STEP 2: Test if ELM327 USB Cable is Installed Correctly

(You can now CONNECT your ELM327 USB cable to any port on the laptop.)

Ok, we're almost ready to start scanning your vehicle.

First, let's ensure that everything is working fine!

Here's how...

 

Step 1: Access Device Manager

Windows Vista/7/8/10: Control Panel » System » Device Manager

Windows XP: Control Panel » System » "Hardware" tab » Device Manager

 

Step 2: Expand "Other Devices" and "Ports (COM & LPT)"

Notice any device with any one of the following names:

  1. FT232R USB UART
  2. Prolific USB-to-Serial...
  3. USB Serial Port
  4. Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge

NONE of above devices should have a yellow mark (device error in windows) next to them.

If none of the above has a yellow mark, then congratulations! You're ready to begin scanning your car(s). Click here on how to connect to your car in the next 5 minutes...

If any of above devices has a yellow mark, then (1) Unplug cable from computer,  (2) Install Driver Pack 5,  (3) Restart computer,  (4) Plug ELM327 cable into computer and check if yellow mark is gone in Device Manager. If you STILL see a yellow mark, go to Troubleshooting.

 

How To Scan Your Car...

Step 1: Install your OBD software. Don't launch it yet.

Step 2: Connect the cable to your computer and car.

Step 3: Place the key in the ignition and turn it forward to the "ON" position. (Position where all dashboard lights are on. It's one position before engine starts.)

Step 4: Launch your OBD software. Click "Connect", and it'll auto-connect to the car.

 

TIP: If you want maximum data reported from the car, you'll need to have vehicles engine running.

And yes, you can drive your car while diagnosing it. Just be careful. Keep eyes on the road at all times.

 

 

 

Troubleshooting: Solutions for connection issues...

Common Solutions:

If you're unable to connect successfully to your car, then that's because of 2 reasons:

  1. Your vehicle is not OBD2 compatible. (This is reason in 99% of cases, which means you can only scan it at mechanic using their $2000 OBD1 scanners.)

  2. Random issues that can be fixed with below solutions...

 

Here are solutions in recommended order:

  1. First check that ELM327 is physically working (not defunct). When you plug in the cable into a USB port, all the lights on ELM327 interface/device should flash. And then it'll return to 1 red light (power).

           Condition of a defunct ELM327 interface: All lights will not initially flash, and only red light will be on.

  2. Restart computer (while keeping cable connected to laptop). Try again.

  3. Plug USB into different physical port of your computer. Try again.

  4. If all above solutions fail, then we will help you (only if you are Total Car Diagnostics customer). Here's all you need to do...

    Connect ELM327 USB cable into laptop. (Don't need to plug the other end to car)

    Step 1: Go to Control Panel.

    Windows Vista/7/8/10: Control Panel » System » Device Manager
    Windows XP: Control Panel » System » "Hardware" tab » Device Manager

    Step 2: Expand "Ports (COM & LPT)" and "Other Devices".

    Step 3: Take picture of the screen (Press "Print Screen" key on the keyboard then paste into any graphics program. Or take shot with camera/phone.)

    Step 4: Contact us and attach the picture.

 

Free Software That Will Test If ELM327 is Working with Windows...

Step 1: Download, extract and install this test OBD software. Do not launch it until Step 4 below.

Step 2: Connect ELM327 USB cable to laptop and car.

Step 3: Turn on car ignition.

Step 4: Launch EasyOBD. It will automatically connect.

 

If first 3 lines are GREEN (as per below pic) — then your cable/Windows is 100% installed properly! In which case, click here on how to connect to your car in the next 5 minutes using proper OBD software...

If first 3 lines are not GREEN — refer to Common Solutions above.

 


First 3 green lines means your ELM327 cable/Windows is properly installed.

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