OBD-II Scan Tool Recommendations? [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum


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Sir Cujo
08-03-2004, 10:12 AM
Well, I am in the market for a scanner. The ones at Advance Auto or Autozone whatever my guess is will not cut it. I have read and yes, used the search button to look for references, and only found one thread. Before I purchase something, I research the hell out of everything, so I know my options are covered. I dislike buyers remorse as much as the next fella..

Who has used what, or who recommends what? What features should I be looking for? Sure, my 2003 GAGT will be the main customer for this scanner, but I want to hop into any vehicle and have it function well.

The big contenders seem to be:

1. Scantool.net (http://www.scantool.net). I dont see any support for CAN yet though. Each protocol is a different interface box or board. Nice software options, more open source feel.

$180 bucks for 3 protocols, plus 20 shipping. Each protocol is around 80 bucks, so if CAN gets added, we are up to about 280 bucks.

2. Car Code (http://www.obd-2.com). Did a 4 year old write this site? Its HORRIBLE. TRICAN is the way to go for futureproofing. Software looks clunky, like Windows 3.1. Maybe I can get a free one if I design him a decent looking site.

$240 bucks for TRICAN, shipping can be free.

3. Auterra (http://www.auterraweb.com). This one I am favoring. It is for use on a Palm (which I have). Looks compact, supports CAN and all others. PALM screens can be tiny, but compact works good while your driving, as opposed to a laptop. Feature comparison is at http://www.auterraweb.com/featurecomparison.html , and while I know marketing propoganda when I see it, this does sound nice.

$289 for CAN Capability, plus hotsync cable for 20 bucks. We are just over 300 now, which is expensive.. but if its worth it, its worth it.

4. AutoTap (http://www.autotap.com). Nice looking, works with PC or Palm, depending on which one you buy. Does not say anything about CAN support. Supports Enhanced data for a price. Good looking sofware package, lots of features.

$200 for basic equipment. $100 per enhanced data (GM, Chry, Ford), or 289 for all 3. Some add ons are available.... but its looking like 200 for a minimum.

5. Auto Enginuity (http://www.autoenginuity.com). Software looks good, can use all interfaces. Bi-directional, extended sensor ability, wireless capability. PC or Palm interface. Enhanced data is available.

$229 for basics, 99 bucks for enhanced data.. another 59 for CAN support included.


Thank you in advance for your opinions!

08-03-2004, 10:32 AM
I recommend #2. Yes the web site is not pretty, but you really can't judge a book by its cover. Peper is an expert on obd2, I have the tricom from there, it does more than any other scan tool for the price. More than satisfied and I can help you with it if you need.. Free lifetime support from the author as well, and he replies rather quickly and intelligently. It's easy to use.. dumps data easily into a .csv. and most important (for me) it communicates with every server in the car, not just the pcm.

JHawk GT
08-03-2004, 11:57 AM
I second #2. I also looked at probably 8-9 different scan tools before I purchased. I have trican and am extremely pleased with it, especially the bi-directionality. And I know it's going to be functional for a long time. I don't think there's a better value for the money. The few times I've had a question, I've called Alex and he's helped me out. Did you download a working copy?

08-03-2004, 11:58 AM
Forgot to ask... what cars use CAN ?

JHawk GT
08-03-2004, 12:06 PM
Here's a list (www.autoxray.com/can/vehicles.htm) of current models. All cars will have it by 06 or 08, sometime around there.

08-03-2004, 01:43 PM
The upcoming G6 will also use the CAN protocol.

08-03-2004, 02:31 PM
i got one from walmart...and it does everything i need it to....reads and erases codes...and does some dynometer stuff too i dunno how to do that yet though. it was 95 bucks. and super easy to use. i dont think id spend much more than that unless i was CONSTANTLY effing with my cars engine

08-03-2004, 02:40 PM
I recommend #1. Software easier to navigate than others and it is also open-sourced protocol so 75% of the OBD-2 software out there works with the ELMScan cable.

FWIW, I have had #2 and it sucks!

The rest of the "real scanners" are just WAY overpriced! The things at WalMart and AutoZone are more just code readers and not worth the money. Save up a few extra $$$ and get a true scanner that can give you real-time data and logging capability. Sometimes pulling a code doesn't do any good especially if the problem you are having doesn't throw a code or is intermittent.

Sir Cujo
08-04-2004, 06:25 AM
So now the things that have been brought up:

Communicates with more than the PCM - Meaning you can get readings from other sensors, like O2 sensors, transmission, etc? Do the other ones listed appear to do that?

Bi-directionality - Does this mean just the ability to clear codes? Or is this the ability to change a sensors readings? Or what?

08-04-2004, 06:29 AM
The PCM will have all the data like o2 sensors, transmision, commanded air/fuel, shift times, etc..... What I meant with communicates with more, is that it can read and clear codes from BCM, ABS module, SIR system, entertainment (lol), IPC, etc... That is why I bought the car-code, I needed the bcm communication functionality. So far tho I've cleared quite a few codes from the ABS modules from people fixing that common wheel hub problem.

bi-directional (correct if wrong) normally means you can clear codes, send test data... none of these things have 1% of the options that a tech-2 does but there is limited test data you can send.

JHawk GT
08-04-2004, 08:11 AM
Here are some screenshots of what I was talking about (pic quality isn't so great because of resizing). The standard tests show data from 23 parameters, including O2 sensor, EGR system, and EVAP system. The only other scantool that had something similar was Autoenginuity (www.autoenginuity.com/products.html), but that one was way too expensive for what I wanted. I couldn't tell from the other ones you listed if they could communicate with other servers. My guess is that if they did, the manufacturers would say so. Might want to email them to check.

08-04-2004, 10:03 AM
what does CAN stand for again...I forget.

Sir Cujo
08-04-2004, 11:23 AM
what does CAN stand for again...I forget.

CAN is short for Controller Area Network. It will be the required electrical interface for all vehicles beginning in the model year of 2006. Some vendors began using CAN exclusively in the model year of 2004 (Ford, Mazda, Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, and Subaru). While other manufacturers implemented it selectively in their vehicles beginning in the 2004 model year (Toyota, SAAB, and Porshce).

08-04-2004, 03:07 PM
Yeah ... and it is a beautiful thing for people like me! I lay out the printed circuit boards for instrument clusters and having one serial input for 4-6 gauges and about ~10-20 tell-tales make my life SO much easier! :p

Doctor Ouchie
08-05-2004, 05:54 PM
Sorry if it's a stupid question, but are any of these scanners capable of keyless entry proamming (99 GA problem)?

08-05-2004, 06:40 PM
Nope.. You'll need something a la tech 2 to do that.