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OBD2 diagnostic readers.

Discussion in 'Motors' started by DampDog, 29 Oct 2020.

  1. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Got a couple little niggles with my car (VW Polo. 6R0, 1.2Tsi) and think I could really make use of a fault code reader/diagnostic tool.

    VAG-Com/VCDS looks like is has been and still is the stand out reader for the VAG group but it's now north of £220 for the genuine version, and that limited to just 3 vehicles. Great piece kit, but chances are it's something I'd use once in a blue moon. Anyone used anything with a slightly more modest price that they could recommend. A couple of the Foxwell tools look pretty reasonable and can give you a choice of more manufacturers.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: 29 Oct 2020
  2. matthab

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Apr 2009

    Posts: 3,158

    I use OBDeleven on my cars (Seat) and it does everything I need, long coding and fault troubleshooting. Do not use the APPs you need credits for, they very rarely work properly.

    https://obdeleven.com/en/
     
  3. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Thanks, that looks pretty good for the money. I'd not looked at it as I assumed it was a PAYG device where you got limited functions and then paid for features as you need them. I want to check my throttle body and possible adapt a new one, so having that feature is a must. Can you graph data. Temperature, voltage, etc?
     
  4. matthab

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Apr 2009

    Posts: 3,158

    Just checked the Android App and it has a live graph area so I guess so. You just need to pay for credits if you want Apps that are meant to save time doing long coding etc. Otherwise you buy the dongle and the pro license and off you go.
     
  5. Finglonga

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Aug 2008

    Posts: 1,844

    Location: Stafford

    Cheaper to buy the basic OBDEleven and then buy the Pro licence. You get 5 free credits per day to use on Apps but the Pro lets you do adaptations and long coding.
     
  6. visibleman

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 1,898

    Location: The South

    OBDeleven seems to be go-to for VAG, especially as you can code.

    But if it's just for the basics like reading fault codes, Autel do some reasonable standalone units that aren't too costly (AL319/AL619 etc) otherwise Torque (Pro)/CarScanner ELM mobile apps with a decent Bluetooth ODB2 adaptor* usually does the trick.

    * OBDLink LX/MX range is the go-to Bluetooth adaptor (high pid reading, lots of apps support them) but having tried a load of cheaper alternatives (most are utterly pants), i've found the 'Viecar Bluetooth 4.0' (white with blue logo) adaptor pretty good for ~£15. It doesn't support MSCAN (only useful for Mazda/Ford etc) and pid speeds aren't great but it has been solid since i've had it and i've yet had an app complain when connecting.
    Just be wary of (labelled) ELM v1.5 adaptors as they're usually v2+ adaptors relabelled which can give you problems and personally, i've yet to find a WiFi adaptor that fully works so i'd recommend sticking to Bluetooth (or ultimately wired).
     
  7. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Just a basic scanner would probably do the job. Doubt I'm bright enough to even attempt a go at modifying any coding. Car would probably never run again and all the windows would be stuck open!

    Basically I suspect I may have a fault developing with my throttle body. It would be nice to be able to look at live data/numbers to see what it is doing, likewise to be able to re-adapt the current body or new one should I need to replace it. Also I'd like to interrogate the throttle pedal and look at the temp sensors. Once I've bought one I'm sure I'd be looking at what it could do, but for the moment those are the primary reasons for me considering buying one.

    VCDS looks great but is probably a bit too much for my needs. Plus it's on the expensive side to only get used here and there, plus it's limited to VAG. I was considering a Foxwell NT650Elite. That seems to get reasonable reviews and I'm fairly confident it would meet my needs and be multi-manufacturer. I'd not given any real thought to OBD11, but even though it's limited to VAG is more affordable.

    I'd never heard of OBDLink LM/MX but it looks interesting, I'll have a read later this evening.

    Or just bite the bullet and take it in for a diagnostic and book a bed in ICU for my wallet.
     
  8. Cyber-Mav

    Capodecina

    Joined: 30 Jul 2005

    Posts: 16,282

    Location: Midlands

    I have 2 a generic elm237 i think thats the number and a obdlink mx.
    Both work fine and reading codes and erasing them. But when using real time gauges the obdlink is far faster and gives better guages due to the higher pid speed.
    Obdlink more compatible with extra protocols but for my cars both are fine.
     
  9. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,988

    Location: Staffordshire

    For a 6R, second hand ROSS-TECH Hex+CAN cable. You don’t need the newer HEX-NET cable, and the older one isn’t limited to a certain number of VINs.
     
  10. visibleman

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 1,898

    Location: The South

    CarScanner ELM (free; gets tons of updates, personally i think it's better than Torque) and the Viecar Bluetooth 4.0 (if using an iOS device, make sure it's Bluetooth 4.0) adaptor would get you going for £15.
    Otherwise an Autel AL319 if you want a generic cheap (£25/30) standalone fault reader.

    Unless the throttle body module uses an obscure protocol, you should get a fault code from both of those options (plus you can use it with other manufacturers/cars). And if you need to then take it to VW for further diagnostics, you haven't spent a fortune previously diagnosing it yourself.

    However, if you want or plan to do more than basic fault code reading then i'd certainly look at something more substantial, if not a dedicated cabled adaptor like @paradigm mentioned.
     
  11. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Cheers some interesting info there, it's not something I've needed before so learning as I go.

    @paradigm
    I like the idea of picking up a second hand ROSS-TECH Hex+CAN cable, but had a quick google last night and couldn't spot one for love nor money at a reasonable price. Pretty much everything I found was near new price. Also not sure how the licensing works? I'd always assumed you purchased the software/license for you needs and chose a cable to suit. From what you've suggested it's the cable that is key? Or have I misunderstood?

    @visibleman & @Cyber-Mav
    OBDEleven & OBDLink both look interesting. OBDeleven looks pretty straight forwards and accessible even if it's PAYG for the apps. OBDlink looks more like a data/performance monitor than a diagnostic tool (that assumption may wrong, as I say I just had a little look last night)

    For now I'm tempted to buy a cheapo ELM237 (Viecar) dongle and have a go with Carscanner ELM. (unless there is anything better out there.) That won't break the bank, but should let me get a feel for what these Bluetooth devices can do. I will have a look over the weekend.

    I think I've mentioned the only other reader that caught my eye was the Foxwell NT650 Elite. That's a more traditional reader, but is multi-manufacturer.

    Thanks all...;):)
     
  12. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,988

    Location: Staffordshire

    The cable is the license, yes. With the old cables they just... work. No faffing with VIN numbers or anything.

    Definitely worth keeping an eye out for one.
     
  13. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Cheers, that's definitely worth knowing. Is the software a free download? I'd guess you have to register or something similar. Am I right is saying once installed it's stand alone, you don't need an internet connection?
     
  14. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,988

    Location: Staffordshire

    Software is indeed a free download, and no, no registration process at all. No internet required during use :)
     
  15. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    Thanks. I suspect finding one is going to be like looking for unicorn droppings, but I'll absolutely keep an eye out.:)
     
  16. Cyber-Mav

    Capodecina

    Joined: 30 Jul 2005

    Posts: 16,282

    Location: Midlands

    Just get a 3 quid bluetooth one that will work with your phone and the free torque app job done.
     
  17. Mr_Cool

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 16 Nov 2014

    Posts: 1,296

    Got the same car ha but just with the crappier basic n/a engine.

    But if you wanna just read fault codes then Carista which also has customisable options.
    You get a free trial for a month I think it was to make modifications but reading fault codes is free.

    I think I paid like £20 or £30
     
  18. DampDog

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Oct 2010

    Posts: 2,524

    Location: North Staffs

    I've literally just 10 mins ago clicked 'buy' on a bog standard ELM327 reader. (V1.4) I realise it's at the bottom end of what is out there but at least I can have a look and get a feel for the data they can access. Not 100% but I think Carista get on OK with ELM327 protocol. We'll see.