# Opendiag OBD-II Schematics & PCB Layout

Back in 2000, I created my first open-source hardware: An RS-232 to OBD-II interface. I’m no longer interested in this project, but it gets a surprising amount of traffic every day. I’m keeping it available for those who want it.

Today there are far better approaches for connecting computers to cars, so please keep in mind that this information hasn’t been updated since 2002.

This page contains plans to build a device to interface RS-232 (a laptop computer) to the ISO9141-2 / ISO14230 / SAE J1962 (OBD-II) diagnostic connector on many Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, and Subaru automobiles. It should also work on many pre-OBD-II models. It has been tested on my two vehicles, a 1998 VW GTI 8v and a 1998 VW Passat GLS.

Please note that this page does _not_ contain software. Free software was a goal of the Freediag project. Commercial software is also available which works with this interface.

This document is viewed by hundreds of people a day. It has helped thousands build the interface described here. The information presented here is as complete and accurate as necessary for a person of sufficient skill to build their own interface. If you require help, please seek it from a discussion group or your local electronics guru. I lack the time (and often, the ability) to answer questions. Thanks for your understanding.

### Here is a parts list for Digi-Key:

ItemQtyPart NumberDescriptionApplication
13PS2501-1-ND1 CHANNEL OPTO COUPLER TRANS DIPCOMBINED MAKES A 2501-3
222N3904-NDNPN SML SIG G.P. AMP&SWITCH TO92T1 & T2
321N4004DICT-NDRECTIFIER GPP 1A 400V DO-41 DIODESD1 & D2
4101.0KQBK-ND1.0K OHM 1/4W 5% CARBON FILM RESR1,R2,R5,R6,R7,R9
551.5KQBK-ND1.5K OHM 1/4W 5% CARBON FILM RESR3
6510KQBK-ND10K OHM 1/4W 5% CARBON FILM RESR4
75150KQBK-ND150K OHM 1/4W 5% CARBON FILM RESR8
81P10312-NDCAP 1UF 50V ELECT FC RADIALC1
91A23279-ND09 MSFL PLUG RA 318 (SL,FM,BL)DB9 MALE
101A23305-ND09 MSFL RCPT RA 318 (SL,FM,BL)DB9 FEMALE

On 5/21/2002, the cost of these parts was US$8.33, plus a$5 handling fee and shipping charges. You can get other parts, such as perf board, etc., at Fry’s or maybe AliExpress. I do not sell any parts. You need to get them from an electronics distributor such as Digi-Key.

Will this device work with my car?If your car supports VAG, ISO9141-2 or ISO14230, it should work. That includes cars sold by Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, and Subaru (1996+). Most vehicles sold by Ford, GM, or Chrysler are not electrically compatible with this interface. More information on OBD-II and ISO standards can be found here. Many newer cars (model year 2001+) utilize two K-lines and this device only supports one. If you’d like to contribute a schematic or other information on how to support dual K-lines, please contact me. But don’t ask me—if you don’t see the information here, I don’t have it. Thanks!
Do you sell these things?No. These days you should just buy an OBD-II adapter for your smartphone.
What kind of capacitor should I use?It isn’t critical. If you use a polarized capacitor, make sure you get the polarity correct. (You should be able to figure that out yourself.)
Does it really work?Yes, hundreds of people have built this thing, and it works. I suggest you replace the 140k resistor with a 150k resistor for the best results, however.
I can’t find the NEC 2501-3. What should I use?There is no such thing as a 2501-3. I’ve simply stuck three 2501-1’s together and called it a 2501-3.In North America, you can easily find the NTE NTE-3098 (Compatibility confirmed by Dale Kirstein). Fry’s Electronics carries NTE parts. You can also try the Infineon SFH615-A2 (Compatibility confirmed by Nigel Middleton)
My OBD-II (J1962) connector only has electrical contacts in pin positions 4, 5, 7 and 16. Why is pin 15 (L-line) missing?Not every car has an L-line connection. If yours doesn’t, don’t worry. This circuit will still work.
My OBD-II connector has a contact for pin 4 (or pin 5) but not both.I suggest you connect the two ground pins together on the circuit board. Some cars only provide one of the ground connections.
Is free software available?Yes, but it hasn’t been updated since 2003. Check out Freediag for more information.The Opendiag discussion group at Yahoo Groups is another resource. Ross-Tech seems to have discontinued their free version of VAG-COM.
How do I make a circuit board?I have written a basic guide that explains how built the board in the photos. These days I use cheap PCB manufacturers in Malaysia and China. A few can even accept EAGLE files directly.
I’m interested in writing software. Where can I find technical documentation on OBD-II online?You probably want a copy of HS-3000 from the Society of Automotive Engineers. The cost is around US\$240 (in 2009).
My computer doesn’t have a serial port.The Keyspan USA-19HS is an excellent USB to Serial (RS-232) adapter for this application. Be aware that most other USB to Serial adapters will give you lots of trouble with this circuit. You have been warned.

### Assembly

This is the artwork used in the latest revision of the board. It is a single-layer design. If you plan to etch your own board, use the Postscript or PDF files in the files section for greater accuracy.

This picture shows component values and placement. Note that the 2501-3 is actually three NEC 2501-1 optoisolators. The Digi-Key part number is PS2501-1-ND.

### Part Substitutions

The following parts are suitable replacements:

• NEC 2501 Optoisolator: Infineon SFH615-A2 (Thanks: Nigel Middleton) or NTE NTE-3098 (Thanks: Dale Kirstein)
• 2N3904 Transistor: NTE NTE-123AP (Thanks: Dale Kirstein)

These substitutions have been used by others who have built this device.

The GPL license has been chosen for two reasons. First, the documentation necessary to make this project possible was released to the public under open terms. Second, I have spent a great deal of time on this project. Any commercial vendor who sells this device (or one derived from these files) is obligated under the license to provide the schematics and/or board layout to their customers.

FileDescription
ISO_B1.PSBoard layout, revision B1, Postscript
ISO_B1_LJET.PCLBoard layout, revision B1, PCL, 300dpi, HP LaserJet
ISO_B1_LJET4.PCLBoard layout, revision B1, PCL, 600dpi, HP LaserJet 4+
ISO_B1.PDFBoard layout, revision B1, PDF
SCHEMATIC_B1.PDFSchematic (PDF Format)
ISO_B1.SCHSchematic (EAGLE Format)
ISO_B1.BRDBoard Layout (EAGLE Format)

OpenDiag – Aims to develop GPL’d software to use with this device. OpenDiag also provided the basis for this schematic.

B&B Electronics – Sells a rather expensive, but nice, SAE J1962 to DB9F cable compatible with this project. (Broken link, old SKU OBDIIJ1962 seems to be unavailable.)

Multiplex Engineering – Sells an alternative, much cheaper SAE J1962 to DB9F cable. See this e-mail for more information. I have not tried this cable.

Cadsoft – Sells the Windows & Linux CAD software (EAGLE) used to develop the board.