Visit this site http://www.totalcardiagnostics.com/toad for more information on Elm327. The Elm327 is a programmed microcontroller produced by TOAD software for translating the on-board diagnostics (OBD) interface found in most modern cars. The Elm327 command protocol is one of the most popular PC-to-OBD interface standards and is also implemented by other vendors.
Elm327 command set for compatibility with existing TOAD Elm327 software applications
A scan tool is a must for automotive diagnostic work today. When your Check Engine Light is on, you have to access the vehicle's onboard diagnostics with a code reader, scan tool or scanner software to find out what's wrong. A scan tool allows you to read fault codes and other diagnostic information.
A code reader can also clear codes to turn off the Check Engine light. Some code readers can also display the "ready" status of various OBD II monitors (ready means the monitor has completed its self-check process). But a code reader is NOT a scan tool because it only reads and clears codes. It does NOT display any sensor data or other system operating information. To read sensor and other system data, you need some type of scan tool or scanner software.
See what your car is doing in real-time
TOAD software allow you to "hack" your car's performance, optimize fuel consumption, perform live diagnostics, tune the ECU chip, and fix common problems via it's OBD diagnostic system. It comes with cable/software... everything you need to get started!
The Elm327 is a programmed microcontroller produced by TOAD software for translating the on-board diagnostics (OBD) interface found in most modern cars. The Elm327 command protocol is one of the most popular PC-to-OBD interface standards and is also implemented by other vendors.
Tune cars performance
Elm327 is one of a family of OBD translators from TOAD software. Other variants implement only a subset of the OBD protocols.
In recent years, various vendors have developed software that allows an inexpensive Palm Pilot, Windows CE-based personal digital assistant (PDA), Pocket PC, tablet PC or even a smart cell phone to function as a scan tool. The sophistication of the software varies greatly as does its usefulness as a Car Diagnostic Tool.
With import vehicles, coverage continues to be a major issue for some European makes. Until the arrival of OBD II, many imports lacked the ability to display sensor data or other Car Diagnostic Tool information through a scan tool. Many of the pre-OBD II Asian imports provide fault codes at the ECM with LEDs or have other flash codes so you do not need a scan tool for diagnostics. But on 1996 and newer vehicles, a scan tool has become mandatory.
For advanced diagnostics on today's vehicles, a full feature scan tool is an absolute must. Scan tools for do-it-yourselfers can display sensor values and system data, but DIY scan tools cannot perform various system self-tests such as checking the operation of the fuel pump, cooling fan(s), idle speed control motor or solenoid, EGR solenoid, A/C compressor clutch, fuel injectors, EVAP leak test, EVAP purge controls, etc.
This level of diagnostics requires a professional level ScanTool (which are EXPENSIVE!) with bidirectional (two-way) communication capability and the proper software for accessing and running these type of tests.
ScanTool have different ranges and capabilities. Entry level "generic" scan tools typically sell for less than $200. They can read and clear codes, display the status of the various OBD II system monitors, and display basic operating data such as loop status (Open or Closed), airflow, coolant temperature, oxygen sensor outputs, throttle position and other sensor readings, and fuel trim values for diagnostic purposes.
Helps you fix your car and helps keep repair costs down!
Most of these tools are fairly versatile and work on all domestic makes (Ford, GM & Chrysler), but may require additional software for Asian and/or European applications.
Entry level ScanTool that are sold in auto parts stores are usually designed for do-it-yourselfers, and lack bidirectional communications capability for liability reasons. They may also display only a limited number of "PIDs" (Performance Information Data such as sensor values, switch status and other operational data) compared to a professional level scan tool or factory scan tool.