Elm327 Scan Tool Review
OBD 2007 works with any Elm327 chipped scan tool or any scan tool powered by a chip
that fully emulates all the AT commands of the Elm327 chip. There are many manufacturers
of Elm327 chipped scan tools, so theoretically we support any scan tool powered
by an Elm327 chip.
However, we directly support the scan tools you see on our main page, because these
companies have proved to both reliable and supportive. We are confident in recommending
any of these scan tools because we have observed the quality of the products and
can vouch that these scan tools are all made to the highest standards. We have also
extensively tested each of these products with OBD 2007.
We have created a table of features comparing each of the scan tools we directly
support. If you are new to OBDII scan tools or even an experienced user considering
an additional scan tool, we hope the following table will highlight the various
features of each scan tool to assist in your decision making.
Without doubt this scan tool is the “Rolls Royce” of the Elm327 scan tools. The
OBDPro scan tool is jammed packed full of innovative features as compared to the
other Elm327 scan tools.
Specifically where the OBDPro shines is with the following 3 unique features
- Support for very high speed baud rates.
- Double buffered message queue.
- Remote upgrade capability.
High Speed Baud Rates and Double Buffering
The first two features are primarily aimed at the high speed CAN protocol, the protocol
used by all new vehicles manufactured since 2008. When the CAN protocol was first
introduced in vehicles during 2004/05, many Elm327 chipped scan tools suffered from
BUFFER FULL messages, as a result of the high speed CAN networks of the vehicle
over running the small internal buffer of the Elm327 chip. The OBDPro scan tool,
overcame this limitation with its unique double buffer design, so that BUFFER FULL
messages were eliminated even at low speed baud rates.
However, why use slow baud rates (9600 and 38,400 baud), when a USB port is capable
of speeds of up to 2.0Mbits. The OBDPro scan tool in conjunction with OBD 2007 can
exploit the very high speed baud rates of the OBDPro scan tool up to 4 times faster
than the current Elm327 v1.3 chip. If you are seeking high speed performance, then
the combination of OBDPro and OBD 2007 is the obvious choice.
Remote Upgrade Capability
This feature of OBDPro is truly unique. OBDPro is the only Elm327 type scan tool,
which is remotely upgradable. Your scan tool investment is protected, because when
any new firmware release is introduced, you have the ability to upgrade your scan
tool, by running a free upgrade program from OBDPros,
while your OBDPro scan tool is connected to your computer. Within a couple of seconds,
your firmware is upgraded to the latest version, so your scan tool is always current.
To do the same thing with any other Elm327 chipped scan tool requires purchasing
a new chip (~$US32), waiting days or weeks for delivery, dismantling/assembling
your scan tool, removing the old chip and replacing with the new chip. Removing
and replacing the 28 pin Elm327 chip is not for the faint hearted. Just don’t break
or bend one of those 28 pins.
OBDPros is the complete one stop shop – they design their own chip, plus build their
OBDKey v1.3 is a brand new design from KBM Systems. It is an extremely compact design
(64x45x24mm) about the size of a matchbox and is available in either USB or Bluetooth
configurations. OBDKey maybe small, but it is very big on performance. It is easily
the fastest scan tool we have ever tested.
OBDKey v1.3 Bluetooth paired with a Smartphone running our OBD 2007 for Pocket PC
is an ideal combination for any workshop manager who may be required to test multiple
vehicles quickly to determine workshop priorities. Slip it out of your pocket, plug
it directly into the OBDII port and complete a test in seconds, absolutely no cables
Please note OBD 2007 is not compatible with versions of OBDKey prior to v1.3
This scan tool is powered by the Elm Electronics Elm327 v1.3 chip. The scan tool
is very robust and very reliable and the company have been producing OBDII scan
tools for many years, so they have a proven track record in this market.
The Elm327 chip has evolved from the earlier Elm32x series of chips. As a software
developer, I always think that maybe the Elm chip has reached the end of its useful
life, but the clever engineers at Elm Electronics always continue to amaze me with
the innovations they keep making to this chip. The v1.3 was no exception with the
improvements they made for the CAN protocol. For the full description of all the
details, see our Latest News page.
OBDLink is a first for Scantool.net. Previously Scantool.net was the manufacturer
of the ElmScan 5 family of scan tools which are all based on the Elm327 v1.3 chip
from Elm Electronics. OBDLink is their first scan tool of their own design and is
based on a 16 bit micro.
OBDLink is fully compatible with the Elm327 v1.3a AT command set. OBDLink supports
many of the advanced features first introduced in the OBDPro scan tool, such as
very high speed baud rates (up to 2.0Mbps) and free updatable firmware. OBDLink
is also available with an optional Bluetooth dongle.
Price wise OBDLink is very expensive when you consider it is more than twice the
price of an OBDPro with no additional features.
ElmScan 5 Compact
There is really very little to say about this scan tool. It comes from a company
that was once a reputable scan tool manufacturer. However now they have decided
to power their ElmScan 5 with a clone chip. We no longer recommend Scantool.net
Clone scan tools – Pros/Cons
No discussion or review of Elm327 scan tools would be complete without touching
on the Chinese clone scan tools usually sold very cheaply over eBay. We have customers
who have used these scan tools successfully, but we have had many more customers
not being successful. Buying one of these scan tools is pretty much a gamble. You
may end up with one that works, you may not. Quite often the scan tool doesn’t contain
the latest v1.3, even though they are advertised as v1.3 chips.
Typically they can work with one protocol, but not another protocol. Even we they
do work, they can be notoriously difficult to setup because they are usually shipped
with extremely old USB drivers. OBD 2007 and probably any other software packages
will have difficulty finding the correct serial port and factory baud rate setting
if the wrong USB drivers are installed on your machine.
The quality of construction appears to vary markedly between the various scan tools
that are available on eBay. A couple I have seen appear to be very professional
made and another I saw would appear to be put together by someone who took up soldering
as a hobby the day before. The one thing you cannot tell is who the manufacturer
All Elm327 chipped scan tools support the Elm AT command AT@1. The AT@1 command
should return the manufacturer’s name e.g. SCANTOOL.NET LLC or OBDPros LLC v3 etc.
The manufacturer has the ability to write to the chip to insert their company name.
If that is not done, then the standard response from the AT@1 command is the default
“OBDII to RS232 Interpreter”.
I have yet to see one of these Chinese clones return a manufacturer’s name, other
than the default “OBDII to RS232 Interpreter”. I suppose that is understandable,
if you are going to rip-off another’s design, it would probably be best not to advertise
who you are.
However that is precisely why we can’t directly support these scan tools. We have
no point of contact to discuss whatever maybe a potential problem. If you do have
a problem with a clone scan tool, please do email our technical support, we will
attempt to provide support, but please bare in mind we may not have a fix for the