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Thread: question about hardware for ODB-II

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    Question question about hardware for ODB-II

    I understand that all the vehilces made from 96 and up have them, but where am i suppose to find this port? lol I have a 1998 Ford Explorer XLT, anyways
    What hardware do you use to connect this to your system? Do you use like a cable that connects from the ODB-II to a serial port ? Any input would be great, if i said something stupid, i'd also appreciate it if you pointed that out! thanks for the help

  2. #2
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    Typically you would purchase a hardware box that would connect to your PC via Serial (common), USB (less common) or 802.11b (www.obd2.com). The box would connect to the OBD2 standard connector (usually under the dash near the steering wheel) with a plug that looks like a parallelogram. You can also connect the box's wires directly to the back side of the vehicle's wiring harness if you don't have access to the particular OBD2 plug (or don't want to pay for one).

    Software then runs on the PC to interrogate the vehicle thru this hardware chain. The scan tool hardware usually comes with software to view the data appropriately. Sometimes you are able to also use this data in other integrated software that provides other capabilities like media playing.

    On the vehicle there is a layer of information called OBD2 which is supported across all US sold vehicles and is the most used information for diagnostics. Then, there is more data in what's called the Enhanced data (info like odometer) which very few aftermarket service scan tools access. It takes tons of time for a scan tool company to support all the data on the vehicle, especially the data that is specific to only that vehicle or vehicle line.

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    So your lookin at 300$ to connect this port to your system eh ?

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    I ordered my obd reader from obddiagnostics.com for $70 or so. I don't have a serial connector. So I bought a serial to usb connector from compgeeks.com ($8). I tried using the connector and its been screwy. Now my GPS isn't working. I gotta work on it this weekend. I may buy a different connector. I think that may be the problem.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    so your OBD-II to serial was only 70$?
    do you think the problem is in the cable or do you think its in the serial to usb conversion?

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate
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    I know VAG-COM ODBII will not work with serial to UAB convertors.

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    well then seeing as i have a serial port, i should be fine then, and looking at around 70$ correct?

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate
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    If you are comparing the $300 (did you get this figure from obd2.com?) and a $70 box, most of the difference in price is amount of data support (Ease has the largest support for US purchased vehicles) and the rigour of the hardware (to be used in a service department - rugged). It is definately not apples to apples. But, it doesn't sound like you have lots of requirements today so the less expensive might meet your initial needs as you get your feet wet.

    Also regarding USB to Serial - it mostly depends on the chip in the adapter why a scan tool won't connect via USB. There are a few types available. I don't have the name at hand for the ones that work, but they were always $35 or so.

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    alright i must have read something wrong somewhere, all im looking for is a ODBII to serial for a computer. I have a 1998 Ford Explorer XLT. The only thing i seemed to find cost 300$ maybe i was lookin incorrectly. Is there a chance you could give me a link to where you saw this for 70$ Thanks that would be greatly appreciated.

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