OBD2 Connector Pinout, Types & Codes(Explained)

OBD2 is an onboard-diagnostic system present in cars that collect data from a vehicle. To collect this data the cars must have an OBD port installed in them. Using an OBD connecter, a technician may collect this data and analyze the errors in the car. But, to see how all of this works, let us first understand what an OBD port and connector is.

If you want to know what is an OBD, read this article:

What is an OBD2 Port?

What is an OBD2 Connector?

The OBD2 connector is one end of the OBD2 cable that goes to the OBD2 port of the car. The other end of the cable connects to the OBD2 scanner. This way the OBD2 adaptor cable reads the error codes from the OBD2 system and displays them on the scanner. Sometimes this OBD2 connector comes attached to a Bluetooth scanner. Using this Bluetooth scanner, you can check data wirelessly from a laptop, mobile, etc.

OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner
OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner

It is used to get real-time data information and onboard diagnostics results. Each manufacturer uses its own OBD-II Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC) which is the main connector through which all subsystems are tuned, reprogrammed & diagnosed.

OBD2 Connector Pinout

OBD connector has 16 pins in a trapezoidal shape. The following diagram shows the picture of an OBD2 connector pinout.

OBD2 Connector Pinout
OBD2 Connector Pinout

The table below gives a description of each pin:

Pin NumberPin NameDescription
1,3,8,9,11,12,13BlankThese are non-standard and vendor-specific. These are not required for normal communication or interfacing.
2SAE J1850 Bus+Bus positive pin of the protocol. It follows the protocol Variable Pulse Width and is usually used by GM vehicles.
10SAE J1850 Bus-Bus negative pin of the protocol. It follows the protocol Variable Pulse Width and is usually used by GM vehicles.
4,5GroundThe ground of the Car system (including chassis).
6ISO15765-4 CAN HighCAN High Pin. It follows a 2-wire CAN protocol at 1Mbps speed.
14ISO15765-4 CAN LowCAN Low Pin. It follows a 2-wire CAN protocol at 1Mbps speed.
7ISO 9141 – K LineK line pin. It follows an asynchronous serial communication protocol.
8ISO 9141 – L LineK line pin. It follows asynchronous serial communication protocol
OBD2 connector pin description

What are the types of OBD2 connector?

There are two types of OBD2 connectors used in a vehicle, i.e., Type A and Type B.

Type A vs. Type B

  • Type A is commonly found in cards while Type B is common in heavy & medium vehicles.
  • Both A & B types have similar OBD2 pinouts, but the output power supply is different: 12V for type A and 24V for type B.
  • There is a difference in Baud Rate, the cars use approximately 500K, while most heavy-duty vehicles use 250K.
Types of OBD2 connector
Types of OBD2 connector

Now let’s discuss these pins in a bit more detail.

SAE J1850 PWM

  • SAE J1850 PWM protocol with connector pins 2 & 10.
  • It produces a signal by pulse width modulation. It performs at the speed of 41.6 kb/sec and is mostly found in Ford vehicles.
  • Pins 2, 4, 5, 10, and 16 should be of this type.
  • PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation. In PWM, an analog signal is changed into a digital signal in a different wave-like square wave.

SAE J1850 VPW

  • For GM vehicles, SAE J1850 VPW is commonly used.
  • It operates at a speed of 10.4 kb/sec by the variable pulse width.
  • Pins 2, 4, 5, and 16 have SAE J1850 VPM. At pin no. 10 there is a difference between VPW and PWM is that this OBD2 protocol.
  • VPM-It was developed by General Motors and it is an encoding method. It stands for Variable Pulse Width and its signal rate is 10.4 Kbps.
  • VPM is more beneficial than the PWM scheme.

ISO 9141-2

  • Old protocol
  • Mostly used in European vehicles. Also in some Asian vehicles & in Chrysler.
  • Its running speed is 10.4 kb/sec and it uses serial communication asynchronously.
  • It is optional pin 7& 15 (pin 4, 5, and 16 are must-haves).
  • ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. This protocol represents voltage in a logic 0 or 1 form. Logic 0 represents low voltage and logic 1 represents high voltage. In this, each bit of information is 96 us long.

ISO 14230 KWP2000

  • It operates at 10.4 kb/s. It is used for serial asynchronous communication.
  • This protocol is most common in Europe and commonly in Chrysler. This protocol used in Asian vehicles having pin 7 Kline & pin 15 is optional.
  • KWP is Keyword Protocol. It is used for communication protocol which is applied on the OBD system.

ISO 15765-4 CAN (SAE J2480)

  • ISO 15765-4 CAN is available in vehicles that are built in 2008 or later in the US.
  • Pins 4, 5, 6, 14, and 16 supports this protocol.
  • OBD2 protocol consists of 4 variants.
  • It works on a 2-wire communication method.
  • It can handle up to 1 Mbps.

CAN – stand for Controller Area Network

  • It refers to a network of independent controllers.
  • The communication happens without a host computer.
  • It uses a broadcast type of bus communication protocol.

What is an OBD2 Code?

Whenever a problem is detected in a vehicle using the OBD, the system shows it as an error code. This code is called a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC).

If we try to interpret it, we can understand the cause of the problem. For example, a car shows the P0200 code, which means that there is a possible injector circuit issue. Now, this error can be pinpointed & can be fixed before the actual breakdown.

How to read OBD2 DTC Codes?

Naming convention of the DTC code
The naming convention of the DTC code

OBD provides diagnoses for various systems such as powertrain, chassis, body, etc. By careful reading the letters & numbers, a fault can be found & fixed easily. Here the code is simplified as:

The First Character

It is a letter that denotes the vehicle’s part that has a fault.

P – Powertrain.

  • It includes the vehicles’ engine, transmission, and other associated accessories.

U – Network & Vehicle Integration

  • It is managed by a Onboard computer system.

B – Body.

  • Parts which are usually found in the compartment area of passengers in the vehicle.

C – Chassis.

  • Consists of mechanical functions & systems example braking, steering, suspension.

The Second Character

It is a number that can be ‘0’, ‘1’, ‘2’, or ‘3’.

‘0’, ‘2’, or ‘3’

  • standardized (SAE) code or generic code

‘1’

  • Manufacturer specific code

The third Character

It is a number or a letter that shows the system in the vehicle that has a fault.

0 – Emission controls: fuel and air metering

1 – Fuel & air metering

2 – Injector circuit: Fuel & air metering

3 – Ignition systems/misfiring

4 – Auxiliary emission control system

5 – Speed Control & idle control systems

6 – Computer and output circuit system

7 – Transmission system

A-F – Hybrid codes

Final: The Fourth Character & Fifth Character

It is a two-digit number that defines the exact problem & can be any number between 0 and 99.

Where is OBD2 port located in a car?

Since OBD port or diagnostic port location varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is usually found on the driver’s side under the dashboard. In some vehicles, it can be found near the center console section in a vehicle. In old models, this port can be found near the handbrake or in the trunk.

Location of OBD port in a car
Location of OBD port in a car

Once this port is found, we can easily plug the reader which establishes a connection between the vehicle and the diagnostic device.

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