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Original ELM327 OBD2 interfaces

By Roel Klein - 01 May 2021


In the past, Carvitas was the only supplier in the Netherlands that could supply original ELM327 interfaces. These were the versions with original ELM327 2.2 chip from ELM Electronics in 3 different product variants, namely a Bluetooth, a WiFi and a USB variant.

What happened to the original ELM327 interfaces?

For some time now, these ELM327 interfaces have not been available, reliable manufacturers have stopped producing them. This is largely due to the greatly increased competition from Chinese dealers who have flooded the market with low quality counterfeit ELM327 chips. Also, technology has come a long way and there are much better alternatives to the ELM327 interfaces. Such as OBDLink interfaces, which have a much faster STN110 chip on board and have a more secure connection.

Alternatives

The ELM327 OBD2 interfaces, were of an original ELM327 chipset, and were ideally suited for use with the software programs FORScan, MultiECUscan, ScanMaster, Racechrono, Torque Pro, Carly or DashCommand. Incidentally, these programs were not included and had to be purchased separately.

However, these interfaces have frequently been overtaken by specific interfaces for specific apps, such as:

  • Forscan: the OBDLink EX was specially developed with the FORscan team for this purpose
  • Carly: now uses its own interface, so other interfaces no longer work with the app
  • MultiECUscan: now makes their own Multiecuscan interfaces with multiplexer eliminating the need for adapter cables
  • Torque Pro: gets the most out of the OBDLink MX+ interfaces due to its speed and can collect more data points at once

The ELM327 interface was able to read the engine management (OBD2) of your car and clear error codes found and you could view live sensor data such as fluid temperatures, RPM, engine load, MAF air sensor, O2 sensors etc. However, few things were readable outside the engine management. Meanwhile, the market is a lot further along with the newer interfaces by offering, for example, coding support for BMW with Bimmercode, or motorcycle support with Motoscan.

Software/apps

As mentioned what MultiECUscan is a widely used software program for use on Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia for reading and erasing error codes, as well as learning and doing maintenance resets. This could be done using extension and adapter cables, in conjunction with the ELM327 USB. However, the Multiplexed interface from MultiECUscan has replaced this, ELM327 interfaces have not kept up with the times, unfortunately.

Android and iOS

It also previously required a different interface for Android and iOS. You could use the ELM327 Bluetooth on Android, for example, in combination with the Torque Pro app to read cars with OBD2 and display real time data.

Thereby for use on iOS/Apple devices, only the ELM327 WiFi worked. With this, a popular app was DashCommand. This allows engine reading of cars equipped with OBD2.

Meanwhile, it is no longer necessary to take a different interface for different operating systems and phones/tablets, many new interfaces have a more modern bluetooth version on board that works with all operating systems, such as the new OBDLink MX+.

Proprietary apps

An earlier argument was that there were proprietary apps for ELM327 interfaces. By now, largely all app developers have moved away from ELM327. This went to make brand-related apps available on the market, such as previously taken FORScan for Ford, Bimmercode for BMW, etc. These apps can be used to perform more operations than just reading and clearing error codes. Depending on the app and car, service functions are available, or functions can be enabled freely.

Overview of products

  • Original ELM327 Bluetooth interface - Suitable for Android products and laptop - now replaced by OBDLink LX and OBDLink MX+
  • Original ELM327 WiFi interface- Suitable for Apple and Android products and laptop - Meanwhile replaced by OBDLink MX+ which also works on Android and has bluetooth
  • Original ELM327 USB interface - Suitable for laptop - Meanwhile replaced by OBDLink SX

Clones, or counterfeit products

Virtually all ELM327 interfaces currently offered on the Internet are so-called clones/counterfeit variants of the original ELM327 chip. These clones are often poorly produced with a low quality chip, from an unknown brand. As a result, many of these devices have limited or no function at all on certain cars. The fake ELM327 products are sold as V1.5 or V2.1. These versions were never developed by ELM Electronics, the manufacturer of ELM327 chip. Therefore, the prices of counterfeit products are very low. Please keep this in mind when purchasing such a product.