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Thread: can't understand basics.. how the scan tools work?

  1. #1
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    can't understand basics.. how the scan tools work?

    I have just started researching the odbii part of my carpc project, and I am confused about some of the basics...

    ODBii provides signals that are standardized, but the data transfer method (the bits on the wire.. maybe call it the protocol?) are different based upon manufacturer choice. At least this is what I got from reading the sticky. So you need a device to go between the interface of the car and the serial port on your 'puter that can handle the specific transfer method used by that car manufacturer I gather.

    If I got this much right, then it seems to me that you now have all of the data sent to your serial port, which you could pick up and program into a display GUI.

    So why is it that these provide different output data? IE some packages can read some functions out of the system but not others? It seems that you could read any codes you would want out of the ODBii system. Once you had used one of these boxes to convert the data to serial it should just be a matter of pulling the data out you want and displaying it with software written to make sense of the output.

    I must be confused here....

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    thats what i got out of that too, but didnt think about it anymore after that, thanks for brinign that up, im interested now too

  3. #3
    FLAC Pudge's Avatar
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    Roger, you don't have to reply to every thread. SLushieken, a lot of the bottlenek in reading data is in the units that you buy. This is mainly because, as you said, differen't manufactureres use different protocols, so the basic tools, or at least my assumptions would lead me to conclude that they, are constructed to fit a large range of vehichles, and so it may not include some specific features.
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    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    aww why not (cries and hides under bed) as of recent its become one of my favs, sneaks another post in... j/k

    Do manufacuteres themselves produce these readers? I know i found a online manual of my ford vehicle, and its very conveint for any wiring, if these were somehow compatible that would be the best diagnostic tool i've ever seen!

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    Constant Bitrate Avalerion's Avatar
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    Buy a universal scan tool like Autoenginuity's and you won't have to worry about manufacturer specific protocols. Otherwise, OBD-2 is a standard and the tool fits all cars that are 1996 and up. Some 2004s now use CAN though.

    Say you buy the universal tool.
    Plug it into the car's OBD-2 port.
    Start the car.
    Turn on the software.
    Wait for the software to connect to the car.
    Bang. Pick all the data options you want, including clearing check engines... etc.
    You can now monitor the car live and drive away logging data such as fuel trims, rpms vs. speed, O2 sensors, Mass Air Flow, Air intake temp (for those with CAIs...)... etc. If it's not related to the ecu, you can't monitor it.

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    Low Bitrate djtrickee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWilco
    aww why not (cries and hides under bed) as of recent its become one of my favs, sneaks another post in... j/k

    Do manufacuteres themselves produce these readers? I know i found a online manual of my ford vehicle, and its very conveint for any wiring, if these were somehow compatible that would be the best diagnostic tool i've ever seen!
    Ya know roger... theres this website that you would probably find useful and maybe even get as excited about as this one!! Almost every question/response i have seen you post here can be found on this website...

    are you ready??


















    www.google.com


    Yay!! for google!!

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    Ya know roger... theres this website that you would probably find useful and maybe even get as excited about as this one!! Almost every question/response i have seen you post here can be found on this website...

    are you ready??
    How about you search google, right now and find me the online manual i have of my ford explorer.
    Whats that ? you cant find it?
    so im guessing it doesnt exist right?
    .

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate djtrickee's Avatar
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    Are you 10 or 13?

    just curious.

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate RogerWilco's Avatar
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    thats a nice Mitsubishi Eclipse GS?
    are you 10?

  10. #10
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    "Do manufacuteres themselves produce these readers? I know i found a online manual of my ford vehicle, and its very conveint for any wiring, if these were somehow compatible that would be the best diagnostic tool i've ever seen!"

    yes, most of the OEMs produce the readers. Some hire the hardware portion out, but stay very close to the development and ongoing validation testing. Also, most OEMs also provide service manuals online too, to comply with federal requirements. Chrysler's is www.techauthority.com. I believe ETI's website lists all the major OEMs websites.

    The diagnostic tools and the factory owner's manuals / diagnostic manuals are closely related to make it more efficient for a technician to repair the vehicle with the appropriate tools (like a scan tool).

    The federal OBD2 generic specification was to make it easier for a non OEM scan tool manufacturer a way to produce tools that could be sold to the service aftermarket. It covers the spec that the vehicle should respond to. This is what the scan tool hardware needs to know to communicate with the vehicle. The communication between scan tool hardware and PC is not specified and can be proprietary to the scan tool hardware company. Many aftermarket and hobbyiest scan tool companies post their API so that other software developers can use the scan tool hardware. Some do not, because the market is not very big or lucrative yet to support the API and all the support calls that can come in by hobbiests trying to use the hardware.

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