Vehicle Diagnostics Adapter (2)
Windows software for the OBD-2 interface
In the previous article we described the hardware necessary to enable a vehicle OBD system to communicate through the serial port of a PC. As we mentioned you can use a terminal emulator program to read this ASCII coded data or better still try this free Windows program, it not only allows you to talk with the vehicle in a more user-friendly fashion, it also interprets the ‘trouble codes’.Vehicle OBD systems only understand and speak using hexadecimal characters. If you are not equipped with a reference book detailing the OBD protocols it is difficult to make any meaningful communication with an OBD system with just a terminal emulator program to help you. What we need is a user-interface program that converts OBD-2 data into a readable format and likewise converts user commands into OBD-2 messages. It would also be helpful if the program could output a description of the detected fault and suggest possible causes of the problem without the user needing to refer back to a list of codes or the vehicle handbook.
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CAM/CAD data for the PCB referred to in this article is available as a Gerber file. Elektor GREEN and GOLD members can exclusively download these files for free as part of their membership. Gerber files allow a PCB to be produced on an appropriate device available locally, or through an online PCB manufacturing service.
Elektor recommends its business partner Eurocircuits as the company of choice for its own prototypes and volume production in selected cases.