Cheap OBD11 Scanner that Actually worked

Submitted: Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 14:40
ThreadID: 105304 Views:10335 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Many here have used scanguage etc - and I have longed for something for my Patrols but every time I check them out nothing worked very well.

Recently I got told again that Scanners won't work on my car, but electronics engineering is my field and I reckon it should and that probably someone without any real knowledge of the subject looked up a chart my car wasn't on.
Even Patrol websites couldn't tell me - but thats the internet.

I took a chance and got this cheap $65 item from ebay - sort of expecting I might waste my money but you guessed it, it actually did something and is useful. There are cheaper items but I figured there would be less button pushing with this ones long screen (proved correct)and I felt EOBD was important.

I already have a laptop Nissan diagnostic system which does a better job but its a bit cumbersome.
I wanted something that could be always with me and possibly help others.

This item is the size and shape of a mobile phone and plugs into the OBD11 16 pin diagnostic connector under dash near steering wheel on most cars.
It even fits into my mobile phone holder.
As such it can become a useful tool to carry out bush.

Many of todays cars are so crammed with electronics that you can be in real trouble if some sensor plays up, puts you into limp mode or worse won't let you start the car because an air bag has gone pop or whatever.

These devices can reset codes, read them out etc and even do some primitive monitoring on its graphic screen.

I have already had my first incident whereby a car had to be "Fixed" and the usual hammer gaffa tape and wd40 or car battery welding setup didn't cut it.

This device should work with all Aussie cars made post 2007, and many before but you need to check earlier cars. "There are no guarantees".

On start up you have to let it figure out the comms system protocol of your car.
With no info on my 4800 Patrol and expecting a dud I waited with bated breath as it tried to connect at it got in on the very last protocol (ISO 9 for EOBD ).
You have to select a few menu items every time you start the car which is a pain but thats life.

I use mine to read out revs, actual speed , timing ,Maf and water temps which allows me to take action ahead - for instance my setup only has electric radiator fans, if water temp is 95 I know fans are on and can wait till its off to cross a river.

While these things can log faults and codes they aren't much use without an explantion of the fault so take extra documentation with you.

Mine was from ebay seller AutoDoctor007
"Brand New AUT 100 Auto Scanner OBD Tool obd2 diagnostic tool OBD2 CODE READER"

P.S. In an unusal twist this scanner didn't work with our Toyota 2006 RAV4 - usually its the Nissan stuff that has the funnies.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 15:24

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 15:24
Robin, that looks like a neat setup and a good buy. I was examining this one yesterday, it's cheaper, but yours has better screen resolution and possibly even larger screen size? The screen on this one is 3.3" (84mm), but I can't find screen dimensions for yours.

I had to chuckle at the bloke on Gumtree wanting $159 for precisely the same item!

Examining the feedback for your seller initially seemed to indicate poor service - but I reckon the greatest single source of problems in the complaints, is the total stupidity of the complaining purchasers.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 15:42

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 15:42
Ron the screen size of mine is smaller at about 65mm but higher resolution and also its in color.
I didn't look maybe yours is B/W.

On mine the writing is very small but quite readable - it really feels like a mobile phone with a coord.

I really felt it was a bit of a gamble - but it worked for me.

Don't like key operation , you press abutton for 1 sec then it beeps.

Ok on $159

I don't believe in the "You get what you pay for " saying , but it is 1 possible outcome !
Robin Miller

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Reply By: SDG - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 16:55

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 16:55
Would have been nice to have something like this in my car. When I first got it early this year, my engine light kept coming on, then a few hundred metres down the road it would go out. Several mechanics later, including Mitsubishi, all they could tell me, was that the brake controller, or uhf that I put in, could be sending false signals. Apparently unless the light is on, often you can't tell, as not everything gets stored in memory.
At 20 000km later which included a 15 000km trip, my clutch decided to play up. My mechanic was not impressed. He pulled out a clutch system that he said was virtually brand new. 2/3rds of the bolts were not tightened. Resulting in a flywheel that was spinning as it should, but also wobbling a little.
Since a replacement clutch was installed, the engine light has not been seen since.
The theory is, that when at idle, the flywheel was not totally balanced, resulting in one or more sensors going off, then as revs picked up, flywheel balanced out with sensors resetting temselves.
We could never reproduce signals at the mechanic with their units handy, whih might have told us something.

Hate to think of the trouble I could have been in, if the flywheel decided to come off on the highway.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 18:55

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 18:55
Sounds terrible SDG - but not sure if scanner would help.
At least your mechanic seemed on the ball.

I have found it hard to relate fault codes with actual faults and suspect a lot of experience would be required to sort out the complex difficult to follow workshop manuals.

Eventually I have got there but only after a quiet hour or two trying to understand - hate to try that on side of a track.

My main use is simple things like getting an actual water temp readout in degrees C rather than a vague dash meter.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Tim - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 19:52

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 19:52
This may sound like a silly question but what info do you get out of these devices? You mentioned a few temps along with speed/rpm, what else do they do? I have heard people rave about scan gauges but never really looked into them, at $65, if it works, it sounds like a cheap tool to monitor the vehicle and give you peace of mind that it is doing everything it should be.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 20:28

Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 20:28
Just what they can do does depend a lot on what has been implemented by the car maker Tim but there are many generic things along the lines below.

Today virtually ever sensor and main wire in the car can be monitored for correct operation and if it acts abnormally the the cars computer logs this fault under a code.

These devices will store all those fault codes and you can read them and help to disgnose a fault. (but it ain't quite that easy in practise)
But some things like injectors starting to clog can fixed ahead of time.

Used wisely they can give you whole car a checkup before a trip as the main computer now usually has sub computers reporting to it e.g. transmission computer , body computer etc etc

Faults have varying degrees of importance - from minor to some that will simply stop the car, and your stuck.
These devices allow you to mostly clear out these error codes and restart the car.

They can also hold in long term memory important data - like you over reved the engine and your warranty is void - should that be read out at your next service.

You may have played with exhaust and car will fail emission tests.

In addition they can record a parameter over a long period of time and you can play it back as a graph.

Beyond the above housekeeping functions you can look at most sensors and use the data to modify or monitor the cars operation.

Some - not this one, but my Nissan one allows me to measure my 0-100kmh acceleration time.

Believe it or not one of my first engineering jobs was to come up with a system that could tell if you had a broken tail light by monitoring the filament current, and marketing canned it
as to expensive in 1970 dollars.

Deja Vu indeed.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Terry 80FTE - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 22:27

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 22:27
Hi Robin,
It looks like a usefull device, be interesting to see if it works on the 2004 Toyota HDJ79
system that is used in my 80 Series.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 08:48

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 08:48
Good to see your postings are working , hope they get the rest of membership up and running soon.

Well will give it a try in your car Terry, It works on my 2001 Patrol, but not the RAV.
Works super well on the HSV as it finds its protocol instantly.

If it did work on your system then another version can be made to boot up quickly and display pre-set paramters like speedo / Tacho.

At first one might ask why display the speedo etc as you have one on dash, however a cars internal speedo is much more accurate than the dashboard display which is rigged usually to read faster.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Darren & Janella (WA) - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 10:55

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 10:55
Hey Robin,

Thanks for putting this info up. I too only have the Nissan Data Scan II software and as you say it's a bit cumbersome (although there was talk about a iphone/android version on the NDSII forum, but appears to have gone quiet).

So if this works on your 2001 4.8 (auto?), there's no reason it should not work with my 2003 4.8 auto, correct? I think I might take the plunge anyway.

Does it read any info from the transmission, like temps etc...?

Bungle Bungle - The Kimberley

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 12:37

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 12:37
Hi Darren

My auto is 2010 build and units only guaranteed to work on 2007 up.

It only reads out what Datascan reads out when it is set to "OBD11" not when set to Consult.

I would expect it to work a bit on your car because it did on my 2001 manual 4800 but it doesn't read much.

It doesn't read transmission ECU as does Datascan when set to Consult mode.

It seems like the ISO protocol and EOBD compatibility is the key - so if you don't want to spend the $60 odd dollars then I did notice some $30 items on ebay (with smaller screens) which supported those protocols .

If you were in melb eastern subs you could try mine.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Darren & Janella (WA) - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 12:49

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 12:49
Thanks for the reply Robin.

Sorry I didn't realise your 2001 was a manual. I'll have a search for those other items on ebay. I have tried a couple of others from members in our club, but no go.

Thanks for the offer to try yours, but as you can see I'm over the otherside of the country.

Thanks again,
Bungle Bungle - The Kimberley

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 13:00

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 13:00
Robin, another option is the ELM 327 bluetooth OBD2 plug on ebay for about $19. Then I use a $4 app on my Android called Torque Pro. It does live and historical graphs of 50 or so parameters plus can read / reset codes.

No wires, plus it has colour graphs, dials, digital readouts, etc etc. I'll bet there is a similar apple one too.

Very handy little device.
AnswerID: 522593

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 14:58

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 14:58
Hi BooBook

Thanks, that one reads as though it supports the protocols and would probably work ok also .

The bigger issue is see for many cars is that that do not implement all the codes so there is nothing for the unit to display.

Pretty sure the patrol gu is like this , only supporting the min legal requirement and leaving all the goodies for the propietry Nissan system.

Still they are great general tools , other day a friend with an coughing Holden Adventurer came round with a problem and the unit armed him with info so as he could talk intelligently with a mechanic and also reset his Mil indicator so they are worth todays low prices for them.
Robin Miller

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