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ELM327 – What is it, how to find the key code and link it?

When the Check Engine Light comes on, your heart naturally sinks as you begin to figure out what’s wrong. Fortunately, with an ELM327 Bluetooth scan tool, you can quickly identify what’s wrong and fix it.

In this article, we take a closer look at what the ELM327 device is. We also show you how to find the key code and pair it for quick use.

The ELM327 Bluetooth scan tool connects to your vehicle’s OBDII system to determine what is wrong. Use your compatible device to read trouble codes from your engine computer. This information is transmitted to your device via Bluetooth.

This tool replaces the traditional code scanner and is more economical. However, it will not read as many codes as the professional scanner. It also appears to have limited capacity.

How to find ELM327 key code

Your ELM327 Bluetooth device includes a pairing code, as well as instructions for connecting the device. If you can’t find the pairing code, you can try a generic option instead. The most commonly used with the ELM327 device is 1234. Some other commonly used key codes include:

If you can’t get the codes to work, you may need to contact support. You can also try other sequential sets of numbers.

How to pair an ELM327 device

1. Check OBDII Compatibility

Not all cars are OBD2 compatible. This standard was only used on 1996 or later model-year vehicles.

If your car is compatible, you want to find the OBDII diagnostic port. It is usually located under the steering wheel on the left side.

2. Install the device

Plug the ELM327 scanner into the diagnostic port. It will not work with the car ignition off, so you must turn it on.

Turn the key in the ignition to 2n/a. This keeps the engine off but powers the accessories, including the OBDII port.

3. Connect to the device

On your Android device, you want to pair the ELM327. Choose “Settings” and “Wireless & networks.” From there, you’ll click on “Bluetooth Settings.” After enabling Bluetooth support, the system will search for all nearby devices.

You can pair your device with the scanner. Simply search for the scanner name in the list and connect to it. At this point, you will need the keycode we discussed earlier. It should be 1234, but there are times when it is different. Once the device is paired, you are ready to read trouble codes and begin diagnosing your system.

ELM327 Bluetooth Compatibility

ELM327 devices are not compatible with all devices. In general, you can expect it to work with most Android smartphones, tablets, and laptops. However, Bluetooth scanners are typically not compatible with Apple iOS devices, such as iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone.

Apple uses the Bluetooth stack differently than Android devices, making it more difficult to use ELM327. Most of these ELM327 devices will not pair with your Apple product. If you have an Apple device, you may be better off with the ELM327 USB or Wi-Fi scanners.

If you are still having trouble connecting Bluetooth to what should be a compatible device, there is a problem with the microcontroller. Some devices contain an unauthorized cloned microcontroller that does not have updated code.

ELM327 pairing failed – what to do next

If the ELM327 Bluetooth device does not pair with your device, there are several possible reasons. In some cases, you may be able to pair it.

To get started, try another pairing code. We’ve listed the most commonly used codes above, but you may need to contact support if this is a problem for you.

If that’s not the problem, you’ll want to try another device to pair it with. If you can pair it with another device, the ELM327 scanner is not the problem. Sometimes a faulty cloned ELM327 scanner does not connect to particular devices. It is common for the device to be connected to a laptop but not a phone.

The other issue is how long your device can detect the Bluetooth scanner. When you connect for the first time, it appears in the list of devices. However, it will only be detectable for a while after that. If you try to pair it after the time has passed, you may have trouble finding it. The simple solution to this problem is to unplug it from the OBDII port and plug it back in. Please try again immediately after replacing it in the port.

If you still can’t pair the devices with each other, your ELM327 scanner may be faulty. Remember that the device is inexpensive, so it is not uncommon for things to go wrong. For this reason alone, some people choose to purchase a professional scanner, especially if the codes need to be read more frequently. If you have problems with this scanner, you might consider returning it and getting something more reliable.

Alternatives to the ELM327 Bluetooth Scanner

If you are not satisfied with the ELM327 Bluetooth scanner or it does not work with your device, there are other options available to you. For starters, there are ELM327 scanners that rely on USB or Wi-Fi connections.

You are going to spend more on the Wi-Fi scanner because of the sophisticated technology. However, these are the best types to use if you have an Apple device. If you choose to use an ELM327 USB device instead, please note that it may also be incompatible with your Apple product. However, you may be able to use a dock connector to get a strong signal.

On the other hand, you can also upgrade to a better device overall. Consider the benefits of using a professional code scanner if you regularly work on automotive engines and systems.


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