Here are some links to reference material, and products that you may find useful. We’ve split them
into four sections:
- Standards Organizations and Documents
- Scan Tools and other Hardware
- Decoding Trouble Codes
- Other Helpful Links
Standards Organizations and Documents
A serious hobbyist will want to obtain the relevant standards for reference. Many are available for sale through the following sites, but be warned – somes are fairly expensive:
ANSI – American National Standards Institute
CARB – California Air Resources Board
ISO – International Organization for Standardization
SAE – Society of Automotive Engineers
Scan Tools and other Hardware
A quick search with Google will provide many links, but to get you going, here are a few handy ones:
Actron Automotive Test Equipment offers ready-built code readers, and also provides a handy trouble code lookup.
Automotive Electronics Services has lots of diagnostic tools.
Dyno-Scan scan tools and software.
Autoxray is a maker of several automotive scan tools.
Blue Streak Electronics have a 3 in 1 BDM Pro kit for serious troubleshooting.
We are often asked where the OBDII (J1962) connectors are sold – CarPlugs.com is one source to try.
Digimoto no longer sells ELM-based products, but they still have some well respected vehicle diagnostics software, as well as good interfaces.
DG Technologies make a number of vehicle interfaces – most notably the Gryphon. They do host a number of courses too, for those that want to go beyond the basics.
ELM327.EU offers ELM327 interfaces with either Bluetooth or USB connectivity (WiFi is coming). If you’re in the EU, this Romanian company may be just what you’re looking for.
Ferret Instruments offer several automotive analyzers.
Hickok makes the New Generation STAR factory scan tool.
Formerly OnBoardDiagnostics.co.uk, Ilexa Onboard Diagnostics offer a variety of tools. Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi owners will be interested in their VCDS, and the Opel and Vauxhall owners will appreciate the VAUX-COM.
Omitec Interro are makers of handheld automotive diagnostic systems.
Kuester DatenSysteme offer a variety of interfaces and parts.
LapLogger offer software and interface packages for most platforms.
Mediakit2010 offer a very wide range products, including several that use our ICs (USB and BlueTooth versions, too). Be sure to have a look at their site. They’re based in Spain, which may be of advantage if you are in Europe.
Millisi Corp. offer several interfaces, both for VAG and for OBDII.
Nexiq makes several interfaces, including ones for big rigs.
Alex Peper’s site – ICs, interfaces, and software for the experimenter.
An extensive OBD site. Primarily in German, but there are links that provide translations to several other languages as well.
OBD2AllInOne.Com offers a low cost ELM327 based tester, if you would prefer to buy rather than build. For those that are looking for OBD1 devices, this same group operates the ALDLCable.com, and OBD1.com sites too.
Harrison R&D have been around for many years. They offer interfaces and software (for Windows users).
UK-based SK Pang Electronics offer ELM327 based OBD interfaces and parts for the experimenter. They also carry VAG-COM interfaces (which ELM chips do not support), and a lot of other neat things for the experimenter.
Snap-on Inc offers quite a range of diagnostics tools for the industry. They were once too expensive for the average homeowner, but you may now be surprised to see how competitive they’ve become.
Servitel srl is based in Italy, and offers ELM based products as well as some Opel and VAG specific ones. Click here for the english language version of their site.
UKOBD Ltd. is a UK-based distributor of scan tools (mostly mOByDic and Autel).
Decoding Trouble Codes
Many of the software programs for the ELM OBD products will provide a description of the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) for you, but some times you may just want a different description. Here are some links to sites that may be of help to you:
Actron’s code lookup
The Actron Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) Definitions page seems to offer a large number of B and U type codes that others do not.
A pretty good bare bones site for looking up codes.
Gendan’s online DTCodebank for OBDII, EOBD, and VAG trouble code definitions.
Trying to read a code from and older (pre-OBDII) vehicle? Bat Auto’s Trouble Codes web site may be able to show you how.
An interesting site for learning more about the OBD codes. In addition to the basic descriptions, they also offer troubleshooting tips, symptoms, and possible solutions.
Other Helpful Links
From time to time we come across useful resources that we think should be shared. Here are a few of the latest ones:
Wikipedia – OBDII PIDs
Wikipedia is always a good resource, and OBD is no exception. If you are looking for a particular piece of information from your vehicle, it may be available through one of these standard PIDs.
Auto Repair – Answers.com
This site is a resource for individuals that want to learn more about car care and maintenance.
This link now redirects you to the Bat Auto Forums – a good source of info.
International Automotive Technicians Network
Is a resource for automotive professionals.
The is a relatively new blog that promises to be a good source for OBD buying advice and tips.
Rick’s Free Auto Repair Advice
This site may not cover every vehicle, but there is a lot of advice for those that it does cover.