OBD2 scanner

The OBD2 scanner is an automotive scan tool (scanner) is an electronic tool used to interface with, diagnose and, sometimes, reprogram vehicle control modules.

There are many types from just as many manufacturers, one of the most familiar being the Snap-On Inc. “brick,” or MT2500/MTG2500. Snap-On, Hella Gutmann Solutions, OTC/SPX, Xtool India, Autel, Launch, Vetronix/Bosch, and several other companies produce various types of scan tools, from simple code readers to highly capable bi-directional computers with programming capabilities.

The scan tool is connected to the vehicle’s data link connector (DLC) and, depending on the particular tool, may only read out diagnostic trouble codes or DTCs (this would be considered a “code reader”) or may have more capabilities. Actual scan tools will display live data stream (inputs and outputs), have bi-directional controls (the ability to make the controllers do things outside of normal operations), and may even be able to calibrate/program modules within specific parameters.

However, a particular scan tool cannot fully reprogram modules because it requires a J-2534 pass-through device and specific software.

Voltas IT created a new generation diagnostic tool – OBDeleven, the device which easily connects to the car, monitors all systems, and activates the new car’s features. It supports Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT, Škoda, Lamborghini, and Bentley.[2]

OBD 1 vs. OBD 2, the vehicle will also dictate what the scan tool can display. If the vehicle is equipped with OBD 1, it will have significantly less available data compared to a vehicle equipped with OBD 2.

Various tools plug into the OBD connector to access OBD functions. These range from simple generic consumer-level tools to highly sophisticated OEM dealership tools to telematic vehicle devices.

Handheld scan tools

Multi-brand vehicle diagnostics system handheld Autoboss V-30 with adapters for connectors of several vehicle manufacturers. A range of rugged handheld scan tools is available.

  • Simple fault code readers/reset tools are mainly aimed at the consumer level.
  • Professional handheld scan tools may possess more advanced functions
  • Access more advanced diagnostics
  • Set manufacturer- or vehicle-specific ECU parameters
  • Access and control other control units, such as airbag or ABS
  • Real-time monitoring or graphing of engine parameters to facilitate diagnosis or tuning

Mobile device-based tools and analysis

Mobile device applications allow mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets to display and manipulate the OBD-II data accessed via USB adaptor cables or Bluetooth adapters plugged into the car’s OBD-II connector.

Newer devices on the market are equipped with GPS sensors and the ability to transmit vehicle location and diagnostics data over a cellular network. Modern OBD-II devices can, therefore, nowadays be used to, for example, locate vehicles, and monitor driving behavior in addition to reading Diagnostics Trouble Codes (DTC).

Even more advanced devices allow users to reset engine DTC codes, effectively turning off engine lights in the dashboard; however, resetting the codes does not address the underlying issues and can, in worst-case scenarios, even lead to engine breakage where the source issue is severe and left unattended for long periods.

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