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OBD II scanner


rob's Avatar
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01-11-04, 07:51 PM   #1  
OBD II scanner

Anybody have any suggestions on scanners for OBD II. I probably want to get something that plugs into my notebook, so it's not just a code reader that I want.

I've seen some that are pretty cheap, $100-$150 I think, but I've never used one of these, so I'm not really sure what to look for.

Thanks

 
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Desi501's Avatar
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01-12-04, 03:44 AM   #2  
Those things your talking about barely do anything. A car has two types of codes-OBDII required emission codes and factory specific codes plus data info on all the sensors. Those cheap units are just emission code readers and only display half of the codes and none of the data. They really aren't much help. A good scanner is in the range of $2000-$5000 plus $1000 per year to update domestic and asian. Good equipment is not cheap and there is no substitution for good equipment.

 
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01-12-04, 08:13 AM   #3  
I was thinking of the type that let you scan real-time functions and more. I think they are cheaper because they need a computer to run on, rather than being a turn key system with the computer built in. That way you get real value for your existing computer. If your hardware can read the data, which is pretty standard stuff, then you need decent software to interpret it. That's my take on this breed of readers. Sorting through what is available seems to be a chore though.

 
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01-12-04, 09:50 AM   #4  
That's a relativly new approach to this. I'm aware the software was coming available but never expected anything that cheap. It has to be really lacking in something. You'd still have to buy all the hardware attachments for different vehicles. Even OBDII uses different keys for different vehicles. I can't imagine that these software programs can compete with $3000 equipment. The software alone for these scanners is upwards of $1000 per vehicle year. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Generic software that is OBDII standard is much different from factory info. All this info has to be purchased from the manufacturers. Every OBDII PCM has 2 sides, the generic OBDII and the factory repair info......night and day

 
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01-12-04, 12:18 PM   #5  
Take a look at this one and I'd appreciate your opinion on what's advertised in terms of usefulness, assuming that it actually works!


Here's one that looks interesting to me:

(home page: http://www.scantool.net/index.htm)

Their advertised features:

The program lets you perform the following operations:

Read diagnostic trouble codes, both generic and manufacturer-specific, and display their meaning (over 3000 generic code definitions in the database).
Clear trouble codes and turn off the MIL ("Check Engine" light)
Display current sensor data, including:
Engine RPM
Calculated Load Value
Coolant Temperature
Fuel System Status
Vehicle Speed
Short Term Fuel Trim
Long Term Fuel Trim
Intake Manifold Pressure
Timing Advance
Intake Air Temperature
Air Flow Rate
Absolute Throttle Position
Oxygen sensor voltages/associated short term fuel trims
Fuel System status
Fuel Pressure
The following features will be added soon:

Data graphing and logging
Freeze Frame data
Continuous and Non-Continuous Oxygen Sensor test results

 
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01-12-04, 01:05 PM   #6  
Looks like a fair deal to me assuming it works.You know if you have a wiring diagram you only need a code reader and dvom to diagnose most codes.So assuming you buy this "tool"you will still need a dvom to diagnose most codes properly.I would apply the money to a manufacturers service manual first.The 'tool"seems to be limited to one line of cars so unless you keep buying from the same line of cars it will be useless very soon.A generic code reader will read most powertrain codes on OBD II cars so may last you longer.But Autozone reads them for free so why buy the cow?

 
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01-12-04, 01:47 PM   #7  
What kind of car do you have? There is software and cables available for OBDII that is designed to be used with a laptop or desktop. Some even have programmers where you can change values/parameters of engine functions. Of course this is mostly used by the people who modify their engines. I've noticed a lot of websites sell the cables and give away the software, so the money must be in the cables. Just Google on "obdii scan tools" or "obdii software" and see what you find. For a handheld, check out autoxray or actron. They're not in the $150 price range, though.

 
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01-12-04, 01:49 PM   #8  
Originally posted by rob
Their advertised features:

The program lets you perform the following operations:

Read diagnostic trouble codes, both generic and manufacturer-specific, and display their meaning (over 3000 generic code definitions in the database).
As I thought, it does generic only. It gives you definations for generic only and it will only give OBDII mandatory data. There is another entire book of information on the factory side which high quality scanners only give you. One of the OBDII mandates was to supply inexpensive code scanners to owners. They're was a specific list of PID's that are required and those are the only ones this tool can access. There is a ton more information in there that you don't have access to. It will give you factory code #'s from the "P" category only but without definition. It won't give you any body or factory TCM codes. Also, I doubt there are any bidirectional controls at all either. It is very limited to say the least. I saw a hand help in Pep Boys today that has the same capabilities for aroung $70.

 
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01-13-04, 05:19 AM   #9  
I have the Autoxray EZ-Link OBD-II Scanner. It's not a full blown scanner as Desi501 states but it is good enough for my purposes. When you get a CEL it will read and define the code (specific to the vehicle). It will also clear the codes. This alone makes it worth the cost to me.

 
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01-13-04, 05:42 AM   #10  
Raharold, Autoxray released their latest version a few months ago. You might check into trading up. They have a program for that. Their newest versions leave the EZ-Link in the dust. They even have the CAN standard built in. Check it out. Still not a Tech2, but good for the person who still likes to do as much as they can with their vehicles. BTW, Snap-On makes a scan tool for the diyer. It's about $800.

 
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01-14-04, 01:15 PM   #11  
I also have been very satisfied with the Autoxray E-Z link.
Now after that "dust" comment I'm going to have to look into their trade-in/trade-up program!

 
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