Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

The New Flavors of OBD Connector

If you are baffled by different terms like OBDii, OBD-II, OBD ii or OBD2, they all refer to the auto diagnostic system inside your vehicle.
Referred to generally as the OBD, the On-Board Diagnostic System was approved by the California Air Resources Board as late back as in 1985.
It was not until 1996 however that this technology was handed down to the vehicles driven on road in the form of the second generation OBDII emission control systems.
Today all car manufacturers have to strictly comply with these conditions.
They are required to provide proper engine control module (ECM) for ensuring proper operation of all critical emission related components.
Also they should provide a Malfunction Illumination Lamp (MIL) on the instrument panel to signal any kind of defect in the vehicle' functioning.
You should always check up for all these instruments and gadgets before you bring your new car or any other new vehicle home.
What these regulations actually brought in for the auto industry was a two-fold benefit package.
Firstly, it helped to improve the in-use emissions compliance by alerting the driver about any malfunction.
Now you could know if your vehicle was not up to the required performance level.
On the other hand, it also aided the vehicle owner as well as mechanics to easily detect the cause of the malfunction and thus enabled repairing of such defects at the earliest.
In other words, such early detection allowed the owner to save lots of money.
Basically the OBD Connector is a standardized hardware interface and is required to be located within 2 to 3 feet of the steering wheel.
It is usually located on the driver's side of the passenger compartment near the centre console.
Also the driver should be able to reveal the connector without the aid of any additional tools.
You can easily find this one by simple inspection of your car's interiors.
You are sure to be more curious about these connectors.
The OBD II Connector has 16 pin locations in all.
The OBD connector pins help to determine which kind of scan tool will work with your vehicle.
The assignment of the unspecified pins can be determined as per choice of the vehicle manufacturer.
This means that even though most of the OBD II parameters are standardized, the auto manufacturers have some latitude with regard to the communication protocol used to transmit those readings to the scanners.
That is why today we have three different flavors or types of OBD II communication protocols.


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