The ELM327 diagnostic scanners are available in a number of different types, choosing the right interface is important as each is compatible with different types of devices. What they all do have in common though is that they are all compatible for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, and they are all compatible with OBD-II compliant vehicles.
ELM327 Bluetooth Interfaces
The best, most adaptable and easiest to use interface is the Bluetooth ELM327 Interface. The ELM327 Bluetooth is the easiest to connect and change between different vehicles and above all else, is entirely wireless. Along with that, you can connect to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals simultaneously so there are no problems with having to disconnect from the internet when pairing to your device. One other plus to the ELM327 Bluetooth adapter is the sheer number of software applications and apps you have to choose from. There are almost too many applications to try.
The Bluetooth interface is compatible for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Linux and Android. Laptops and computers that are not already Bluetooth enabled can use an inexpensive plug and play USB Adapter to allow you to receive the radio signal from the ELM327. There is no need to install internal components into your computer.
The Bluetooth interface boasts compatibility with the popular Android App Torque which is available in both free and paid versions. This app can be installed quickly and allow you to connect to all OBD2 protocols and OBD2 compliant vehicles. Another popular software option is ScanMaster-Elm, this can be installed on Windows computers and boasts a professional set of tools and logging that you can use to diagnose problems and tune your vehicle.
ELM327 USB Interfaces
The next most popular ELM327 interface is the USB ELM327. This model was much more popular several years ago but with the inclusion of the inexpensive Bluetooth adapter, the need to use cables is entirely eliminated. In any case, the adapters are still manufactured and as a matter of preference may be the adapter that is best for you.
The USB adapter can be used in conjunction with USB enabled devices including Windows laptops, Mac OSX laptops and computers, Linux computers and even hybrid laptop computers. Good software to use in conjunction with the ELM327 USB interface is ScanMaster-Elm which comes in both a demo and paid version.
ELM327 Wi-Fi Interfaces
The ELM327 Wi-Fi interface can be used in conjunction with the iPhone, iPad, Mac OSX and Windows computers. The Wi-Fi model will require you to disconnect from any existing wireless networks so if you are connected to the internet through Wi-Fi you might not be able to browse the internet while connected to the Wi-Fi diagnostic tool. On the upside if your phone or tablet is connected to a cellular network, you still have internet access. The most popular software used with the Wi-Fi interface is DashCommand for the iPhone and iPad.
ELM327 Interface Setup
The easiest to setup is the ELM327 Bluetooth. All you really need to do is plug it in, pair to your device, create the connection in your software and you are off to the races. The USB interface boasts a similar setup process where you plug it in (paying attention to the com-port it is assigned to) and making sure your software recognizes it (you may have to manually input the com-port). The setup of the Wi-Fi interface is a little more complex, requiring you to connect to the network, enter the security code and possibly a few other variables. From there, your software interface should recognize the device.
The management of COM-Ports in computer and laptop environments are the same if you are using Bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi. Some software packages will automatically detect COM-Ports for you (ie. ScanMaster-ELM) however most require a manual input. We have additional instruction guides written to help you through step-by-step with the setup of your ELM327.
Buying an ELM327 Interface
Take care when making your purchase. Many sellers know little to nothing about the ELM327, are unable to help with any troubleshooting and don’t provide setup instructions for you. These devices can be difficult to setup the first time and if you have purchased a device that is defective or poorly made and have no instruction, it will be a time consuming and difficult process. We always recommend for the best value to purchase interfaces directly out of our store as these have a time tested and proven high quality track record.