Frequently Asked Questions
The BlueFire Data Adapter is an electronic device that connects to your vehicle's on-board computers (ECMs) and transmits information wirelessly to the BlueFire App (Motorhomes or Trucks) or the BlueFire API. The Adapter is constructed of industrial grade materials, will withstand abuse, and is weather resistant. It currently communicates with the following ECMs but has the capability to support others:
The Adapter plugs into a heavy duty vehicle's 6-pin or 9-pin diagnostic port usually located under the dash on the driver side. We also support the automotive OBD-II diagnostic port. The OBD-II diagnostic port is used by automotive engine manufacturers (Ford, GM, Mercedes, etc) and requires a special OBD-II to 9-pin converter cable. Our Store has a link to these cables. A picture of these diagnostic ports is shown below:
As a general rule of thumb for 6-pin and 9-pin vehicles:
Note that if you have a Green diagnostic port, you must purchase a Green BlueFire adapter. If you have a Black diagnostic port, you can purchase either the Black or Green BlueFire adapter.
For OBD-II vehicles, the Adapter has been tested on 2015 and newer vehicles. Older vehicles may or may not work.
That depends on two things: the type of diagnostic port you have, and the brand of device you plan on using for the BlueFire App.
If your device is an Apple iPhone, iPad, or Mac then you must use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Green Adapter.
If your device is an Android device, then the Bluetooth 2.1 Classic Adapter seems to work better than the BLE Adapter. This is because Classic Bluetooth has been around a lot longer than BLE and Android was late in the game adopting BLE.
For Windows devices, either Adapter will work but again the Classic probably has an edge over the BLE Adapter.
The Adapter is designed for 12 volt systems and in most vehicles, the diagnostic connector is 12 volts even if the vehicle is 24 volts. If you are unsure, contact BlueFire support as plugging the adapter into a 24 volt system could damage it.
The Adapter has a locking ring connector intended to keep the Adapter in place during operation of the vehicle. 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.
Note, some Green Adapters may have trouble twisting and locking the ring. If this is the case with your Adapter, you will need to cut away the lower half of the three nipples located on the inside of the ring.
For those who want to use the Adapter on multiple vehicles (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. Note however that this will void the warranty.
The Adapter has three colors, Red, Green and Blue. In general, Red is for the Adapter, Green is for the vehicle 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:
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 bricking the Adapter.
You can reset the Adapter back to the settings it had when you first received it (Factory Reset). Here's how:
You can also reset the Adapter from the BlueFire App. After connecting to the Adapter, go to the Settings page, scroll down to the bottom, and tap 'Reset Adapter'. The App will disconnect from the Adapter and the Adapter will perform a factory reset. This will take approximately 30 seconds. After the Adapter resets, the LEDs will be blinking red, green and blue. You must then unplug and re-plug in the Adapter to complete the reset.
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 ignition is turned off and the BlueFire App has disconnected. The Adapter will wake up when the BlueFire App reconnects to it.
The Adapter uses Bluetooth to communicate with the BlueFire App. There are two different Bluetooth modules used in our Adapters - Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The Bluetooth Classic module is rectangular and the BLE module is square. You can see these modules through the translucent cap on the Adapter. The Bluetooth Classic module is used in the Android/Windows Adapters and the BLE module is used in the Apple/Android/Windows Adapters.
For Bluetooth Classic Adapters, your phone needs to be paired with the Adapter before the BlueFire App can connect to the it. This can be done ahead of time by you or the BlueFire App can pair it for you. The Bluetooth device name is BlueFire.
For BLE Adapters, pairing is not required. Note that you will not see the Adapter in the Bluetooth list of devices until after the BlueFire App connects to the Adapter in which case you will then see the Bluetooth device name of BlueFire LE.
No. Bluetooth range is 10 meters (30 feet) and it is mostly line of sight and metal blocks it. Plus the engine compartment is a harsh environment for the Adapter. Look very carefully under the dash for another connector. It could even be hidden behind the firewall. If you absolutely do not have a connector near the dash then your only option is to run an extension cable from the engine compartment into your cab. You can find extension cables on Amazon (see the link under Shop/Connectors and Cables) or make one yourself (special tools required).
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.
There is also a Sleep Mode in Settings that you can set that will turn off the LEDs two minutes after the ignition is turned off and the BlueFire App has disconnected. The LEDs will come back on when the BlueFire App reconnects to it.
You can update your Adapter's firmware from this page in our Store.
The BlueFire App is an Apple, Android, Amazon, and Windows 10 app that wirelessly connects to the BlueFire Data Adapter and displays information from the on-board computers (ECMs) for various functions.
A summary of the features the BlueFire App has is given below:
The BlueFire App is supported on Apple, Android, Amazon, and Windows 10 devices and is available on all of their App stores.
For Apple, you need an Apple/Android/Windows Adapter (Bluetooth Low Energy) and one of the following iPhones or iPads running iOS version 9.3 or higher:
Apple Warning - Apple is trying to get rid of all 32 bit Applications so there is a chance that the BlueFire App will no longer support iPhones and iPads with iOS 10 or lower.
For Android and Amazon, if you have an Android/Windows Adapter (Bluetooth Classic) then you must have a phone or tablet running version 5.1+. If you have an Apple/Android/Windows Adapter (Bluetooth Low Energy) then you must have a phone or tablet running version 6.0+. It is however recommended to have a device with Android version 7.0 or higher.
For Windows 10, either Adapter will work but your computer must have the following specs and power options:
To set a High Performance power option do the following:
The Apple iPad is the most popular and most stable. With any Apple device you must order the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Adapter.
The latest Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus tablets are also quite nice and seem to work well. Samsung tablets are popular but don't seem to be as stable particularily with BLE Adapters. Unknown knockoff Android tablets are not recommended.
With any Android device the Bluetooth Classic (2.1) Adapters work the best. Android was late in the game with Bluetooth Low Energy so their devices using BLE seem to have more issues than others.
Windows 10 computers are the least popular but seem to work well, provided they are a reputable brand and have enough specs. Because you can add quite a few accessories (SD cards, etc) to Windows computers, these accessories have caused issues with the Bluetooth connection in some computers.
The BlueFire App is available on all the device manufacturer's App stores. The Apps tab (next to the FAQ tab) will take you to where you can download and install the BlueFire Apps.
Along with the links to the App Stores, there is also a link to our Getting Started document. It is highly recommended to download this document and go through it completely.
If you have an Apple/Android/Windows Adapter, then no you do not need to pair the BlueFire App with the Adapter. Note that you will not see the Adapter in the device's Bluetooth list until after you connect the BlueFire App, then you will see 'BlueFire LE' in the Bluetooth list.
If you have an Android/Windows Adapter, then yes you do have to pair it. You can either pair your mobile device 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 devices, the BlueFire App and Bluetooth pairing don't get along very well. If you have difficulty pairing an older Android phone follow these steps:
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.
By default when you start the BlueFire App the Home page is displayed and the App starts up in Demo mode. Demo mode shows 'Default' data that is not real but will give you a good feeling of how the App will show actual data from your vehicle. If you're going to create a custom dash, doing so in Demo mode is recommended. Note however that you may not actually see all the 'Default' data when you connect the Adapter due to the limitations of your vehicle's ECMs. The best way to see what data is actually available from your ECMs is to connect the Adapter and look at the Drive and Repair pages.
You can change the startup behavior through various options. See the Settings page for changing these options.
When you connect the BlueFire App to the Adapter the BlueFire Logo is replaced with a busy icon (circle or bar) and below that the connecting status. The connection will go through the following states:
If you get connected the Adapter will be either blinking green or solid blue depending on whether you have the ignition on or off.
There are a number of reasons why the App will not connect or stay connected to the Adapter. The first thing you should do is check the BlueFire App Settings for the correct Bluetooth option. If this is correct then see the Getting Started document. There is a section towards the end that provides a good list of things to check. If all else fails, contact BlueFire Support.
Most likely your ECMs are not compatible with the Adapter. This is mostly common with older vehicles as the SAE (Society for Automotive Engineering) J1708 specifications was new and not all ECMs followed the specification. See the Getting Started document, J1708 Adapter section for more information on this and App settings you can try to alleviate the problem.
The BlueFire Adapter only receives data that your vehicle ECMs are transmitting. This can vary significantly between vehicles. The year, make, model, the ECM programming engineer, all can play a part on what data is transmitted and whether the data adheres to the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) specification. For the most part, the newer the vehicle the more data that will be available. The electronics design can also play a part. The 6-pin Adapters use an older SAE design for retrieving data which is not as reliable as the newer 9-pin Adapters.
The best way to determine what data is available is to connect the Adapter and look at the Drive and Repair pages. If the data shows NA then the data is not being transmitted by the ECMs. The 9-pin Adapters can connect to both the J1939 (newer) data bus and the J1708 (older) data bus. The 6-pin Adapters only connect to the older J1708 data bus. So if you have a 9-pin Adapter, you'll want to see what data is available from both data buses. The way to do this is to do the following:
Now if you have an automotive vehicle with an OBD-II port, the data that is available is very limited. This is due to the reason the OBD-II port was created in the first place. External public access to automotive diagnostics was created from a Federal requirement to monitor emissions and related data. Therefore the automotive companies only transmit the required information that the Feds want. And that is all we get too. The data that you may see from the BlueFire App with an OBD-II port is as follows:
|RPM||Oil Temp||Fuel Level||Engine Load||Engine Hours||Battery Voltage|
|Speed||Intake Temp||Fuel Rate||Engine Torque||Throttle Position||Faults|
|Odometer||Coolant Temp||Boost Pressure||Driver Torque||Accelerator Pedal|
There are two main reasons for not seeing any data in the BlueFire App.
First is that the ignition key is not on. The ECMs are powered by the ignition and when it is off the ECMs are also powered off and there is no data on the data bus. The Adapter will be blinking green when the ignition is off. Turn the ignition on and the Adapter should change to solid blue indicating that it is receiving data from the ECMs.
The second is you don't have the correct data bus setting. Go to the Settings page and ensure that the Connect to the J1939 Data Bus and/or Connect to the J1708 Data Bus settings are checked for the appropriate Adapter you have. Note, that the default setting is Connect to the J1939 Data Bus checked and Connect to the J1708 Data Bus unchecked. So if you have a 6-pin Adapter or a J1708 vehicle with a 9-pin Adapter there will be no data until you change these settings.
At this time we do not support swiping. This is a feature request we are looking at.
After starting the BlueFire App you navigate to a page by taping an icon on the Home page. From there you can go back with the standard Back button (or Back arrow in the upper left corner).
When you are in a page and want to go to another page, 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 pages.
To exit the BlueFire App, for Android users 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. For Apple and Windows users, the normal app exiting can be used.
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 App Logo from the Home page thus giving you more room for the icons. To remove the Logo follow this procedure:
There are two ways to adjust the font size so you can see more data and stop the wrapping of the text:
There are multiple levels of security. The most common is a User Name and 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.
To set the User Name and Password follow these steps:
For other security options, see the Getting Started document.
The Custom Dash feature is very powerful and allows you to create a custom dash to your liking. To get started creating your own custom dash, see the Getting Started document. You can also head over to the IRV2 forums to see what others have created. A good thread to take a look at is here. To see others, just do an IRV2 forum search for BlueFire.
For the most part Bluetooth is very reliable. However depending on what other apps you are running on your mobile device, the operating system (Apple, Android, Windows) may shutdown the Bluetooth connection. We have also experienced some vehicles 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 (custom dash, logging, etc.). A message will be displayed and the default ringtone will chime when the BlueFire App is reconnecting. The Getting Started document has a section on keeping the App connected, well worth the read if you're having connection issues.
The BlueFire App will show any active fault that the on-board computers (ECMs) broadcast on the vehicle network. By law all emission related faults must be broadcasted and for the most part the ECMs broadcast most if not all of their faults. There are cases like in automobiles where the 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 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 ECM dependent and may or may not be available.
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 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 ECM but in many cases the 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.
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.
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 BlueFire App. Make sure you have the 'Connect to Last Adapter' unchecked in Settings. If you have them both plugged into different vehicles, the BlueFire App will connect to the Adapter that is closest to the mobile device.
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. If you are connected to the Internet, a message will be displayed when you start the BlueFire App indicating an updated version is available.
The BlueFire App is a standard mobile App and will either automatically download and install (if you have this set in your mobile device) or you will need to manually install it from the App store.