How to Read the Vehicle Control Unit With Your Own PC

If you want to read out a vehicle’s control unit, you don’t actually need much more since the OBD protocols have been standardized. Nevertheless, you should first check where the interface is in the car. OBD means “On Board Diagnostic” and has been a common standard for several years.

Despite this, numerous manufacturers still differ from each other in terms of minimal pin assignments, but despite the low purchase price, numerous interfaces are in good condition and can also read out many error codes.

Read out the vehicle control unit, it’s that easy

If you own a newer car, you can be happy, because OBD2 has been the standard since 1996.

If you own an older model, the smartest thing to do is to first enter the exact type designation of the car or its year of manufacture into a search engine and find out whether there is an OBD2, JOBD, EOBD, or a completely different connection. JOBD is the Japanese predecessor of the modern OBD2 system, while EUBD denotes the European standard.

Visit here for a list of the best ODB2 diagnostic devices for all vehicle OBD2 scanners

Bluetooth, laptop & Co. – that should be considered

If you want to read OBD2 via Bluetooth, you need an adapter for it. A relatively new feature of iOS and Android is the plug and play idea. This has ensured that one can now fall back on better systems than a few years ago. Modern Bluetooth adapters that work with the ELM 327 standard are usually quite reliable when reading out error codes.

Such interfaces work for quite a few car manufacturers – and because you order from Amazon, you can even return the goods if necessary. Usually, the software that comes with the laptop is the one that should be used. Because of the many different standards and interfaces, it can be assumed that other software are not compatible.

It is, therefore, important to ensure that the ordered module comes with its own software or at least that something about suitable software is noted in the item description. It is also important to check the price of the compatible software – in the worst case you fall into a cost trap and spend several hundred dollars again. Software that is supplied directly is, therefore, clearly to be preferred.

Read car control unit with Android or iOS

The “Torque” software is currently particularly interesting for Android users. The software is available in both a free and a paid version. Depending on the corresponding control unit, you can use this like a kind of on-board computer, which even displays the current consumption. Of course, the app can also be used to delete and read error codes.

However, this software can only be used with OBD2 to read the vehicle control unit. If you want to use Torque with the iPhone instead, you will, unfortunately, be disappointed. This is only possible via WLAN OBD2 interfaces. These are available from a price of $300.

A better solution is to buy a cheap Android tablet that supports Bluetooth and takes over this function. Alternatively, a WLAN OBD2 adapter is available.

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