There are various tools on the market are able to access OBD functions via OBD connector
. These range from simple error code reader or cables to highly sophisticated OEM dealership tools to technician level devices.
Hand-held scan tools
A range of rugged of multiple brand hand-held scan tools is available.
1. Simple DTC readers, reset tools are mostly aimed at the consumer level for drivers. These tools often has simple functions such as code reading and erasing.
2. Professional hand-held scan tools may possess more advanced functions:
Access more vehicle control units and advanced diagnostics
Set manufacturer- or vehicle-specific ECU parameters
Real-time monitoring or graphing of engine parameters or ECU tuning
Mobile device-based tools and diagnosis
Today there are mobile device apps, such as iOBD2 scanners, that allow mobiles such as cell phones (iPhone, Android and Symbian) and tablets (mainly iPod) to diagnose, display and manipulate the OBD-II data accessed via USB adaptor cables, Bluetooth or WiFi adapters plugged into the car's OBD II connector.
PC-based scan tools and analysis platforms
A PC-based OBD diagnostic tool that converts the OBD-II signals to serial data (USB or serial port) standard to PCs or Macs. The software then analyzes the received data and show the result on the computer screen. It is one kind of the mostly seen OBD applications. Many popular interfaces are based on the ELM or STN1110 OBD Interpreter ICs, both of which read all five generic OBD-II protocols. Some adapters now also have the J2534 API in order to get access to OBD-II Protocols for both cars and trucks.
In addition to the functions a hand-held scan tool possesses, the PC-based tools generally offer:
1. Large storage capacity for data logging and other functions
2. Higher resolution screen (computer screen) than handheld tools
3. The ability to open multiple windows on the same device
4. The ability to use multiple software programs on the same device
5. Some PC tools may access manufacturer or vehicle-specific ECU diagnostics varies between software products as it does between hand-held scanners.