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Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:59 am
by FORScan
Update 2019-12-11. OBD Solutions has released OBDLink EX that was specially created for FORScan. In addition to all SX advantages, it has MS-CAN support and set of features (such as full ISO15765 support) that make it fastest ELM327-compatible adapter on the market. Considering the fact that OBDLink EX is just slightly more expensive than OBDLink SX, it looks like the most optimal USB solution for our project.

As everyone knows, modern Ford, Lincoln and Mazda models require an adapter with MS-CAN support. MS-CAN is not a part of OBDII standard, so stock ELM327 and compatible adapters do not have it. As a result, majority of our users have to either use china ELM327 adapters with mechanical HS/MS CAN switch, or purchase expensive solutions with built-in MS-CAN support like OBDLink MX or ELS27. All these options have their drawbacks:
  • China ELM327 use non-original ELM327 chip and other components. Their quality is not always stable (adapter purchased today may be fine, adapter purchased tomorrow may be defective). As a result, in majority of cases it is not possible (too risky) to use it for operations that require long time of work under high load, for example on firmware update. Besides, mechanical HS/MS switch is not convenient and, that’s more important, doesn’t fit requirements for certain service functions that require simultaneous access to HS and MS CAN buses.
  • Solutions like OBDLink MX BT/MX+ and ELS27 are much more expensive. For some reason, Scantool doesn’t offer an adapter with USB interface and MS-CAN support, and wireless solutions are not optimal for operations like firmware update. ELS27 is also very expensive, original is manufactured in Russia so long period of delivery to US and some other countries. company manufactures OBDLink SX adapter with USB interface. It has significant advantages:
  • Against china ELM327: OBDLink SX contains original Scantool chip of known quality. Quality of the adapter is good and stable. Adapter has much higher USB interface speed than ELM327 adapters (2Mbps vs 0.5 Mbps).
  • Against OBDLink MX: OBDLink SX is much cheaper (cost is equivalent to OHP ELM327) and much faster (as has USB interface that is much faster than wireless one)
    Against ELS27: OBDLink SX is much cheaper, faster delivery.
So the only serious drawback of OBDLink SX is that it doesn’t support MS-CAN. Jon Vilagy, one of FORScan users, has solved this problem. He modified OBDLink SX adapter for MS-CAN and successfully updated IPC firmware on Lincoln MKZ 2014 with this adapter (IPC module for this model resides on MS-CAN). This gentleman kindly agreed to create an instruction for this modification, we are attaching it here.

Modifying an OBDLINK SX OBD-II USB Adapter for use with FORScan (PDF)

Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:51 pm
by elektronik12
How to recognize if your interface is original or from China. I bought in Poland and I paid a lot of green color

Re: Modifying OBDLink SX USB Adapter for Automatic HS/MS-CAN Switching Managed by RTS

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:41 am
by ham_op

Regarding the OBDLink SX USB Adapter RTS control mod, has anyone verified the functionality of the modification or how well the modification works with the ForScan software?

Also I have few questions regarding the modification, does anyone have Jon Vilagy's e-mail? Or should I PM the fellow here? Or perhaps better, do open forum posts so that others may also benefit from the exchange?

Thanks in advance,


Re: Modifying OBDLink SX USB Adapter for Automatic HS/MS-CAN Switching Managed by RTS

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:15 am
by ham_op

After reviewing Jon Vilagy's modification information, info appears satisfactory. I will replicate his OBDLink SX modification and I will post my mods and component source information as I proceed.


Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:55 am
by ham_op
I've hunted around looking for a convenient and inexpensive source for all the components required to effect the Jon Vilagy OBDLink-SX Auto HS/MS-CAN Switching Modification.

Here is my selection of components and source info:

For most of the Jon Vilagy originally spec'd components see Mouser (US distributor, no crap clone parts):

One of each below is required for the modification (in addition to the OBDLink-SX adapter):

653-G6S-2G-DC12 - $3.15 - Omron DPDT 12V Relay <== originally spec'd relay
583-2N3904 - $0.14 - Gen Purpose NPN Transistor <== originally spec'd transistor
621-1N4001 - $0.19 - Spike Snubber, 50Vdc 1A, Silicon Diode
660-MF1/2LCT528R102J - $0.15 - 1k Ohm, 1/4W, 5%, through-hole, metal film, general purpose resistor
629-G1050513 - $1.29 - CW SPST Slide Switch

====== OR =======

Note: The following components are preliminary and may change as project dictates:

Here is an alternative US vendor, generally quality components and are very reasonably priced, in my opinion:

AGN200A12 DPDT 12Vdc, Relay - Masushita <== alternative relay, small outline, fits
Itm: 2202685 - $1.09

2N3904 NPN, 40V, 200mA, TO-92, 625mW Switching Transistor, flat up = EBC
Itm: 38359 10/$0.09ea Min order = 10pcs

1N4001 - 50Vdc 1A Silicon Diode
Itm: 35975 - 10/$0.12 Min order 10pcs

1K Ohm, 5%, 1/16W, Resistor
Itm: 690865 - 10/$0.06ea Min Order = 10pcs

Slide Switch, SPDT (C&K PN: OS102011MA1QN1)
Jameco PN: 588220 - $0.49

1.2m (4ft) Black 3mm (1/8 Inch) Heat Shrink Tubing
Itm: 419160 - $1.05

=============== deleted parts - do not use ==============
G5V-2-DC12 DPDT 12Vdc, Relay - Omron <== deleted, too large to fit inside case
Itm: 187258 - $2.59

BC337 NPN, 45V, 800ma, TO-92, 625mW Switching Transistor, flat up = CBE <== do not use with new alternative relay
Itm: 254810 - 10/$0.15ea Min order = 10pcs


eBay Source Items

GOOP 230022 E6000 3.7OZ Industrial Strength glue Adhesive 6593412
(Also sold as "Shoe Glue" in hardware stores, as far as I can determine they are all the same
substance, and it is the best glue for virtually all tasks that I've ever found)
- $3.69 + $2.79 Shipping
eBay Itm: 132773802930

Kynar Wire 3m/(10ft) 30Ga $2.81 Free Ship
Red, Black, Green, Blue rolls $2.81 = $11.24
eBay Itm: 260929559527

Kynar Wire-Wrap/Wire-Stripper Tool (China vendor 100%)
- $15.19 + FreeShipping
eBay Itm: 291527773999

Here are few alternative methods if you dont have a Kynar stripper tool:

How To Strip Kynar Cheaply
Nail Clipper Modification

Soldering Iron Kynar Strip Method

More later


Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:15 am
by ham_op
I received the OBDLink SX USB adapter today in the mail. The adapter was well packaged and fast shipped.

On initial inspection the adapter appears to be well engineered and it sports red semi-translucent cord insulation covering a braid shielded USB cable. The adapter itself is also enclosed within a red semi-translucent box. It feels good in the hand, its nice and its a bit sexy too. Heh heh.

To support my diagnostic effort to fix my 2003 Ford Escape which has been towed into the Ford dealership four times, yet their technicians have been unable to diagnose the intermittent failure, I purchased the following to (hopefully) enable my own diagnosis of the problem:

1x set of red Ford service manuals:
- 2003 Escape Workshop Manual
- 2003 Escape Wiring Manual
- 2003 Ford Car/Truck Powertrain Control / Emissions Diagnosis Service Shop Manual
1x HP 8640 EliteBook 35,56cm/14" Win7 (Home-Premium...yech!) 'small' LapTop fits on passenger seat
1x ScanTools OBDLink SX USB Adapter
1x set of modification components from JameCo detailed in last post

Today I plugged in the SX into the LapTop, the adapter wasn't detected and the adapter status LED glowed RED. I looked all over the ForScan site for installation info, and aside from a fairly simple document which did not identify drivers I could find nothing too useful. However, I did seem to remember back when I first found ForScan a post regarding FTDI drivers.

I opened the Device Manager on the LapTop, plugging in the SX USB cable into the USB port, the Device Manager, emitted a yellow USB flag indicating a driver problem, along with a message stating that a USB driver was unsucessful installing.

I vectored over to the fellows at ftdi-chip for drivers:

Downloaded: Windows x86 (32bit) and x64 (64bit) drivers (for archive) version: 2.12.28 which includes both the VCP and the D2XX drivers, both of which are required for Windows 7 USB driver installation. Both are compressed into a zip archive file format. As my HP LapTop is a 64bit machine I installed the 64bit FTDI drivers. If your machine is Windows 7 32bit processor, install the 32bit driver.

To install the drivers I followed the FTDI Installation guide at:
I downloaded: "Windows 7 Installation Guide"

Driver setup installed perfectly first time.

To unzip the drivers file (CDM v2.12.28 WHQL, I downloaded and used the **EXCELLENT** peazip archiver program to unzip the files into a temporary installation directory. I have been using peazip for nine years. It opens and unarchives virtually everything.

After driver installation, I unplugged and re-plugged the OBDLink SX USB adapter cable and the status LED changed from RED to peuce YELLOW indicating that adapter is talking to the computer via the USB drivers. I have as yet to hookup the LapTop + OBDLink SX USB adapter to my car, which I'll do tomorrow. However, I did run the ForScan Windows Beta version 2.3.20 program, which initially did not connect to the SX adapter.

I fiddled around with the ForScan SETTINGS page, selecting
Connection Type: COM & checked Auto-Connect
COM Settings: Auto
Baud Rate: Auto

Exited the program and reinstantiated (eg, restarted) the program, which then scanned through the COM PORT enumeration table, finding COM5 and then connected the program to the OBDLink SX adapter!!! Yipee!

So that's it for now. As soon as the JameCo package of modification parts arrive in the mail, I'll make the mods, documenting as I proceed and take a few support photos for y'all.



Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:29 pm
by Narly1
Sounds a lot my experience with the OBDLINK SX a few months back. Using it with a Surface laptop/tablet on a 2013 F-150.

One of the more solid adapters in my opinion. I like the fact that it uses the USB interface vs Bluetooth, my concern being the potential for the wireless connection could drop out mid-procedure.

Its lack of MS-CAN connectivity is a concern for me going forward on newer vehicles, this mod will fix all that and is definitely on my to-do list.

This mod should resolve that issue. Following closely.


Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:04 pm
by tractmec
Hello ham_op

Before you go to all that trouble of modifying an OBDlink SX, it might helpful to determine if your 03 escape even has MS-Can or even HS-Can for that matter.

If it is like my 03 Expedition, it will have a UART Based Protocol on Pin 3 in the data link connector and no number 11 pin and the SX Adapter cannot read that protocol although Forscan has been looking for a way to get elm327 based adapters to do so. So far no luck!

The SX can read ISO and SCP protocols which your Escape may have, at least it did on my 05 F150 and 03 Expe. The Books you bought should be of some help here!

Currently the only adapter Forscan can read UBP with are VCM2 J2534 pass through adapters! There is a support thread for J2534 pass through adapters on the adapters and connectors forum thread.

Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:12 am
by Andyfocus
hi might be helpfull if you gave a total for all the parts needed together , as its probably going to work out cheaper to just buy an adaptor that already does it , also some might look at it but not have the skills to do it or may want to try it but need to compare if the time and effort to try is worth it .

Re: Modifying an OBDLINK SX USB Adapter for HS/MS-CAN relay managed by RTS

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:12 am
by victor2k
Moved my post,sorry. :D