On-board diagnostics (OBD) was’t anything new. It was with all your vehicle since roughly 1980, but it was widespread over the past decades since the law required.

OBD, OBD-II specificly, adapter came in many forms. I used to use standalone one which gave you code, so you could look at the manual and figure out what was about. Since smartphone emerged, OBD adapter with Bluetooth and USB arrived. This was the time for Wi-Fi; better connectivity surely, faster than Bluetooth; more reliability presumably.

Impression

I backed the campaign for a developer level which had OBDLink MX WiFi and the ECUsim 2000 Ultimate.

Delay

This had a respectable delay which was roughly 3 months or so. It was okay. I would have guessed that shipping and handling on Kickstarter which was worldwide was root of the delay since the creator, OBD Solutions or Scantool.net was a well-established company.

OBDLink MX WiFi was no diferrent to any other OBD adapter. It needed to comply with the standard. With OBDLink MX WiFi, you got a free app also, although many would go for Torque Pro. If you asked my opinion, OBDLink (OBD car diagnostics) on Android or OBDLink on iOS was just fine. They both had everything you would need. They might not as intuitive as the best app, but they worked fine. An app preference was one thing; we all had differences. OBDLink MX WiFi worked flawlessly with everything that supported WiFi adapter.

OBDLink MX WiFi by default worked in AP mode which acted like the name implied. Phones were meant to connect to OBDLink MX WiFi. Also, it could work in infrastructure mode which acted like one client, but this meant you had to have on access point in your car and your phone connected to the same access point.

OBDLink MX WiFI was NOT intuitive for advanced settings, you need well explanation manual here.

Some users reported the device kept disconnected while using. I did find that problem too, but it was rarely enough as far as my experience went.

Up to now, it was good. What was the catch?

There was a catch using WiFi this way. It wasn’t a problem on iOS since iOS was smart enough to sense the internet access on WiFi which considered a higher priority. If there was none, all internet-bound requests would fallback to 3G/LTE you had.

Unfortunately, this scenario did not apply with all Android devices. Android didn’t redirect any request, but sadly dropped everything since OBDLink MX WiFi network did not have any internet access. There were options to solve this problem though.

  • Using your phone as hotspot and turning infrastructure mode on OBDLink MX WiFi, this would work like the way iOS did with one drawback though. Battery on your phone would drain like crazy which some phones couldn’t charge back faster than it drained.
  • Having another portable hotspot and connecting your phone and OBDLink MX WiFi to it. This way you might have to pay for two separate internet; one for your portable hotspot and/or one for your phone (which was useless while connecting to hotspot.)

Both solutions ended up to be pain in the ass most of the time. For this trouble alone, I couldn’t recommend OBDLink MX WiFi to any of Android fanatic.

These days, you couldn’t rule out Android compatibility out indeed. Phones were replacable, but a gadget like OBDLink MX WiFi could last as long as your car did.

Price

$49-79 at Kickstarter and $119.95 at their shop I paid at $299 for my pledge though. $230 for simulator roughly.

Verdict

It was worth the price I paid for since I bought with the simulator. However, if you asked whether I would recommend you to buy this or not. I would suggest you to buy something cheaper, but not Chinese $10 cheap at fleebay. They were unreliable at best. You’d better buy something more well-known like $25 BAFX Products - Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool which was far cheaper than any of Scantool’s products. Also, you would not face a problem like no internet access on Android. Oh you needed to buy an app too, but with $5 app, it was still far more affordable for something perfectly the same.