Supported Hardware

Hardware Accessories

tes•LAX can connect to hardware accessories to show live CAN Bus data from your vehicle. Additional hardware, wiring, and installation is necessary. You are responsible for all risks of installing and using 3rd party hardware in your vehicle. Damage done to your vehicle may not be covered by vehicle warranty. Proceed at your own risk.

The accessories listed below have been tested with tes•LAX during development. None are specifically endorsed, but some are recommended only for advanced users.

AT-command set accessories

OBD-2 reader often support an “AT-command set” or are “ELM327 compatible”. These accessories can read data from the CAN bus and transmit the information in a hexadecimal format to tes•LAX.

Some accessories use enhanced hardware and while ELM327 compatible, also provide a “ST-command set”. These accessories have better performance and additional filtering commands. Filtering allows the accessory to ignore data that is not of interest to the task at hand. This increases performance and reduces buffer overruns.

Many accessories are clones or use similar WiFi and BLE connectivity methods. If you have an accessory that is not listed here, it may work. We cannot guarantee compatibility with all accessories.

An important note about security

Many of these accessories allow you to also transmit data into the CAN bus. tes•LAX is not designed to write to the CAN bus and only uses these accessories for passive monitoring. That said, the ability to transmit data to a CAN bus is a potential security concern. A malicious third party could send many possible commands to take control of the vehicle, unlock doors, pop the trunk, etc.

Some accessories have security that prevents unauthenticated parties from connecting. The OBD Link MX+ and Panda are in this category. The CANServer is designed to be read-only in hardware and can be securied with a WiFi password if desired. The vLinker WiFi can be secured with additional undocumented commands.

Other accessories, such as the OBDLink CX have an initial pairing process on power-up. While these may be secured during active use, these devices should not be left connected to your car because it is possible to “wake up” a sleeping vehicle (by touching a doorhandle, perhaps). This could power up the accessory in the initial pairing state, allowing a window for a malicious third party to issue comamnds.

Many accessories have no security at all. Please assess the risks of your accessory and setup and take precations to keep your vehicle secure. Again, any use of these accessories is at your own discretion and at your own risk.

Summary

Product Link tesLAX Support Connection Command Set Security Filtering Speed Buses Rate (msgs/sec) Multitasking
OBDLink CX Buy Now v1.6 BLE ST Paired BLE* Yes Good 1 ~525 Yes
OBDLink MX+ Buy Now v1.0 Bluetooth Classic ST Paired Bluetooth Yes Good 1 ~300 Yes
vLinker MC WiFi Buy Now v1.5 WiFi ST Unsecured WiFi* Yes Good 1 ~525 No
VGate iCar Pro WiFi Buy Now v1.5 WiFi AT Unsecured WiFi* No Moderate 1 ~200 No
vLinker MC+ Buy Now v1.6 BLE ST BLE* Yes Good 1 ~525 Yes
LELink^2 Buy Now v1.6 BLE AT BLE* No Slow 1 ~75 Yes
Comma.ai Panda Buy Now v1.2 WiFi Original Panda protocol Secured WiFi* No Fast 3 ~2000 No
CANServer Buy Now v1.2 WiFi v2 Panda-compatible protocol Secured WiFi Yes Fast 1 or 2 ~2000 No
  • Read below for more information on security implications
OBDLink CXBuy Now

The OBDLink CX is a Bluetooth Low Energy accessory from OBDLink with good performance and supports the ST-command set and filtering.

Unlike some other BLE devices, the OBDLink CX will intitiate a pairing process on the first connection after power-up. The CX is only in pairing mode for a short time after a power cycle. Pairing mode is the only time when new devices are allowed to be paired and connected. Once a pairing event happens, CX exits pairing mode. CX still accepts incoming connections from previously paired/connected devices while not in pairing mode. This gives a modicum of privacy with an encrypted link, and prevents third parties from connecting after pairing. This will not, however, prevent a third party from connecting to an OBDLink CX imediately after power-up, which could pose a security risk and allow a nearby malicious party to inject data into your CAN bus.

Supported Yes (since v1.6)
Connection Bluetooth Low Energy
Command Set ST
Security Paired BLE (Needs atention)
Filtering Yes
Performance Good
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~525 messages/sec
Multitasking Yes
OBDLink MX+Buy Now

The OBDLink MX+ is the only supported “classic bluetooth” accessory. “Classic bluetooth” accessories need to be certified by Apple, and other similar models are not certified. Look for the “plus”. At the current time, this is the only accessory supported by tes•LAX in this category.

This OBDLink MX+ must be manually paired and connected in the iOS settings app before use. While this is an additional step, it has the benefit of securing the link to a single device. A malicious third party cannot initiate pairing without having physical control of the OBDLink MX+ first.

One advantage to certified accessories is that they are provided with additional privileges. While connected to the MX+, tes•LAX is afforded greater execution in the background than WiFi accessories. This will allow you to leave tes•LAX and return without finding your connection stalled.

The OBDLink MX+ provides good performance and security. It also supports the ST-command set and filtering.

Supported Yes (since v1.0)
Connection Bluetooth Low Energy
Command Set ST
Security Paired Bluetooth
Filtering Yes
Performance Good
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~300 messages/sec
Multitasking Yes

vLinker MC WiFi

vLinker MC WiFiBuy Now

The vLinker MX WiFi provides good performance and supports the ST-command set and filtering. It connects to your device via WiFi. By default, this WiFi network is unsecured. This could allow third parties to connect and potentially inject data into your CAN bus. Please consult the product manual or manufacturer on how to secure the WiFi network before using.

Supported Yes (since 1.5)
Connection WiFi
Command Set ST
Security Needs attention
Filtering Yes
Performance Good
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~525 messages/sec
Multitasking No

VGate iCar Pro

vGate iCar ProBuy Now

The vGate iCar Pro is a standard ELM327 accessory. It does not support the ST-command set and filtering. It connects to your device via WiFi. By default, this WiFi network is unsecured. This could allow third parties to connect and potentially inject data into your CAN bus. Please consult the product manual or manufacturer on how to secure the WiFi network before using.

Supported Yes (since v1.5)
Connection WiFi
Command Set AT
Security Needs attention
Filtering no
Performance Moderate
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~200 messages/sec
Multitasking No

vLinker MC+

vLinker MC+Buy Now

The vLinker MC+ supports BOTH bluetooth classic and “Bluetooth Low Energy”. The bluetooth classic functionality is not available in iOS as it is not certified. The “bluetooth low energy” functionality is accessible to apps on iOS. There is a “non-plus” version of this accessory which only works with Android and cannot be supported.

Note also that an idle BLE connection my be accessible to third parties as there is no password or security required for connecting. This could allow third parties to connect and potentially inject data into your CAN bus.

The vLinker MX+ provides good performance and supports the ST-command set and filtering.

Supported Yes (Since v1.6)
Connection Bluetooth Low Energy
Command Set ST
Security Needs attention
Filtering Yes
Performance Good
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~525 messages/sec
Multitasking Yes

LELink^2

LELink^2Buy Now

The LELink^2 is a “Bluetooth Low Energy” ELM327 accessory that supports the AT-command set and does not support filtering. The BLE connection my be accessible to third parties as there is no password or security required for connecting. This could allow third parties to connect to an idle LELink^2 and potentially inject data into your CAN bus.

Supported Yes (Since v1.6)
Connection Bluetooth Low Energy
Command Set AT
Security Needs attention
Filtering No
Performance Slow
Buses 1
Nominal Rate ~75 messages/sec
Multitasking Yes

Panda Compatible Accessories

The “Panda” is an WiFi interface made by Comma.ai as part of their OpenPilot efforts. It uses WiFi for connectivity and a binary UDP protocol.

Comma.ai Panda

PandaBuy Now

The Comma.ai Panda White supports up to 3 CAN buses simultaneously. Comma.ai, however, has discontinued WiFi support for this accessory in recent firmware revisions. Advanced users may be able to flash an older version of the firmware and restore WiFi functionality. In order to setup this device for the first time, and flash firmware, the Panda requires a non-standard USB-A-male to USB-A-male cable or an additional device called the “Panda Paw” Hence, this device should be considered by advanced users needing 3 buses of simultaneous data willing to jump through some hoops.

The Panda boots up in an “inscure mode” where the WiFi network has no password. THe user visits the panda’s web page and clicks the “secure” link, which causes the panda to restart with a new WiFi network that is password protected. As mentioned earlier, this password must be retreived by using a non-standard USB cable or Panda Paw first. Also, the Panda comes online in “saftey mode” where CAN transmit is disabled. Only a USB connection can disable this “safety mode”, so even if the device power cycles, it should boot-up in a mode that is read-only.

Supported Yes (since v1.2)
Connection WiFi/UDP
Command Set Original Panda protocol
Security Secured WiFi
Filtering No
Performance Fast
Buses 3
Nominal Rate ~2000 messages/sec
Multitasking No

CANServer

CANServerBuy Now

The CANServer is an open-source ESP-32 based logging tool. It supports an extension of the Panda protocol that adds device-side filtering. It comes in two versions, a single-bus version and a dual-bus version.

Supported Yes (since v1.2)
Connection WiFi/UDP
Command Set v2 Panda-compatible protocol
Security Secured WiFi
Filtering Yes
Performance Fast
Buses 1 or 2 (depending on hardware)
Nominal Rate ~2000 messages/sec
Multitasking No

Community Tested

If you are a tes•LAX user and are not using one of the above accessoires, please let us know! We will include the information here. These accesories have not been tested by the developer, but are provided here from information provided by the community:

Kiwi 3Buy Now

The Kiwi 3 is an ELM327 compatible and has been reported to acheive data rates of ~100 messages/per second. It has not been tested by the developer.

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