Attempt to write a comprehensive article/posts on a DIYer scanner cheap.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by nickb2, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    The above heading will be edited as I go along and any additional "helpful" info will be most, greatly appreciated as a growing open discussion on how to create a simple to use, hand held, stand alone scanner, data recorder, live data capable and (in some very rare occasions) a bi directional device.

    SO first off, I will start with a few disclaimers that may dissuade any bogus attempts to dissuade me from my initial quest.

    So, what was my initial quest?

    I wanted something that had a fast baud rate with no bells and whistles with just very few but very important PID data's.

    The one's I was looking for were fuel trims, and o2 switching. I could care less about air intake temp if the app does not display ECT.

    So I needed something that could show me the general situation of an engine at a glance with a high baud rate. All this either by wifi or BT. (blue tooth)

    Some apps I tried, I could literally feel my beard grow waiting for the "live" data.
     
  2. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    SO, what did I try?

    First I bought 10 elm 327 devices off amazone while working up north in the 55th parallel, and gave most of them to a few trusted buddies who did not believe in the tech. I kept 2 for me.

    6 of them told me the elm 327's did not work out of the box. These were cheap knock off's and I expected that. But after coming back to see me and having a few beers. We all found that actually only 2 of them were actually defect and they still work to this day except for one of my buddy's who just ground it out with the heel of his work boot cuz diagnostics is not his thing. SO an extra jack denial shot went to him and I said thx for trying. He is still a good friend. He still hates to love me cuz this trade changes so fast he needs me as I do him.

    Ok, nuff said about good friends.

    Next, I bought or loaned various laptops with various os and cpu configurations. The ones I loaned came with a disclaimer that they would not be as new as when they were lent to me. That is where I found most ppl are very annoyed when you scratch the finish on a laptop. Good thing I know how to buff scratches out of all kinds of stuff. :eek::giveup:

    I found AMD very comparable to Intel cpus and had blistering baud rates for live data.

    So that quest for knowledge was very short lived and I could not care today which cpu I have, as long as it has at least 2 cores. That will be discussed later when I approach tablets and smart phones.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  3. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    Next was my quest for software that I could get for free and deliver what I wanted, which is live data, freeze frames, and most importantly get codes from different modules such as air bag, abs, TCM etc. Not EASY to find.

    Almost 99% of the free stuff out there will only do PCM data, and even there, on a very limited range.

    One app which I found astounding for the fast baud rate was a app called piston. I have not tried this yet in a real time situation, but the quickness of it is amazing. If you scale down to the 2 or three essential pids you need, it is blazing fast and easy to catch a glitch in the o2 switching vs fuel trims.

    Evidently, this is free. But the down side is, you don't have those nice graphs like the torque and torque pro apps. But again, all I want is raw data, not a fancy screen to show my GF.

    The piston app is only for android and maybe Ios. But OND auto doctor is a great app for PC's and laptops. Try it out, I have worked with that and more than enough to get you by.

    Now all of these do not offer free bi-directional functions.

    Remember, this is all about the elm 327 and what you can do for FREE.

    I have yet to master the Linux world of code, but I have been able to get bi directional functionality with a 10$ elem 327 using linux and it is quite amazing where this may go as I continue to write this thread. This may take me a year or so, I am a patient guy and have been here for a long time and hope long standing mmebers will jump into my endeavor and try new things. Most of all, teach me and others new tricks on the cheap.
     
  4. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    One app that impressed me was dash command as it actually gave me ignition advance for #1 cyl on most cars and also went into TCM data such as commanded gears, input and output ratios etc. But the baud rate was horrendous. But I knew that would be a problem since the dashboard/graphics took up most of the space for a more glorified visual app than a useful app. However, the DATA was there for the taking.

    I am going to conclude this evenings writing as I am easily tired since it is winter time preparation time in our northern garages and I am swamped in work and my muscles are tired. Normal when you work hard.

    But I have not forgotten that I would write a comprehensive articel to what has now been a years worth of investment, opinionated BS and trying various things.

    I hope that at the end of this, most won't need toscour the internet for 100's of videos and will just have to come here fir a breif summery and down load links with a charts of whats costs what.

    SO until my next crappy writing installment, watch this. Beware, you can get all this with out buying fancy software. Disclaimer, I do not endorse any of this, It's just out there.



     
  5. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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  6. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    So the galaxy s thing did the trick with android,


     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  7. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    What should one look for in the hardware dept?

    Anything with a dual core CPU. In most cases, an I3 cpu will suffice for a laptop but often lacks in the GPU dept as they are integrated graphics and will use resources that will impede on baud rate for live data. I5 is better. AMD makes a great CPU for cheap, look for A6 or better.

    While a cell phone can have dual cores, it does not have the ability to stand alone as solid as a dedicated tablet which does not need to be activated all the time for useless nonsense such as face-booking and tweeting. Some new tablets come with I5's and I7's. They tend to go for about 1000$+. Would I invest in that? HELL no, But a dual core samsung tablet will surprise you and you can get one of those for under 100$. As long as you don't use it for networking and gaming on facebook or playing game of thrones and other useless shyte us humans tend to do that cramp up what is supposed to be a work tool. ;)

    A dedicated laptop is always best, a dedicated tablet is always best for a use in the diagnostics department. I say this out of experience because I have had tried many things and have come upon issues such as impromptu updates which threw my software out of whack when they worked fine with a previous build of a said version.

    If buying cheap ELM's on line, always buy 2 more than you want. No big fuss there, they are 10$ a piece.

    An auxiliary/external battery cell is a nice investment to have, it has saved my a$$ when catching a glitch and ran out of juice in my tablet and was not close to an 110v outlet or simply did not want to bring my array of battery chargers and cables. I was on the verge of getting the glitch, poof, no juice, glitch went and gone, time to charge the damn thing and car was fine until the next intermittent which was weeks later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017 at 10:21 PM
  8. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    As will my next installment, I am swamped at work, but trying real hard to make a good article that maybe someday some one here will condense into an of how to buy and build crap for a kind of cheap scanner for dummies sort of thing.

    I suck at writing, I suck at making nice pictographs and I mostly suck in the patience dept. SO I go my own way and write down what works for me.

    My main goel here is to help ppl be self sufficient and buy what works and download the right apps for what they need.

    In that regards, last beer of the night, another rough day tomorrow, a BCM to reprogram after seeing this mazda is in shutdown mode and now has no flashers, or hazards and all circuitry is fine. Gotta love the new FET modules designs that shut down when the blink of a short to ground shows itself. Need a scanner to reset them, and after three short to grounds, most don't recover.
     

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