OBD

OBD, or On-Board Diagnostics, allows supporting tracking devices to interface with the vehicle computer. The OBD-II standard has been mandatory for all cars sold in the United States since 1996, whilst the EOBD standard has been mandatory in Europe since 2001 for cars with petrol engines and 2004 for diesel-engined cars.

OBD-II and EOBD are for all intents and purposes identical, using the same standard SAE J1962 connector (typically found in the footwell of the vehicle) and signal protocols, however there are different protocols used by different manufacturers:

  1. SAE J1850 PWM
  2. SAE J1850 VPW
  3. ISO 9141-2
  4. ISO 14230 KWP2000
  5. ISO 15765 CAN

Available Information

The information that's available via OBD varies from vehicle to vehicle and is also dependent on how each type of tracking device choose to expose it, however it can typically be used to identify events such as high engine RPM, low fuel level, or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) occurrences which normally appear as a warning light on the dashboard.

Other important information that is normally available via OBD is the wheel-based speed and distance travelled. As this data comes directly from the vehicle it isn't susceptible to problems that can occasionally affect GPS-derived data, such as signal bounce or indeed lack of signal when travelling through tunnels, etc.

Supporting Hardware

An OBD interface is supported by the following hardware on our service: