The 2 Types of ELDs

In the realm of transportation technology, there are two prominent types of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that have revolutionized the way the industry operates: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and dedicated or hardwired ELDs.

BYOD ELDs allow drivers to utilize their existing smartphones or tablets as the primary device for logging hours and maintaining compliance. These ELDs typically involve downloading a mobile app that connects to the vehicle’s engine control module. On the other hand, dedicated or hardwired ELDs are purpose-built devices specifically designed for tracking and recording driver hours. They are installed directly into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port and typically feature a built-in display for convenient use.

Whether it’s leveraging personal devices or relying on dedicated hardware, both types of ELDs provide accurate and efficient solutions for tracking driver hours, ensuring regulatory compliance, and enhancing overall safety within the transportation industry.


1. Dedicated Unit ELD

Dedicated units, more often than not, are ELD systems that remain in the truck. There are a few exceptions to this, the most obvious being when a fleet or owner-operator invests in dedicated tablets, thereby turning a traditional BYOD system into a dedicated one. It’s currently common that dedicated ELD units are the older forms of ELDs, such as electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) or automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs). To meet ELD rule requirements, such as recording location, mileage, and engine hours, these older dedicated units tend to have their own cellular data connection and GPS, making them fairly similar to BYOD systems, and storing the data collected depends on using the internet cloud, back-office servers, and the device itself. However, while dedicated units sound as equally capable as any model out there, it’s important to note that dedicated devices often lack a lot of the functionality beyond logs.

2. BYOD ELDs — or “Bring Your Own Device” ELDs

Unlike dedicated unit ELDs, the BYOD “bring your own device” ELD system allows drivers and fleets to purchase or bring their own hardware, such as a personal Android or iOS smartphone or tablet (along with an ELD app). This is also where the vast majority of ELD app growth has occurred, making BYOD configurations much more prevalent — and possibly useful — to drivers. In fact, Overdrive calculated that 66% of devices and software solutions available have or have retained their BYOD option. Making a BYOD-configured ELD system work consists of connecting to the Electronic Control Module (ECM) through the cab’s onboard diagnostic port via something called a “dongle.” The dongle typically connects and transmits data to the smartphone or tablet using a connection, like Bluetooth, but there are certain BYOD ELDs in which the connection relies on the smartphone or tablet’s data plan. Before you opt for a BYOD plan, however, make sure your preferred ELD app is compliant with your smartphone’s operating system. It’s currently estimated that 3-out-of-four BYOD ELDs are available for both Android and Apple iOS, but the balance swings in favor of Android.

Best ELD App

The My20 ELD app from Konexial meets the best of both worlds. Not only is it available in Android and Apple iOS, it’s a BYOD ELD system that can be turned into a dedicated device for your fleet, should you choose to invest in the hardware. We invite you to take a look at our website to see how we aim to not only make the most of your ELD experience but to put the power back in each and every driver’s seat.