Evolving Journey in Automotive Diagnostics: FORScan and OBDLink EX on Pop!_OS Linux

in #diy3 months ago

After experimenting with FORScan and the OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth scanner on Pop!_OS Linux, I've made some key advancements and changes, particularly in terms of hardware and software configurations.

OBDLink EX: Unlocking Diagnostic Capabilities.jpg
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through one of these links, I could earn a small commission at no extra cost

Transition to OBDLink EX

The most notable change has been the transition from the OBDLink MX+ to the OBDLink EX. This shift was prompted by connectivity challenges faced with the Bluetooth setup on Linux. The OBDLink EX, a USB-based diagnostic tool, has proven to be the way to go. The stability and reliability it offers are also unmatched according the internets, making it an essential tool in my diagnostic arsenal. I'm so glad I found a way to use it with Linux.

Seamless Integration with Wine

A pleasant surprise in this journey has been the seamless integration of FORScan with Wine on Linux. The installation process was straightforward and required no additional configuration. This ease of setup is a testament to the compatibility of FORScan with various systems, ensuring that more users can access its powerful diagnostic capabilities regardless of their operating system. Gone, it seems, are the days of having to use corporate crap when we now have open alternatives that may even work better.

Understanding User Permissions

A critical aspect of setting up FORScan on Linux was understanding and configuring user permissions. I realized the importance of adding the user to the "dialout" group to facilitate proper communication with the OBDLink EX. This step, along with a necessary reboot, ensured that the system recognized and interacted correctly with the diagnostic tool.

Licensing and Supporting FORScan

I opted for FORScan's extended license over the free version that requires bi-monthly renewal (every two months). This decision was driven by a desire for convenience and also a commitment to support the FORScan project. As a tool that significantly enhances the diagnostic process in an open way, supporting its development and maintenance is a way to contribute to the broader community of automotive enthusiasts and professionals.

Upcoming Educational Endeavors

In my quest for deeper knowledge and more advanced skills, I will be taking courses at HP Academy on CAN Bus, EFI Tuning, and Reflash Tuning. Delving into these areas is crucial for providing more specialized and customized diagnostic and tuning services. Additionally, the exploration of open-source reflashing packages aligns with my commitment to open and decentralized technology, opening new avenues for vehicle customization and performance optimization.


This journey with FORScan and the OBDLink EX is more than just about diagnostics; it's a commitment to continual learning, community engagement, and technological empowerment. As I advance in my skills and knowledge, I look forward to sharing my experiences and insights, contributing to a richer and more informed automotive community.


I will try out one of these courses to enhance and be prepared for the tech world we live in now.