We hope you bought a brand new Ancel OBD2 scanner and are about to enjoy its unlimited benefits. There are endless possibilities with the tool. Now that you have, as your colleagues recommended, you could be wondering where to connect it.
Your friends advised you well, but with the scanner in your hand, you are probably looking around your car, wondering where the other end of the scanner’s cable or the module goes. Worry no more because we will show you where to connect the OBD2 scanner.
Where’s My OBD2 Port?
All vehicles manufactured after 1996 have an OBD2 port to which you can connect your scanner. It can be challenging to find the port. The port is available in all passenger vehicles. It’s a female 16-pin connector, trapezoid-shaped under the driver’s side of the dashboard, but not in all the cars. In other instances, it could be in the center console, under the dash, or on the passenger's side.
The OBD2 is technically like your home computer. There are always tasks running there, but you need to screen to see what’s happening. In this case, we have an OBD2 port and no dedicated screen to view whatever is in it. The internet can be a good resource when you don’t know where your OBD2 port is situated. Just search about your car model’s OBD, and you’ll find out.
Where Do I Connect My OBD2 Scanner?
The ECU, the computer that collects all the error data from your car’s systems through sensors and displays the check engine light, has no screen of its own. However, it has the OBD2 port, which links the computer and external screen. What screen could this be?
It’s the OBD2 scanner. The scanner has a cable with a male 16-pin trapezoid-shaped end that you plug into the OBD2 port. The module works the same, only that there’s no wire involved. It connects to your phone through Bluetooth technology. Once you turn the ignition on and the dash display comes to life, the scanner’s screen will light up.
The OBD2 scanner will pull all the trouble codes from the computer, and you’ll know why the check engine light was turned on. You’ll also be able to turn it off using the same scanner. A quick check on your manual or the web will let you understand what those trouble codes mean and help you resolve the issue.
What if the Scanner Screen Does not Turn On?
Once you plug in the module and nothing shows on your phone screen, or you plug in the cable to the OBD2 port and the screen of the scanner does not turn on after you turn on the ignition, something could likely be wrong. For proper diagnostics of the engine, it must be running.
If the scanner does not turn on, it only means that you have a faulty scan tool. If that’s the case and you just bought the Ancel scanner, you are covered under warranty and can return it for exchange. You can confirm if it’s faulty by trying it in another car. If it’s working, then the connector is damaged.
How OBD2 Works
The computer system, or the ECU, stores all the diagnostic trouble codes known as the DTCs. The codes vary from one manufacturer to the other, and generic codes are also available. Your scanner helps to read these codes. It’s able to because of the standardized pinout. Each of the pins represents a protocol as indicated below:
- Pin 1 and Pin 3: For the manufacturer
- Pin 2: For SAE J1850 PWM & VPW
- Pin 4 and Pin 5: For ground
- Pin 6 and Pin 14: For ISO 15765-4 CAN
- Pin 7 and Pin 15: For K-Line of ISO 9141-2 and ISO 14230-4
- Pin 10: For SAE J1850 PWM
- Pin 16: Power from the car battery
When the scanner connects to the port, it uses these pins to identify the trouble codes registered on the ECU. The manufacturer uses the first and third pins as its protocols to relay manufacturer-related trouble codes.
Basic Signal Protocols Explained
- SAE J1850 PMW: Ford vehicles Pulse Width Modulation
- SAE J1850 VPW: General Motors vehicles, Variable Pulse Width
- ISO 14230-4: Also known as KWP200. Keyword Protocol for Land Rover, Jeep, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, and other American, European, and Japanese cars.
- ISO 9141-2: Used by Chrysler and a variety of Asian and European vehicles.
- ISO 15765-4 CAN, Controller Area Network for all post-2008 vehicles.
Scrolling the Menu
Once the scanner boots up, you’ll have a menu you can scroll through. Depending on how advanced your scanner is in terms of performing tests and monitoring systems, the menu will appear differently. Here are some of the basic functions of your scanner and what you can access on the menu.
- Read Codes: Your scanner will present a DTC number, and if it’s advanced, it will also provide a short description of the fault. It will also scroll through multiple codes in the ECU.
- Erase Codes: You can navigate through the codes, choose the codes you want to erase, confirm that you indeed want to delete them, and it will remove the failure data from the ECU.
- Live Data: A code reader with live data monitoring allows you to scroll through your sensors' readings in real time and detect when a sensor is not responsive.
- Vehicle information: This is data related to your vehicle, including VIN and model. Only advanced scanners can do this.
- Freeze Frame: This section reveals the common parameters when the diagnostic trouble codes were set.
- I/M Readiness: Inspection and Maintenance Readiness is the section showing all the emissions-related testing results.
Your scanner has buttons below the screen that you can use to navigate through all the sections and perform all the tasks. If you are using a Bluetooth scanner, the app on your smartphone has buttons that you can use to navigate through the menu.
Once you learn where your OBD2 port is, there won’t be going back. You’ll be able to scan and know all the issues your car might have smoothly. If you haven’t acquired a scanner, you can visit Ancel’s website to find one that suits your needs. One of them is the Ancel BM700 car scanner for BMW, MINI Copper, and Rolls Royce cars. If you own one of these car models, the scanner is the right choice for you.