Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These FAQs apply to the current Application and Adapter versions. The FAQs will be updated as versions are updated therefore it is important to stay current with your version. Contact BlueFire Support if you have any questions regarding updating your Application or Adapter.
About the Adapter
What is it and what does it do?
The BlueFire Data Adapter is an electronic device that connects to your truck's on-board computers (ECU/ECMs) and transmits information wirelessly to the BlueFire for Trucks App. The Adapter is constructed of industrial grade materials, will withstand abuse, and is weather resistant. It currently communicates with the following ECU/ECMs but has the capability to add others:
- Cab (Body)
- Instrument Panel
- ABS Brakes
What types of trucks does it work with?
The Adapter plugs into the diagnostic port of any Class 3 through 8 heavy duty truck that supports the J1939 and J1708 formats using either the 9 pin or 6 pin Deutsch plug. The Adapter also supports the new 500K CAN bus.
How do I plug it in?
The Adapter has a locking ring connector intended to keep the Adapter in place during operation of the truck. It is designed to be plugged in and stay plugged in. To plug in the Adapter, align it with the diagnostic port and rotate the adapter slowly until it drops into place. It won't drop very far. Then rotate the locking ring while pushing on the Adapter. When the locking ring finds an opening, the Adapter will slide all the way into the port. Push on the Adapter and twist the locking ring so that it locks in place.
For those who want to use the Adapter on multiple trucks (eg. maintenance personnel) and find the locking ring a nuisance, modifications can be made to the plug by cutting the ring off or filing down the three nipples inside the ring. While this will not void your warranty, you will incur a cost if you return it.
I see that the Adapter has multiple colored LEDs. What do the colors mean?
The Adapter has three colors, Red, Green and Blue. In general, Red is for the Adapter, Green is for the truck connection, and Blue is for the Bluetooth connection. The LEDs can either be solid on or they can blink. The red LED can also pulsate. Below is a description of their meanings:
- Solid Red - The Adapter is updating its memory. DO NOT unplug the adapter otherwise undesirable results may occur.
- Blinking Red - The Adapter is waiting for a factory reset disconnect (see Factory Reset below).
- Blinking Red with Blinking Green or Blue - The Adapter has encountered an error. Connect the BlueFire App and the error will be emailed to us.
- Pulsating Red - The Adapter is reprogramming itself back to factory settings. DO NOT unplug the Adapter.
- Blinking Blue - The Adapter is ready and waiting for you to connect the BlueFire App.
- Blinking Green - The Adapter is ready and connected to the BlueFire App but is waiting for you to turn the key on.
- Solid Blue - The Adapter is connected to the BlueFire App and communicating with the truck's on-board computers.
Important Note - Periodically while using the BlueFire App, the Adapter will need to update its memory, in which case you will see it go Solid Red. DO NOT unplug the adapter when it is Solid Red, otherwise you risk causing a factory reset.
How do I do a Factory Reset?
You can reset the Adapter back to the settings it had when you first received it (Factory Reset). Here's how:
- Plug the Adapter in.
- Wait for it to start Blinking Red. This will occur one minute after plugging it in.
- Unplug the Adapter while it's Blinking Red.
- Plug the Adapter back in. It will start Blinking Red right away.
- Unplug the Adapter again while it's Blinking Red.
- When you plug the Adapter in for the third time, it will perform a Factory Reset. The Adapter will go solid Red, then pulse Red, then go Solid Red again, and then start Blinking Blue.
You can also reset the Adapter from the BlueFire App. After connecting the Adapter, go to the Settings page and check 'Reset to Factory Settings'. When you exit the App, both the Adapter and App will be reset to Factory Settings.
Does the Adapter consume much power?
The Adapter consumes 75 mA of power during idle operation. There is a Sleep Mode that you can set using the BlueFire App that will reduce the current draw to 55 mA. When this option is selected, the Adapter will turn off the LEDs and go to sleep two minutes after the truck is turned off and the BlueFire App has disconnected. The Adapter will wake up when the BlueFire App reconnects to it.
How does the Adapter communicate with the BlueFire App?
The Adapter uses Bluetooth to communicate with the BlueFire App. Your phone needs to be paired with the Adapter before the BlueFire App can connect to the Adapter. This can be done ahead of time by you (Android users), or, the BlueFire App can pair it for you. The Bluetooth device name is BlueFire. For iOS users the Adapter is automatically paired and you do not have to do anything.
When I plug the Adapter in, the LEDs are quite bright and distracting. Can I reduce the brightness or turn them off?
You can reduce the brightness of the LEDs but you cannot turn them off. To reduce the brightness, start the BlueFire App, go to Settings, and change the Led Brightness setting (not the App Brightness). Doing this is a good example of watching the Adapter update its memory. It will change the brightness, go Solid Red for a short time, then back to its previous state.
I just got this message when I started the BlueFire App saying a new firmware version is available. How do I update my Adapter's firmware?
Follow the steps below to update your Adapter's firmware:
- Check your current Hardware version by going to the About page. You need to be connected to the adapter to see the Hardware version.
- If your Hardware version is 1.1 or lower, you need to send the adapter to us for updating. The best method is USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Box. We will update it and ship it back the same day. This will take a total of 4-7 days.
- If your Hardware version is 2.1 or higher, you can use a Windows PC to update your firmware. All the updates and instructions are out on our Forum at this link. If you have any problems, contact BlueFire Support.
About the BlueFire App - Installation
Where do I get the BlueFire for Trucks app?
The BlueFire for Trucks Global Edition for Android is out on the Google Play Store at this link. Do not download the BlueFire for Trucks App unless you have an older version of the Adapter firmware (2.x). The iOS version is available on the Apple App Store at this link.
I don't see the BlueFire for Trucks App on the Google Play Store. How do I get it?
Some lesser known brands of phones and tablets may not be registered with the Google Play Store. Also you need to ensure that your mobile device supports Bluetooth. If your Android phone or tablet does support Bluetooth, you can download the app from this link. You will however need to check the Unknown Sources under the Security Settings first. Note, you should download the app from your mobile device's browser otherwise you will need to copy the file from your computer to your mobile device, then install it from your mobile device's file manager.
I just got this message when I started the BlueFire App saying there is a new version of the BlueFire app available. How do I download the new version?
If you initially downloaded and installed the Bluefire App from the Google Play Store, you can go there to get the updated version. Likewise with the Apple App Store. If you downloaded it from us you can get the latest version from this link.
How do I know if I have the latest version of the firmware and software?
After you connect to the Adapter, go to the About page. If you are not current with the firmware and/or software, your version will be highlighted in red along with an update message.
About the BlueFire App - Getting Started
What is the BlueFire for Trucks App and what does it do?
BlueFire for Trucks is an Android and iOS app that wirelessly connects to the BlueFire Data Adapter and displays information from the truck for various functions.
A summary of the features the BlueFire App has is given below:
- Trip Recording - Allows you to record trip information and compare it to previous trips.
- Fuel Economy - Shows information to help you get more value from your driving.
- Data Logging - Allows you to log selected truck data at a set interval to a .csv formatted file.
- Truck Repair - Shows a multitude of truck information that can help determine the cause of a problem and then help you repair your truck.
- Fault Diagnostics - Shows any and all faults (active and in-active) along with information to help repair them. Allows you to reset the faults after your have repaired them.
- Remote Diagnostics - Allows a remote computer back in your office to connect to the BlueFire App and perform the same app functions you can do in your truck. This feature is still in Beta and will be available in Q3 2016.
I understand the Adapter uses Bluetooth to communicate with the BlueFire App. Do I need to pair my phone to the Adapter?
If you have an iPhone, then no you do not need to pair with the Adapter. If you have an Android phone, then yes you do. You can either pair your phone to the Adapter yourself or let the BlueFire App pair it for you. However, it is recommended that you manually do the pairing. On some phones, the App and Bluetooth pairing don't get along very well. To pair your Android phone to the Adapter follow these steps:
- Plug in the Adapter.
- Turn Bluetooth on.
- Go to your phone's Bluetooth Settings.
- Search for new Devices.
- Select BlueFire.
- Wait for pairing to finish.
- Turn Bluetooth off.
- Reboot your phone.
You're now ready to start the BlueFire App and connect to the Adapter. Note that the BlueFire App remembers what state Bluetooth is in (on or off) when it starts and then returns Bluetooth to that state when the BlueFire App ends.
I have a 6 pin and a 9 pin adapter. Can I have use them both?
Yes but only one at a time. You can pair them both ahead of time and then plug in the one you want to use and start the App. Make sure you have the 'Connect to Any Adapter' checked in Settings. If you have them both plugged into different trucks, the app will connect to the adapter it connected to the last time it was connected.
When can I use the BlueFire App?
You can start the BlueFire App anytime with or without the Adapter connected. When you start the BlueFire App it will look for the Adapter. If it cannot find the Adapter it will start up in Demo mode. This mode will allow you to use most of the functions but will only show information that is not real (demo data).
If you start the BlueFire App and the Adapter is plugged in, it will connect to the Adapter and start looking for truck information. If the truck key is off, the BlueFire App will recognize this and not show any truck information. If the truck key is on, the BlueFire App will start retrieving truck information and will function normally.
If the BlueFire App is functioning normally (ie. truck key is on) and you turn the truck off, the BlueFire App will recognize this and will remember the last truck information it retrieved. This information will be available on the BlueFire App until you close the BlueFire App on your phone. Note that truck information is only retrieved when you select a function and the function specific information is displayed.
It is recommended that if you are not using the BlueFire App that you close it. This will ensure that the BlueFire App is not consuming your phone's battery power needlessly.
What happens when I start the BlueFire App?
When you start the BlueFire App the Home page is displayed and the BlueFire for Trucks Logo is replaced with a twirling circle that shows the connecting status. It will go through the following states:
- Initializing - most likely you will not see this. It's pretty quick.
- Connecting - the BlueFire App is trying to connect to an Adapter.
- Discovering (Android only) - the BlueFire App could not make a connection so it is now performing a Bluetooth Discovery.
- Connecting (Android only) - the Discovery found an Adapter and is trying to connect to it. If you have not manually paired with the Adapter, the BlueFire App will attempt to initiate pairing. Depending on your phone and the version of Android you have, this may or may not work. So it is recommended to manually pair with the Adapter before starting the BlueFire App.
- Connected - the BlueFire App has successfully connected to the Adapter. The BlueFire for Trucks Logo will be displayed.
- Not Connected - the BlueFire App was not able to connect to the Adapter for some reason. In most cases a message will be displayed indicating the reason.
If you get connected you're good to go. If you don't connect, a Connect icon will be displayed allowing you to try again.
How do I navigate around the BlueFire App? Do you support swiping?
Android devices support swiping. iOS devices do not.
After starting the BlueFire App you navigate to a function by taping an icon. From there you can go back with the standard Back button (or Back arrow in the upper left corner) or you can swipe back (Android only). If you want to go back to that function you can swipe forward (right to left). The BlueFire App remembers where you are and where you have been so you can swipe forward and back to navigate around.
When you are in a function and want to go to another function, the Navigation Bar at the bottom of the page provides a quick way to get there without having to go back to the Home page. The Navigation Bar is scrollable so you can get to any of the functions.
To exit the BlueFire App you must use the Back/Home button from the Home page. If you're deep into navigating pages, it is faster to tap the Home page icon in the Navigation Bar, then exit the BlueFire App with the Back/Home button.
My screen on my phone is small and all the Home page icons are not displayed. What can I do to see them all?
When you have a smaller Android phone, all the icons may not be directly visible so you have to scroll down to see them. You can see more icons by removing the BlueFire for Trucks Logo from the Home page thus giving you more room for the icons. To remove the Logo follow this procedure:
- Go to Settings.
- Check the 'Do Not Show Logo' option.
- Return to Home page.
I'm concerned that others can connect to my adapter and see my data. What kind of security do you provide?
There are two levels of security: a User Name and a Password.
The User Name is a 20 character name and the Password is a 12 character password. Both are case sensitive. If someone attempts to connect to your Adapter and doesn't have the correct User Name or Password in their BlueFire App, the App will reject the connection.
A factory reset will reset the User Name and Password. See the FAQ above for performing a factory reset.
To set the User Name and Password follow these steps:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on Security.
- Change your User Name and/or Password.
- Press Done.
- Return to Home page.
- You will see the Adapter go Red while the User Name and Password are updated.
I use the BlueFire App in my shop and never take it on the road. Can I have it go directly to the faults page when a truck has a fault?
Yes, just go to Settings and check the 'Show Faults on Startup' option. And while you're there you might also want to check the 'Fault Notices' option to get rid of the popup manufacturer fault notices.
I want to log data during my trip. How reliable is the Bluetooth connection?
For the most part Bluetooth is very reliable. However depending on what other apps you are running on your mobile device, the operating system (Android, iOS, Windows) may shutdown the Bluetooth connection. We have also experienced some trucks that drop power to the Adapter randomly. In that case the Bluetooth connection is lost. To cater for this loss of connection, the BlueFire App will automatically attempt to reconnect the Adapter and continue with whatever was occurring prior to the lost connection (logging, repair page, etc.). A message will be displayed and the default ringtone will chime when the BlueFire App is reconnecting.
About the BlueFire App - Fault Diagnostics
What kind of faults does the BlueFire App show?
The BlueFire App will show any active fault that the on-board computers (ECU/ECMs) broadcast on the truck network. By law all emission related faults must be broadcasted and for the most part the ECU/ECMs broadcast most if not all of their faults. There are cases like in automobiles where the ECU/ECMs have proprietary faults that only their expensive diagnostic computers can read. The BlueFire App adheres to the SAE J1939 and J1708 standards for displaying fault codes and descriptions. Some manufactures change the descriptions in their own software but they should still relate to the SAE standard.
The BlueFire App will also display all in-active faults that the ECU/ECMs broadcast. Unfortunately, some manufactures have chosen not to broadcast these in-active faults so in those cases the BlueFire App cannot display them.
Along with the fault information, the BlueFire App will display information that was stored exactly at the time of the fault. This information is called a Freeze Frame and can help diagnose the cause of the fault. Again, this is ECU/ECM dependent and may or may not be available.
Can I reset faults?
Yes but resetting active faults is not as straightforward as you may think. Many faults require a complex process to reset. The BlueFire App can send the appropriate reset command to the ECU/ECM but you still have to follow the correct procedure to completely reset the fault. That procedure would normally be documented in the manufacturer's repair manual.
You also have the capability of clearing in-active faults. The BlueFire App will send the appropriate command to the ECU/ECM but in many cases the ECU/ECM will ignore this command. This is because the manufacturer needs this information for warranty and other reasons and has blocked it and only is only allowed in their software.
More BlueFire App Q&As coming ...
About the BlueFire App - Privacy
What sort of information do you collect from me?