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Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Feb 15 2020, 4:22am
by Fixed_Until
Just to pull codes A cheapo $20 BAFX obd2 dongle

To do work on gm stuff I have knock off Tech2. I like it.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Feb 15 2020, 4:46am
by B52Bombardier1
My OBD Link MX+ or Konnwei Bluetooth devices with the usual Dash Command, Torque Pro, OBD Link and Motor Data apps work for me for troubleshooting.

For us LS engine swap people that don't like to pay the HP Tuners folks money to license a new operating system, there are now free alternatives. "Tuner Pro RT" software allows the free editing of a General Motors PCM operating system to get it to work in a swapped vehicle. Then we use "LS Droid" software with my MX+ device to actually write the changed Tuner Pro operating system to the PCM which completely avoids spending money on HP Tuners.


Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Feb 15 2020, 7:40pm
by hatzie
MIKE91B wrote:Snap on has the scanner game down to a science. The aftermarket has no choice. If you deal with multiple manufactures it is hands down the best. The 2000$ a year to scan anything that comes through the door is nothing. The subscription costs with a Jtool and manufacturer software would be ten times that. My modis has a oscilloscope and that is the only reason I went that high in the model line. It has no more scanning or bidirectional functions than the lower models.

Depends on how much you want to do with the scope. I have a buddy that uses a Pico Scope rather then the scopes built into the scan tools because he gets more bandwidth and more channels to monitor more things and he can drive down the road while recording data to playback along with info from one of his other tools.
I make do with my old 1980's Tek scopes on a cart with an extension cord... it won't let me do anything that requires a portable scope but it's better than nothing.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 06 2020, 12:27am
by MIKE91B
I have used the PICO scope. Hands down the best I have ever used. It takes a little bit to learn it but once you do it’s crazy what it can show you. It is 100 times faster than a scan tool. You can literally tell cylinder pressure with the inductive wand. I could go on for hours on the PICO.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 07 2020, 12:40am
by TennMan
nealinator wrote:For a long time I have gotten by with a simple scanner. These days with the Bluetooth devices and the torque app...that is even easier for basic stuff. Back in 2011 I picked up an Innova 3150 which had the ability to read ABS and SRS system faults. It was about $150 then. Current ad for this older tool shows $220...not sure why

I have considered a clone Tech2 and or the Midi device I have seen mentioned. My main concern other than the $300 cost...which is not bad for what it does....was that I did not want to somehow brick my ECU or any other module either due to the clone tool or my lack of knowledge of using one of these more sophisticated diagnostic tools.

I decided to get one that would perform the ABS bleed, mainly because I like to flush the brake fluid ever few years. What I ran across for the least $$ to fit what I was looking for is the Foxwell NT630 Plus. Listing made an offer to another listing but they would not budge. (why do they show make an offer if they only will drop a dollar?!). The one I went with came back with $89.99 and after tax it was $95.61 shipped. ... 3959003452 Amazon has it for about $135 plus tax with the $15 off coupon on this ad. ... B082X6Q9RS Currently my plan is to sell the Innova locally and try and recoup most of the cost of the new tool.

The Foxwell NT630 looks like it would be an awesome tool if it performs as advertised. It has all the features I would need in a scan tool. I intend to write a short review of three scan tools that I have recently tried out and sent back. I don't think any of them are as good as the Foxwell for the money because none of them have the brake bleed feature. Does the brake bleed actually work?

Have you tried to use it on an older model like my 2001 GMC? Some scan tools say they will work on anything made after 1996 but that's not true. I found out the hard way. Also, do you have a link to their website that might tell what vehicles this scanner is compatible with?

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 07 2020, 2:54am
by nealinator
I have not tried it yet. I need to soon to see how it all works. The menu in a quick look did seem a little goofy.

I'm traveling and not sure when I can find the application info for you.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 08 2020, 9:00pm
by TennMan
My 2001 GMC truck has a problem with the red brake warning light and the yellow ABS lights randomly coming on at the same time. I wanted to find out what code was being set. I quickly learned the local auto parts stores couldn't read ABS codes. I also learned that the repair shops in my area charged $35-$59 just to use their scanner to check for ABS codes. I thought that was too much for a 5 minute scan so I decided to buy a scan tool that would read ABS and SRS codes as well as OBDII codes. Over the course of several weeks I have purchased three scan tools and returned each one of them for a refund for reasons I will describe below

What I wanted a scan tool to do.
I initially set out to find a scan tool that would read ABS, SRS and OBDII codes on all my vehicles, a 1999 S10 Blazer, a 2001 GMC Sierra, a 2012 Equinox and my daughters. 2009 Camry. I wanted to spend no more than $125. I know that sounds like a lot to hope for but I figured I might be able to do it.

#1 - Buying my first scan tool
After a lot of searching on Amazon and watching a lot of Youtube scan tool videos I settled on the Topdon Elite scan tool from Amazon priced at $99.00. With a discount coupon the total price was $89.00 which included Free shipping and no tax.

The pros:
1) The Topdon Elite comes with a really nice heavy canvas storeage case and a USB cable to connect it to you computer for updates (more about that later). The Topdon has a good heavy feel like a quality tool when you hold it in your hand and it has a long, permanently attached cord that allows you to sit in the car and hold it at eye level or you can stand beside the vehicle to use it without bending over. I liked that about it.

2) The Topdon was able to read the codes on all my vehicles. After spending considerable time learning the menu system on the Topdon it quickly found an ABS code C0265 (EBCM relay circuit) on my GMC. From all the reading I've done here on this forum, it was just waht I suspected the problem would be. I have an intermittent ABS light on my '99 Blazer and it found a code that told me the left front ABS sensor was bad. I believe that is correct as well. The Topdon was also able to read ABS, SRS and OBDII codes on the Camry and the Equinox but at first I didn't think it would. It was very slow on those cars when doing a scan. Maybe because they are newer vehicles and have a lot more parameters to read than my older vehicles.

3) The Topdon can display "Live Data" in the form of text or a graph. I think that would be very helpful when troubleshooting and intermittent problem.

The cons:
1) When scanning the Equinox the Topdon would just sit there and say "Please Wait" and I thought it had locked up. It wouldn't respond to pressing any of the buttons so I would disconnect it and start over. Once while scanning the Equinox for OBDII codes the phone rang while it was saying "Please Wait". When I came back from talking on the phone that scan had completed and it reported no codes were found. It was way too slow but it did work on more attempts if I gave it ample time to complete the scan.

2) I found the menu on the screen hard to read unless you were viewing it in ideal lighting conditions and were holding the screen at the proper angle. The menu on it isn't very intuitive but I guess you would eventually get use to it if you used it a lot.

3) This is the reason I returned the Topdon to Amazon for a refund. I found it almost impossible to update this scan tool. You have to go to the Topdon website which seems to me to be poorly designed. I found the process of updating the software for the scan tool to be a nightmare, (I believe it is very important to be able to easily keep the scan tool up to date). You have to go through a registration process to download software to your computer, download the software which took forever, and then go through a process to register your scanner. Then you try to update the scanner with it connected to your computer with the USB cable. None if it was very intuitive and it wasted a lot of my time trying to get it to work. I believe the update process and their website was designed by Chinese who don't fully understand how to use the English language. I quit trying and decide to return the scanner for a refund hoping to find something better. Returning it to Amazon was quick and easy.

#2 - I ordered another scanner.
After doing more research I decided on the Autel MaxiLink ML629 from Amazon. It is the advanced version of the ML619 scanner. It can scan ABS, SRS, and it can do transmission/engine diagnosis. as well as Auto VIN. It was priced at $129.95. With a $13 discount coupon the total price was $116.95 which included Free shipping and no tax. This was the scanner I had been looking for... or so it seemed.

The pros:
1) It comes with a nice storage case and a long cord that is detachable. That would be a good feature for someone who used the scanner a lot and the cord gets damaged of frayed. You could replace the cord without scrapping the scanner.

2) The scanner is large and had a professional feel to it. It felt like holding a large cellphone that had lots of rubber padding around it prevent it from getting damaged. The buttons have a good feel and the layout of the buttons make since the way they are located on the device. The screen is really clear and populated with icons instead of text that makes it really easy to use.

3) It worked great on my 2012 Equinox and my daughter's 2009 Camry and it was fast. It told me more than I would ever what to know and it had lots of great live data features including graphing. It displayed the information in a way that was better than any of the other scanners I tested and accessing that information was easier than with the other scanners.

The cons:
1) This is not a big deal but when this scanner is doing a scan for codes it does weird (and a little scary) things to the instrument panel. All the gauges go crazy and the clock is reset to 1:00. You hear all kinds of noises coming from under the dash. I guess it is testing all the HVAC sensors and actuators.

2) This is why I returned this scan tool. Although it would read OBDII codes just fine, it would not read ABS or SRS codes on my 1999 S10 Blazer or my 2001 GMC both of which have the 4.3 V6. When you try to read ABS and SRS codes the scanners typically ask you to select the fifth digit of your VIN from a list. The fifth digit of the VIN for my GMC and Blazer were missing from the list on this scanner. After searching forever on the Autel website for a compatibility listing for my vehicles I found my Blazer and GMC were not compatible for reading ABS and SRS codes. That information was buried deep in this GM Compatible List on their website. See if you can find my 2001 GMC with a 4.3 in that list. This website is a joke. Another poorly designed Chinese website.

3) Although I didn't even get far enough along to try it, it appears to me that updating this scan tool would be the same nightmare process that the Topdon Elite scanner was. I figured if it wouldn't work on my GMC and Blazer there was no reason to try to update it since those vehicles are shown to be incomparable in their GM list of comparable list on their website. This scanner was returned to Amazon for a full refund with no questions asked.

#3 - My scan tool purchase from Advance Auto Parts
The last scanner I purchased was the Innova 5210 that was in stock a my local Advance Auto Parts store store. I linked to Amazon because their website has a lot more details about the Innova 5210 than Advance does. This purchase came about when I was standing at the Advance parts counter to buy some other parts. The man at the counter noticed me looking at the scan tools that were on the wall directly behind him and he asked if I was interested in one of them. I told him I was looking for a scanner but I didn't know much about the Innova brand. He told me he really liked the Innova scanners and he said he could give me a 20 percent discount on one but the discount was ending that day. He said take one and try it and if you don't like it bring it back. He had one that was $99.99 and one for $179.99 that was out of my price range so I went for the cheaper one. I saw it would read ABS codes and what did I have to lose? The total price including tax was $87.59. Well within my budget.

The pros:
1) It was able to read ABS codes and OBDII codes quickly on all my vehicles. A scan of ABS codes on my GMC produced a code C0265 just like the Topdon did confirming I do have a EBCM problem.

2) It's fairly intuitive to use without opening the manual and the scanner fits your hand well.

3) It has live data and can playback and graph the data.

4) it has the ability to test your battery and charging system. You can get the same thing done at your local auto parts store for free but it is a nice feature to have on a scanner.

5) Innova is based in California and their website is really good. You get the feel that the Innova website was built by people who think the way I do about how a website should be designed. Their user manuals (.pdf) are easy to find on the website and appear to have been well written by people who speak English. They can be easily contacted by phone, email and online chat. They also have an online resources page in their support section with lots of items, including videos, that would be helpful to new scan tool users like me. Although I didn't use it the upgrade process of this scanner looks like it would be much easier than it was for the other scanners.

The cons:
1) This scanner didn't come with any storage pouch like the other scanners did. That's not really a big deal for a DIY guy like me but it does make you feel like you are using a scanner of lesser quality to not have a means of protecting it when it's not in use.

2) This scanner felt flimsy and lightweight compared to the other scanners and the cable that is permanently attached to the scanner was short compared to the other scanners. I guess you can't expect too much at this price point..

3) This is the reason I returned this scanner. This scanner has all the features I was looking for with the exception of being able to read SRS (airbag) codes. I decided to return this scanner for that reason. If this scanner had that I could have lived with the other shortcomings because I really like this scanner.

The next step up in Innova scan tools is the 5310 which does all the 5210 will do plus it will read SRS codes. If I found it on sale at a price that is within my budget I would probably by it but first I want to investigate the scanners that are starting to pop up that claim they can activate the ABS system to properly bleed the brakes on ABS systems. So the search for the best scan tool in my price range continues.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 08 2020, 9:36pm
by hatzie
Excellent writeup. More information is good.
Eric O uses several scan tools in his videos because one size doesn't seem to fit all. Some seem to do better than others at certain tasks. Even the OEM tools aren't immune to missing ability to run some tests or being a difficult pain in the keester to run specific tests.

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 17 2020, 3:26pm
by nealinator
Excellent detailed info Ronnie. Thank you for posting that to this thread. Will help others in decision making for sure!

Re: Scan Tool or Diagnostic Tool you use - pros and cons

PostPosted: Mar 17 2020, 4:01pm
by TennMan
If I find a scanner I'm satisfied with that is within my budget I will post a review of it here. I hope you will post more about the Foxwell NT630. It would be great to have a scan tool that could do the ABS bleed in my price range.