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Old 03-14-2003, 09:53 PM
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Post Whats your favorite scan tool and why?

Thats the question, and how much should a person spend?

What about OBDII and earlier compatibility, not all do both?

Have you tried the software versions that connect through your home computers parallel/serial port?

Let me know your opinions.
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Old 03-15-2003, 05:27 AM
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4 Jaw...

I have an OTC 4000E series scan tool. It covers (with the proper insert cartridge) 1979 to present. It also does ASIAN and EUROPEAN but I haven't the software for it (easy availability) as I do mostly FORD and GM. It is portable and you can take it to the job (hard to do with PC). It will walk you through most diagnostic routines and can view data stream very easily. It even has the dedicated FORD Star diagnostics if you want to go that way.

This is a mid-level scanner as a better (advanced) system is marketed now. I would purchase one that does more than just OBD-II.
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Old 03-19-2003, 06:43 AM
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Hey Chuck,

I haven't seen a free OBDII software scanner out there yet, maybe I haven't looked hard enough. Heck, it's been the standard since '96 surely someone has hacked it by now! Is this for a specific vehicle? If so, maybe you could find a software package to work with that one vehicle for the time being.

I wound up writing my own scan tool. My donor ECM is pre-OBDII and I wanted a graphical in-dash display with varying levels of detail in addition to detailed logging..


Back to your question, it would seem to me (as a definite non-expert) that with a software/PC/serial cable version would be more easily upgraded and could also serve as the shop jukebox.. I know pre-OBDII GM scanners are out there as freeware, haven't looked into Ford, Chrysler, etc scanners. I think it's a matter of time before a reasonably priced (or free!) OBDII version comes out for the backyard tuner. You could probably get away pretty cheaply with the PC route, but you'd probably have one program for each make of pre-96 vehicle and one program for all 96+ (OBDII) models. Not the slickest setup, but probably really cheap. Make your own interface cables, too - they're way too expensive to buy.

I'm sure you're probably seen some of these links:

<a href="http://club.calibra.chez.tiscali.fr/pages/ecu2pc.htm#Links" target="_blank">http://club.calibra.chez.tiscali.fr/pages/ecu2pc.htm#Links</a>

<a href="http://www.ws6transam.org/ALDL.html" target="_blank">http://www.ws6transam.org/ALDL.html</a>

<a href="http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Shop/9938/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Shop/9938/index.html</a>

<a href="http://www.diy-efi.org/gmecm/" target="_blank">http://www.diy-efi.org/gmecm/</a>

<a href="http://w1.601.telia.com/~u60113744/software/winaldl/winaldl.htm" target="_blank">http://w1.601.telia.com/~u60113744/software/winaldl/winaldl.htm</a>
^^^ a free pre-OBDII scan tool.

Sorry, I got a little off topic, but hopefully you'll get something useful out of this.
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Old 03-19-2003, 06:56 AM
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What the #@$^$@%^ are you guys talking about!?!
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Old 03-19-2003, 07:02 AM
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Thanks SV8, I purchased this <a href="http://www.actron.com/cgi-bin/web_store.cgi?page=cp9110.htm" target="_blank">scanner</a> this weekend after reviewing my alternatives here in Canada. This unit with Ford cartridge was just over $500 CDN. The most inexpensive OTC version was $1400 CDN but of course it does all vehicles without cartridge changes.

For me this is all I need and has already pinpointed my problem...two bad O2 sensors that work well until they get real hot after driving for 20 minutes or longer. Investing this kind of cash just to diagnose one car is a bit much but this is not the first Ford I have owned (likely not the last either) and I am tired of just throwing parts at a problem using KOEO codes.

The software solutions I looked at basically distilled down to buying a laptop and $200 worth of software to do the same job, I could not find a suitable laptop for under $600 here so this was my cheapest alternative.

One thing is for sure, I do not like the idea of interfacing a laptop with my cars computer if the software and cabling wasn't already figured out. The idea of experimenting with this car is not something I'm willing to consider (or have time for).

Thanks for the info, lots of good info in those links!
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Old 03-19-2003, 07:48 AM
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4 Jaw,

Good point - if you need a laptop to monitor it while you drive, it gets expensive. I'm building a couple of computers right into the truck anyway, so the laptop cost didn't come into my calculations. I think I spent around $4-500 for a computer and a cheap LCD screen, not considering the donated parts I had kicking around.

So what do the cartridges cost, if you wanted to diagnose a second vehicle? Are the cartidges pretty generic? I mean, does one cartridge cover multiple years and models from the same MFGR?
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:25 AM
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The cartridges here were $187 each with one for GM, Dodge, Imports and another one pending that does OBDII. The years covered is from 84-96 for the Ford cartridge, basically everything pre-OBDII.

Are you running your sound system through your on-board computer? 100Gb drive would sure hold a lot of MP3's!
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Old 03-20-2003, 12:50 PM
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Yep - sound (MP3 and voice synth.), video (for the back seats), GPS and climate control will all be run through the onboard computers... I get way too carried away.

All I have done at the moment is the ECM interface, MP3 and voice. The rest may come when I get some more $$$.
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Old 03-20-2003, 03:04 PM
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Well you asked so I must chime in. I have been using Snap-Ons scanners for years and haven't found any others to compare (excluding manufacture specific like Fords WDS or Chryslers DRB which only dealerships have). Snap-On is generally more than any do-it yourselfer would want to buy but it has way more features than OTC or others, including the ability to record failure data (it calls it a movie) for playback later. I just traded my old scanner in for their newer one which now has a larger color screan and graphing ability. At a couple thousand dollars it's not cheap but when it's your living there is no substitute for the best.
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Old 03-20-2003, 05:07 PM
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I like the Snap-on stuff too, I bought one of their timing lights with the digital readout and I love it.

I only wish I could afford one of their scanners.

On the good side this little scanner does record and playback too, I have a little lead acid instrument battery so I can keep the scanner powered up so I can review the data from the couch instead of in the car. I am just now constructing the project case and velcro base attachment to fit the existing case.

Darn hotrodders are always hopping things up... :p
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Old 03-21-2003, 09:51 AM
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i are computer illerate but my bud whipped out this laser temperature gauge that blew me away! read the temp of anything you pointed it at instantly. solved my fan switch problem and irratic temp readings.
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Old 03-21-2003, 11:03 AM
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I'm kind of new here, & don't want to stick my nose too far into y'alls business yet, but the scan tool that I use on my OBDII LS1 car is http://www.autotap.com/ it does verygood with data logging & it doesn't take a very high powered laptop to run.

[ March 21, 2003: Message edited by: jamnut ]</p>
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Old 03-22-2003, 03:45 AM
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[quote]I'm kind of new here, & don't want to stick my nose too far into y'alls business yet <hr></blockquote>
Don't be shy, stick it right in there.
Welcome aboard, by the way nice bike.
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Old 03-22-2003, 04:29 AM
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Is that a -Snap-on MTG 2500-[/b]</a>?

<a href="http://www.genisysotc.com/]-OTC Genisys-


Can you FLASH EEC IV with your scanner?
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Old 03-22-2003, 05:43 AM
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Pretty neat link Kultulz, haven't seen that model yet. I've worked with a couple of the older OTC scanners but none with graphing. The funny thing is both scanners answer yes to almost everything except the last three items of the first page and alot of the items on the second and third pages are trivial. It also words things to purposely make their scanner look better (sales people), saying Snap-Ons doesn't do a list of things (Genisys offers Min, Max, and live digital data even in Graph Mode.) yet Snap-Ons does offer Min/Max readings in graphing mode. It mentions Snap-Ons thumbwheel and endless text, I always found Snap-ons thumbwheel set-up to be one of the easiest to use. The "endless" text it mentions would have to be the great job Snap-On does at explaining each screen to create a scanner that anyone can operate. It says Snap-On doesn't offer demonstration modes which it does. I don't know about OTCs updates but they do have a point about the cost of Snap-Ons update cartridges. They are very expensive to update. If I didn't make a living off it I would probably never be able to justify the cost. I have sworn by Snap-On for years, whether you're talking tools or diagnostic equiptment, but if I knew someone local with that particular scanner I would certainly want to try it out. It does look like a nice scanner but I don't always trust 100% what I read cause it's not always impartial. Another feature I like about the new Snap-On scanner is on older OBD1 Fords that you used to only be able to perform a KOEO and KOER tests and then you had to backprobe sensors with a DVOM or use a breakout box for actual sensor readings you can now see live PIDs on the OBD1 systems. It would be nice to actually see what the Genisys can do, not just what it says it can do, but I have yet to see one. I didn't see anything on cost of the Genisys scanner, any ideas on what one of these cost and the costs of their updates? Just wonder how their prices compare.
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