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Finding a Non-pirated OBDII Scan Tool for your Volt

20960 Views 39 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  BeachVolt
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 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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Too bad you can't run ELM327 Identifier on an iphone. Then we'd know what ELM327 version it supports.
Too bad you can't run ELM327 Identifier on an iphone. Then we'd know what ELM327 version it supports.
just installed elm327 wifi check version on my iPhone
just need it to check , 2 weeks
Great! I didn't know there was such an ELM327 testing app for iphones.

However, in reading about the app online, it isn't clear what it actually does. Does it simply interrogate the ELM327 dongle and show what it reports? Torque Pro does that, and the pirated ELM327 chips report back as "v.1.5" or "v.2.1".

Or maybe it does what ELM327 Identifier does: tries a list of OBDII codes and observes the responses. I hope it does this. I note that the app's online description gives a list of possible versions, and "v.1.5" is not among them, so maybe it does do the code testing.
to be fair , I didn't know about elm327 before this thread
so looked at developer name dawid marynaik and my I phone came up with elm327 obd info
installed and it came up with obd2 with 9 different connections to check as well as version check
just don't know if this one will do it over wifi
A Cheap ELM327 v.2.2 dongle?

I just discovered that Amazon sells the XTRONS ELM327 Bluetooth OBD2 II V2.2 Android Car Auto Diagnostic Scanner Tool Torque Special for Xtrons TD626AS TD696A PF61HGTA. Here's the link. It seems to be made in Spain, it claims to be ELM327 v. 2.2, and it sells for just $10.99.

However, I'm skeptical because of the low price. In batches of 100, Elm Electronics sells the ELM327 v.2.2 chips for about $16.15 each. I think this is probably another Chinese pirate clone, perhaps one that has been massaged to report out as v.2.2.
A Non-Pirated ELM327 dongle?

Amazon sells the PLX Devices Kiwi 3 Bluetooth OBD2 OBDII Diagnostic Scan Tool for Android, Apple, & Windows Mobile for $99.95. They claim that it works on all cars and does other good things.

I asked the following: Question: Does this device use an authentic (non-pirated) Elm Electronics ELM327 v.2.2 chip? Does it show all the codes with the android app "ELM327 Identifier" for v.2.2?

Answer: All PLX's products use top grade original components. Yes, Kiwi 3 will show all the codes with the Android App. Thank you for supporting Kiwi 3!
By PLX Devices Inc SELLER on August 18, 2017

So they were evasive about what chip is used, but they claim that it executes all 103 codes that ELM Identifier tests. The price is stiff, but it doesn't seem to be a Chinese pirate in disguise.

Has anyone tried one of these?
Romanian ELM327 Dongle is Authentic

The only one that I have been able to find is made in Romania and sold by 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.
My ELM 327 Bluetooth Interface, supposedly containing an authentic Elm Electronics ELM327 v.2.2 chip, arrived today (8/22/2017) from in Romania. The shipping from Cluj-Napoca, Romania to Seattle took 12 days. I have just plugged it into the OBDII connector of my 2015 Volt and tried it.

The unit is black with a red and white label. it sticks out a couple of inches further than the blue Chinese dongle, and it has one red light that shows power is on and four more colored lights that flash when it is in operation. It connected with my Android tablet's BlueTooth, took the "1234" code as verification, and was recognized by Torque Pro with no problems. It then connected with the Volt's ECU, and it operated the Torque meters that I had set up very well when I did a test drive. It also reported as "ELM327 v.2.2" when it was interrogated by Torque Pro.

Then I stopped Torque Pro and turned on ELM327 Identifier. It connected to the unit, ran its 103 tests of AV commands, and showed that all were OK. On the display, all of the version tests were green bars, including those for versions 1.4b, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2.

My conclusion is that the ELM327 Bluetooth dongle sold by does indeed contain an authentic ELM327 v.2.2 chip made by Elm Electronics of Canada, as their advertising claims. It's not cheap (~$60 with shipping) but it isn't a pirated knockoff. I am pleased that we have now identified at least one non-pirated OBDII Scan Tool. :)
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Updated 08/23/17 at 11:48AM: I just now re-ran ELM327 Identifier with the updated OBDLink LX firmware version 4.4. I hadn't checked if there was a LX firmware upgrade before running the previous report...

Here are the results:

Image capture:

Scan date=2017-08-23 11:33:43
Device name=OBDLink LX
Device mac=00:04:3E:95:A2:AE
Device Version (Declared)=ELM327 v1.3a

Command Version Result
[email protected] 1.0 OK
ATTP6 1.0 OK
ATSP00 1.3 OK
ATSP6 1.0 OK
ATAMT20 2.0 OK
ATRA70 1.3 OK
ATSR70 1.2 OK
ATAT0 1.2 OK
ATAT2 1.2 OK
ATAT1 1.2 OK
ATCEA04 1.4 OK
ATCF00000111 1.0 OK
ATCF111 1.0 OK
ATCM00000111 1.0 OK
ATCM111 1.0 OK
ATCP18 1.0 OK
ATCRA000007C0 1.3 OK
ATCSM0 1.4b OK
ATCSM1 1.4b OK
ATCV0000 1.4 OK
ATD1 1.3 OK
ATD0 1.3 OK
ATE0 1.0 OK
ATE1 1.0 OK
ATFCSD0430FF00 1.1 OK
ATFCSH000007B0 1.1 OK
ATFE 1.3a OK
ATH0 1.0 OK
ATH1 1.0 OK
ATI 1.0 OK
ATIB10 1.0 OK
ATIB12 2.2 OK
ATIB15 2.2 OK
ATIB48 1.4 OK
ATIB96 1.0 OK
ATJHF0 1.4b OK
ATJHF1 1.4b OK
ATJTM5 1.4b OK
ATJTM1 1.4b OK
ATKW0 1.2 OK
ATKW1 1.2 OK
ATL0 1.0 OK
ATL1 1.0 OK
ATM1 1.0 OK
ATM0 1.0 OK
ATR0 1.0 OK
ATR1 1.0 OK
ATS0 1.3 OK
ATS1 1.3 OK
ATSH000007E0 2.0 OK
ATSHA848F1 1.0 OK
ATSH7B0 1.0 OK
ATST32 1.0 OK
ATV1 1.3 OK
ATV0 1.3 OK
ATWMC133F13E 1.0 OK
ATD 1.0 OK
ATZ 1.0 OK
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Scanning the OBDLink LX

Thanks for the ELM327 Identifier scan, Tomt!

It first tells us that the OBDLink LX device claims to contain an Elm Electronics ELM327 chip, but it's version 1.3a rather than the most recent v.2.2.

Before you did the firmware update, the device failed to execute the "CEA" commands characteristic of v.1.4, which have to do with extended addressing of the CAN bus. (That limits the amount and kind of information one can get from the CAN bus.). It also failed all of the commands characteristic of versions 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2.

However, after your latest firmware update, it seems to pass all of the 103 AT command tests, including those for versions 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2. I believe that someone had said that OBDLink uses their own programming rather than using an Elm Electronics chip. Apparently, they have done a good job in this respect. My only criticism would be that they should update their own firmware before shipping instead of shipping a unit with mediocre firmware and expecting the user to fix it.

In any case, the OBDLink device does not seem to be pirated Chinese knockoff, and it's about $10 cheaper than the Romainian adapter that uses an authentic ELM327 chip (see above). That's nice to know.
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I've had it about 15 months and I remember that I did a firmware check after I got it and the firmware was current at that time. After I ran ELM Identifier today I ran the ELM app and it came up and said that the firmware was out of date and did I want to update to version 4.4. Moral is that I should check for an update more often! :)

My only criticism would be that they should update their own firmware before shipping instead of shipping a unit with mediocre firmware and expecting the user to fix it.
so what would we be missing
Tomt's original scan had missing codes for V.1.4a, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2. See his printout for the codes that have those numbers. If you want to know what those codes do, look in the ELM327 Manual provided by Elm Electronics.
Further Report on ELM 327 Bluetooth Interface from of Romania

I had previously tested the little blue Chinese clone "enhanced ELM327 OBDII Bluetooth Adapter" that I bought for $10.99 and the "BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool " that I bought for $21.99, both of which claimed to be "ELM327 v.1.5" and failed with ELM327 Identifier to execute AT codes above v.1.4. Moreover, neither would connect to the ECU of my 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan. Yesterday I also tested the Romanian "ELM 327 Bluetooth Interface" purchased for about $60 from with ELM327 Identifier and found that it executed all 103 of the test AT codes OK and did indeed appear to contain an authentic ELM327 v.2.2 chip.

Today I plugged into the OBDII port of my 2002 Dodge my new Romanian "ELM 327 Bluetooth Interface" and tried it. It connected with the Dodge's ECU without problems and worked very well. Torque Pro reported that it was using protocol J1850-VPW, which probably explains why the other units failed to connect with the ECU. A guy who took apart one of the clone dongles found that pins 2 and 10 of the plug were not connected, and these are the pins corresponding to protocol J1850-VPW. I was under the impression that it was GM that used the J1850-VPW protocol, but apparently Fiat-Chrysler does too (or at least did in 2002).

Anyhow, I'm very pleased with this product of, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to avoid the plethora of pirate clones that Amazon peddles. The main drawbacks are that (a) you have to pay in Euros via PayPal and (b) it has to be shipped from Romania.
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looks like Romania wont do wifi or iPhone
13a chip looks like its upgradable to 2.2 with a few exceptions
but what ive seen so far is every thing about the ice you can look at
but I see nothing about the batteries cell voltage or battery management or motor control
how do you access those and don't say android
is it on a different buss , just to new or what
looks like Romania wont do wifi or iPhone
13a chip looks like its upgradable to 2.2 with a few exceptions
but what ive seen so far is every thing about the ice you can look at
but I see nothing about the batteries cell voltage or battery management or motor control
how do you access those and don't say android
is it on a different buss , just to new or what
Actually, the OBDLink units do not use an ELM327 chip at all. They use a different processor chip, the STN1110, that allows its firmware to be updated. This is why one can go from only v.1.4 commands to up to v.2.2 commands with a firmware update. And, yes, the Romanian site sells only Bluetooth and wired USB versions of their product, not wifi.

The Volt's internal information can be accessed from the CAN-bus. However, one needs the right PIDs to get at it. GM considers the Volt's PIDs a trade secret, and there have been no leaks. Some of the PIDs have been deduced by members of this group by trial and error, and these are available HERE. However, one also needs an app that can take in external PIDs from a .csv file and use them. Torque Pro, which is an Android app, will do this. I do not know if there is any iPhone app that will do the same thing.

With the right PIDs one can read the battery's state of charge (SOC), instantaneous voltage, current, and temperature. As for detailed information like the voltages of the individual cells in the torsion battery, there is not presently a known PID that will provide that information, and it may not even be available on the OBDII port on the driver side of the Volt. There is a more poorly understood OBDII port on the passenger side that is reputed to provide more information about battery condition, charging details, etc. A month ago I tried plugging a blue Chinese v.1.5 dongle into the passenger side socket, but Torque Pro could not connect to my Volt's ECU from there, so I gave up. I took a certain risk, because while back, WOT advised us to leave the passenger-side OBDII port alone.
See less See more vs. OBDLink LX Adapter

I was sufficiently taken with the idea of an OBDII adapter that had a 10x faster STN1110 processor, such as that in the OBDLink LX Bluetooth OBDII Adapter, that I bought one. It arrived this morning. In its arrival state it wanted a firmware update, and so I updated the firmware to the "latest version", which is listed as version 4.3.0.

The OBDLink LX works well in my Volt, connects smoothly, and does indeed seem to be faster than the Romanian ELM327 v.2.2 adapter that I had discussed above. However, when I ran ELM327 Identifier on the OBDLink LX adapter with the new firmware, it claimed to be version 1.3b and passed the code tests up to version 1.4b, but could not execute the codes for versions 2.0, 2.1, or 2.2.

This was a surprise. TomT had shown us that with his updated OBDLink LX adapter successfully ran all of the codes up to version 2.2. He also said that he had installed firmware version 4.4. Perhaps the OBDLink site has withdrawn firmware version 4.4 for the moment, for some reason. Anyhow, this is frustrating. I cannot say that the OBDLink LX is clearly better than the Romanian adapter, because it won't do the version 2 codes.
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Well, I bought Launch CReader 8011 specially to read ABS codes on my Mercedes Benz vehicle. I like that it comes with the storage case, USB cable and micro SD card to transfer data. It was amazing when I use it at the first time. Cleared the ABS code and gave me lots of data about my vehicle with the large and clear display. Moreover, it supports oil and epb reset,I was impressed with the product function.I think this is a must have for any car owners.
I emailed ELM about who they sell to in order to identify a legit product. See email exchange below:


I would like to purchase a device that uses your ELM327 microcontroller, in order for me to diagnose issues on my car. I know that there are a lot of cloned/pirated interface devices that claim to be ELM327 and have questionable (at best) quality, that I would like to avoid.

Can you provide me with names of companies/devices that you recommend and use your ELM327 microcontroller?

Thank you for your time!!!!


I am sorry, but we can not share any customer information. Even if a particular customer did purchase from us, it would not mean that they do not sell clone devices as well.

If you are looking for a 'genuine' ELM327 IC, I would advise that you ask the vendor what is used in their product. Perhaps obtain their assurance that they will return your money if you are not completely satisfied.

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