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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Using the Android app Torque Pro with a scan tool plugged into the driver-side OBDII port of your Volt, you can access a great deal of real-time information about what’s going on in your Volt. You can even make a dash-cam .mp3 movie with information like state-of-charge, drive RPM, speed, distance traveled, energy used, torsion battery voltage and current, various temperatures, etc., displayed at the borders of the movie frame. You only have to download Torque Pro from Google Play Store (price $5), download its Record plug-in, buy an OBDII Scan Tool dongle from Amazon, and you’re ready to go. This was recently discussed in a thread initiated by Dutch that can be viewed here.

The problem with this procedure lies in the OBDII dongle. A Canadian company called Elm Electronics originally developed the ELM327 chip that was used for dongles in early OBDII car-interface applications that cost around $60. However, Chinese hackers pirated the firmware from that chip, and they have flooded the market with pirated knock-off dongles with prices as low as $5.99. There is a discussion of this on Wikipedia here. The problem with these pirated clones are that (1) there were some bugs in the pirated Version 1.0 ELM327 firmware that they use, and (2) a Chinese rewrite of that firmware intended for use on a cheaper processor had introduced many more bugs and produced non-functional dongles. The units fail on certain codes, will not interface to some cars, and in some cases have created floods of OBDII error codes when plugged in.

With Torque Pro, if you interrogate the Adapter (i.e., dongle), a pirated unit will usually tell you that you have either “Version 1.5” or “Version 2.1”. Elm Electronics never made an ELM327 chip that was Version 1.5. They jumped directly from v.14b to v.2.1. The newer pirated dongles that use the rewritten software originally reported that they were “Version 2.1”. However, when word spread amoung purchasers that the so-called 2.1 units were failing and should be avoided, the pirated chips were modified to report as “Version 1.5”. You can read a discussion of the construction of a 2.1 dongle unit by an engineer that dissected one here.

If you have already bought an ELM327 dongle, how can you tell if it’s pirated? You can test it using an app called ELM327 Identifier that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store here. The app tries 103 codes, reports which ones are OK, and shows which version of the ELM327 firmware is actually implemented, based on this information. The “enhanced” ELM327 dongle that I bought through Amazon from MESatr outdoor for $10.99 claims to be a v.1.5 unit, but it passes the code test only up to v.1.4. It seems to work OK in my 2015 Volt, but it will not connect to my 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan.

Which OBDII dongles use the authentic ELM327 v.2.2 chip? The only one that I have been able to find is made in Romania and sold by ELM-327.eu for 49.00 € ($57.82 US) plus shipping. I can’t guarantee that they are selling what they claim, but they do show a photograph of their circuit board containing an authentic Elm Electronics chip. The other OBDII dongle that is interesting is the BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices, which costs $21.99 and claims: “ONLY the BAFX Products® OBD Reader REALLY works on ALL vehicles located in the USA 1996 & Newer! Many cheaper versions have trouble with the J1850 & CAN protocols even though they SAY they work. Many people buy cheap first but always end up buying ours, because ours works!” It isn’t clear if this dongle uses an ELM327 chip at all, but it claims wide coverage and is unlikely to use a pirated ELM327. I have ordered one, and I will report how it works and how it tests when it arrives.
 

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Since BAFX is a German company they're not using the pirated code. I have a BAFX Bluetooth dongle that's worked flawlessly for several years.
 

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I suppose if you really wanted a genuine chip, you could ask the makers. I've done that just now. I'll report back when I get a response. In their "Links" page, however, they specifically mention the folks at elm-327.ru as being legit, so that's one source.
 

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I'm curious why you think Germans are devoid of greed and unscrupulous business practices?
BAFX has been around for a long time in the audio business. Their continued existence depends on their reputation and it's simply not in their best interests to use pirated chips. Also, they were one of the original licensees for this technology and have been making and selling ELM 327 adapters for longer than the Chinese have been making knock off adapters.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
BAFX Fails the Test

OK, the BAFX Products OBDII Diagnostic Interface that I had ordered from Amazon just arrived this morning, and I eagerly plugged it into the OBD port of my 2015 Chevrolet Volt LT and established the Bluetooth link to my Samsung Galaxy Android tablet. I started Torque Pro, and it was able to link the the ECU of my Volt through it and provide readings. So far, so good.

However, I then ran an Android app called ELM327 Identifier, which tests the OBDII interface by checking for the correct operation of 103 different codes to determine the version and status of the unit. The BAFX Products OBDII Diagnostic Interface claimed that it was an "ELM327 v.1.5" device, which is an indication of a pirated chip. Moreover, it was only able to run codes up to ELM327 v.1.4, and it failed on all of the higher codes for ELM327 versions 1.4b, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2. This is exactly the same diagnostic report by ELM327 Identifier that I got from a cheap blue Chinese OBDII dongle that I bought for $10.99.

Clearly, BAFX is selling a repackaged version of the pirated Chinese clones and is marking up the price by a factor of 2 or 3. I'm very disappointed. So much for good ethical German companies following EU regulations.

I just ordered an ELM327 Bluetooth. Original ELM Electronics Genuine ELM 327 Chip 2.2 SM directly from ELM-327.eu in Romania for about $64. I will report the results when the device arrives.
 

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OK, the BAFX Products OBDII Diagnostic Interface that I had ordered from Amazon just arrived this morning

[...]

Clearly, BAFX is selling a repackaged version of the pirated Chinese clones and is marking up the price by a factor of 2 or 3. I'm very disappointed. So much for good ethical German companies following EU regulations.
Or the whole device is a pirate bootleg item from a scam-ish storefront that has nothing to do with ELM. I note that "BAFX Products" storefront selling what I'm guessing is the item you bought is also selling grilling tools, hiking poles and accessories, custom cutting boards, and a "male masturbation device". https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_fapo?me=A2VZTJP6N0Z6QL&rh=i:merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1502234950&fap=1

Edit to add: I can't find any trace of a German BAFX either. So... eh?
 

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BAFX has been around for a long time in the audio business. Their continued existence depends on their reputation and it's simply not in their best interests to use pirated chips...
Confusing BAFX with BASF?
 

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I use the OBDLink LX and have never yet seen a car that it does not work with, including my previous Leaf. It even comes with its own software for configuring it, reading data, updating firmware, and the like. And it is also very fast! $50 on Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I use the OBDLink LX and have never yet seen a car that it does not work with, including my previous Leaf. It even comes with its own software for configuring it, reading data, updating firmware, and the like. And it is also very fast! $50 on Amazon.
Please download the Android app ELM327 Identifier, run it on your OBDLink LX, and tell us what the analysis says.

Also, does it work OK with Torque Pro?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
BAFX Claim is False

The BAFX OBDII Adapter dongle makes the following claim:
“ONLY the BAFX Products® OBD Reader REALLY works on ALL vehicles located in the USA 1996 & Newer! Many cheaper versions have trouble with the J1850 & CAN protocols even though they SAY they work. Many people buy cheap first but always end up buying ours, because ours works!”
I had previous found that the transparent blue Chinese "ELM327 v.1.5" dongle that I had bought on Amazon could not connect to my 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan, and I was aware that the garage that works on the minivan had to use their most sophisticated OBDII reader on it to be able to read its error codes. Today, I tried the BAFX unit, and it also fails to connect. Their claim of a universal reader is therefore clearly false. I suspect that what it means is that it uses the "v.1.5" pirated chip rather than the more buggy "v.2.1" pirated chip.

I note that the shipping label gives their address as: BAFX Products, 3837 Bay Lake Trail, Suite 115, North Las Vegas, NV 89030, which on Google Earth seems to be a big distribution warehouse with tractor-trailers parked at loading docks. That doesn't sound like a German company. I agree that obermd was probably confusing BAFX with BASF.

Added Later: I just notice that that Las Vegas address is the same one used by the Amazon Returns Department, except that Amazon is Suite 113 and BAFX is Suite 115, and the ZIP codes are different. I guess that when I return the thing, they can just take it down the hall. Actually, I think that the address belongs to Amazon, and BAFX and lots of other vendors use their facility for storing and shipping their products.
 

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Because the EU has strong copyright laws and they are enforced. China doesn't respect IP rights.
Generalizations like that are just not true. There are many Chinese companies that respect IP rights and many European ones that don't. Company's reputations are built, not inherited from their nationality.

Or the whole device is a pirate bootleg item from a scam-ish storefront that has nothing to do with ELM. I note that "BAFX Products" storefront selling what I'm guessing is the item you bought is also selling grilling tools, hiking poles and accessories, custom cutting boards, and a "male masturbation device". https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_fapo?me=A2VZTJP6N0Z6QL&rh=i:merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1502234950&fap=1
I had to click to see if you were making that up. Lol... you weren't.

Confusing BAFX with BASF?
My thoughts exactly. I've never heard of BAFX.
 

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@jcramer

One logical possibility you have to consider is that the software is flawed. I'm not saying that's the case, but if the software keeps telling you everything is pirated (it probably is, but...) it could be that the software is not capable of properly identifying. Just something to consider as you spend gobs of cash trying to track down something legit.
 

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Just found out m OBDII adapter is a bootleg.
Despite that, it still works just fine with my Volt and Bolt. Eh
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
@jcramer

One logical possibility you have to consider is that the software is flawed. I'm not saying that's the case, but if the software keeps telling you everything is pirated (it probably is, but...) it could be that the software is not capable of properly identifying. Just something to consider as you spend gobs of cash trying to track down something legit.
It's true that ELM Identifier may be lying, since I've never seen a dongle that got past ELM327 v.1.4. The test of that will come when my dongle from ELM-327.eu arrives. It should process all 103 codes correctly and report out as v.2.2. If it doesn't, then there's a problem with the checking program or the device. The manual for the Elm Electronics ELM327 Data sheet can be found here. It defines the codes and has a table at the end showing which versions will execute which codes.

The way the ELM Identifier app works is to send the ELM327 dongle 103 different OBDII codes and observe how it responds to each one of them. I have two log files generated by the app showing the codes that passed and failed for the the blue Chinese dongle and for the BAFX dongle. The failure codes are the same for both dongles. That's pretty straightforward, and it seems to me to be a pretty unambiguous test.
 

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I'm out of town right now so I won't be able to until next week but, yes, it works great with Torque Pro.

Please download the Android app ELM327 Identifier, run it on your OBDLink LX, and tell us what the analysis says. Also, does it work OK with Torque Pro?
 

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I use the OBDLink LX and have never yet seen a car that it does not work with, including my previous Leaf. It even comes with its own software for configuring it, reading data, updating firmware, and the like. And it is also very fast! $50 on Amazon.
just ordered OBDLink mx , wifi connection to my iPhone , see what happens when I get it
 
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