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Mongoose: Is it right for me?

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  • Mongoose: Is it right for me?

    Hello fellas,

    I am intrigued by the low cost Mongoose interface but have not been able to get any information about it from its manufacturer.

    It would be useful to know the following:

    1. For the ISO/CAN version, does it implement both K-lines? I need bidirectional on both of them.
    2. Can I command this thing to short a pin to ground?
    3. Can I measure battery voltage?

  • #2
    This is only ONE K-LINE and one L-LINE. The k-line is Bidirectional used for Test tool communication, the L-LINE is sometimes used to initiate Diagnostics so it's only used to send the INIT no bi-direction comms happen on this wire.

    The maker of Mongoose is DrewTech. I'm not sure the specifics on the rest. One of DrewTech's employees frequently posts on this site so he should be able to answer your other questions. Or you could call them..
    Hack your car's CAN BUS at


    • #3
      I replied to your PM already, but for everybody's benefit:
      1. Yes it does K and L line. Mongoose was developed with that requirement in mind for a certain auto manufacturer.
      2. Unfortunately it lacks programmable voltage/ground lines which are required to flash certain honda and toyota vehicles. I wish we could add that feature but it's a size/cost thing. Maybe a future product? For now, buy CarDAQ if you need those.
      3. Yes the battery voltage is simple to read.
      All my info is in my profile. Feel free to just contact me at work if you have any questions. PM or email me if you had any trouble contacting us -- I know some people were at a tradeshow this week, but there were plenty of people there to answer the phones and email.


      • #4
        Joey was extremely happy to handle my questions about the Mongoose. I bought one and I think he's right when he's been raving about it being a good product in some of his other posts. It's an extremely clever design, DrewTech's support is great, the material they have published allowed me to get started on a simple application right away without buying any standards or specifications. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who needs J2534 on a budget.

        The Mongoose is powered by the USB bus, not the car. When you plug it in to the computer, you're greeted with a red LED to show it's powered on. It initializes almost immediately and a green LED provides a heartbeat indication, and the red LED indicates bus activity. It's in a clear housing that refracts somewhat, allowing you to see the lights from any angle.

        To frame my earlier questions, I'm tinkering with some older BMW electronics. There are actually two K-lines on some of the cars, but they are normally bridged together in the "factory" interface.

        I got some jumper wires and even ran diagnostics and data collection on a pre-OBD car. Further, I was able to jumper into the bus that handles communications between the instrument cluster, phone, steering wheel buttons, and radio in my car. After some watching I was able to construct my own packets to manipulate the radio and display arbitrary text on the instrument panel.

        I was working with a dumb level converter on the serial port before, and this is a lot easier. This interface adds the checksum to iso9141 messages, for example. I just wish that USB was reliable with longer cables. Looks like I'm putting the garage PC on a cart.


        • #5
          what is the difference between the Mongoose and the pass through cables found on eBay and the like (other than price?):


          • #6
            That eBay link didn't mention Pass-thru or J2534 anywhere. I suspect that would be the main difference.

            It looked like it had specific drivers and software to run it.