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Some resources so far

  • mc33290 is an ISO K Line Serial Link Interface, I think has to do with serial interfacing odbii
  • ELM seems to make some of the (only?) odb interface chips. They appear to have a software stack they burn onto microchip microcontrollers
  • has some promising software, and seems to sell ELM products and a breakout board.

Typically, one finds that the manufacturers use the following standards though most manufactures have adopted ISO15765 CAN for 2006 and newer vehicles:

  • J1850-PWM (mainly Ford)
  • J1850-VPW (Chrysler, GM, Saturn)
  • ISO9141/ISO14230 (Acura, Chrysler, Honda, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen)
  • ISO15765 (most newer vehicles)

Open Source Implementations

Commercial Implementations

These links are basically for commercial versions of the obdII interface. Almost all of them give you a connector with free software that can read the basic trouble codes. Some give you the manufacturer specific "extended" or "enhanced" support codes that allow a person to troubleshoot even more components.


Adapter Form factor Other features Cost(at time of writing) Comments OBDLink Adapter and cable (adapter can be separated from cable) Rx/Tx Host<->ECU status lights $149.90(Special offer), $199.90 Normal Flash upgradable firmware, Powersave/sleep function, Support forums

Reports of good customer support. This is the best adapter if you want the fastest PID read speed.

PLX Devices Kiwi Bluetooth Adapter and cable (adapter cannot be separated from cable) On/off switch, link light $99.99 Support forums
OBDKey Single moulded unit, smallest adapter Status/activity LED on side £103.56
Adapter from China/via ebay/amazon Single moulded unit Rx/Tx Host<->ECU status lights $20.00 to $60.00 Many units seem to suffer poor build quality and reliability issues. Some units are perfectly fine. Make sure you purchase with a buyer who has a decent returns policy should the unit turn out to be defective. I would recommend avoiding this adapter, *especially* if you intend to use it on a Ford or other vehicle which uses the J1850-PWM protocol
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