Tested OBD-II readers with Android version

edited January 2015 in General
I've acquired some readers to test the new OBD-II feature on Android. The data rates are for one channel only. Here's the list of tests so far.

- OBDLink MX Scan Tool
Seems to be a very fast branded device with proper product support. Data rate very fast at 30-40 Hz. Best available reader!

- OBDLink LX Scan Tool
Similar to MX, but much cheaper. Read the specs to figure out which one to buy.

- Car-Pal:
Data rate 3-4 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.30)

- OBDkey v1.1:
Data rate 5 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.30)

- OBDkey v1.3:
Data rate 8-9 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.30)

- HHOBD Advanced:
Data rate 5 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.30)

- China blue "elm327" mini:
Data rate 30-40 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.33).
This is probably not a genuine ELM, but it claims to be ELM327 v1.5. Data rate it can achieve is simply amazing. This is an unbranded device, so if you buy one, remember you might not get same hardware as I did.

- China white "elm327":
Data rate 15-20 Hz on BMW e91 (RaceChrono v2.33). This is probably not a genuine ELM, but it claims to be ELM327 v1.5, also it reports a fake Bluetooth address. This is an unbranded device, so if you buy one, remember you might not get same hardware as I did. (Note: Had some problems with protocol checking but will fix for v2.45 beta)

- China black/blue "OBD Diagnostic Interface"
Didn't test the data rate, but works (RaceChrono v2.33). This is rather sizeable receiver with five blinking leds...

NOTICE: The test BMW I'm using has CAN bus, hence the faster polling speed. It seems older cars, such as my other test car, with no CAN bus seem to be limited data rate around 5-6 Hz maximum.


  • I have few more readers ordered, I will add them once I get to test them.
  • Updated the list with China black/blue reader.
  • Added OBDLink MX Scan Tool.
  • I've got a reader very similar to the "China black/blue OBD Diagnostic Interface" listed above - same form factor, with the LEDs, just somewhat different labelling ("ELM 327 Interface" and "Supports all OBDII protocols").

    It works fine with Torque and pairs ok with RaceChrono.

    I configured RaceChrono to record RPM and Throttle position on the fast channels and Intake temperature and Coolant Temperature on the slow channels. And I selected the device for recording.

    Alas no corresponding Gauges are shown in the Gauges tab and nothing gets recorded.

    Did I miss any steps in the set up? How can I figure out what is going wrong here? Any debugging options?
  • matthias, can you take a photo of the reader? Also turn on the "RaceChrono > Settings > Expert settings > Save device output" setting, create new session with OBD connected, and send me the "/RaceChrono/session_xx_yy/device_x_output.obd" file.
  • In some way similar problem for me. I'm using OBDKey 1.4, had it connected to M3. I clearly saw data from OBD (RPM, Throttle position) on live gauges screen while recording. But now when I exported data I can't see any values in respective columns.
  • edited August 2013
    MAV, if you see the data in gauges (and later in graphs), you should be able see them in exported data too. Please notice the exported data column might be empty at the start of the file, but if you scroll further (once OBD-II has been connected) you can see the values in the columns.
  • I haven't seen any OBD data in the graphs later when i reviewed the session from the phone. I never used this feature before, so I thought that maybe it will be visible later in export. I checked all lines in the export file - no data in PRM and TPS columns at all.
    But I'm 100% sure that I saw adequately changing RPM and TPS data in live gauges. I didn't monitor it all the time, but when I checked the phone after the session before stopping recording - it was fine.
  • MAV, could you try again to confirm, please? Also notice you need to have fix to satellites on your GPS before the OBD-II values are recorded, as the OBD-II feature uses GPS time.
  • When i started recording that session RaceChrono could not connect to GPS for some time (GPS had fix at that moment - it's external BT747i and it was on long time before). I needed to start my lap so i just threw the phone into the door pocket. After the finish I checked phone and I saw that all the data is being shown on live gauges, including OBD data as I mentioned before. I just stopped recording and later when I checked this session - OBD data was not on graphs.

    From the very beginning it wasn't going very smooth. When I tried to connect it first time it just somehow dropped the selection of the OBD channels to include in the log. And it done it again couple of times later. Also, I noticed that it now takes more time to connect to Bluetooth GPS receiver when OBD device is added to log. OBDKey is pretty expensive devise and being advertised as one of the most capable ones. I got it because of claimed support of Subaru's SSM protocol hoping that I will be able to use it with my 97 JDM WRX (it doesn't have OBDII, just SSM I). Unfortunately I didn't had much time to play with it, so until now I was using it as usual ELM device with other cars.

    Thant M3 is away now, but I will try to record some sessions with other cars and this OBDKey device.
  • MAV, which phone are you testing on? I've noticed that some older phones do not like to connect to two devices same time... It might explain the GPS connection taking longer, but I cannot tell why the OBD data wasn't recorded. I think you have to try again and maybe it works, or at least we get some more clues why it doesn't. The OBDkey itself should work fine, I use the OBDkey 1.3 as my reference device.
  • I think I have OBDKey 1.4
    My Phone is HTC Desire S. Stock software, Android 2.3.5
  • I am getting excellent results from the OBDLink MX...

    2011 M3 in this case. However, note the "throttle" is showing the actual throttle blade position, not the accelerator pedal position (most noticeable on the downshifts)

  • edited September 2013
    arubenstein, I'm going to add more accelerator pedal channels for next version so it might help you with that. BTW, amazing video!
  • Just to follow up on the issue I reported on 25th August...

    I am happy to report that RaceChrono is talking to my OBD reader now; I can see gauges for the selected channels, and the data is captured in the recorded sessions and viewable in the graphs.

    I have no idea what changed between then and now. Oh well.
  • Has anyone tested the BAFX Products (TM) - PIC18F2480 Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool
  • I have one of those I think, it's quite slow and a bit unreliable. Low-end even for "china" readers.
  • I was actually inclined towards that because it had a million times better reviews on Amazon than the other ELM327 based ones. Go figure.


  • edited October 2013
    One thing to note is that probably none of these dirt cheap Chinese OBD-II readers have real ELM327. They have copied some early version of ELM327 software from the time it was not copy protected in the chip, and then someone has made modifications and fixes to it. So even though these readers claim to be ELM327, it is really unsure how well they work. Real ELM327 chip will probably cost more to manufactures, than these ones cost to buy from dx.com (around $15).

    In addition to genuine ELM327 there is at least OBDTool MX and OBDKey that have developed their own chips, but they are all in $100 range.
  • I got the china blue mini. While logging from a Subaru STi I got variable rates in the 13 to 25 hz range. More than enough to be useful.

    Through hyperterminal it reports the ELM327 as a v1.5 which was never made by ELM. Probably a 1.4b copy.
  • edited October 2013
    blindstuff, good choice. You're right it's a clone too, and not exactly what it advertises to be. But it's very cheap, fast and seems reliable.

    For genuine device with good support and fast data rate, one should buy the OBDLink MX. It has premium pricing though, at $149 it's probably one of the most expensive you can buy.
  • Hello, what reader do you recommend to Ford Focus 2007? Is suitable ELM 327 V 1.5? Or what will you recommend me?
  • edited November 2013
    Hello Paja, unfortunately I can currently recommend only OBDLink MX Scan Tool (very fast) and OBDKey Bluetooth (slowish) which both are on the expensive side. Cheap Chinese reader work do work for most people, but on some cases there are problems with them (car / phone combinations).

    My favourite of the cheap ones is the "China blue" mentioned and pictured in the original post. Notice the device doesn't have any name, but it is identifiable by it's looks.
  • AOL, could you please post a link to the blue adapter that you used as DX currently lists several blue adapters which are all similar.
  • edited February 2014
    My link doesn't work anymore. I think there are just many sellers for same item. Notice the receiver I have has transparent blue casing.
  • I have a transparent Blue 'China' scanner. I think I either dropped it or it got some hot sun. Now it powers up fine and the Leds indicate normal, but it refuses to show up as a Bluetooth device. Anybody seen this? Anybody know how to remove the Bluetooth board and connect using USB?
  • I'm using the China black/blue "OBD Diagnostic Interface" ( http://amzn.com/B005NLQAHS )... seems to work fine, and it's update rate is 5 hz if I recall correctly.

    As mentioned, it was surprisingly large... so much so that it got in the way of my feet while driving. So I bought one of these cables just to move it to a better spot. http://amzn.com/B007PAHHWM
  • Will the ScanTool OBDLink LX work? Seems like it's a somewhat cheaper scaled down version of the MX, $70 instead of $100.
  • Cmutza, I think so, it should have same OBD-II as MX. I have only MX though.
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