OBD Scanning tool

JHZR2

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Hi, Many know that I have a diversified group of cars. US, Euro, and I do help on some Japanese cars from time to time. I have a USB scan tool, but the free interface software is pretty weak. I's like for BMW, Saab, VW and Chevy at minimum to be able to actually pull key engine sensor data and see waveforms for stuff like O2 sensors. I think there is enough info out there that so long as it gives me a "code", I can figure out how it specifically effects the vehicle Im working on. What is the best bet to do this? Some for fee scanning software? Something handheld? I may acquire a VAG-COM and a similar BMW scanning tool/interface for the computer if necessary and it is really superior. Im not sure yet. Recommendations? Im not afraid to spend some $$$ if it gives good utility and lots of info. Thanks!
 
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Look at http://www.autoenginuity.com/ If you have a laptop to use it with. The basic software and adapter is not that expensive until you add on the manufacturers specific software. But its two-way so you can tell it to have the vehicle turn on the electric radiator fan for example.
 

JHZR2

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that's kind of like what Id get if I bought the vag-com or BT scan tool. What about a good handheld?
 
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if you want really cheap you can try Torque with a bluetooth obdII plugin you plug the bluetooth dongle into the obd port (usually under steering wheel somewhere) and load the torque software on your android smartphone. It varies widely by make and model. on 2010 hyundai accent it didnt show much. on 2009 hyundai elantra touring it had about 3/4 the sensors on my 2011 forester it lists pretty much everything coolant temp.. Catalyst temp, etc If you buy a chinese bluetooth reader its about 20$ if you like it or use it often I recommend a better bluetooth code reader. something like (note link is just for item description I dont recommend buying this one over anything else) http://www.amazon.com/XITECH-BLUETOOTH-DIAGNOSTIC-SCANNER-SCANTOOL/dp/B003MQ89X4 they are similar cheaper on ebay(better too). with TORQUE software.(5$) Again the sensor data varies widely by make and model..even widely with the same car manufacturer.
 
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JHZR2

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Notice I didnt say cheap. I already have a USB reader, so it is either a SW interface issue or I want something better. Im not looking for a $20 generic thing, though Id probably rather avoid the $1000 option because Ill end up at some point buying VAG-COM and BT scan tools, which cost $. So Im looking I think really for either good SW for my USB unit or a better handheld unit that shows me more sensors and waveforms and whatnot. Thanks!
 
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Be aware that most of the non-OEM (or very expensive professional units) will only give you generic OBD parameters. The list generally depends upon the year and the make/model of the car. If you work on VW, then get a unit which supports VAG-COM. Most handheld VAG-COM will *also* do generic OBD-II, so it ill work on other makes too. Autel has one and I am sure there are bunch of other makers. They are probably made in the same Chinese factory with different label and color :-) Get one from Amazon and if it does not do for you, return it. - Vikas
 

JHZR2

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They key is one that will give me sensor parameters on any car, if possible. Ill buy a VAG-COM for our VW, a BT Scan tool for our BMW if I need the specialty stuff. But Id sure love to be able to see O2 sensor switching, coolant temp sensor, TPS, MAF data in realtime graphs from most any car if possible. Can I expect this from one of those $160ish scanning units sold on Amazon that supposedly shows real data and does plots?
 
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Yes, they will do all that if the car spits out that information. Late model CAN-based cars should give you lots of information and and their refresh rate is quite fast unlike the older protocols. You can get real time graphs in that price range but only single parameter will be plotted. I get all the plots you mentioned on my handheld and I payed less than $100 at my local HF after coupon. The Centec model I have looks just like the Autel and the other similar models. Get the owner's manual of the scanner you are interested from the web and you can see what it can do or not. Since you already have a USB one, you can afford to be lot choosy in your next scanner. - Vikas
 

JHZR2

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What model from HF? Item # 98614 Manufacturer: Cen-Tech is $129 on the HF website... With a 20% off its still $100. Better than $160 for a name brand from amazon, so long as performance is the same...
 
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Yes, that's the one! It was on sale for $110 at that time and I used 20% off coupon on it. HF is pretty good on returns if you did not like it (highly unlikely!) Download the owner's manual of this and the one from Amazon. I suspect you will find them identical. I do not know which name brand from Amazon you were looking at but if it is Innova or similar US brand name, I am not sure you are getting the graphing capability. You might get the colored LED for the I/M status. The Centech does NOT have colored LED but it DOES give you I/M status, Mode $6 results,(limited) two way tests and live data with graphs. Few years ago, you would have had to pay four figures to get that functionality in a scanner. ( Some people still do :-) If you get the Centech, start scouting the web to see if you can obtain Mode $6 definitions for the vehicle you are interested. Some have it in the service manual while others (Ford?) make it available freely over the web. For some, you will have to find an underground source. I wish it was standardized and freely available :-( You will also find some of the great presentations on Mode $6. Motor magazine have ton of articles on these topics freely available on their site. Only visit that site if you have few hours to kill. You *will* get hooked on it. Keep us posted. I consider it is my solemn duty to push OBD scanners to all the unsuspecting BITOG'rs :-) - Vikas P.S. I tried to find a VAG-COM handheld unit from Centech/Autel which will do the plotting etc but came up empty. At least that was my impression from quick reading but I did not go looking for the owners manual for that unit. If you determine that VAG-COM unit does plotting, mode $6, I/M status, limited two-way tests, then that would be the best for you even at $160.
 
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JHZR2

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I dont see plotting on the vag com autel. Id buy the real vag com OBDII if I needed something that detailed. Im mostly interested in seeing sensor responses and instabilities from basic stuff like MAF, TPS, Coolant temp sensor, and of course O2. I guess my issue now is if the autel 509 /centech will read those sensors on a VAG or BMW type product. If so, then this is likely good enough until I need something more extreme. And the autel version (509) is only $84 on amazon, a better deal than the centech!
 

JHZR2

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sorry for the dumb question, but what am I looking for to verify that the scanner does the mode $6? Is this also called enhanced OBD II? it is unclear that the autel 509 does this, while the 609 apparently does (but no info or manual is available). Thanks!
 
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I think Mode $6 is also known as On-board monitor test or sometimes sensor test results. Can you find if the Roadi RDT55 does graphing? It is a VAG-COM scanner but I am not sure if it has graphing and mode 6 capability. MS509 and my Centec are identical. It supports Mode $6; it is on page 55 of the MS509 manual. http://www.auteltech.com/pdf/MS509_Manual_V1.01.pdf
 
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JHZR2

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Yeah it is just odd that at amazon and autel, they specifically say that the 609 is better than the 509 because it can do enhanced mode 6 analysis. But you cant download the 609 OM yet, so I cant really see what the differences are (besides ABS and whatnot), to determine if there is real additional capability in what the 609 can do with mode 6.
 
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