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Which ELM 327 To Buy?


So you want to use a phone or tablet to access your Volvo’s codes, reset procedures, and all the goodies you’re locked out of without an expensive scan tool. Since the age of dedicated scan devices is over, you can now use devices you have, like smartphones and tablets.

But you need a bridge, something to connect your Volvo’s diagnostic system and ECU with that smartphone in your pocket. This is where these ELM 327 products come in. They’re around $20 or less, and easily found on Amazon.

rspi, MVS Forums contributor and all-around  Volvo superman, starts us off:

I have seen several post about the ELM327 tools. I went to eBay and seen several of them, most from China. I would like to get one, learn how to reset the service light if possible, and read broken odometers. Can someone tell me which one to purchase?


esl_97_850_T5, likewise a Volvo superman, but with gigantic computer skills, writes a ton of great info:

1. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had good experiences with that cheap ELM327 Bluetooth from the Amazon link earlier in this thread — with multiple Volvos, most importantly, with a ’98 V70. That’s enough for me to decide to not only get the OBDLink LX when I start doing bluetooth testing, but also to buy one similar to yours. Thanks for the input.


2. Agreed. The Torque app has serious deficiencies when it comes to seeing *all* the transmission and engine data that’s really available.

I don’t know of anyone that claims the Torque app can read all the transmission DTCs on a ’96-’98 Volvo 850/S70/V70. The Torque app can only read that limited set of transmission DTCs that the AW 50-42 (or any diesel auto tranny) will report as part of the standard ISO 9141-2 based OBDII emission diagnostics protocol. It does this via functional addressing of ECU 33.

The same goes for the engine ECU. The Torque app can only read that limited set of engine DTCs (and live data) that the Motronic 4.3, Motronic 4.4, and MSA 15.7 report as part of the standard ISO 9141-2 based OBDII emission diagnostics. Again, it does this via functional addressing of ECU 33.


Vol-FCR Full and Brick-Diag Free can both clear the transmission DTCs — all of them — with a VAG/COM KKL device. volvo850diag can also clear all the transmission DTCs, but does so with an ELM327 device.

3. Thanks for the Samsung Note II and Google Nexus 7″ tablet notes about not always connecting on the first attempt, and that sometimes even a phone reboot is required. I’m somewhat surprised to hear the latter.


4. I absolutely, totally, 100%, wholeheartedly agree with you that a well designed PC or Android app is needed that can access all the data on all the ECUs in the ’96-’98 Volvo 850/S70/V70. Better yet, I think Windows PC/tablet/phone, Android, Apple PC/tablet/phone, and Linux apps all need to be created to have the combined functionality of Vol-FCR Full, Brick-Diag Full, and volvo850diag / kwpd3b0_interpreter for those cars.

Ideally, I also want Torque and OBDwiz functionality merged with the app that talks to the ECUs via KWPD3B0.

But there needs to be such apps that can do it equally well with either a VAG/COM KKL serial or USB cable and/or an ELM327 device (whether USB, Bluetooth, or WiFi). There could be separate apps for the different hardware or there could be the same app that could handle both groupings of devices: VAG/COM KKL and ELM327.

Who knows if any such app will ever get done? No one should be depending on me to get it done, since my time, energy, and wherewithal are depleting, my access to ’98 S70/V70 cars is near non-existent, and my low level Windows/Android communication experience is lacking.


5. One important thing I want to emphasize is that *all* the things that a VAG/COM KKL device can be used for by Vol-FCR as it’s presently released — namely for KWPD3B0 communication — can be performed by an ELM327 v1.4 (and later) device.

But that doesn’t override the VAG/COM KKL device’s overall superiority over the ELM327, since a VAG/COM KKL device can also be used (with some additional hardware) for things like KWP71 based access of live data and stored data from a Motronic 4.3, remapping of various engine ECUs, etc.

Which ELM 327 To Buy?

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