OBD II – the latest tech?

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R1DSO
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OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Fri May 15, 2020 11:47 pm

Having searched, it looks like the last posts on OBD II scanners and apps on here were from a couple of years back. This is when iOS scanners would only work over WiFi and not Bluetooth, which I believe has changed now.

Aware that technology moves on rapidly, I thought it worth asking for recommendations on the latest OBD II hardware and software best suited for the RX-8. I’m looking for an OBD II solution that:

- Pairs with my iOS phone (vs a standalone unit)
- Monitors key RX-8 info like oil temp whilst driving, especially for track days
- Diagnoses faults, with the ability to clear codes (e.g. cat related CEL)
- Sub £100, although open to hearing if there are benefits from more expensive units

I’ve seen that Torque Is popular on here, but is Android only. I watched a fairly comprehensive review series which rated Carista as the best budget option at £21, but I don’t think it benefits from specific Mazda feature support:



...the other review recommendation was BlueDriver. A bit more expensive at £100, but it seems to come with some enhanced Mazda code clearing support:



I’ve never bought an OBD II scanner before and it’s a bit of a rabbit hole, so any RX-8-specific help would be appreciated :).

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by Vj4sothername » Sat May 16, 2020 12:32 am

Mods please correct this if wrong.

To my knowledge there is no oil temp sensor. The oil pressure is a yes/no guage also. Just an FYI
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by MightyCondor » Sat May 16, 2020 1:15 am

^what he said. Also Bluetooth dongles are nothing new. I've been using one for 5 years or so with Torque on Android. I don't think there's anything significant new in this space that could be used with a stock RX8, although happy to be corrected. If you have an aftermarket ecu, or a racedash and a wider range of sensors then sure there has been plenty of evolution, but that's not going to be applicable to most of us.

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by exiled--viking » Sat May 16, 2020 8:09 pm

I use Dash command for my MX5 and used it for the RX~8 found it very good
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Sat May 16, 2020 11:47 pm

Thanks for the replies. I like the look of the Dash Command app :thumleft:.

I’ve dug into the hardware scanner side a little more... it looks like they all pull the same generic OBD data, however some have additional functionality. Also, I believe iPhones wouldn’t work with BlueTooth scanners a few years ago (only iOS specific WiFi scanners), but that’s not an issue now.

The £99 Blue Driver scanner only works with their app and no 3rd parties like Dash Command. However, the company confirm RX-8 compatibility and the ability to read and clear enhanced Mazda codes such as those relating to ABS, airbags and transmission. I’ll be doing any necessary work on my car vs taking it to a garage, sothis sounds useful :-k...
5C4E43C8-45B2-44B0-9F7E-2F9B8176452F.png


The £21 Carista scanner looks pretty similar to most other generic scanners, which I think means it’ll pull all the same live data as the list above, but I’m not 100% sure on that. Is that list what you guys have access to with your hardware and apps?

The Carista will work with 3rd party apps and list fault codes and their meanings. It’ll allow you to reset the CEL, but nothing else. Do you think I’ll find this functionality limiting vs the Blue Driver? I’d be annoyed if I got a dash light and an OBD code that I couldn’t clear and that required a visit to a garage to fix.
Last edited by R1DSO on Sat May 16, 2020 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by warpc0il » Sat May 16, 2020 11:50 pm

Have you looked at ForScan?
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Sun May 17, 2020 10:44 am

warpc0il wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 11:50 pm
Have you looked at ForScan?
Just had a read of their website. It looks like ForScan offers some Mazda-specific software functionality RX-8 owners will benefit from, although I can’t make out whether this includes enhanced Mazda code diagnosis and clearing (or whether that’s something I actually need).

I see ForScan states that it only works with readers which are fully compatible with the original ELM327 chip and the software can have issues with some of the cheaper clones. I’m slightly confused by this as I thought ELM327 was a communications standard or language protocol rather than a chip.

I might just go for the Carista reader as it seems to be a reputable bit of kit and it’s compatible with Dash Command. The Carista website says that it’s compatible with ELM327 v1.4, although I don’t know that’s the original ELM327 that ForScan requires to work :-k.
Last edited by R1DSO on Sun May 17, 2020 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by warpc0il » Sun May 17, 2020 11:11 am

See here about ELM327 viewtopic.php?f=24&t=80611&hilit=ELM327
Lot's of other discussion here regarding ELM and Forscan
search.php?keywords=ELM327
search.php?keywords=forscan

In short, ELM327 is a chip, though it has become recognised as an industry standard and is often cloned/replicated/reverse-engineered.

Most products that are sold as "ELM327" aren't.

Some work, some don't.
Some are fine for reading but only simple "writes" like CEL resets.
Some struggle with real-time data rates.
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Sun May 17, 2020 4:09 pm

Thanks for the links. It looks like I missed most of those threads as I didn’t know to search for ELM327 or ForScan :lol:.

I see ForScan call out Kiwi 3 as being an iOS compatible device for their paid app ForScan Lite:

https://forscan.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6142

Kiwi 3 is £95, but - if the website and reviews are to be believed - it’s 4 times faster than the competition and pulls so little power it can be left plugged in. It’s also compatible with Dash Command and other 3rd party apps.

If ForScan is the most useful app for RX-8s and Kiwi 3 is the device they recommend for iOS, I don’t mind the cost. I’d rather buy once and right (vs cheap and twice) :).

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by untakenname » Sun May 17, 2020 5:14 pm

I've tried a few different odb2 readers and found with the cheaper ones the refresh rate wasn't that great for logging, ended up getting an ODB2link which cost a lot more than the cheaper ones but has worked well for five years.
https://www.obdlink.com/lxbt/
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by New Duke » Sun May 17, 2020 5:50 pm

Yep. For a decent one that works with iOS you have to pay more, the MX+. But that's the point of buying Apple innit.

(I'm only sore because my business partner insisted we buy a new Mac Pro for £26k this year, when I could have built a faster, better designed PC for £4k. All that money we could have expensed on cocktails at 'business meetings'...)

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by 350matt » Sun May 17, 2020 6:02 pm

thats Apple for you

overpriced rubbish for the most part
its a toy not a tool

but isn't it pretty....
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by Yorindesarin » Sun May 17, 2020 6:14 pm

New Duke wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 5:50 pm
Yep. For a decent one that works with iOS you have to pay more, the MX+. But that's the point of buying Apple innit.

(I'm only sore because my business partner insisted we buy a new Mac Pro for £26k this year, when I could have built a faster, better designed PC for £4k. All that money we could have expensed on cocktails at 'business meetings'...)
Enjoy your new cheese grater. :p

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by warpc0il » Sun May 17, 2020 6:18 pm

Mac'n'cheese :)

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Mon May 18, 2020 12:05 am

Ouch, this is getting more expensive than I thought, but if the OBDLink MX+ is the scanner to go for, I’d rather spend the £155 now than after spending good money on something substandard.

I see that the MX+ has less standby battery drain and quicker response times than the Kiwi 3. And I’ve just noticed that ForScan recommend it, so - from what you guys are saying - it sounds like it’s probably the best one to go for for iOS users :thumleft:.

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Mon May 18, 2020 6:05 pm

I’ve ordered the MX+ directly from the OBDLink website for £130 including international shipping from the USA. It’ll work out about the same cost with VAT, although I should avoid import duties as it’s under £135 (and I marked the order as a gift to be extra sure :)).

There were what looked to be some counterfeit MX+ listings on eBay at £100 (shipping from Shenzhen). The Amazon listings (at £155 including shipping) were sold by a third party and looked slightly dodgy too, with differing names and product codes, hence ordering directly.

Thanks for the help everyone. Hopefully the scanner doesn’t take too long to get here.
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Sat May 23, 2020 11:22 pm

The MX+ arrived yesterday (Friday), which wasn’t bad considering it was shipped from the US. After it had been delivered, I got a text from FedEx with a link to pay the VAT. I’m assuming that they probably should have sent that before delivering the package :roll:.

I only had a few mins to play with the MX+ today, along with the software it came with, ForScan and DashCommand. It seems to be pretty responsive with minimal lag, though. Next up, I need to trawl through some threads on here to work out the most important data and gauges that I should be monitoring :D.

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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by qwakers » Sun May 24, 2020 8:33 am

no fedex always send that demand after, whilst adding their hefty handling charge on too. you can fight it, they will threaten with debt collectors, but unless its a huge amount they will back down after the threatening letter stage.

i usually pay the tax minus their handling charges and ignore further comms from them.

im not recommending this course of action, but i hate this kind of extortion.
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Re: OBD II – the latest tech?

Post by R1DSO » Sun May 24, 2020 9:02 am

Good to know, thanks qwakers. I thought I’d saved a couple of quid there, but will just pay it to save further hassle if that’s the usual FedEx practice.

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