AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Cape Town South Africa
Import Agency for more than 100 Diagnostic Tools and Equipment to the Motor Trade
Inquiries or sales
Cape Town - Chris Mengel: Tel. 021 556 0146 074 240 6404 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TIPS FOR BEGINNERS - CODERS or SCANNERS
data/equipment are divided into 3 (three) categories;
Technical Information and specs, only from a book or CD/DVD on computer.
Interface tool/software, connected via PC/laptop to vehicle to be able to read
Diagnostic tool/scanner, it has it's own computer with software built in to read
data from vehicle.
first one will give you technical information/service specs. and data etc.
second one will do diagnostic functions via a PC/Laptop. It connects to the
third one is a computer that can diagnose faults and erase faults on a vehicle. It
connects to the vehicle.
2004 most of the vehicle makes and models make use of ECU 'Electronic Control
Units' referred to
ECU control almost every function on a vehicle via a sensor located at the
needed location, example;
'camshaft sensor' telling the control unit (ECU) if the valve timing is 'spot
on'. When a timing belt strip
will disfunction the ignition and there will be no 'spark' at the plugs and the
vehicle will switch off.
at fuel consumption there is a 'Lambda' sensor located in the front peace of the
the ECU (computer) to increase or decrease the fuel supply.
makes and vehicles use different fittings (connectors) to connect to a
vehicle’s computer plug. A
code reader will allow you to 'auto scan' the ECU by connecting via the DLC
fitting 'Data Link Connector'
adapter or plug is the place where you connect to the vehicle with the 'code
reader' to get readings from the ECU (or main computer)
most popular one is called an OBDII fitting - size 20mm x 40mm with 16 pins. OBD
meaning; ‘On Board Diagnostic’ II (2) meaning; 2nd of the series.
Data on a CD or DVD
Autodata is technical
specifications, example; tightening torques and diagrams showing the route of
fan belts and timing belts/chains etc. This data is software data used on
computer or by CD/DVD. Most books have been replaced by computer media.
Hand held Scanner/Code Reader (example; Launch Creader VIII)
This is an entry level scan tool that can read data
from the ECU (Electronic Control Unit – onboard computer)
A code reader/scanner like the
Launch Creader VIII can pick-up ‘fault codes’ on a vehicle via the DLC (data
link connector – plug where the scanner connects to the vehicle).
code reader/scanner has to have software for that specific make and model
pre-loaded (sometimes on a SD card) to be able to read the data from the ECU of
the said vehicle. From time to time the ECU can get the wrong readings from
different sensors and develop what we can refer
to as a 'fault code'.
codes are devided into a number detail. Letters mentioned in front of the
is what each letter and digit means. For Example: P0171
FIRST letter is related to the trouble code.
= Powertrain (engine or drive train)
will allow the vehicle
not to perform well. Fault codes can only be picked up by a 'Code
Full House Diagnostic Tool/Scanner Kit (example; Launch X431 Diagun II,
Maxidas DS708, Autoboss V30 and Launch X431 3G GDS etc.)
is a top of the range diagnostic tool set (scanner kit with fittings for most
cars). These large scanner kits normally cover a large range of vehicle makes
and models. The Maxidas DS708 does not have batteries but power - up via the DLC
(data link connector - where the scanner plug connects to the vehicle). This
scanner can ‘auto scan’ and check all the sensors and pick - up’s via the
T 300, M V P and ZED Bull key programmers.
of the vehicles from 2004 use a ‘computer chip’ on the key (inside the
plastic part of the key). The chip in the key will connect to the ECU wireless
or bluetooth, to activate the starting system. If the chip is de - coded the key
will allow the engine to spin but it will not start (de - activate the spark)
The key and the ECU can not communicate, this is when a key programmer/coder
will be used.
Key Cutting Machine (example; GL203 and KL717EL Key cutting machines)
a customer looses his vehicle’s keys, this machine can cut new keys from
template or blank keys. Key chips can also be fitted to the key and must be
coded/programmed before it will work.
Dashboard Programmer/Speedo/Mileage Correction (example; DigiPro III
and Digimaster II) If there is a problem with a function on the speedo
cluster (instrument panel) this is where the dash programmer will be used.
ECU - Electronic Control Unit (onboard computer)
DLC - Data Link Connector (where the scanner plug connects to the
OBDII - On Board Diagnostic, II stands for 2. You get OBD, OBDI and OBDII
The diagnostic tool has to
have software to be able to communicate with the ECU of the said vehicle.
Diagnostic tools has to have the right connector (plug) to fit to the DLC
of the vehicle.
Interface Diagnostic Tools have
to work via an or laptop/office computer, the required software will then be
installed on the laptop or computer.
are about 80% of workshop owners/mechanics in South Africa that does not know
anything about diagnostic equipment and tools, some let alone, know nothing
about a standard office computer. The above is not a detailed description of
diagnostic tools and equipment but only a guide.
BETWEEN a ‘SCANNER’ and a ‘CODE READER’.
difference between a ‘code reader’ and a ‘diagnostic analyser’ (scanner)
A diagnostic scanner can ‘read and clear’ fault codes - with software.
So there are two basic types, one has diagnostic software and the other does not. The slang term for an Automotive Diagnostic Analyser is "Scanner" because it will scan the vehicle's ECU (engine control unit).
diagnostic code readers ‘with - out diagnostic software’ are referred to as
a ‘code reader’ or code retriever. For home or personal use a code reader is
much cheaper and some of the units will provide a lot of information. These
units will pull fault codes only if the check engine warning light is on. Some
of these will provide freeze frames of the sensor readings. Warning light does
not have to be on for this feature. If it refreshes the freeze frame
automatically, they some times refer to it as "live data". Look for
the speed of the refresh rate, the faster the rate, the closer to real time
viewing. This can be a helpful feature for intermittent problems.
for one that will cover the vehicle you are working on. Vehicle models 1983 to
1995 are known as OBD I, most of the code readers will only cover the domestic
vehicles; Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. This is because each vehicle, in
this year frame, has a different plug and software program, so most of the code
readers will not cover the Asian or European vehicles. You would need a separate
reader for each make and model.
models 1996 to current year are known as OBD II. This is on all vehicle
manufactured for the European, American and Asian market and is a universal
system used world wide, with some difference in some countries. In 2008 it was
mandatory for all vehicle manufactured for the American market to have C.A.N.
(Controlled Area Network) software. Look for these features if your vehicle
falls within the year frames.
a code reader has given you a fault code, and you replaced the sensor it
indicated and the problem or light still exists, a Scanner with diagnostic
software is needed. These units cost a lot more money. These are more for the
professional technician or repair shop. They will do everything the code reader
will do and the warning light doesn't have to be on. These units usually come
with cables for both OBD I and OBD II European, American and Asian vehicles.
These units are equipped with software to help direct you through flow charts to
determine the real problem.
good features to look for in a diagnostic scanner are;
Bi - directional control; meaning they can actuate certain sensors on the
vehicle to see what the other sensors will do to compensate.
Larger coverage on the vehicles like ABS, SRS, Transmission and Body code
diagnostics. Some of the code readers are coming with ABS code retrieval but
they still have no diagnostic features in that area either.
PC accessibility is a helpful feature to allow storage of customer vehicle
information. Also the unit back up software.
Updating capabilities - this can get very costly. Some manufactures will not
allow you to skip a year, they charge for each year missed, while others will
include the catch up at no additional charge.
How long has the unit been on the market - technology is constantly changing and
scanners seem to be discontinued every 4 or 5 years.
when looking for the best deal; make sure you are not losing beneficial features
with the price cut. Buying from a company that will be there to support you is a
good practice also.
above is not a detailed description of diagnostic tools and equipment but only a
guide for beginners.
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