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OBD2 scanner recommendations

Discussion in 'Automotive / Motorcycle Chat' started by Coiled, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Brains

    Brains IQ: 47

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    Honestly? Just get a cheap POS on Amazon with an LCD screen. Don't get any of the bluetooth or wifi dongles that connect to your phone, it just adds time and frustration and there's really no genuine benefit for most people. Even when paying for the software upgrades in apps like Torque, you're not going to get any more useful data out of it than the cheap handheld scanners.

    The "good stuff" isn't available in any of these scan tools anyway, because it's simply too expensive to get access to the PIDs and calibrations. I'm talking about the manufacturer specific (e.g. non-gov't mandated) parameters, bi-directional controls (e.g. Turn things on and off from the tool, move solenoids, etc.), and software/calibrations. All that is 5 figures plus per year just to get a glimpse, and there's still going to be a LOT you won't get access to. Some shops will shell out big bucks for the same tools used in the dealerships, but even if you're doing that kind of work every day it often is just cheaper to send the job to them.

    I own a good set of scan tools, including the ELM327 dongles (in USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth variants), a handheld from Amazon, and some specialized tools as well (EFILive, LS1Edit). What do I use most often? The cheap handheld.
     


  2. Coiled

    Coiled Well-Known

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    Lol. I've been doing dongle w/Torque App research for @45 minutes now. :(
    A lot of cool features but I likely would get frustrated and/or bored with all the options.

    Do you recommend any particular "cheap POS" hand held?
     
  3. DoubleDuty

    DoubleDuty Active Member

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    I have two of them one for each vehicle. They stay plugged in and monitor everything in real time. You can just use what ever feature you want. Just need to read diagnostic codes then that is all you need. Plus the price can't be beat
     
  4. Brains

    Brains IQ: 47

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    I don't know, what's on sale? :) Realistically, they're going to be pretty similar. Look for reviews that talk about ease of use more than anything, because they're all going to be reading the same data.
     
  5. Coiled

    Coiled Well-Known

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    Your phones memory doesn't tap out? Do you have to clear it every so often?
     
  6. Brains

    Brains IQ: 47

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    Sounds like a Jeopardy trivia topic. "I'll take 'Things an Android user has to constantly deal with' for $100, Alex.

    :clown:
     
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  7. DoubleDuty

    DoubleDuty Active Member

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    Nope, I have an older Android phone that I use just for that. But any decent phone should work fine.
     
  8. F350-6

    F350-6 TGT Addict

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    Actually you can get some of this stuff. The Forscan app (free) I mentioned for Ford vehicles gives you access to the PID's. You've got to do some research to know what to change and what to change it to, but I've done all sorts of things to my truck. Got rid of the sirius option on the radio controls. Enabled factory GPS, changed tire sizes, enabled high beam and fog at the same time. Changed the bump turn signal from 3 flashes to 7 flashes.

    There's more I've probably done that isn't coming to mind at the moment, but I do have access to the PID's. I just need to know which letter to change (from an A to a B for example) and then write the change to the PCM.

    The downside is it doesn't come with the full instruction manual, so you have to find forums where others have done the trial and error thing to know what does what when you start changing PID's. But that's kinda what forums are for.
     
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  9. mroper

    mroper Well-Known TGT Supporter

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    I have a cheap one too that I got off of amazon (it looks like the actron ones ). It pulls the codes and allows you to clear them . it came with a book. but it is best to just google the code and year make model
     
  10. Shady

    Shady TGT Addict

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    If you have a Ford or one of the other supported brands Forscan is about as good as it gets and is dirt cheap.

    a laptop pre windows 10 is even better

    $20 bucks for the cord to connect them and on top of codes and clearing them you can do all kinds of cool stuff

    Like turn off all the anoying chimes and warnings for seat belts and open doors. Adjust for tire size changes

    Modify things like auto windows down when you click the remote 3 times <depends on what options your truck has>

    Link to a faq on forscan for a f150
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-8dKaS_Spu4Zw4hV_CrKC4tLoP9G8yejqegF1wxIqxY/edit

    If you don't have a car that uses forscan

    The bluetooth dongle and Torque are what you seek again an old laptop and a $10 dongle.
     


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