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Is the ElmScan 5 Compact a Clone

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  • Is the ElmScan 5 Compact a Clone

    This seems an appropriate thread considering the ElmScan5 Compact claims it is a v1.3 and now there is a new v1.4.

    Last year I used a friend’s ElmScan5 USB which worked very well, so I thought I’d buy one. I was googling around and found an article on GLM Software’s web site that stated that the new ElmScan 5 Compact is a clone because it doesn’t contain a genuine ELM327 chip from Elm Electronics.

    So I thought I’d ask on the forum. There was a post there yesterday that stated “If you bought the scan tool from us, you did not get a clone scan tool.” In my post I queried that statement and referred to the article at glm and asked whether their scan tool contained a genuine ELM327 chip. I was intending to follow up with a question re the v1.4.

    Today I logged in to read the reply and got “Sorry socket puppet you are not allowed on our forum”.

    Wow what a way to treat a potential customer.

    Then again, I guess I got my answer. I think it is pretty safe to conclude that’s ElmScan 5 Compact is definitely a clone. Looks like I need to keep shopping– any recommendations other than anything from

    Now I’m off to look up what the hell is a socket pup…

  • #2
    That depends on how you define clone. The OBDLink for instance is NOT an elm chip, it is an elm compatible chip, which many added features that actually functions BETTER than the actual elm chip. I can't speak for the ELMScan, but I seem to recall that for while there they were using actual ELM327 chips (which aren't nearly as nice as their "clone" chip)

    The difference between what we typically call a "clone" and this, is the "clone" chips copy the ELM firmware illegally onto new chips thousands of times, and often screw it up. writes their own chips from scratch, that happen to comply with the ELM327 datasheet so it is compatible with most ELM compatible software while providing an extra set of features.

    If you don't want to get a product, that's your loss. In my testing I've found them superior in speed, durability, and functionality in almost every way to any other ELM style tool I've tried. Get an OBDLink, it is well worth the money.

    On another note, there has been some issues lately with some people, they probably thought you were trying to cause trouble and were banned to avoid any potential issues.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
    My Shop


    • #3
      The ELM1.4 is very, very new [less than a month old, right now]. Features added in 1.4 are fairly moot for now, since the premium alternatives [, obdpros] already provide the features that have been added in 1.4 [and arguably, the already-implemented ones are actually better]

      As mal says, it depends on your definition "clone". If your definition is "anything that isn't a genuine elmelectronics-manufactured ELM327 chip", then... I don't even know where to buy a complete device that has that. elmelectronics sell chips, and point you to other people who have written PCB diagrams to use them.

      If your definition is "cheap chinese knockoff" as opposed to "profesionally developed from scratch, to reimplement the features in the ELM327 datasheet", then no; the elmscan5 is *not* a clone.

      Gary (-;
      OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
      OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
      mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim


      • #4
        The picture on their website looks identical to what I have (cheap ebay ELM device) I will post some pictures of the internals if I can figure out how to open it, if someone has the elmscan compact post pictures of the internals from that and it should be easy to compare the two

        as they say a picture is worth a 1000 words or something like that

        Need witty saying


        • #5
          Thanks guys for your replies.

          I’ve learnt much more since I wrote that post last week. I flew to Melbourne for last weekend’s F1 Grand Prix and because I had a free day on Friday I contacted Glm. I spent a number of interesting hours with those guys and got to see firsthand a heap of scan tools. I agree with you Malcom that the OBDLink is a design (more on it later), but I disagree about the ElmScan 5 Compact. I was shown two identical scan tools, identical but for different labels, the insides were identical even to my untrained eye. I also saw a number of older ElmScan 5s, so I now know what to look for. There is no doubt that the ElmScan 5 Compact is a clone, just as they reported. I’d suggest that you have a look for yourself and do your own comparison or read the piece on glm’s website. I’m now quite happy that I got such poor treatment from the forum – wouldn’t want to deal with people like that.

          I saw all these scan tools in operation in various vehicles. GLM have literally 1000s of log files from vehicles from all over the world. Everything is computerized, ask for a vehicle and the system immediately brings up logs of a particular vehicle model using different scan tools.
          They lent me a laptop and I tested them all on my rental. I tested OBDKey, OBDPro and the OBDLink with their software, the performance results were exactly as their review suggests. I’m going with the OBDPro because even though it wasn’t as fast(2nd fastest), it still came out in front in my opinion re value for money and features. I probably would be equally as happy with the OBDKey, easily the fastest, but the price and back to the manufacturer for chip changes didn’t impress me, but it is a very nice super compact unit.

          Sorry to disappoint you re your OBDLink, but the kicker there was the rental. The OBDLink wouldn’t connect, where as all the other scan tools did.


          • #6
            Great feedback regarding the OBDKey unit