If you own a car make and model made after 1996, then you should know about the OBD2 port. This port is a standardized diagnostic port that enables you to access data from the computer in a car’s engine. Besides, a GPS tracker can be set up in a car’s OBD2 port to offer live engine and trip information to a central hub or the driver.
What is an OBD2 port?
The On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) port is the section where you can plug in any OBD tool into your car to retrieve vehicle information. It is also the principal location of monitoring gadgets, such as dongles, as the port offers continuous power to the gadget.
The OBD2 port in full means, On-Board Diagnostic two-port. This means that it’s a port found in vehicles made after 1996 with the second generation OBD system. It’s also the vehicle’s electronic system that gives self-diagnostics and reporting features. This system is utilized by mechanics and repair technicians to access subsystem data to monitor the vehicle’s performance and repair it.
OBD is the consistent protocol utilized in most light-duty vehicles to get access to the vehicle’s diagnostic information. This crucial information is produced by the vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU), which acts as the vehicle’s brain.
The vehicle’s OBD2 is a computer that tracks mileage, speed, emissions, and additional information concerning the car. It’s generally connected below the vehicle’s dashboard on the drivers and will alert the driver if problems are discovered. It will also read the error code created by the engine.
The history behind the OBD2 diagnostic port?
The history of the OBD2 port began way back in the 1960s. Some of the organizations involved in the preliminary framework for the standard were the California Air Resources Board, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the International Organization of Standardization, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Volkswagen was the first automotive company to introduce the first onboard diagnostics system that could be scanned to examine the vehicle’s engine problems. A few years later, Datsun followed with a basic onboard diagnostics system. In 1980, GM also came up with a proprietary system that featured an interface and protocol that can generate engine diagnostics and alert the driver through a check engine light.
Before the standardization of the OBD system took place, various car manufacturers designed their proprietary systems. This meant that technicians had to acquire different OBDII tools to diagnose other vehicle makes. Different tools had their own connector type, needs for an electronic interface, and each utilized custom codes for reporting issues.
However, standardization came into effect in the late 1980s. In 1988, the Society of Automotive Engineers issued a recommendation that required a standard connector pin and set of diagnostics across the industry.
In 1991, California’s state made it compulsory that all vehicles feature some basic OBD. This is what’s popularly known as OBDI. In 1994, OBDII was formed, and the state of California required all vehicles sold from 1996 to feature OBD as suggested by SAE. This is what’s referred to as OBD2. Because of California’s legislation, all vehicle manufacturers began to set up OBD2 ports in all of their vehicles around the country.
It’s important to note that there’s a small variation among OBD2 systems. The variations are referred to as protocols. These protocols are specific to vehicle manufacturers. Here are the five basic signal protocols:
- SAE J1850 PW
- SAE J1850VPM
- ISO14230-4 (KWP2000)
- ISO 15765 CAN
How does the OBD2 diagnostic port work?
The OBD2 port pinout offers access to the engine’s status information and Diagnostic Trouble Codes. The DTCs cover several parts of the vehicle, with the inclusion of powertrain and emissions control systems. Additionally, the OBD2 pinout gives further information, including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), ignition counter, emissions control system counters, and Calibration Identification Number.
Diagnostic Trouble Codes are kept in a computer system. Besides, you should note that these codes vary between manufacturers. What’s more, there are error codes for various parts of the vehicle, including powertrain, body, chassis, and network. The list is very extensive.
What does the Standardized OBDII Port Pinout mean?
It’s easier for any diagnostic scanner to read DTCs because of the standardized pinout. The standardized OBDII port pinout has 16 pins, and they are as follows:
PIN 1: Used by manufacturer
PIN 2: Used by SAE J1850 PWM & VPW
PIN 3: Used by manufacturer
PIN 4: Ground
PIN 5: Ground
PIN 6: Used by ISO 15765-4 CAN
PIN 7: The K-Line of ISO 9141-2 & ISO 14230-4
PIN 10: Used exclusively by SAE J1850 PWM
PIN 14: Used by ISO 15765-4 CAN
PIN 15: The K-Line of ISO 9141-2 & ISO 14230-4
PIN 16: Power from the vehicle battery
Note that OBD2 automotive diagnostic scan tools can connect to these components and single out the trouble code from all manufacturers that utilize one of the OBD2 protocols.
What can be hooked up to the OBD2 port?
Basically, a technician connects a scanner to the port to read the DTCs. If the scan tool being used is an entry-level diagnostic tool, it will only provide a numeric code. Afterward, the technician can check from the manufacturer’s manual or service website. However, if the scan tool is more advanced, it will deliver text fault codes.
Recently, there have been more sophisticated scanners for regular drivers who don’t want to rely on a mechanic to diagnose their vehicles. As a result, they can place the OBD scanner in the OBD port and read error codes without a mechanic’s help.
In simple terms, an OBD2 port is an area where the OBD2 diagnostic scanner is connected. It has 16-pins where the OBD2 cable is inserted to diagnose error codes in your car. In most vehicles, the OBD2 port is located below the dashboard on the driver’s side. Nonetheless, this port can be located anywhere in commercial vehicles.
Always find out where your OBD2 port is located for quick and easy reading and erasing error codes.