Customer Reviews: INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles
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on February 1, 2007
I am a professional Technician. This little handy dandy tool is fast, easy, and gets to the point of the problem with little to no issues.

Self powered, and can tell you current codes, pending codes, as well as what monitors have been run. Comes with a nice booklet that explains how OBDII works, and has a code chart for most cars.

Well made, Ive had mine for a few years now, its far easier to use then most "top dollar" scan tools.

Cannot show sensor values in real time.

Clears codes - Yes

Shows Codes - Yes

Shows Pending Codes - Yes

Shows if monitors have run - Yes
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on December 2, 2007
I bought INNOVA 3100 about 2 weeks ago because my MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) was on. Plugged it in after reading the manual. It said Oxygen Sensor Bank 1 Heater was bad. Called Mitsubishi dealer: Cost of part $317.43 plus 30 minutes of shop time. Looked up a replacement on internet at a cost of $37 plus $10 for a special socket to remove and replace. Another $7 for a Sears crimping tool and I replaced the part and saved over $228 plus I have the INNOVA to use over and over again.

Some reviewers have said that they can't save reports in their computer. There is now a button on the INNOVA supplied program to "Save to File." This makes a test file of about 17 different test results. It is in .txt format and you can copy and paste it into a Word document if you want to dress up the format.

Both the PC CD and the tool worked fine right out of the box. The unit comes with two cables: One to plug into the OBD2 socket under the dashboard of your car, and the other to plug into a USB socket on your PC. The INNOVA has built in memory to save readings obtained during a drive and then subsequently provide the data to your PC.

I am VERY PLEASED to give this unit FIVE STARS.
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on April 14, 2007
Bought this, spent 15 minutes studying the manual, plugged it in, and it worked first time -- read out the "check engine" code, and, when later plugged into a PC, allowed the details to be printed in a nice report.

The only negative I've noticed is that when you reset the "check engine" code in the car's computer, it erases the reader's memory of it, so you have to do the PC printout before resetting the code.

Some folks believe that if you use a device like this on one car it's "locked in" to that car and can't be used on a different car. This is not true -- I've used it on several different cars with no problems.
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on March 24, 2009
This is a basic OBD code "reader", not a ScanTool. It can read an OBD code number IF an error has been stored by your vehicle and you can view or reset it. If the check engine light isn't on due to a stored OBD code/value out of spec then it wouldn't have much info to tell you.

As an entry level code reader it can't read any of the useful data available via the OBD protocol such as engine temp, rpm, percent engine load, throttle position, oxygen sensor voltage, lean, rich fuel data, MAF sensor, EGR valve position, and so forth. Most vehicles have over 80 sensors and variables that can be displayed and slightly higher end OBD ScanTools (some starting at $65) can read those variables which is very useful in fixing your car.

The model 3100 retails for nearly $90 so that isn't the best value considering the limited feature set. This is a "Code Reader" and as such there's no real-time display of engine parameters other than if the O2 sensor (fuel control) is in open or closed loop mode. "Open loop" engine control means the engine runs on stored fuel delivery set points based on throttle position, temperature and other inputs. After the O2 sensors warm up enough to start functioning then the vehicle goes into "closed loop" mode using actual feedback from the O2 sensors to adjust fuel rich/lean mixture as needed.

A code reader like this one is useful for translating a check engine light into a number and it provides a useful short text version of the meaning such as "O2 sensor bank 2 is low". That can point you in the right direction of what the issue is. Meanwhile an OBD Scanner can read the code and sensor parameters as well. So if your O2 sensor voltage is slow to respond (for example) a scanner could read that but a reader can't. On scanners you can also see the value change if you unplug the sensor so you know you're replacing the right one.

The main downfall of this type of tool is that if the check engine light isn't on then the reader won't have anything to report. It will just say "There are no codes stored".

Much of the functionality of OBD tools is provided by the vehicle itself. The vehicle computer monitors engine sensors, checks the data vs known acceptable ranges and triggers the check Engine light if a value is out of range. Then it stores a brief snapshot of sensor data at the time the code is set. If the problem clears up the vehicle will eventually reset the check engine light itself after enough drive cycles of fully warming up the engine have occured over a period of days. If the problem persists then the check engine light stays on. If the check engine light is burned out an OBD tool will still tell you the status.

Overall there are some better products available for less money such as an entry level OBD Scanner. Some can be left plugged in like a set of extra gauges that can display MPG, ignition timing, percent load and other parameters that you select such as the UltraGuage for about $65.

Some ScanTools can display and store engine parameters for later review or print out using your computer so you can talk it over with your mechanic. Higher end units also interface to other vehicle computers such as the transmission, body control module, ABS and others.

If you already own this tool hopefully it served it's purpose and pointing you in the right direction based on the trouble code. If you're in the market for an OBD reader I suggest considering a scantool instead. Those are a better value with more features and some are cheaper than a code reader anyway.
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on March 30, 2008
The last trip to the local dealer cost me 165.00 to get a repair estimate of 2550.00. I ended up having the repair done at an outside shop for 640.00. When my check engine light came on I knew it was time to invest in this tool. This tool is very easy to use and basically boils down to plugging it into the diagnostic terminal in your vehicle and turning the ignition key on. Follow the prompts to select the vehicle type then let the reader do it's thing. The reader will display any hard codes (existing problems) and pending codes (potential problems). Once you retrieve the codes you can do a little research and determine if it's something you might want to tackle yourself or leave to the professionals.

The check engine light went out while I was waiting for the tool to arrive. I was still able to retrieve a trouble code and could make a determination whether or not it was something that needed immediate attention.
Turned out that the O2 sensor was going bad. I purchased a sensor from Amazon for approx. 40.00 and installed it in a couple of minutes. I erased the trouble code using the tool and verified the problem was fixed. The dealer wanted 120.00 for the sensor and charge over a hundred dollars just to touch your vehicle. The tool paid for itself the first time I used it. The tool is worth the cost even if I never use it again!

The program used to upload the info from the reader to your computer is called Teklink and comes on the supplied CD. About the upgrade, it consists of replacing the Teklink program with a program called Repair Solutions. Just click on the Tools button in Teklink then the Upgrade button. You'll be connected to the website. According to the website, this program provides more comprehensive information such as pinpointing why the check engine light came on, get a better understanding of why the failure occurred and what parts and tools are required to make the correct repairs. There are a couple of caveats though. The change is permanent. You cannot go back to the Teklink program except for information on vehicles previously diagnosed using Teklink. There are limits as to how many vehicles you can diagnose using Repair Solutions. According to the website, you can register 3 vehicles to your account and create 3 reports per vehicle per month. You may replace vehicles on your account (delete an old one and add a new one) two times per calendar year. There does not appear to be any such limitations using the Teklink program. I don't plan on using this tool more than that but I would like to have that option. For this reason, I chose not to upgrade to the new program at this time so I can't comment on it. Also, from reading other reviews, there appears to be a charge for this. I think that there's enough free information available (websites, forums...etc.) so you really shouldn't have to pay for this additional information.

All in all this is a great tool and a must have for DIYers. Even if you don't intend on doing your own repairs this would be a great tool to have. This way you'll have a good idea of what the problem is and help prevent getting ripped off by unscrupulous dealers and repair shops.
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on February 19, 2007
I paid about $70 for this ODB II reader on a promotion that Amazon ran. The product does the job it is supposed to with out a lot of bells and whistles. I was able to quickly connect the unit and read the fault code from the car in about 30 seconds.

The documentation is a bit shakey -- it doesn't state much about using the product while the car is running. Also, it doesn't let you clear out the car's fault without clearing out its own memory. The only way to save code information is to make a printout from the PC application (and there is no 'save' option in the PC application to store the data on your hard drive).
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on August 27, 2006
This code reader is easy to use and provides comprehensive drive train diagnostic capability. Keep the instruction book handy, there is a lot of information on the display. This model will not read ABS/air bag faults (Equus does not make a reader for the ABS system).
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on January 9, 2007
Great tool, can upgrade through internet and easy to use. Codes are easy to read and identify. Plugged into my volvo and gave me a reading in 10 seconds, emissons leak. Now I can decide if i want to fix it or bring to dealer. This company equus website will tell you all you need. They sold over 200,000 of these. You won't be sorry with this tool.
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on January 21, 2011
I watched the video that clearly shows the device hooking to the computer and launching an advanced diagnostic report but said NOTHING about it costing $15.

The video says "Simply plug your Innova Tool into the PC with the provided USB cable and the repair solutions software automatically launches to give you a full diagnostic report, probable causes, repair procedures, most likely fix and more which makes Innova the most comprehensive diagnostic solutions company out there today."

Feeling wronged because the video shows the report providing solutions and saying nothing about an additional cost, I called the company. I spoke to customer service and finally spoke to John who is in charge of marketing. John told me that the video is not misleading and was unwilling to see my point or offer any solution.

I guess I will have to share my negative experience with everyone I meet.
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VINE VOICEon July 26, 2008
I am not a huge do-it-yourselfer but it always drives me nuts when I have something come up that I know is small and I can't handle it myself.

I recently bought a car that has tire inflation monitoring. I noticed each time it rained, my indicator lights were coming on. I didn't know at the time why or what the problem was. So I went to a mechanic, paid $52.00 and had them look at it. It turned out one tire was 7lbs lower than the others. Once I started driving , the air would expand and it would stabilize but it just so happened that the mornings when it rained, it was colder. So the colder it got the more the problem was exacerbatedl. It was humiliating to have the mechanic tell me it was the tire monitoring system b/c I didn't know that the feature even existed.

When I saw the reader they used, I decided to buy one. They are pretty cheap after all and I figured as high tech as the family's cars are, sensor lights were certain to come on at some point in the future (and the trend isn't going to change).

I got the 3100 and decided to see what I could learn. It was very easy to use and since they have a pretty good schematic about the port you plug into- i found it in about 20 seconds. (I did have to physically look under my dash b/c of where it's located on my car, I couldn't just feel around, but that's the car's issue not the reader). Anyway, like I said b/c of the diagrams, I knew exactly what to look for and it took just a few seconds.

After that, I ran it even though I had no warnings and all was just as I expected. On a scale of 1-10, the whole thing was a 1. So I offered to run it for two co-workers that had lights on. In each case, I was able to immediately find the prong and hook it up and get readings in under 30 seconds.

I each case, I was able to use the manual and figure out what the problem was. ANother reviewer mentioned that you need to be careful not to misplace the manual - I totally agree. As easy as it is to use, there are tons of features and without the manual, you're going to forget most of them unless you use the thing regularly. Since I'm a layman, I won't be using it daily and although I've memorized the basics, anything more sophisticated probably reqquires the manual or having previously done it.

Additionally, there's a software dc included and a USB cable to use in conjunction with a home computer. It's probably best to install this on a laptop so you can take it with you on the go if you need to..

All in all I think it's a great product, and for the money the features you get are excellent. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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