Nexiq USB Link 2 Genuine vs Clone

The real Nexiq USB Link 2 vs Nexiq USB Link 2 clone:

THE PACKAGING
Lets start with the most simple way to tell the difference, and that is the packaging. This not only includes what the product looks like, but the included accessories as well. Throughout this post, we will be posting side-by-side images, with the genuine Nexiq USB Link 2 on the left, and the china clone USB Link 2 on the right. As you see from the pictures below, the genuine USB Link 2 comes in a nice, hard plastic case. The image on the right is from the China clone, which comes with no case at all. The cables and adapter have been stuffed in the box.

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We also then take the contents out to compare. The original device, again shown on the left, comes with the adapter (with all the stickers attached), 6/9-pin long cable, a special USB cable (Which we will discuss more on this later), along with some paperwork. The USB Link 2 clone adapter comes with a HUGE assortment of cables, covering pretty much everything. It also has loose stickers to place on the tool, along with a 3-disc DVD set.

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In summary, the genuine USB Link 2 will come in a hard plastic case and will only come with the USB Cable and 6/9 pin cable. The fake and clone adapters from China and beyond will come with a large assortment of cables, along with multiple DVD discs.

THE CABLE CONNECTOR
So far, not a huge deal. You can save $400, and not just get a cheap plastic box, right? Well, there are many more differences, so lets start with the cables and the connector on the Nexiq USB Link 2. Again, the image on the left is what the bottom connector looks like on the genuine adapter. The image on the right is the china clone.

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In summary, the genuine USB Link 2 will come with a 26-pin male connector for the cables, while the clone USB Link 2 will come with a 15-pin male connector. Remember, Nexiq put an authentication chip in each cable, so how possibly can these clones be doing this? The answer is that the china clone adapters are simply Nexiq USB Link original circuit boards placed in USB Link 2 cases. We will continue to prove this point as we move on.

THE CABLES
One thing that people may like about the China USB Link is that it comes with a wide assortment of cables — 8 different ones. The original only comes with the standard 6 & 9 pin cable, which is used on commercial trucks. The first thing we notice, is that the part numbers are on labels from the China device. Upon inspection of these cables, we find these are all cables for the Nexiq USB Link original, NOT the new USB Link 2. This further proves the point that the China adapter is just an original USB Link in disguise.

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The other issue is that the included 6/9 pin cable from the China clone is NOT the new green 9-pin that has been used in all model 2016 model year trucks. This means that this cable will not physically connect to any trucks built in 2016 or newer. Even if you had the correct cable, we have serious doubts that this China clone is cable of handling the new 500k bus speeds that use this green connector.

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In summary, the USB Link 2 clone from obd2tool with more cables, yet they are cables for the original USB Link. The included 9-pin from China also will not fit or work on 2016 model year and newer trucks.
USB CABLE
The USB connection port is also different on China knock-off versus the genuine USB Link 2. With the USB Link 2, there is a fancy clip on the USB cable to prevent it from being detached from the adapter. On the clone tool, we find that it is a “regular” USB cable connector, like you would find on a printer or larger USB device. On the USB Link 2 clone we received, this cable was actually very difficult to push in, and the plastic cracked a little when we did. Yet again, another reason to stay away from this tool and prove that it is a fake/clone.
The other important item to note is that on the clone/fake adapter, you will see that there is a hole in the bottom. On the genuine adapter, this is an actual button that you would push.

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CIRCUIT BOARD
Now that we’ve explored all of the components, lets take a look at the actual circuit board inside the adapters. Again, we have the genuine adapter on the left and the China clone on the right. Without being a computer engineer, you can see the differences in the boards right away. The clone adapter is actually 2 circuit boards, with wiring in between, while the original is a solid, once piece circuit board. The clone version also contains no Bluetooth chip, so it is USB only.

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the genuine PCB

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the clone PCB
NEXIQ USB Link 2 CLONE STICKER COMPARISON
We also thought it a good idea to show you the adapters side-by-side. In the first view of the front, you can see some noticeable differences. The sticker on the front, while the same size, has the order of the LED lights and also the size of the icons different. Both adapters will show the Bluetooth Logo, however the China version does not have Bluetooth built into it. The genuine adapter also shows an icon for an iPad and iPhone.
On the back side of the adapter, the sticker is a completely different size and much smaller on the USB Link 2 clone. There is also far less information, including the fact that is says “Made in China”, while the original does not.

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SUMMARY
In summary, we highly suggest staying away from the Heavy Duty Scanner USB Link 2 clone adapters. Using a USB Link 2 clone will cause you nothing but problems, and just isn’t worth the hassle of saving a couple dollars. There are plenty of other RP1210 adapters that are priced less then a Nexiq USB Link 2, and are also made by legit manufacturers in the USA. The following is a list of things you can look for if you are thinking about purchasing one:

It doesn’t come in a black plastic case
It comes with more then just the 6/9 pin “long” cable
The connector on the bottom is a 15-pin female
The 9-pin connector isn’t green
The USB cable doesn’t “clamp” into the Nexiq USB Link 2
There is a hole at the bottom of the tool where the cable plugs in
The sticker on the front looks different then it should

Of course If you are a DIYer, the clone is OK for you. But you should have a HQ Nexiq clone. For cheap craps, forget it. You’ll get what you pay for. 100% certain.

Nexiq has also changed the contents of the package

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Nexiq has also changed the contents of the package. The NEXIQ-2 USB Link no longer comes with any installation media, but this actually makes sense. Since Nexiq appears to update drivers every 60 days or so, the CDs that used to come with the original unit were often outdated by the time the customer received the unit. To force the customer to download the latest versions from their website isn’t a horrible thing, and it also makes sure that customers will always install the most recent version.

So you found a great deal on a NEXIQ Technologies 125032 USB-Link from www.obd2tool.com. Sounds great! Hey that $50 savings is a steak dinner, so what if the product has a 3-4 week delivery, if it is $50 off the deal. ?  While you are ordering the USB-Link go ahead and grab yourself a Rolex watch. it is even a better deal!

As with the late model original USB Links, Nexiq is now supplying a very long 6/9 pin connector. It is roughly 3 long. Our assumption for this design change is that on the previous models with the short connector, it would sometimes cause the adapter to hang in a location that could cause it to be damaged if the door of the cab was closed on it. This new model also includes the standard 15 USB cable.

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What do you know about USB Link 2

Nexiq has also changed the contents of the package. The USB Link 2 no longer comes with any installation media, but this actually makes sense. Since Nexiq appears to update drivers every 60 days or so, the CDs that used to come with the original unit were often outdated by the time the customer received the unit. To force the customer to download the latest versions from their website isn’t a horrible thing, and it also makes sure that customers will always install the most recent version.
NEXIQ USB Link 2
Beyond the USB port redesign, the shape is obviously different as well. The new USB Link 2 has the black plastic grabbers on the side, and is a more “boxy”  shape that all the vehicle interfaces seem to be going towards. The adapter also has indicator lights for power, traffic, Bluetooth, and faults.

Perhaps the largest design change is where the cables attach to the Heavy Duty Diagnostic Tool USB Link 2. The original USB Link used a standard 15-pin connector, and life was good. There were a ton of aftermarket cables available, all of which sold for under $40. This included replacement 6/9 pin cables, OBDII cables, Volvo 8-pin & 14-pin, Cummins 3-pin, and many more. With the new adapter, Nexiq has changed to a 26-pin connector as shown below. While we can’t find a reason for this on the Nexiq website, we can only assume that this is to handle the new CAN2 protocol standard. Since there are no aftermarket cables available for this, it means the “extra” cables got very expensive — Over $200 for most of them! Until there is a good aftermarket solution, there won’t be much that can be done.

Since there is no media included with the NEXIQ-2 USB Link, you will need to download it from Nexiq’s website. As of this posting, the most current version is v1.0.16. This download will also install the most recent version of Device Tester, so that you are able to troubleshoot connection problems. Remember: The adapter does not come with any diagnostic software. All of that must be purchased separately.