The red led in this case would signify that the ignition on message did not respond, This likely means that either the bus speed is wrong, the message is not available on pins 6 and 14, or your vehicle does not support CAN.
Reference VI LED Guide
- LED 1
- RED / ORANGE - No CAN activity detected or for OBD-II firmware, Vehicle ignition not detected
- BLUE - CAN activity detected
- OFF - No power
- LED 2
- GREEN - Usb connection
- BLUE - Bluetooth connected
- OFF - No connection
If both LEDs show a dim orange then there is bad firmware and or device is in boot loader mode
As for why cheap ones work, most use the popular elm327 chip which scans on multiple pins, at multiple speeds and using multiple protocols, unfortunately this chip-set is to limiting for pulling all of the data OpenXC can pull when compared to the processor the reference vi uses.
As stated before OpenXC is an open source project developed by Ford
Motor Company, It does have compatibility for other manufactures and
vehicles but our primary target is Ford vehicle compatibility, unfortunately we do not have the time or resources to research, develop firmware for and test for all vehicles by all manufactures.
However this does not mean you cant use Open XC with other vehicles it just means you may need to take some additional steps which includes compiling your own firmware, again if you are interested in compiling your own OBD-II firmware for your vehicle the following pages will be of use to you.http://vi-firmware.openxcplatform.com/en/master/compile/example-builds.html#automatic-recurring-obd-ii-requests-build