Category Archives: OBD2

OBD car app redesigned for Android

Our OBD car app for Android has been a great success this far. Over 600,000 installations and over 1,100 five star reviews prove this success. As the Android platform continues to improve itself, we keep improving the app as well. Just before Christmas we released new and improved OBD Auto Doctor car app.

App navigation

Digital dashboard

Digital dashboard / Status view with tab bar navigation

The previous app version used side navigation as the navigation pattern. This was the recommended way to provide navigation in Android for a long time. It had some problems, though. Some users didn’t learn how to use the navigation and didn’t understand it’s usage. For the new version we redesigned the app navigation. We replaced the old navigation with much simpler and intuitive tab bar navigation. It’s now also one of the official navigation paradigms for Android. It makes the navigation faster because all the main sections are visible at the bottom of the screen.

It wasn’t always easy to find the menu option for resetting the check engine light. Different devices had different ways of opening the menus. Some devices had a physical button and some had an user interface element for opening the menu. Now, the reset button is always visible in the Trouble Codes view. You can’t miss it anymore.

Digital Dashboard

As one of the new features, we replaced the old analog dashboard with with a digital one. The digital dashboard or so called status view of the app is now the starting view. With this view you can track the sensors you want in real-time and with large and easy to read fonts. The speed and RPM are the only fixed sensors in the screen. You can customise all other sensors. Long press any “sensor box” to replace a sensor with any sensor that your car supports.

On-Board Diagnostic Monitors (OBD Mode $06)

OBD2 mode 06

On-Board diagnostic monitors

Another new feature that we added was the support for On-Board Diagnostic Monitors. These monitors are also know as the OBD mode 06. On-Board Diagnostic Monitors offer professional level diagnostic capabilities. These monitors can give detailed information about misfire counts, for example. They can also give reasons for readiness monitor failures or hints for emerging problems. Not all cars support this mode but luckily most cars do.

Read more about using OBD2 mode $06 for car diagnostics.

Localisations and more

OBD Auto Doctor has users all over the world. We’ve analysed the most popular countries and the need for app localisation. As a result, we translated the app user interface to French, German, Russian and Finnish.

The new design and improvements were loved among the first users:

Love it – Great UI and very responsive. Tons of information.”

What do you think? Download or update the car app from Google Play. Then
drop us an email or add comment below about how you find the new app. Thanks for your support!

Using OBD2 Mode $06 for advanced car diagnostics

What is Mode $06?

Mode $06 is an advanced diagnostic functionality mode included as part of the On-Board Diagnostic standard (OBD2). It keeps track on how emission control components and other systems and sensors are functioning. Mode $06 allows access to the results for on-board diagnostic monitoring tests of these systems. These systems or components can be either continuously monitored (e.g. misfire monitoring) or non-continuously monitored (e.g. catalyst system). Continuous monitors run all the time while the non-continuous monitors run only after certain conditions are met.

OBD2 Mode $06 is sometimes referred just as Mode 6. The Mode 6 reveals the actual self-test data that is used by the OBDII system to detect faults and readiness monitor results. It enables more complete analysis of the DTCs and readiness monitor test results.

Mode $06 monitors

Here’s a list of the On-Board Diagnostic Monitors defined by the OBD2 standard at the moment. OBD Auto Doctor supports them all.

  • Exhaust Gas Sensor Monitor
  • Catalyst Monitor
  • EGR Monitor
  • VVT Monitor
  • EVAP Monitor
  • Exhaust Gas Sensor Heater Monitor
  • Heated Catalyst Monitor
  • Secondary Air Monitor
  • Fuel System Monitor
  • Boost Pressure Control Monitor
  • NOx Adsorber Monitor
  • NOx/SCR Catalyst Monitor
  • Misfire Cylinder Data
  • PM Filter Monitor

In addition to these standard defined monitors, manufacturers can have proprietary monitors. Our software can access the manufacturer specific Mode $06 data but it won’t be able to give the monitors or tests a name. It will give you the Monitor ID (OBDMID) and the Test ID (TID) and the data values. You will have to look up the meaning of those from the service manuals, or you can search the Internet for more help. For example, if you have GM vehicle, check out the OBD Mode $06 definitions for GM cars.

How can Mode 6 help?

The Mode 6 data can help you in many ways depending on your level of expertise and experience with cars. OBD Auto Doctor will give you the result and limit numbers plus the test result (pass/fail). The numbers can reveal a lot of the inner workings of the car if you are able to give the them a more detailed meaning in the correct context. The data can help you for example in the following ways:

  1. You can detect emerging problems before they set an active error code.
  2. You can find issues that are causing runnability problems, but that have not developed into active errors yet.
  3. You can use the data to identify whether a Diagnostic Trouble Code was set by a major failure or if the test just barely failed.
  4. You can verify that the repairs made have actually fixed the correct problem. You don’t need to wait for days for certain OBDII self-tests to run and possibly turn the Check Engine Light on.

Mode 6 data can reduce a lot of guesswork by eliminating components and systems out of the problem. But to get the most out of the data, you need to have a bit of knowledge of how the engine works.

Example: Engine Misfires

Many technicians find the misfire checking the most useful part of the Mode $06. Every time a cylinder misfires, the system increases the misfire counter for that cylinder. Only if the misfire count exceeds a certain threshold, it will result in a misfire trouble code. If the misfire count stays below the limit, no trouble code is set and no notice is provided for you. But you might be still able to feel the misfire when the engine is under heavy load or acceleration.

OBD2 Mode 06 misfire data

Example of OBD Auto Doctor reading OBD2 Mode $06 misfire data. Click to open larger image!

With the help of the OBD Auto Doctor, you can read the actual misfire counts recorded for each cylinder. The purpose of the misfire data is to help you identify which cylinders are currently misfiring and identify which cylinders have been consistently misfiring in previous driving cycles. Typically the misfire count should be equal or close to zero. In this case, there’s no problem. If a single cylinder misfire count is relatively higher compared to the other cylinder misfire counts, it indicates a possible issue. It tells that the cylinder is experiencing an abnormal behavior, and that there’s a problem with the ignition, fuel or compression in that cylinder. Remember that misfire counts for cylinder should only be compared relative to each other.

Final words

In this article, I explained the basics of the OBD2 Mode $06 also known as the On-Board Diagnostic Monitors. I hope the text gave you clear introduction to these monitors and how then can be used for car diagnostics. To get started analyzing your car, download the OBD Auto Doctor software for a PC or Mac now!

Please note that not all On-Board Diagnostic Monitor IDs or Test IDs are supported by all systems. The software is able to show only the monitors and tests that the car provides. Moreover, some older cars might not even support the Mode $06 at all. Use the free version of the software to see what data your car provides. Even the free version will list the available monitors and tests.

OBD Auto Doctor app redesigned for iPhone

Our OBD app for iPhone has been a great success this far. We’ve got some improvement ideas from you guys about making it even better. We listened to your suggestions and made the app stand out even more.

Digital Dashboard

Digital Dashboard or status view with tab bar navigation.

App Navigation

The initial app used side navigation drawer as the navigation pattern. For the new version we redesigned the app navigation completely. We replaced the old side navigation with much simpler and intuitive tab bar navigation. Now all the most common sections are always visible at the bottom of the screen.

Our e-mail support was also contacted about how to reset the check engine light. The action to clear the MIL was behind a button that perhaps wasn’t the easiest to find. We improved the views so that the button to clear the MIL and trouble codes is now always visible.

Digital Dashboard

As one of the new features, we added digital dashboard or so called status view to the app. With this view you can track the sensors you want in real-time and with large and easy to read fonts. The speed and RPM are the only fixed sensors in the screen. You can customise all other sensors. Long press any “sensor box” to replace a sensor with any sensor that your car supports .

OBD Mode 06

On-Board Diagnostic Monitors

On-Board Diagnostic Monitors (OBD MODE 06)

Another new feature that we added was the support for On-Board Diagnostic Monitors. These monitors are also know as the OBD mode 06. On-Board Diagnostic Monitors offer professional level diagnostic capabilities. These monitors can give detailed information about misfire counts, for example. They can also give reasons for readiness monitor failures or hints for emerging problems. Unfortunately, not all cars support this mode. Especially older cars don’t have support for it. That’s because Mode 06 was added to the OBD2 standard about ten years ago.

Bluetooth Low Energy / Bluetooth Smart adapters

We are also happy to announce that the app supports now Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) OBD adapters. These adapters are also known as Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0 adapters. We started with support for the best BLE adapter in the market, Kiwi 3. Bluetooth adapters are much more convenient than WiFi adapters. This is because you don’t need to hassle with the phone WiFi connection anymore. Support for Bluetooth 4.x adapters is a great addition to our app. We’ll be adding support for more BLE adapters once they enter the market.

Drop us a note to email or add comment below about how you find the new app. Thanks!

Windows, Mac OS X and Linux version 2.0

OBD Auto Doctor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux was previously updated to version 2.0. The new version contains a lot improvements. Some of them are visible to you but there are several improvements done under the hood, too. The latest version has now better support for the new Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating systems.

Exporting capabilities

One of the additions to the software was the data export capabilities. You will be now able to export Diagnostic Trouble Codes and Freeze Frame data to a text file. You can then easily share the file, or archive it for documenting the history of your car.

Moreover, you can export the sensor live data to a *.csv file. The csv file can be opened with spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or LibreOffice Calc. You can record a whole drive cycle and review the results afterward to detect some abnormalities with the sensors of your car. You can even draw a custom graph with these external tools from the data you collected with OBD Auto Doctor.

We did an example drive with 2014 Audi A3 1.4 TFSI and recorded the car data during it. The granularity of the data is rather coarse because we recorded 28 sensors simultaneously. Dropping the amount of different sensors will improve the granularity significantly. That’s because it leaves more time to update the interesting sensors more frequently.

OBD2 data graph exported from LibreOffice Calc

Click the image for full size.

Short term fuel trim, long term fuel trim, oxygen sensor output voltage, equivalence ratio (lambda) and oxygen sensor current in the same graph.

Short term fuel trim, long term fuel trim, oxygen sensor output voltage, equivalence ratio (lambda) and oxygen sensor current in the same graph.

OBD2 data graph exported from Google Sheets

Click the image for full size.

Calculated engine load, accelerator pedal position and engine RPM in the same graph.

Calculated engine load, accelerator pedal position and engine RPM in the same graph.

Other new features

In addition to the export functions, the latest version added support for 16 new OBD2 parameters. It’s also now possible to graph more than one sensor or parameter simultaneously with the oscilloscope. Last, OBD Auto Doctor user interface was translated to Polish.

You can download the latest version of OBD Auto Doctor from the download page.