View Full Version : ODB2 scan tool for DIY'er - what one to buy?


RTcat
05-08-2013, 12:29 PM
So I'm looking to purchase a scan tool for DIY use. I want the mfg's definition to read out as I find searching for that exact mfg. definintion on the web gets me better info than just searching for the code or a generic definition. I don't have a smart phone so no phone apps for me.



I'm thinking either of these would work.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003IOKPLO

http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3040-OBD2-Scan-Tool/dp/B004IME2ZK/ref=sr_1_8?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1368015481&sr=1-8&keywords=inova3100


Thoughts? What brand/model do you use?

Tarheelgarage
05-08-2013, 12:40 PM
So I'm looking to purchase a scan tool for DIY use. I want the mfg's definition to read out as I find searching for that exact mfg. definintion on the web gets me better info than just searching for the code or a generic definition. I don't have a smart phone so no phone apps for me.



I'm thinking either of these would work.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003IOKPLO

http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3040-OBD2-Scan-Tool/dp/B004IME2ZK/ref=sr_1_8?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1368015481&sr=1-8&keywords=inova3100


Thoughts? What brand/model do you use?

We have the CP9575 in the shop and use it for quick scans of MIL on incoming cars. It's a great tool and includes the ability to show the OBD Mode readiness data as well (a lot of cheaper models do not have this feature). It also shows live OBD2 data along with codes.
I recommend this model. The only slight drawback is that it does not have a self contained battery and will not retain codes/data in any memory once you disconnect from DLC. Note also that this same model is sold under the OTC brand of scan tools as well at a higher price.
Get it, you won't be disappointed.:thumbup:

87Pomona
05-08-2013, 12:53 PM
Innova 3160b

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001QIUGVI

gte718p
05-08-2013, 01:03 PM
I've used Scan Tool II for years.
http://www.scangauge.com/products/scangaugeii/
I'm very very happy with it. I use it for real time gauges on my truck and to pull codes. I've used a bunch of different scan tools. As far as I'm concerned a basic scan tool is a basic scan tool. Everything from the 15 dollar HF to the $300 MAC mentor basic will pull codes. I think having live feeds is useful, but not essential. The basic trouble shooting that some of the more expensive tools offer is not that helpful. I pull the code type it in to google and generally find everything I need in under two minutes.

Its a whole different world when you start talking about the high end tools with two way comms and advanced troubleshooting, but I think that is outside the realm of what you are asking.

Digital4n6
05-08-2013, 01:15 PM
I've been using my AutoTap one for years, works very well.

jayoldschool
05-08-2013, 01:29 PM
If you've got an Android phone, just get the Torque app, and buy a bluetooth dongle off ebay for 15 bucks. Works perfectly!

IHI
05-08-2013, 02:23 PM
If you've got an Android phone, just get the Torque app, and buy a bluetooth dongle off ebay for 15 bucks. Works perfectly!

x2..works on everything i plug it into and the live guage feature is fun to have

Automatic Slim
05-08-2013, 02:38 PM
Dongle



This funny-sounding computer term has two widely different definitions that are completely unrelated:

1. A security key. This is a little hardware device that plugs into the serial or USB port of a computer. Its purpose is to ensure that only authorized users can use certain software applications. If you have never seen a dongle, don't be surprised. They are only used with expensive, high-end software programs that most people have never heard of, much less use. When a program that comes with a dongle runs, it checks the dongle for verification as it is loading. If it doesn't find the dongle, the computer explodes. Well, not really -- usually the program just quits. If more than one application requires a dongle, multiple dongles using the same port can be daisy-chained together. Basically, if you ever find yourself daisy-chaining multiple dongles together, you must be doing pretty well in life.


2. A laptop Ethernet card adapter. This is a little connector that attaches to a PC card in a laptop on one end, and to an Ethernet cable on the other end. Since most PC (or PCMCIA) network interface cards are too small to connect directly to a standard RJ-45 Ethernet cable, they need this little adapter that connects the card to the cable. (3Com cards that use an "X-Jack" connector do not need a dongle.) As far as why the name dongle is used, I have no idea.

============

Above excerpt is copied from internet source.

I have never heard that word used before, and not sure I still know what a "dongle" is after inquiry.

AirJunky
05-08-2013, 02:56 PM
If you've got an Android phone, just get the Torque app, and buy a bluetooth dongle off ebay for 15 bucks. Works perfectly!

Bought it. Still trying to figure out the app. Basically it starts with like 7 pages, all empty. You can press & hold any one page & then start any of the various widgets to the display. Question is, which widget do I need to see the ODB codes?

My Chevy Avalanche has a history of the ECU telling me the gas cap is loose. Thinkin I need to get a new one sooner than later.

jd_1138
05-08-2013, 03:44 PM
I bought a basic AGT branded one off Amazon for $30 or so. The exact model I bought doesn't show up anymore. There is a $19 AGT one but I can't vouch for that model. My AGT unit works well, though. Turn on ignition and plug it in, and hit scan, and then you look up the code on Google. I just used it a couple of days ago to read a code and then I reset it for my landlord. His check engine light hasn't come back on yet. And it looks and feels nice and solid. Blue with a beefy cord on it.

jd_1138
05-08-2013, 03:51 PM
I bought a basic AGT branded one off Amazon for $30 or so. The exact model I bought doesn't show up anymore. There is a $19 AGT one but I can't vouch for that model. My AGT unit works well, though. Turn on ignition and plug it in, and hit scan, and then you look up the code on Google. I just used it a couple of days ago to read a code and then I reset it for my landlord. The check engine light hasn't come back on yet. And it looks and feels nice and solid. Blue with a beefy cord on it.

koditten
05-08-2013, 04:29 PM
Bought it. Still trying to figure out the app. Basically it starts with like 7 pages, all empty. You can press & hold any one page & then start any of the various widgets to the display. Question is, which widget do I need to see the ODB codes?

My Chevy Avalanche has a history of the ECU telling me the gas cap is loose. Thinkin I need to get a new one sooner than later.

You have the blue tooth "dongle" plugged into your OBDII port on your vehicle and the key is in the run position. It doesn't matter if the car is running, the key just has to be on.

You need to make sure the app on you android is loaded onto your phone and your phone bluetooth is turned on. The phone will scan for bluetooth transmitters in the area. I can't remember perfectly but you may have to enter the "dongle's" BT code. I think it is 1234, at least the 4 "dongles" that I have purchased have all been the same code.

Once you get that far you will have to enter your vehicle's profile. Stuff like engine displacement and fuel capacity.

Once that is done, your "tourque" home page will be visible on your phone. You will have a big gauge with the widgets around the perimeter. Touch the one that says OBD check/fault codes. The phone will ask you if you want to scan for faults. Touch yes. It may take a few minutes, but the vehicle will be scanned and it will tell you what codes are stored.

Write down the codes. If you want to clear the codes the app will ask you if you are sure you want to clear the codes. If the vehicle is under warrenty, you may not want to clear the codes. The dealer will need those codes to do a proper diagnoses. If you take the car to the dealer and you have cleared the codes, you are just wasting your time. Give it some thought.

Just play around with it. I have ran into some glitches. I had to reload the app and the issues went away. Once you have paid the 5 or so bucks for the pro version it is much more usefull. I have heard the free version is a little tempermental.

Hope this helps. Its been a year since I loaded the app and I'm writing this by memory.

Later

KO

wrh3
05-08-2013, 04:42 PM
If you've got an Android phone, just get the Torque app, and buy a bluetooth dongle off ebay for 15 bucks. Works perfectly!

Yes, cheap enough that I have one in all of the cars and there are also some additional plugins for Torque available.

AirJunky
05-08-2013, 04:49 PM
Thanks KO,
I'm still using the Torque Lite version, just checking it out & will certainly buy the real version if it's all that. I can get the dongle & the phone to connect without any problem. And when I have the truck running I can see things like RPMs, speed, air/fuel mixture, etc.

This is the ODB2 Scanner adapter I bought on Ebay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/181090500702?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649).

And I posted some screen shots of the app here (http://s144.photobucket.com/user/AirJunky/library/#/user/AirJunky/library/ODB2?sort=3&page=1&_suid=136804592380003336101166009499). It almost doesn't sound like the same app your talking about. I'm not being asked to clear the codes at all.

koditten
05-08-2013, 04:58 PM
If you are getting real data sent to the phone, then the plug in is working and sending data to the phone.

I skipped the free version, so I'm not real familiar with that. Looking at your pics, it almost looks like it skips the main menu and takes you to sensor readouts.

Check to make sure you don't have a menu hiding in one of the corners of your screan. It may be in the back ground or hiding on the bottom.

I have mine loaded onto an android tablet, but I can't believe it would be that much different.

I wish I could offer more. If you are like me, you love your gadgets. The Torque app has lots of them.

The paid version comes with free updates. The Anderson dude that built the app is constantly upgrading the app, so the 5 bucks is worth it to me.

AirJunky
05-08-2013, 05:12 PM
Thanks, definitely helps.
Looks like most of the fault commands are in the Actions menu.
I didn't even see the things in the Settings..... engine displacement, weight, etc.
Maybe I'll get to go mess with it some more later.

firebox40dash5
05-08-2013, 06:29 PM
I've got an Innova, I think 3140? I bought for myself before I started as a mechanic. It should do about anything a shadetree would need. I don't think it does live data, though. I hardly use it anymore, but since MD does OBD2 emissions, I keep it around to loan to customers... the red/yellow/green light for emissions is great.

FWIW, I paid like $40 for it at a pawn shop, like new. Not much reason to buy a cheap one new, since they don't really get updates. I wouldn't turn down Torque either. I've been wanting to try it out, but I doubt I'd be thrilled with the speed of it in a shop setting.