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The OBDLink MX+ Makes Diagnostic Wizardry Work for You
Knowledge is Power
A staggering amount of data flows through the wires of modern vehicles. Instead of independent wiring and switches for every function, just about everything on today’s cars is routed through the vehicle’s computer system. Not only are the engine functions computerized, but the door locks, windows, air conditioning, braking, and even interior lighting are incorporated into a vehicle’s computer network.
All of the components are linked together on a Controller Area Network, or “CAN bus.” Think of it as a message superhighway that travels throughout the vehicle. Messages continually travel along the highway, or “bus” to and from the various components. While this may seem overly complex, the result is a system that saves wiring and improves safety and efficiency.
For example, it may be useful to light the headlamps when the windshield wipers are in use. Engaging the windshield wiper switch sends a message along the bus. The windshield wiper controller reads the message and turns on the windshield wipers. The wiper switch may also simultaneously send a message along the bus to the headlamp controller to turn the headlights on. All this is accomplished without any wire running directly from the windshield wiper switch to the headlights.
The dashboards of modern cars house gauges that are almost useless to enthusiasts. Aside from the tachometer and speedometer, engine vital signs such as temperature and oil pressure are little more than warning lights. The goal here is simple: unless something goes very wrong, the gauges will read “everything is fine.” This keeps average owners happy.
But, enthusiasts are not “average owners.” To enthusiasts, knowledge is power. As you can imagine, there is a lot of information flowing along the CAN bus. Special tools can read the bus and display the messages traveling along the bus. The OBDLink MX+ from OBD Solutions taps into the virtually endless stream of information on the CAN bus and puts it to work for the enthusiast.
The OBDLink MX+ plugs into a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port and pairs with a user’s mobile device. This arrangement combines the computing power in devices with the OBDLink MX+’s bus decoding capability to form a powerful tool for today’s enthusiast.
Not only can the OBDLink MX+ scan and clear service codes, it can combine engine vital signs with on-board wizardry to calculate performance metrics such as quarter-mile time. Results can be recorded and exported to a user’s laptop or mobile device. MX+’s open architecture allows it to also be used with many popular third party apps such as Harry’s Lap Timer, FORScan and Carista.
Because the OBDLink MX+ communicates wirelessly, it can be left in place. And unlike other Bluetooth-enabled devices that may continually broadcast their presence, the OBDLink MX+ makes unauthorized connections nearly impossible via the “Connect” button OBDLink MX+. The OBDLink MX+ only pairs to a device when the “Connect” button is pushed.
The OBDLink MX+ supports all OBD-II languages, including Ford’s and GM’s advanced proprietary networks (MS-CAN and SW-CAN), which provide access to thousands of additional enhanced OEM DTCs and parameters. The OBDLink MX+ includes unlimited vehicle-specific data upgrades, “BatterySaver” technology, and is up to 300% faster than other devices for smooth multi-parameter graphs and real-time gauges.
To put this power at our own fingertips, we installed a OBDLink MX+ on our late-model Ford Fusion. The following photos are an overview of what’s possible.
Photography by Henry De Los Santos