Bidirectional scan tools

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Jan 3, 2006
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Anyone have any suggestions for bidirectional scan tools? I'm finding I may need a means to control some solenoids to troubleshoot something on the wife's car. I was pleasantly surprised there are some inexpensive ones like Xtool, which seems like it would do the trick, but I'm wondering if they are universal enough that if they can control various solenoids or show live data, can they control all of the solenoids and read all the data? Looks like there's a variety of what they are capable of doing, like some can do TPMS and ABS bleeding.
 

wtd

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There are a ton of them out there but what is your budget and how much do you need/want it to do? I have an Innova 5610 bi-directional scanner and it's decent but mine won't update itself for some reason so I'm a little hesitant to recommend it. I also have a Thinktool Pros which is probably more than you want to spend but it has a ton of bi-directional controls, data PIDS, and special functions. Thinkcar who makes it has some sales going on and they have cheaper options than what I have.
 

D60

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The least expensive Xtool (A30 Pro) just did 4L60E solenoid activation for me, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be good on imports.

It can supposedly do ABS bleed

Allegedly free LT updates which seems great for the home gamer. I've updated a couple times and no problems yet. I like that I can just run it thru the wifi on my phone's hotspot in the shop to update. No cables, etc
 

Dave Sherman

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Thanks all, I inquired with the Xtool folks, and they confirmed it will do what I need, which is operating the secondary air injection pump and check valves, and reading the pressure sensors. Also on sale for Prime day through Amazon for $127, so that works for me.
 

D60

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Thanks all, I inquired with the Xtool folks, and they confirmed it will do what I need, which is operating the secondary air injection pump and check valves, and reading the pressure sensors. Also on sale for Prime day through Amazon for $127, so that works for me.

That would appear to be the A30D which needs a smartphone for a display, apparently? Interesting, I didn't know that existed

I have the A30 Pro:
 

D60

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I will say I was just attempting to diagnose a suspected faulty camshaft synchronizer on an '03 Ranger 3.0 and you're supposed to graph KS counts against RPM. I could pull up both but found no way to graph in the A30 Pro.

I returned to my Autel MD808 and was able to graph both but the display is so small and the differentiating colors so vague it's hard to feel good about it.

Also the MD808 is not bidirectional but I think the point is that if you want clear, concise, zoom-able (and preferably scale-able) graphs you likely need to spend a lot more $$
 

Dave Sherman

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Got the A30D, and it seems impressive so far, despite requiring a smartphone or tablet for the user interface. Plugged it into the Pilot and it shows much more live data than my old Actron reader. Confirmed it lets me do things like turning the cooling fan on and off. Kind of nice that it also has the TPMS learning, since certain car manufacturers need that procedure after rotating tires, and they have removed the ability for the owners to do it without a scan tool (cough, GM).
 
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I was looking at the same tool the Pine hollow guy on youtube, uses. And it said it needs to go on the internet at least once a month, if it doesn't then the bidirectional is shut off. So that tells me, that the manufacture "china" wants to get a down load of something from it every month.
I would really like a Bi - d scan tool that I can pull out of the box and use it and not go through a bunch of BS to register and on and on to just use the darn thing. Is there such a thing out there?
 

D60

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I was looking at the same tool the Pine hollow guy on youtube, uses. And it said it needs to go on the internet at least once a month, if it doesn't then the bidirectional is shut off. So that tells me, that the manufacture "china" wants to get a down load of something from it every month.
I would really like a Bi - d scan tool that I can pull out of the box and use it and not go through a bunch of BS to register and on and on to just use the darn thing. Is there such a thing out there?
I can tell you my A30 Pro has a minor temper tantrum if not updated after "awhile" but I can't tell you specifically how long that is.

It still works but pops up with an annoying reminder repeatedly during use to "maximize your experience" or some such. Actually I just updated it so maybe (hopefully) they removed that from the latest version.

I can understand a single reminder after each boot up, but once you've dismissed it it should not return during that session IMO

Again, it didn't stop functionality, it was just annoying. But yeah, I'm pretty sure I had to register it in some way when it was new. They don't require payment info so I suppose you could give them completely fake info....? Being standalone it doesn't have access to my phone or computer (unless it can somehow back-door my wifi hotspot?) so I don't think it could steal much info other than the vehicles and VIN's where I've used it I guess? Seems like a poor way to obtain useful data from unsuspecting Americans.....?
 

LDB

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This is a very interesting lesson and discussion in Greek. What is a good choice for someone who has two left thumbs, no mechanical skills beyond oil changes on 1970's and 1980's plain and simple cars, and no toolbox but might want to play with one to see what it's all about and should the awful happen and one of the 137 dash lights come on look it up to see what's what? Good quality and reliable, not cheap and only semi-accurate. Price is an object but not the only object. Thanks for any and all suggestions.
 

D60

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This is a very interesting lesson and discussion in Greek. What is a good choice for someone who has two left thumbs, no mechanical skills beyond oil changes on 1970's and 1980's plain and simple cars, and no toolbox but might want to play with one to see what it's all about and should the awful happen and one of the 137 dash lights come on look it up to see what's what? Good quality and reliable, not cheap and only semi-accurate. Price is an object but not the only object. Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Well at the risk of repeating myself the other issue for someone like you might be potential subscription costs or pay-to-play scenarios. Most shops have just assumed these costs but I was a little hesitant to need to pay for updates.

You may not think you'll need to update beyond the newest model year you presently own, but I wouldn't assume that. Maybe a close friend or family member buys a 2022 and you wanna be the hero and try to diagnose something.

Thus, the Xtool A30 Pro seems to be a good value, although the cynic in me figures their "lifetime" updates could be revoked or modified and there's not much we could do. Hopefully I'm just paranoid...

Note you only need bidirectional control if you want to COMMAND the vehicle systems to do certain things. If you just want to "listen" to the vehicle by reading codes and seeing live data the options are endless, less expensive and I think updates are typically free for most "readers".
 

wtd

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southwest Mo.
I was looking at the same tool the Pine hollow guy on youtube, uses. And it said it needs to go on the internet at least once a month, if it doesn't then the bidirectional is shut off. So that tells me, that the manufacture "china" wants to get a down load of something from it every month.
I would really like a Bi - d scan tool that I can pull out of the box and use it and not go through a bunch of BS to register and on and on to just use the darn thing. Is there such a thing out there?
That is BS because I own the same scanner Ivan from Pine Hollow uses and I don't always go on the internet with it within a month and the bi-directional stuff still works. Where did you get this info from?
 

LDB

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Messages
313
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Texas
Well at the risk of repeating myself the other issue for someone like you might be potential subscription costs or pay-to-play scenarios. Most shops have just assumed these costs but I was a little hesitant to need to pay for updates.

You may not think you'll need to update beyond the newest model year you presently own, but I wouldn't assume that. Maybe a close friend or family member buys a 2022 and you wanna be the hero and try to diagnose something.

Thus, the Xtool A30 Pro seems to be a good value, although the cynic in me figures their "lifetime" updates could be revoked or modified and there's not much we could do. Hopefully I'm just paranoid...

Note you only need bidirectional control if you want to COMMAND the vehicle systems to do certain things. If you just want to "listen" to the vehicle by reading codes and seeing live data the options are endless, less expensive and I think updates are typically free for most "readers".
I'd go with just a GOOD quality listening device. I wouldn't trust telling it to do something, not for it but for me somehow telling it to launch when I meant lunch.
 
Joined
May 3, 2022
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I was looking at the same tool the Pine hollow guy on youtube, uses. And it said it needs to go on the internet at least once a month, if it doesn't then the bidirectional is shut off. So that tells me, that the manufacture "china" wants to get a down load of something from it every month.
I would really like a Bi - d scan tool that I can pull out of the box and use it and not go through a bunch of BS to register and on and on to just use the darn thing. Is there such a thing out there?
I'm curious about it too. I know they have other models of scantools with bidirectional controls, but it costs $50/yr to retain that functionality.
 
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I'm also in the market for something more capable than my old Actron code reader. Specifically I think I need something that'll read and record live data of 02 sensors, fuel trim, etc for figuring out P420 on an old Accord. Two options I'm looking at are the Innova 6100P and BlueDriver Pro at $120 and $100 respectively. The former has a screen plus bluetooth phone app, the latter is phone only. They seem similar but curious if anyone has any experience or advice. Slight lean towards the Innova as they seem a little more established. Thanks!

jeff
 
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That is BS because I own the same scanner Ivan from Pine Hollow uses and I don't always go on the internet with it within a month and the bi-directional stuff still works. Where did you get this info from?
I think it was on amazon in the reviews section I saw that. And how do you know it doesn't go to the internet? How did you originally set it up? Unless you changed your wifi password after the original setup then anytime you are near that wifi and use the scanner it will do its thing and go to the net. So did you change your router password? Or just never go within a few thousand feet of it or what?
 

wtd

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I think it was on amazon in the reviews section I saw that. And how do you know it doesn't go to the internet? How did you originally set it up? Unless you changed your wifi password after the original setup then anytime you are near that wifi and use the scanner it will do its thing and go to the net. So did you change your router password? Or just never go within a few thousand feet of it or what?
I have not changed my wifi password after the original setup or my router setup. My wifi is pretty weak and doesn't work very far outside of the house.
What you probably read is that after the free updates are over and you don't renew, then you probably lose some bi-directional capabilities because I know some other scan tools do that. I'm not sure if this one does that or not. I'm still within my free two years of updates.

I'm just a DIY'er so I don't use this tool on a regular basis, so I regularly go over a month without turning it on. I've taken it to other places nowhere close to my house and the bi-directional stuff still worked without me turning the tool on at the house beforehand.
 
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