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Free OBD2 Scan Tool Software, Review

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In this review we will examine three OBD2 Scan Tool software platforms. WOBD by Werner Digital Technology, OBD II Logger, and ScanTool LLC’s diagnostic platform known as ScanToolNet. All three are free programs to use with your Generic Scan Tool.

The testing hardware platform is an IBM Thinkpad T2130 w/768 Meg ram. 40 gig hard drive, and Microsoft XP Pro. The Scan Tools used were the ELM Scan 5 and our 2X80S USB Scan Tool. This laptop is about the size and weight limit for most mechanics to hold comfortably in their left hand, while performing the testing.

The software platforms were initially tested in their most automatic state, as if someone that had very little experience with computer or software setup.

 

WOBD Software

This was a development project from Werner Digital Technology. The development ceased in 2004. It is limited on the communications (com) ports that it can use. It does not have the ability to access dynamic com ports. It was unable to communicate with either Scan Tool in dynamic com port mode or with the scan tool set to a lower com port.

WOBD software

OBD II Logger

The development ceased in 2003. It is also limited on the communications (com) ports that it can use. It is extremely limited on functionality. There were planned developments for the software until the developer ceased work on the project. It was unable to communicate with either Scan Tool in dynamic com port mode or with the scan tool set to a lower com port.

 

ScanTool LLC

ScanTool LLC’s diagnostic platform known as ScanToolNet is another freeware diagnostic program. The tested version was v1.13. Since the release of v1.15 all future development ceased in 2009, according to statements on their site. This software has more functional capability than WOBD or OBD Logger.

The software program has communication (com) port limitations that require the use of com ports below #8. This creates a problem for those people that have later model computers with dynamic com ports. It was unable to communicate with either Scan Tool in dynamic com port mode, however with the scan tool set to a lower com port it worked.

The software does not allow the user to see what the true connection speed is or what the upper limit is. It offers only 2 fixed connection speed choices either 9.6k or 38.4k baud. This does not help the user that has a late model “Can Protocol” vehicle that communicates at extremely fast speeds, thus they could miss very important data needed simply because the communications are not fast enough.

scantool llc software com screen

The software has an easy to understand interface to get to a specific data area. The software is crippled as Modes 05, 06, and 07 are not available as well as the testing module in it. These are the modes that allow Freeze Frame data, Diagnostic monitor data and such that are mandatory for proper testing and repair verification of a vehicle with a trouble code.

The data screens for viewing the sensor values (Parameter IDs, PIDs) are limited to a few on each screen that must be scrolled horizontally. The PIDs are placed in the order that the developer wanted and are not moveable by the user which would allow easier more organized approach to diagnostics.

scantool llc datascreen image

On their forums there were many users complaining about connection issues when using their “ELM Scan 5” and this software. According to statements on their website, the change from v1.13 to v1.14 was “it does not work with ELM327 clones.” It is not clear if the users complaining were using the freeware or the paid version of that time.

An examination of their v1.3 tool reveals a MicroChip 2480 IC, not an ELM electronics 32x IC. This Microchip 2480 IC is the same chip used in many other entry level scan tools. This Microchip 2480 IC works very well in many tools. So the Scan Tool was probably not the problem with connection and data retrieval that people experienced.

The connection issues, scrolling horizontally, and the inability to verify what connection speed is achieved can create problems for users. I suggest that you do not waste your time trying these diagnostic software platforms.

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To access the sensor and data from your Engine Controller (PCM) you will need:

Professional Quality Scan Tool such as our 2X80S Scan Tool series.

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