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What is ELM327?

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You may have seen ELM327 come up quite often if you have been looking into OBD2 scan tools. But what is ELM327? Basically, it is a code people can add to a common microchip installed into these scan tools. This program 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, communicate it, and then display it on a handheld device. The ELM327 is a great code installed on a good chip as it allows your device to communicate with several protocols:

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

The ELM327 is a PIC microcontroller that has been customized with ELM Electronics’ proprietary code. However, you may have seen several types of OBD tools that say that they have an ELM327. These are most likely clones and they have copied ELM’s code and installed it on their own chips. The non-patented first versions of the ELM made it possible for anyone could just take the code off them.

Several clones work fine and will do the job that needed, but you just need to make sure you buy from a reputable seller.

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