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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: Lemur BlueDriver

The Lemur BlueDriver is an OBD-II scan tool which uses your bluetooth enabled device (Android or iOS phone or tablet) as a display.  It has two components: a small dongle which attaches to your vehicles diagnostic port, and a free app which you download.

Setup was quick and painless.  I plugged the BlueDriver module into my car's diagnostic port.  The unit showed a blue LED, which indicates it has power and is searching for a bluetooth connection.  I opened the BlueDriver app on my phone, and it quickly found the module and paired with it.

To test the code reading and clearing functions, I opened my hood and disconnected the intake air temp sensor (IAT).  The engine stumbled and shook.  After a rough restart, the MIL came on.  After a short time, the Lemur app notified me that the MIL was on, and that there was one DTC.

However, when clicked on the code, it did not offer any details.  Instead, I had to purchase a "repair report", which unlocks more information about a problem than just the DTC number.  5 free repair reports come with the app; after that, you need to buy them at a cost of $0.99/5 reports.  I found this annoying.  If someone paid $100 for the tool, the trouble code details should come free.  On the other hand, once you have the DTC number, it is easy to search on the internet for detailed information.

It was easy to clear the MIL and code.

Lemur also comes with a basic display for OBD-II PIDs, which lets you chart in real time (well, about a 1s update frequency) a number of useful signals such as fuel trim, O2 sensor signals, etc. You can select which PIDs to show, and they are shown stacked  vertically on the screen in different colors. If you cick on one, you get a single large dial style display, which updates with the current value.

This is useful for basic troubleshooting, but it would have been nice to have more display options, for example raw values on a grid, or multiple signals on a single axis.  I also did not see any way to use a data logger type function, which would allow you to save and download long recordings of real time data.


  • Plusses;
    • Easy to connect (important!)
    • Attractive, easy to use GUI
    • Unobtrusive (for most cars) dongle
  • Minuses:
    • Only basic PID display options
    • No recording / download function
    • Detailed repair reports are $0.99/5 after first 5 are consumed.

In conclusion, the Lemur BlueDriver is a solid tool for basic OBD-II diagnostic functions.  You are paying for solid hardware which will connect reliably with the Lemur app.  If you want a data recorder, customizable gauge displays, and other enhancements, you will need to use something like the Torque app, and one of the many OBD dongles which may or may not work properly with it.

Whatever tool you choose, some sort of OBD scanner is a must for any DIY mechanic.  Just one successful use will pay for the cost of the tool, when many dealers will charge a $75 or more diagnostic fee.

*Note:  Lemur provided me a free evaluation unit to review. No other compensation was received for this review.

1 comment:

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