Note: For professional work we would recommend to consider purchasing J2534 Passthru adapters that support Ford protocols. ELM327 family is recommended for amateur and semi-professional usage. This article reviews only ELM327 familty of adapters. J2534 Passthru devices will be addressed in a separate article.
Table 1.1 - Ford protocols
|OBDII name / Ford name||OBDII jack pins||Bus speed||Bus min. response time||How to detect|
|SAE J1850 PWM / Ford SCP||2, 10||41600 bps||20...40 ms|
|ISO9141 / Ford ISO||7||9600 bps||150...250 ms|
|CAN / Ford HS CAN||6, 14||500 Kbps||0...20 ms|
|/ Ford MS-CAN||3, 11||500 Kbps||0...20 ms|
|/ Ford UBP||3||10400 bps||150...250 ms|
P - primary protocol (PCM)
S - auxiliary protocol (not mandatory for FORScan)
|Generation||SAE J1850 PWM||ISO 9141||CAN||Ford MS CAN||Ford UBP||Comment|
|Ford 1996 - 2003||P||S||-||-||-|
|Mazda 1996 - 2003||-||P||-||-||-||Some models used SAE J1850 PWM as primary|
|Ford EU, Mazda 2004 - 2009||-||S||P||S||-||Some models used SAE J1850 PWM as primary|
|Ford NA 2004 - 2009||-||S||P||S||S|
|Ford, Mazda 2010+||-||-||P||S||-||HS2, HS3 through MS-CAN|
|Chip||SAE J1850 PWM||ISO 9141||CAN||Ford MS CAN||Ford UBP||Adapter|
|ELM327 standard||X||X||X||-||-||ELM327, Kiwi 3|
|ELM327 with HS/MS switch||X||X||X||X||-||ELM327 marked as Ford, Mazda compatible|
|STN 1100||X||X||X||-||-||OBDLink SX/LX|
|STN 1150||X||X||X||X||-||OBDLink MX BT|
|STN 1170||X||X||X||X||-||ELS27 (old versions), Viaken STN1170|
|STN 2120||X||X||X||X||-||ELS27 (new version)|
Two parameters are mainly important for performance:
Min. interface respone time (minimal response time or ping) - minimal possible time from the moment request to adapter is sent to the moment the response from adapter is received
Max.interface baud rate - max possible data transfer baud rate between computer and adapter
These parameters directly affect connection time, parameter (PIDs) reading frequence, overall programming time
Table 2.1 - Adapters' performance
|ELM327 OHP HS/MS WiFi||ELM327 (clone)||WiFi||30-40 ms||38400 bps||Unknown manufacturer - "good clone". Recommended only for iOS|
|Kiwi 3||ELM327 compatible||Bluetooth Low Energy||40 ms||-||Can be used only with FORScan Lite for iOS|
|ELM327 HS/MS USB||ELM327 (original)||USB||0..2 ms||500 Kbps|
|OBDLink SX||STN1100||USB||0..2 ms||500 Kbps|
|OBDLink MX BT||STN1150||Bluetooth||8..20 ms||115200 bps|
|OBDLink MX WiFi||STN1150||WiFi||-||115200 bps||WiFi interface works unstable - it freezes and times out. Strongly not recommended!|
|ELS27 v3||STN2120||USB, Bluetooth||0..2 ms USB,|
20 ms BT
|8 Mpbs USB|
|Viaken STN1170 USB||STN1170||USB||0..2 ms||2 Mbps|
|Viaken STN1170 BT||STN1170||Bluetooth||20..30 ms||38400 bps||May freeze on some cars. Not recommended|
Overal min.response time = Min. adapter response time + Min.bus response time
Overal baud rate = MIN ( Adapter max. baud rate / 2, Bus baud rate)
Two things are important for reliability:
- quality of the adapter. Not original adapters in general case have lower quality than original ones. We will create a dedicated article about so-called "clone problem".
- type of interface. The fact is that wireless interfaces used in ELM327 family of adapters are much less reliable than USB interface. And this problem is actual not only for "clones", but also for "original" adapters (OBDLink MX WiFi and Viaken VScan Bluetooth are most obvious examples).
So in general case we recommend to use USB for Windows version of FORScan, where it is possible. BT and WiFi devices are only recommended for mobile platforms (iOS and Android).
Also, important note about adapters with mechanical HS/MS switch: in addition to the fact it is not very convenient to switch it manually, it may be not possible to perform some operations with this type of adapter. If some operation requires a simultaneous access to both HS and MS (so FORScan needs to access some module(s) on HS CAN bus and, at the same time, other modules on MS-CAN bus), it cannot be normally executed using adapters with mechanical switch. Example: reading parameters (PIDs) in virtual module All, Module initialization subfunction in service functions "Remote keyless entry and Start".
Table 4.1 - recommendations on adapters
NO - not recommended for this platform
D - recommended for diagnostic: read PID, read/reset DTC, simple service functions
C - recommended for configuration: write configuration parameters to modules, complex service functions
P - recommended for programmign: complex configuration, firmware update (only for CAN )
|Adapter||FORScan for Windows||FORScan Lite for iOS||FORScan Lite for Android|
|ELM327 OHP HS/MS WiFi (clone)||NO||D||NO|
|Kiwi 3||NO||D (if MS-CAN is not required)||NO|
|ELM327 HS/MS USB||D, C, P||NO||NO|
|OBDLink SX||D, C, P (if MS-CAN is not required)||NO||NO|
|OBDLink LX||D (if MS-CAN is not required)||NO||D (if MS-CAN is not required)|
|OBDLink MX BT||D, C||NO||D|
|OBDLink MX WiFi||NO||NO||NO|
|ELS27 v3||D, C, P||NO||D|
|Viaken STN1170 USB||D, C, P||NO||NO|
|Viaken STN1170 BT||NO||NO||NO|
All of these adapters were tested by us
5.1. ELM327 HS/MS USB: http://elm-327.eu/
Update 2018-05-11. Note: this company also sells standard ELM327 BT (without HS/MS switch) that may NOT work properly with some models as Bluetooth chip may freeze on requests that receive a lot of data (same problem as in Viaken BT described above).
5.2. Kiwi 3: https://www.plxdevices.com/ . Note: this adapter is only supported by FORScan Lite for IOS! FORScan for Windows and FORScan Lite for Android have no support for this adapter.
5.3 ELS27: http://els27.ru
5.4. OBDLink product line: https://www.scantool.net/
5.5. Viaken: https://viaken.pl/pl/polski-elm327-v3-f ... -2014.html
Note: actually, all what we write about Viaken adapter is related to older version (v1 or v2, in black case). We had no chance to test their v3 version yet.
6. Links to other adapters
6.1. Elm327 HS/MS OHP good clone: https://www.amazon.com/OHP-Forscan-comp ... Ford+Mazda
It not original, but there is no better alternative for FORScan Lite for iOS yet.