ElmScan 5 Compact (USB) Scan Tool

This item is no longer in production. It had been superseded by OBDLink SX.

ElmScan 5 Compact is the perfect entry-level scan tool for the budget-minded do-it-yourself mechanic.

Availability: Out of stock

Item# 4230


The best-selling ELM327-based PC-based scan tool is back, with a new look and a new low price! Based on time-tested, proven technology, ElmScan 5 Compact lets you turn your computer into a sophisticated diagnostic system. The scan tool is a breeze to install and configure, and provides a lot more information about your vehicle, than a handheld scan tool. It is fully OBD-II compliant and works with any Windows PC with a USB port. ElmScan 5 Compact includes all necessary hardware and software to diagnose your vehicle's problems.
OBDwiz diagnostics software, included with ElmScan 5 Compact, allows you to:

  • Turn off check engine light, and erase stored diagnostic information
  • Read and erase stored, pending, and permanent trouble codes (both generic and manufacturer-specific)
  • Access freeze frame information
  • Display, graph, and log 90+ real-time parameters
  • Create custom digital dashboards
  • Measure and display fuel economy
  • And much more!

Premium diagnostic software, such as ScanXL and ScanMaster, offers a myriad of additional features including Dynometer, multi-language support, and data manipulation tools. ScanXL’s Enhanced Diagnostics Add-ons offer support for thousands of enhanced manufacturer-specific parameters, as well as ABS and other proprietary systems.

Key Features


Additional Info

OPERATING TEMPERATURE -4º to 131º F (-20º to 55º C)
OPERATING HUMIDITY 10 to 85% (non-condensing)
  • ElmScan 5 Compact adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • License key for OBDwiz
WARRANTY ElmScan5 Compact comes with an unconditional 90-day money-back guarantee, and a 3 year warranty.

3 year warranty90 day money back guarantee
  • Legislated OBD-II protocols:
    • ISO 15765-4 (CAN)
    • ISO 14230-4 (Keyword Protocol 2000)
    • ISO 9141-2 (Asian, European, Chrysler vehicles)
    • J1850 VPW (GM vehicles)
    • J1850 PWM (Ford vehicles)
Compatible Devices


  • PCs, Laptops, Tablets, & Netbooks (Windows XP SP2 and newer) with USB connection


  • Smartphones & Tablets (Android 3.1 and newer)


  • Not supported
*Device must be using Android 3.1 or higher and support USB host mode. A USB OTG (“On the Go”) cable is required to connect OBDLink SX (not included with purchase). Before purchasing SX for use with an Android, make sure phone or tablet meets these requirements.
QSGs go here
Apps & FirmwareSupport
See what other customers say about this tool, and ask questions on the Forum: ElmScan 5 Compact board.
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Customer Reviews (18)

Great product - Great priceReview by Mr Doc
Bought this off Amazon - $25. Have used it 3 times now on two different cars. Installed the CD rom program on a laptop running Vista. Installed and worked fine - no problems. I was going to get a hand held reader, but after more research found out most just read the code, nothing else. This software, although slow to update, works fine. It will read your failure codes, and give you ability to clear the codes. And not only that but gives you the abiliity to get more info on the code. Just click on the link provided and it brings you to a web page that gives more info. That is the part I think makes this a great tool. I don't have to read the code, and then go online and search for mayself what that code means. The software gives me a link to follow. No searching through endless search results that give no info you can use.
I used it last night and saved myslef at least $250. I have a jerking idle. Hooked up the scan tool. The code stored as a misfire on cylinder 3. I didn't have to guess which one it told me. So I swapped cyclinder 2 sprk plug with cylonder 3 sprak plug, cleared the code and restared the car. Still gave a cyclinder 3 misfire. I thne swapped the spark plug wires and cleared teh code. This time when I started the car the misfire went to cyclinder 2. Solved - plug wire bad. A trip to the auto store and $30 later - fixed! Yea it's not the top of the line, but it does do what I want it to.
-- Dec 6, 2012 11:04:50 AM (Posted on 12/6/2012)
OBDLink SX 2.0 OBD-II Scan ToolReview by Paul F Ladouceur
I would have given it four stars for the amount of info it provides but the CD-ROM it comes with contains a device driver that does not work; the program crashes when you try to install it. You have to go to the forum to get a link to get a working device driver. That said, I used it on a DELL VOSTRO 1400 with Windows XP home edition and 2G of RAM. I used it on two cars (a CAMRY 97 and Elantra 2003) with no issues. As a matter of fact, it gives you far more information than any hand held OBDII checker such as, Real-time temperature, load, oxygen sensor, air intake, etc... The connector is easy to hook to the car's OBD connector. The instructions are scant, so it takes some experimenting. Definitely read the help-text a few times. I found this tool very useful.
-- Nov 16, 2012 1:30:41 PM (Posted on 11/16/2012)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!Review by Targeteer [Amazon Review]
This works great, right out of the box! I just got tired of going to AutoZone everytime I needed a code read, or to have a code cleared after I fixed something. So, I bought this to both read and clear codes, and so glad I did. I bought this for $22, and so glad I did already! I had my code read (same as Autozone told me 3 days earlier), and then cleared the code seconds afterwards. The whole exercise to install software, read codes, clear codes took ~ 10 mins. The instructions were very slim, but enough to get me going. Works great, and great price as well! It looks like there are another 20 screens to this software, none of which I bought this for, but they do look interesting for when I have used this longer.
-- Nov 16, 2012 1:30:41 PM (Posted on 11/16/2012)
This was a gift and the receiver was very pleased and informed me that it works great.Review by Irish Rose [Amazon Review]
This items was a gift and the receiver said it works great. Delivery was very quick and I was surprised it arrived in two days.
-- Jan 21, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Just rightReview by Dave [Amazon Review]
This is the perfect scan tool for the DIY guy. You will need to be able to have your laptop in the car but that is easy for most people. It works best sitting in your driveway, since you will be able to easily access their website to look up the error codes that the vehicle gives you. The set-up was EASY. It runs on Windows only! The 'Dashboard' and 'Monitor' screens are cool and helpful. I have diagnosed and corrected things on three different cars so far. The program allows you to turn off all codes so that you can then see if the repairs you made were the correct ones.(If not, the CEL comes back on). The best $25. a car guy will ever spend, and it works on every kind of car!
-- Jan 23, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Has potential, inexpensive, reads codes and logs dataReview by Darian P. Paganelli [Amazon Review]
We have a autoxray hand held scan tool that costs about 10 to 15 times more than the elm scan 5 with the obdwiz software included. I can see using the less expensive tool to trouble shoot a problem as well as the more expensive tool. My biggest complaint is that I can not download the information from the inexpensive tool, or save and print it out later on. If I find this to NOT be the case, I will update this review later on. For now, Yes, you can use this inexpensive tool to reset codes and read fault codes and monitor the O2 sensor operation very well. Soooo, for about 30 dollars you too can have a darn decent automotive diagnostic scan tool. It is fun to use because of what it shows on the screen. I would definitely recommend it. Also, there is an update for about 30 dollars on the web that I do believe allows one to store information found, I am not sure if it allows printing, but will find out and update this review if so.
-- Feb 6, 2012

Updated Review
OK, so it does not print out saved information, but it does save recorded information. Scan tool and OBDwiz do sell an updated version of the software called Professional version of OBDwiz. This costs about 40 dollars and allows printing, multi dimensional graphing of measured data and a report printed from gathered scanned data. See the scan tool website. Too bad Amazon did not sell this update. I would have bought it from them first.
-- Feb 7, 2012

Updated Review:
The more familiar I become with automotive computer diagnostics and using this little tool, the more I love it. It prints out a diagnostic report (Advanced Professional Software Version for 38.95 from the manufacturers website) Which is quite detailed and of excellent quality. Considering that diagnostic tools cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, this tool for a total investment of less than sixty dollars does as much work as they do. It is not just a code reader. It is a diagnostic tool.
-- Feb 14, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Excellent product and works very well!Review by archersaurus [Amazon Review]
I'm an IT professional and was very impressed at how well this product works. I have a Win 7 laptop and had no problems with the hardware or the software. I recommend not updating the software as the sticker on the CD says but downloading the newest software by itself and not even bothering with the CD which is what I did. I have a 2004 Chevy Malibu and 2001 Ford Explorer and was able to instantly connect to both of my vehicles without any issues. It instantly displays any trouble codes you have with the option to clear them and gives you 2 sources for explanation of your trouble codes. You may also want to do additional research on your own as to what your specific trouble code means to the make and model of your vehicle. The software is very comprehensive on the amount of information it displays and there is some info that can be displayed in real time once the vehicle is cranked. For the money you can not go wrong with this scan tool!
-- April 2, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Great Product for the PriceReview by cfree12 [Amazon Review]
Product software was easy to install, and easy to use. Great product to enable reading and clearing codes for those able to do simple car repairs on their own.
-- Feb 24, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Excellent product has paid for itself on the first useReview by SJM "irishfluter" [Amazon Review]
Works exactly as described. Included software was easy to install in my laptop and the hardware connected to my car without a hitch. My check engine light was diagnosed as a failing catalytic converter but in the past this fault has appeared when the engine oil gets too low (old Honda with 140,000 miles that burns some oil). I added oil to the proper level, reset the check engine light, and after a week of driving the light hasn't come back on so it appears that it was a false reading as I suspected. My dealer would have done an expensive replacement of the catalytic converter, so its paid for itself many times over. I like the fact that there is other software that can use this hardware and that the software can be updated. This means that unlike the hardware only devices, this thing will work for a number of years to come and will presumably work with a new car when I replace my Honda.
-- April 15, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
USB to OBD2 ScannerReview by Thomas E. Hall [ Amazon Review]
This scan tool works fantastic. The USB Cable to your laptop I don't have a problem with. The Software that comes with it is fantastic, with completely customizable gauges and resets codes. You can spend another $39 and upgrade to pro version with recordable data and O2 tests. I'll probably upgrade later. If you look at buying a handheld scan tool and already have a laptop, you should consider this. Cheaper and in my opinion better than a handheld.
-- April 16, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Good value, works very well, but bit complicatedReview by Big V [Amazon Review]
This is most likely a product beyond my expertise, but when I got tired of check engine lights and paying my mechanic, I decided what the hey. I had to do the software update when it arrived then it worked just fine on my wife's 2004 Kia Sedona & my 2003 Kia Sedona. My mechanic already cleared my codes once but they came back in a few weeks. I used this tool, logged in saw the history, cleared the codes and they haven't been back on since. Very easy to setup, watched a few you tube videos and everything looks fine. I would buy again, as a matter of fact should have bought this years ago BUT I honestly don't really understand all the advanced options. If I need better software, I don't know, the software included was more than enough for me since I stopped working on my cars 10 years ago. If you have a laptop, this should definitely go in your tool box or glove box and you can go as deep as you want to go or just clear a few codes and move on with your life.
-- April 17, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
GreatReview by Big Brut [Amazon Review]
I’m a novice when it comes to auto tech but from what I have used of scan tools this gives a lot of info for the cost. Easy to plug and start, I would highly recommend it.
--April 23, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
I cannot believe this was only $30Review by Motoford [Amazon Review]
I have had none of the issues others write about with installing, or product dying or not connecting to certain cars.

It has worked flawlessly for me. I have had it 2 weeks and connected without any problems at all to a Toyota Corolla, a Suzuki Forenza, a Ford F150, a Dodge Ram, and a Jeep Wrangler. Each time this tool did exactly what it is supposed to do. 3 of those vehicles had decided to die at once, and I was able to quickly diagnose, order parts (thanks again Amazon), and fix in just a few minutes. Each time saving me money and time at the repair shop. Who wants to leave their car for a couple of weeks while you beg the mechanic to look at it?

I seriously feel like I should send the ScanTool people more money. I can't remember when I have paid so little and been so pleased with something.
--May 25, 2012

(Posted on 7/11/2012)
Works Great!Review by Gregory J. Brazina "Scorpious64" [Amazon Review]
Product works great. Software is great! I hooked up my laptop to the OBD2 connector with this device and with a passenger holding the laptop, we drove around. It gives you real time data include instant gas mileage, trip gas mileage, and much more. You can't beat it for $28.00.
-- July 10, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Good quality scan tool, good softwareReview by N Leonard [Amazon Review]
This is my first PC based scan tool, and I like it, especially for the price. It will, of course, read and clear DTCs and freeze frame data, but it can do a lot more too.
I've tested it on a few cars - GM, VW, and Toyota from the late 1990's. The software has all of the standard/generic OBD2 PIDs available: RPM, vehicle speed, O2 voltages, STFT/LTFT, other standard sensor voltages and %'s, etc. The OBD2 protocol suite isn't very fast by nature, but I was able to pull several PIDs per second on the above mentioned cars. That's good enough to, say, get a rough idea of how the O2 sensor waveforms look, or check data parameters on a snap throttle. In other words, hey, it ain't no labscope, but it gets the job done. I haven't had a chance to test it on newer cars to see if it reads data any faster there.
The software is decent. I have not been able to make it crash yet. It will make fairly nice graphs of data PIDs versus time, or if you really want to play around with the data, you can dump it to CSV. I always just use the software to make my graphs... it is very easy to use.
Be aware that this *is* a cheap tool, so you won't find any bi-directional control or manufacturer specific PIDs. Adding custom PIDs looks like a pain, if it is even possible. But hey, considering that one typically pays hundreds if not thousands of dollars for manufacturer specific PIDs and bidirectional control, I ain't complaining.
In summary, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tool to anybody who likes messing around with or fixing cars. It works!
-- July 1, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Handy tool to have!Review by D. ONEIL "Human" [Amazon Review]
Prompt shipping and delivery. Got this in the mail and had the software installed (Win XP pro) with car connected and running within 15 minutes! You'll have to select "auto detect" when connecting because there is little chance that you'll know the communication baud rate of your car's ECU. Very informative interface on the OBDWiz software. I like that I got connected and interfaced to my car for under $30! Seems worth it to me! Told me I had a minor issue with the gas cap.
-- June 4, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Great Product, Good Value Review by Guy Hill [Amazon Review]
Used this with an Acer Aspire Netbook and diagnosed and repaired 2 of my cars. Had no problem installing software or connecting to the device or the car. By allowing the computer to connect to the internet, the supplied software accesses a couple of websites to aid in interpreting the trouble codes. As another reviewer commented, the update rate can be slow if you try to track too many PID's, so you may want to reduce them under the PID Setup tab for better performance.
-- May 27, 2012 (Posted on 7/11/2012)
Put this on your short list for OBD-II ScanToolsReview by ComputerGuy
Review of ElmScan 5 USB Compact.

1. Clear and easy instructions right out of the box.
2. Installed and worked the first time, no problems.
3. Came with a basic application to read and reset diagnostic codes and monitor PIDs.
4. Based on ELM327, so there is lots of applications and support on the internet. Check out the ELM site under OBD.
5. Uses a FTDI chip for the USB, which is a great chip. If for any reason you have a problem connecting over the USB, check out the FTDI site.

1. The status lights are on the connector which makes them unseen when it is connected. That wasn't a problem as I only had to wave my hand under it to see the reflection of the power light.
2. There is better software, demo videos, and PDF documents on the CD that arrived with the scan tool. If only the initial documentation had mentioned it. Glad I looked.

Overall, I would buy this product again and recommend it to anyone looking at similar products for basic and DIY scanning and logging. However, if you are one of the few heading toward PCM tuning, then consider a J2534 interface before paying for a ScanTool and probably getting the same features again with the J2534 connector.

(Posted on 9/27/2009)


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