Category Archives: Software

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!

Bluetooth Low Energy update for Mac and PC

Our OBD diagnostic software for macOS, Windows and Linux got new version update yesterday. Along other changes, the version 3.1 includes important improvements for Bluetooth connectivity.

OBD Auto Doctor mobile apps have included support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) dongles already. Now, we are happy to provide the support on all supported platforms. This includes support on Windows, Mac OS X / macOS and Linux. The selected BLE dongles work now with OBD Auto Doctor regardless the computer or phone you use.

BLE support on Windows

Windows 8 is the first Windows version to support Bluetooth LE. This means that you need to have Windows 8 or newer to take advantage of the new feature.

Windows 10 Bluetooth LE settings

Pairing the dongle in Windows 10

Before OBD Auto Doctor can connect to the BLE dongle, you need to pair the dongle in the system settings. In Windows 10, you can find Bluetooth settings by ‘Settings’ -> ‘Devices’ -> ‘Bluetooth’. Make sure you have paired the dongle successfully before launching OBD Auto Doctor. OBD Auto Doctor will now find the device and take care of the rest.

BLE support on Mac OS X

OBD Auto Doctor can use Bluetooth LE on all supported OS X versions. Remember to check that your Mac has Bluetooth 4.0 hardware included. Macs started to have the hardware around 2011-2012. No pairing or other manual actions are required outside of the software to use these dongles.

BLE support on Linux

Bluez is the library in Linux that provides Bluetooth support. You need to have version of Bluez that has the support included. Check your distribution for more details.

Scanning BLE devices needs special rights. You can use superuser or root for that. Or you can give the application the needed permissions just once:

sudo setcap cap_net_raw,cap_net_admin=eip /usr/bin/obdautodoctor

After running the previous command, you can run obdautodoctor as normal user. Notice that some Linux distros require that you need to be part of the dialout group to able to use Bluetooth. To add an user to the group, issue:

sudo adduser username dialout

If you install the software using the .deb package, these actions will be taken care of automatically for you.

Get the update

You can download the latest version from the download page.

The list of supported BLE dongles can be found from here.

To utilise BLE dongle, you need to have a compatible computer with Bluetooth 4.0 hardware. If you have any questions or concerns, just leave a comment below.

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!

Car diagnostic software update for PC and Mac

Our car diagnostic software for PC and Mac was updated about a month ago. The latest OBD Auto Doctor is now labeled as version 3. It took few weeks to publish this blog post. But it’s never too late, right? Let’s go through the change log for the update.

Improved User Interface

The new version has redesigned and improved user interface. This is of course the main visible change for you. We clarified the views with more white space and trimmed down the titles. We also reorganized the views under new categories. The new categories are summary, trouble codes, diagnostics, monitoring and extras. The categories have new flat style icons too. These changes make it easier for you to find the stuff you are looking for. We also added help texts to the views. They provide you helpful details about the information that the views provide. Just move your mouse over the small white question mark to get the hints.

New OBD Auto Doctor design

OBD Auto Doctor running in MacBook Pro

On-board System, Test or Component activation

The software has now support for OBD2 mode 8. The mode 8 is the on-board system, test or component activation service. This service allows bi-directional communication to start or perform specific tests. This is different from the most OBD2 services because they just read information from the car. In that sense, this service or mode is a rather powerful tool.

The current version of the OBD2 standard defines only two tests. OBD Auto Doctor supports these both:

  • Evaporative system leak test
  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Regeneration

It’s expected that more tests are added to the standard in the upcoming updates.

Sensor Graph Grid

The graph grid is the newest addition to the monitoring tools. You can now track up to four different sensors side by side with the Sensor Graph Grid. Each sensor has separate graph with it’s own scale. This makes it easier to interpret the data in some cases.

OBD Sensor Graph Grid

Sensor Graph Grid in action. The screenshot is from Windows 10.

Other changes

We did a lot of other smaller changes for the software too. The following list highlights the most important ones.

  • Increased number of the simultaneous sensors in the graph. You can now update up to 6 sensors at the same time. We also improved the automatic scaling of the graph scales to make it easier for you to interpret the values.
  • Added support for the Readiness Monitor status for the current drive cycle. This is in addition to the monitor status since the trouble codes have been cleared and the MIL has been reset.
  • Verified support for the new Windows 10. We also tested the OS X El Capitan preview version for possible compatibility issues.
  • Improved internationalization with all the strings updated by native speakers. Because of high maintenance work we had to remove support for some languages with fewer users.
  • Improved functionality with some clone adapters. The problematic adapters reporting version 2.1 will work now too. We do recommend though that you use a high quality genuine ELM327 adapter. Some clone adapters have serious issues delivering data from the car.

Download the updated car diagnostic software now

Download the latest version for your Windows, Mac OS X or Linux from http://www.obdautodoctor.com/download

Windows 10 compatibility with OBD Auto Doctor

OBD Auto Doctor and Windows 10

Microsoft released it’s latest operating system called Windows 10 just at the end of July. We here at OBD Auto Doctor have been working hard to make sure that you can continue to diagnose your car with the new and shiny Windows 10.

Feel free to update to Windows 10 and be assured that OBD Auto Doctor continues to work as before. If you, for any reason, find anything that doesn’t work, please send us a message. We also advice you to use the latest version of our car doctor software. It’s guaranteed to be fully compatible.

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.

OBD2 parameters added – download the update

The latest software version for every supported platform (Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iPhone and Windows Phone) added support for 16 new OBD2 parameters. These parameters are implemented according to the latest OBD2 standard version (SAE J1979 AUG2014).

Adding these new parameters increases the value of the OBD2 software you have. All these parameters are available for our existing customers totally free. Just remember that in order for the software to be able to show the values, your car needs to support the sensors too. Typically, the newer the car the more values it supports.

With these new parameters, you will get even more out of your OBDII software. Grab the update from our website or from the appropriate mobile app store.

The added OBD2 parameters

  • Boost pressure control ($70)
    • Commanded boost pressure A and B
    • Boost pressure A and B
    • Boost pressure control status A and B
  • Variable geometry turbo (VGT) control ($71)
    • Commanded variable geometry turbo A and B
    • Variable geometry turbo A and B
    • VGT control status A and B
  • Wastegate control ($72)
    • Commanded wastegate position A and B
    • Wastegate position A and B
  • Exhaust pressure ($73)
    • Exhaust pressure sensor bank 1 – 2
  • Turbocharger RPM ($74)
    • Turbocharger RPM A and B
  • Turbocharger Temperature A and B ($75 and $76)
    • Turbocharger compressor inlet temperature
    • Turbocharger compressor outlet temperature
    • Turbocharger turbine outlet temperature
  • Charge air cooler temperature (CACT) ($77)
    • Bank 1 – 2: Sensor 1 – 2
  • Exhaust gas temperature (EGT) ($78 and $79)
    • Bank 1 – 2: Sensor 1 – 4
  • Diesel particulate filter (DPF), Bank 1 – 2 ($7A and $7B)
    • Delta pressure
    • Inlet pressure
    • Outlet pressure
  • Diesel particulate filter (DPF) temperature ($7C)
    • Inlet temperature, bank 1 – 2
    • Outlet temperature, bank 1 – 2
  • NOx NTE control area status ($7D)
  • PM NTE control area status ($7E)
  • Engine run time ($7F)
    • Total engine run time
    • Total idle run time
    • Total run time with PTO active

OBD WiFi adapter support in Android

The latest update of OBD Auto Doctor for Android added support for OBD WiFi adapters. So now the Android app supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters. Although not as easy to setup as Bluetooth adapters, Wi-Fi adapters are good choice for those who consider switching from/to iPhone. The price of the OBD Wi-Fi adapters has considerable lowered in the last couple of years, which has brought the adapters to the awareness of new consumers.

Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth OBD adapters

Wifi adapter settings

One of the benefits of Wi-Fi adapter is that it allows very fast data rates. It means that your sensors will update faster in the app screen, for example. Another advantage is broad support on different platforms. The wifi adapters are supported in every platform so you can use them with OBD Auto Doctor iPhone and Windows Phone versions and with the desktop/laptop version as well.

One of the drawbacks compared to Bluetooth adapters is that Wi-Fi adapters are not as easy to setup. First, you need to connect to the network created by the adapter. Only after that you can use the app to connect to the adapter and car. The procedure might seem a bit tricky at first but it will get easier after you have done it a couple of times. To help and guide you through the first time, we made a short Quick start guide for WiFi adapters to get you started with the app and adapter.

Happy diagnosing!

iPhone OBD-II app coming soon to app store

OBD Auto Doctor is coming for iPhone soon! We are very excited about this announcement as we are expanding our OBD2 software to even bigger audience. iPhone will be great addition to our product family that already covers Android, Windows Phone, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

We have been busy and working hard the whole summer to implement the best user experience for the app. We hope you like the app or send us feedback on the areas needing improvement. The app will require iOS 7.0 or newer to function. Earlier iOS version are not supported at the moment.

The app release will be announced separately but we are targeting September for the release. The app is basically ready by now but we still want to tweak the user interface and functionality to make it even better. If you want to be part of the early adopters and help us, please join our beta testing group by sending us email to support@obdautodoctor.com.

Here are couple of screenshots of the app. We are very excited about it, how about you?

iPhone navigation screen shot

iPhone graph screen shot

Follow us on Facebook, Google+ or in Twitter to get notified about the release!

Multiple control units supported in Android, Windows Phone

In the previous app update for Android (version 2.2) and Windows Phone (version 2.0) we added support for multiple control units. The most common and usually the only control unit is the Engine Control Module. However, newer cars are starting to have more than the ECU responding to OBD2 requests. Most cars with automatic transmission have Transmission Control Module (TCM) available for example. There can be also other controllers depending on the manufacturer and model.

Our desktop software has had the support for multiple control units for ages but with the last update we brought the support to the mobile versions too. As with all mobile version updates, this update is completely free for all of our existing customers using the app in these platforms.

Android

Multiple control units with Android

In Android, the selection of control unit was added as dropdown spinner in the action bar. The screenshot illustrates a vehicle with three control units available. The selection can be made by opening the spinner by tapping the title and then selecting the appropriate control unit. The selected control unit is visible in every view where it matters and where it can be changed. After changing the control unit, the view data is refreshed from the car and information is shown for the selected controller.

Get this OBD2 application from Google Play!

Windows Phone

Multiple control units with WP8
In Windows Phone, the control unit selection was added to the navigation page. The controller can be changed using the list picker on top of the navigation page titled “browse”. To change the control unit, you need to come back to the browse page and do the change you wanted. The screenshot is from the same car as the Android screenshot. The car has three control units and the first one is selected. The acronym of the selected control unit is indicated on top of the view in the title.

Get this OBD2 application from Windows Phone Store!

Now it’s good time to update your app to the newest version. Remember that as with all the other features, your car needs to support multiple control units for them to show up in the app. If you have only one ECU listed, then your car has only one ECU responding to the OBD2 messages. Happy diagnosing!