What you said is precisely correct. At the time I wrote the above, I could not remember what the acronym is for the port to the ECM/ECU (called differently by different people. It is the same thing.)
I too, have the OBDII reader, mine was expensive, cost me $19.95 at Atwoods Farm and Ranch
, oh no, it was AutoZap, no, it was AutoSlap....
anyway, all it gives me is the Code # and I have to get the Internet bible out and see what that code means.
The process took me 15 minutes longer than a good reader with builtin definitions.... but the result was the same. I knew the engine had a bad heart beat, and need new injections of Spark Fluid
it was nice, that it told me exactly which sparker was not getting enough of the good fluids....
Yes, those OBD tools are fantastic - I think the one I have cost all of $12 off eBay. It's a little harder to use than the full-fledged tools, but as a (barely) shadetree mechanic, it's hard to justify $150 for a tool that I use 1-2 times a year. If I were a mechanic, then the proper tool would be well worth the extra $.
Wish the 87 Yamaha FZR1000 project bike I've got had an OBDII... I bought it for $300 with a bad transmission, pulled the engine, found a couple teeth missing from some gears, found a complete replacement set of trans gears, shift drum and forks for $80 on eBay, got that put in, and got the engine back in the bike last weekend, but have been having starting issues. First, I had fouled plugs (brand new plugs when I bought the bike, ran it for a few minutes to make sure it ran), but sitting there, or when first trying to start it up (with some admittedly old/foul smelling gas) must have fouled them. This, after checking everything else possible. Now, new plugs and I got it to fire, once, but mostly just cranks over without catching/firing. With an OBDII port, it would likely point me right to the culprit. On that subject, I wonder if/when bikes will start having OBD type ports? A lot of them do now, I understand, but not to the same extent and certainly not a standardized port (seem to have their own proprietary ports when they do have some kind of interface). I think the OBD was mandated by the government. Unfortunately, likely the only way to get all the different manufacturers to have a common interface...
Bikes I've owned since June, 2013:
Since sold:11 CBR250R, 89 ZG1000, 92 Ninja 500, 85 V45 Magna, 84 DT200, 82 Virago 750, 92 Virago 1100, 04 Kawasaki ZZR250, 07 Vstrom 650 ABS, 88 GL1500, 14 Ninja 300, 86 V65 Magna, 96 VLX600, 08 WR250X, 09 KLX250S, 87 FZR1000, 14 Ninja 650, plus some more...
2010 Husqvarna TE250
2015 Kawasaki Ninja 650
2008 GL1800 with bagger kit