You may have seen ELM327 come up a quite often if you have been looking into OBD2 scan tools. Basically this is an code that has beed added to an common microchip that is installed into these scan tools so that they can communicate with vehicles via the OBD2 port. The company ELM sells these chips for OBD tool makers to put into their devices.

It allows the device to take the data that the car has received and communicate and then display it on an handheld device. Now the ELM327 is great code installed on an good chip as it allows your device to communicate with a number of protocols:

  • SAE J1850 PWM (41.6 kbit/s)
  • SAE J1850 VPW (10.4 kbit/s)
  • ISO 9141-2 (5 baud init, 10.4 kbit/s)
  • ISO 14230-4 KWP (5 baud init, 10.4 kbit/s)
  • ISO 14230-4 KWP (fast init, 10.4 kbit/s)
  • ISO 15765-4 CAN (11 bit ID, 500 kbit/s)
  • ISO 15765-4 CAN (29 bit ID, 500 kbit/s)
  • ISO 15765-4 CAN (11 bit ID, 250 kbit/s)
  • ISO 15765-4 CAN (29 bit ID, 250 kbit/s)
  • SAE J1939 (250kbit/s)
  • SAE J1939 (500kbit/s)

The ELM327 is a PIC microcontroller that has been customized with ELM Electronics’ proprietary code. However you may have seen a number of different type of OBD tools that say that they have an ELM327 these are most likely clones and they have copied ELMs code and installed it on their own chips. This was possible as the first versions that ELM introduced were not protected so anyone could just take the code off them.

Now a number of these clones work fine and will do the job that is needed but you just need to make sure you buy from a reputable seller.

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