OBD2 Port Scanner Instructions
These devices come with a mini CD that doesn't work in all CD drives. I have a new HP Pavillion pc that won't take it for instance. If you have trouble reading the CD, you can download all the data on the disk from my web site. All of the software is the same version as that on the CD, except for ScanMasterELM. The version on the CD is 126.96.36.199 while the download packages on my site include ScanMasterELM version 2.0. You can download the full software package from the CD, with updated versions, from the following link: OBD2 Scanning Software
This is my favorite software. My Windows 7, 64-bit laptop loads it right up, and connects to our OBD2 readers with no trouble. The free version is quite complete for our purposes, but if you are a professional installer, you may want to look into the paid version. However, I use the free version of this software even though I paid $100 for another program. Make sure you connect your scanner to the OBD2 port and turn on the key or start the car before launching the program. You will get a warning that the software was designed for a specific device, but you can ignore the warning. It works fine with our scanners. You can get the latest version of this software from their website at wwww.EasyobdII.com. For a known good version compatible with our OBD2 scanners, you can get version 2.4.0 here.
Engine Trouble Codes: When using this software to reset trouble codes, there are a couple of things you must do that aren't immediately apparent. First, you must actually read the codes, even if you already know what they are. After reading the codes, the button to delete the codes will become active. If the engine is running, the software won't let you delete the codes, but won't tell you why. You need to turn off the engine, turn on the ACC switch, then start over.
The best of the programs in the package is ScanMasterELM. The free version you get is majorly crippled, but it will give you a good idea of what the full version can do. I also use this package because it will autodetect your OBD2 reader and give you the correct settings to use in other programs. To do this, plug in your OBD2 reader into your car and start your engine. Then start up ScanMasterELM. Go to "Options"->"Communication". Make sure it's set to auto detect your serial port. Then press the "Connect" button at the bottom. It will cycle through the serial ports that it sees, including your virtual port, and also test connections speeds. When it finds yours, it will connect. Note, that sometimes mine throws an error when it tests COM3, and I have to dismiss the error messages and press "Connect" again. Then it will ignore COM3 and go on to COM6, where my virtual com port is and connect. For me it always connects to COM6 at 9600 baud. Those are the settings I use in other programs that require the com port you want to use.
Virtual COM Ports
For Windows Vista and Windows 7, as long as you are connected to the internet, the drivers to connect your USB Scanner will download and install automatically. Just plug in the device to your OBD2 port, turn on the car, and plug it in to your USB port. Windows will automatically load the correct driver. Then launch your software package.
Users with earlier versions of Windows may need to download the drivers. You will find the drivers in the download package linked above.
There are many people working on free OBD2 software programs on the internet. I have yet to find one that out performs Easy OBD II. But it won't be long before we'll see some good free software become available. Our scanners are based on the ELM327 chip, so if you google on that chip, you'll find the software that's designed to use it. The USB version of our scanners, uses the FTDI interface which stands for "Future Technology Devices International Ltd.", which is a company that makes USB to RS232 interfaces. Some programs can talk directly to the FTDI chip, without using a virtual COM port. But if they can't, just use the virtual COM port. The software doesn't need to know anything about USB.
You can find some other programs that you must pay for, but will work with these scanners. I have one called ScanXL and came with its own OBD2 reader for about $300. It works with our readers, and allows you to create virtual gauges on your screen for any sensor data you want. The last I saw, the software was about $80 or so.
I've also used TouchScan, and it also works with our scanners. It works on laptops and touch screen devices. It costs $25. It's a nice interface and you can get your sensor data displaying on one page. The main reason I like this program, is that you can turn on the sensor information you want to monitor and see it all display on one page. If you don't mind spending $25 this is a good choice for your software.
I've downloaded the demo version of DashCommand, which allows you to make up any configuration of gauges you want. They claim this program won't work with generic OBD2 readers, but it connects to ours just fine. However, the demo version only showed my tachometer. With the full version you can configure a gauge for any sensor, and they will run in real time. It costs $39. I wouldn't pay more for it because you can't read and reset engine codes with it, so it isn't a complete solution.
As we find and try more new software, we will update this page. If you find some gems we haven't covered here, please let me know so I can get the information out to others.