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ELM327 OBD2 Adapter: The Clone Wars

Nothing can be worst waking up in the morning seeing one-start review from user claiming my App isn't working. Luckily friends and loyal users help me identify that 90% of the problem is causing by bad clone out there flooding the market, those bad clone lure users with unbelievable low price but the result never end well... at least for Dr. Prius App or other hybrid specific Apps like Hybrid Assistant.

It's a misconception that whatever work for Torque App should also work for Dr. Prius, the reality is, to get to the battery specific information, the OBD2 adapter must have the ability to "set message header" to a different ECU address, while other generic Apps only targeting the main ECU to retrieve very basic vehicle information like speed, rpm, coolant temperature.. etc. And with that, I decided to buy all the cheap clone adapters and see for myself, you my friend, just sit tight and enjoy the show.

PS: For iOS user, please jump straight to the bottom of the page for iOS Bluetooth adapter.

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-all

The tool/App that I use for testing

1. ELM327 Identifier
2. Elm327 OBD Terminal
3. Dr. Prius App
4. Hybrid Assistant App
5. Torque App


Mini Junk

This expensive adapter claim to support bluetooth 4.0 and all OBD protocols.
Yeah right! this is another junk adapter that is being packaged in a tiny and beautiful space-grey semi-transparent case, however it is far from usable and it does not have the ability to switch between ECUs, I've tried it on both iOS and Android devices with the same disappointed result. The only App that works for this adapter is called "Mini OBD II" App, it is nothing more than a proxy to the basic vehicle information.

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-mini junk

No Name Junk

This no name Junk is sharing the same packaging as the previous Mini Junk.
It has a nice transparent blue finished, and it "looks like" it is able to switch between ECUs, however at the end it failed to retrieve battery related information from both Prius Gen2 and Gen3. Please browse away whenever you see this packaging, I believe they are from the same company that produce defected/un-tested products.

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-no name junk

Mother of all Junks

This particular cheap clone has dominated the market for many years and it's absolutely disgusting, there is a real ELM327 version out there but with more expensive price tag
Definitely one of the worst adapter, it doesn't even support most of the basic OBD command from v1.2 all the way to v2.3, it might work with a few simple OBD app but definitely not for Dr. Prius.

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-mother junk

OBD2 mini with ON/OFF switch

This is a weird adapter that kind of work
This adapter with On/Off switch has a tendency of losting connection, on top of that it is missing info in every response (missing number of additional bytes at the beginning of each payload), however I did able to make it to work for Dr. Prius, still, not recommend.

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-on/off junk

GNTOP - almost there

This adapter come with nice acrylic case and instruction, it "almost" pass the test...
My first impression with this adapter is pretty good, feels like this manufacturer/distributor spent time in branding and packaging, it works for most of the part but unfortunately it has this weird bug that preventing a few data being retrieved consistently
Note: This adapter can work with Dr. Prius but missing DTC error code data, people actually give me one-star for this reason..

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-GNTOP

Bait and switch Junks

You will find these package on internet everywhere, however only a handfull of sellers actually selling the good stuff, make sure you see double layer PCB from the product pictures
Update 07/11/2018 - After couple of one-star user reviews, I found that even a dual-layer PCB could be a bad clone, at this time I don't want to approve any OBD2 adatper in this form factor, it feels like someone from the China factory is watching this post and changing their strategy to cunter back, not cool, not recommend and buy at your own risk!
Update 06/09/2018 - thanks to our friend Alexandr from Belarus, we actually found a good clone on AliExpress that is cheap and works well (as of 6/8/2018), be sure to pick the BLUE or WHITE adapter NOT the black with MINI on it. Please be aware that this seller recently swap the black adapter with a bad clone that doesn't work at all, NOT COOL!
AliExpress OBD2 adapter for Android

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter from AliExpress

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter from AliExpress

bad OBD2 clone adapter from AliExpress

bad OBD2 clone adapter from AliExpress

PanLong - for Android

Finally!! An adapter that you can trust!
I got this PanLong OBD2 adapter from Amazon thinking I could return it anytime, and surprisingly that never happened for the past two years. This adapter is the work horse of all my developing and testing effort.
Open up the case and see for yourself how beefy it is compare to any other clone mini.

Update: The Amazon seller contacted me and provided the following promote code exclusive for Dr. Prius users, thanks Kathy!
Amazon US 20% promote code: 2082RUVV or 208POPYP (try both)
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PJPHEBO/
Amazon UK/EURO 15% promote code: A336KVF8
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00PJPHEBO/

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-PanLong

My new favorite - Veepeak for iOS and Android

Another taking my chance for the sake of science, I bought them all and test them out...
Let's start with their Bluetooth for Android, it's basically the same as PanLong or any other beefy clone adapters selling at a great price, great deal!
What really impress me is their Bluetooth BLE 4 adapter that out perform any other cheap clone that I've owned, it is such a speedster retreiving data from OBD port like other more expensive adapters, I also like it's untraditional shape make it stands out
Their WiFi adapter is also good but I ran into usability issues like the design of the power button confsued me and the blue/red indication light isn't bright enough to see even at night, but overall a good WiFi adapter
Amazon US: VEEPEAK OBD2 Bluetooth 4.0 for iOS and Android
Amazon US: VEEPEAK OBD2 Bluetooth for Android

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-veepeak Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-veepeak-open-case

The best of both worlds - iOS and Android

This affordable adapter that support both Android and iOS (BLE 4)
I found this "TONWON" adapter from Amazon, I also found it being rename to "OBDII Pro" or "VGate" on AliExpress, and as a matter of fact I don't actually know which one is the original...
It is one of the best adapters I've tested so far, it connect to both my Android and iOS beautifully, Note: Pick the one with "BLE 4.0 With iOS and Android", NOT the 3.0 or WiFi
Amazon US: TONWON OBD2 Bluetooth 4.0 for iOS and Android
AliExpress (International): vGate OBD2 Bluetooth 4.0 for iOS and Android

WARNING !! NOT ALL vGate are created equally, there are older version vGate(Bluetooth 3.0) or fake vGate flooded the market, please pick the one that looks exactly like the one in below picture, the side has clear writing "Bluetooth LE 4.0 E50".

Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-vGateDr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-bad vGate Dr.Prius OBD2 clone adapter-vGate

Other name brand Bluetooth OBD2 adapters that works (Android)

Following are several top-rated OBD2 adapters that approved by many Dr. Prius users, you could find these adapters easily, not limited to Amazon

OBDLink LX Bluetooth
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H9S71LW/

Dr.Prius OBD2 adapter OBDLink LX

BAFX 34t5 Bluetooth
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NLQAHS/

Dr.Prius OBD2 adapter BAFX 34t5

Hybrid Assistant helpful page

Please also visit Hybrid Assitant blog post for more helpful information
Dr.Prius-friend page

http://hybridassistant.blogspot.fr/p/obd.html
http://hybridassistant.blogspot.fr/2016/08/quality-of-obd-adapters.html



This is it for now, I am pretty sure there are still thousands of clone adapters out there waiting to be tested, and I am sure there are hundreds of resellers having different opinions than I do. Please feel free to reach out to me at feedback@PriusApp.com, it will be my pleasure to test/re-test your adapter and share the result with the community.

With gratitude,
Jack C.

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