I have an ODBII USB cable for vehicle diagnostics, unfortunately I haven't been able to get it working on Ubuntu 12.04. The closest I've come is using the VAG-COM software with wine, using the ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 ~/.wine/dosdevices/com1 trick and running stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 speed 9600 repeatedly. It will connect and show the vehicle is OBDII, but none of the useful features seem to be working. I tried:

  • Scantool - says it's connecting to the /dev/device in terminal, but doesn't.
  • obdgpslogger - times out all the time.
  • pyobd - This seems to be the most up-to-date source I could find, I had to adjust the code a bit to work (see here for changes). Still, in obd_io.py interpret_result function, it says it's looking for 4 space separated numbers, where the usb-serial is receiving bogus code "0100" instead?
  • freediag - I tried compiling, sh ./configure ran fine. I had to change some executable bit to make it start to compile, but now running make gives error:

    diag_general.c:52: undefined reference to diag_l0_config' diag_general.c:55: undefined reference todiag_l2_config' collect2: ld returned 1 exit status ...

    and fails.

The device shows up in lsusb as:

ID 0403:6001 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC

Is the problem that these native tools don't expect a USB serial, or a serial of this type? Or are these apps too old to recognize OBD2 of this vehicle?

3 Answers 3


Reference Data 1.This cable can not work if your car uses a protocol ssystem like VPW,PWM or Can-bus

This is a direct copy/paste from the Amazon page for the cable you link to. It may be that the cable just doesn't work with your device, though I would think the programs should see a non-working cable attached.

Have you also tried Freediag?

  • I don't know of any vehicles with CAN/VPW/etc, mine is OBDII (the cable has "OBDII" embedded into the car end). I tried Freediag, but it wouldn't compile. See updated info in question.
    – NoBugs
    Jun 12, 2012 at 18:19
  • 1
    OK. So, OBD-II isn't a protocol, itself. There are multiple protocols which fall under the OBD-II standard. If your vehicle is a US vehicle newer than 2008, it's almost certainly using CAN. If it's older, it may or may not be using it. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… for some more info. What year/make/model is the vehicle you're attempting to use it with?
    – dobey
    Jun 12, 2012 at 19:06
  • Good find! I didn't know there were different protocols. The diagnostics connector has 6 wires connected, three are together.
    – NoBugs
    Jun 13, 2012 at 3:06
  • Pins 1, 6, 10, 12, 13, and 14 have wires going from the diagnostics port. This page doesn't list the protocol: auterraweb.com/obdiipinout.html Furthermore, the manual makes no mention of OBD.
    – NoBugs
    Jun 13, 2012 at 3:16
  • Those pins are on the cable side, or in your vehicle? What year/make/model is the car?
    – dobey
    Jun 13, 2012 at 3:50

Try these resources:

Using ScanTool(win) under Linux using Wine

Ubuntu Forums: OBDII Code Readers COM1 Port

  • 2
    That windows tool, Scantool is the same program as the one in Ubuntu repository, except it doesn't even list COM ports to select!
    – NoBugs
    Jun 7, 2012 at 1:52

I downloaded freediag source from https://sourceforge.net/p/freediag/gitrepo/ci/master/tree/ and had no problems compiling it on Ubuntu 20.04 and on Fedora 31. Perhaps your missing a prerequisite. Anyways it seems to work quite well.

  • 2
    It would be best if you would explain how to apply your solution.
    – Nmath
    Oct 11, 2020 at 1:30

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