OBD2 Data Logger: Easily Log & Convert OBD2 Data

Would you like to analyse data from your car?

Maybe you want to tune your vehicle, monitor your kids’ driving behavior - or diagnose issues that only show while driving.

To do so, you’ll probably need data on e.g. vehicle speedRPMthrottle position etc.

The OBD2 standard lets you do just that!

And several OBD2 dongles, OBD2 scanners etc. of course exist.

But, very few let you easily log your OBD2 data to an SD card for post-analysis.

Further, setting up an OBD2 logger to log OBD2 parameters can be tricky...

... and converting the data is often a hassle of custom scripts or Excel models.

However, the CANLoggerX000 series is the perfect solution:

A simple, powerful and low-cost CAN / OBD2 logger that gets your OBD2 data, easily.

And with our free user-friendly CANvas software you’ll go from raw OBD2 data to human-readable output - in just a few clicks!

In this guide, we briefly outline the following:

  • The pros & cons of working with the OBD2 standard
  • How you can easily configure the CANLoggerX000 to log OBD2 data via CANvas
  • How you can use CANvas to convert raw OBD2 data to human-readable form

If you prefer, check out our brief video intro to the OBD2 data logger functionality above!  

The Pros & Cons of OBD2

Before we head in, let’s do a quick recap on the basics of OBD2:

What makes OBD2 interesting is that the rules for converting the raw OBD2 data into human-readable form are publicly available - cf. e.g. Wikipedia’s guide on OBD2 PIDs.

This contrasts the raw CAN bus data of most cars which requires that you access proprietary OEM conversion rules - or “hack your car” and reverse engineer the data.

However, despite this added simplicity there are two challenges with OBD2 data:

  • First, your OBD logger needs to be set up to “request” the messages you want
  • Second, you’ll need to e.g. set up a script to convert the raw OBD2 data

In effect, this means a lot of people have to give up on this due to the hassle.

How CANvas makes OBD2 easy

The CANLoggerX000 and our free CANvas software solves this in a simple way:

  • In CANvas, you can set up your CAN logger to request specific messages
  • As part of this, you can now easily select standard Mode 01 OBD2 parameters that you want to log (e.g. speed, RPM, …)
  • Further, CANvas now allows you to quickly convert OBD2 raw data via a built-in OBD2 PIDs database - in just a few clicks

Note that we also allow live-conversion of raw OBD2 data in Wireshark with our free plugin.

Below, we briefly outline the steps to configuring your logger to request OBD2 messages and converting OBD2 data in CANVas.

OBD2 Data Logger E2E Request Query OBD-II PIDs Convert

1# Configure your CAN logger to request OBD2 messages

In the below we go through the steps of preparing your logger to record OBD2 data:

  1. Start by connecting your logger to your PC via USB
  2. Next, open up CANvas and go to the “CONFIGURE CANLOGGER” view and find the “Transmit list” tab
  3. Click the “load” icon in the upper left corner to choose what to enable from a list of OBD2 parameters
  4. Finally, just save the configuration file on your logger’s SD card and eject

Note: By default, CANvas will insert a 40 ms delay between each parameter to avoid message loss.

Configure OBD2 Data Logger Transmit Request OBD II PIDs


2# Connect Your CANLoggerX000 to Your Car's OBD2 Port

Now your CANLoggerX000 is ready to log OBD2 data!

Next, simply connect it to your car's OBD2 connector port.

You'll find this below the steering wheel and you'll need a DB9-to-OBD2 adaptor.

The OBD2 logger will now log OBD2 data to the SD card when you turn on the car.

Want to verify that it's working?

3# Converting your raw OBD2 data into human-readable form

Ok, so you’re now back at your PC with your CANLoggerX000 - now filled with OBD2 raw data from your car.

Now it's time to convert the raw OBD2 data into readable output:

  1. First, load the log files to your PC 
  2. Open up CANvas and go to CONVERT DATA
  3. In the ‘Create / Load Database’ tab you click the database icon to load the built-in OBD2 database
  4. Next, go to the ‘Load Log Files’ tab and find your data files
  5. Go to the ‘Manage Log Files’ tab, select the scaled engineering values option and click the green play button
OBD2 Data Convert Human-Readable OBDII PIDs Wikipedia Database CANvas

That’s it!

You can of course choose from the conversion options including Log File Merging, Downsampling and more.

Try it out yourself! Download CANvas and our OBD2 data sample (Audi A4) and try out our new simplified conversion feature!

If you’re interested, learn more about our CANLoggerX000 or contact us!


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