|Model||Scan Tool and OBDwiz Diagnostic Software|
|Item Weight||4.8 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||6.2 x 5 x 1 inches|
|Item model number||423001 ElmScan 5 Compact OBD-II|
|Is Discontinued By Manufacturer||No|
|Manufacturer Part Number||423001|
ScanTool 423001 ElmScan 5 Compact OBD-II Scan Tool and OBDwiz Diagnostic Software ( Compatible with all Windows OS programs including Windows 8 Operating System )
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||6.2 x 5 x 1 inches|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
About this item
- Make sure this fits by entering your model number.
- Read and clear trouble codes (over 7000 generic and manufacturer-specific codes), turn off check engine light, view freeze frame; display, record, and graph 90+ real-time parameters; calculates MPG
- Find out why your check engine light is on before visiting the mechanic; save money by fixing simple problems yourself
- See for yourself if your vehicle will pass smog/emissions test
- Easy to install and use; free license key for OBDwiz software
- Works with all models - year 1996 and newer cars and light trucks
ElmScan 5 is the perfect entry-level scan tool for the budget-minded do-it-yourself mechanic. ElmScan 5 compact lets you turn your computer into a sophisticated diagnostic system. The scan tool is a breeze to install and configure and provides a lot more information about your vehicle, than a handheld scan tool. It is fully OBD-II compliant and works with any Windows PC with a USB port. ElmScan 5 includes all necessary hardware and software to diagnose your vehicle's problem. The free exclusive, feature-packed OBD wiz diagnostics software included with the scan tool allows you to: turn off check engine light, and erase stored diagnostic information. Read and erase stored, pending, and permanent trouble codes (both generic and manufacturer-specific, over 7000 codes in database). Built-in online lookups for probable causes and possible solutions, access freeze frame information. Display, graph and log 90+ real-time parameters. Create custom digital dashboard. Measure and display fuel economy and much more. Recommended third party software: easy OBDII Pro Scan diagnostic software, Scan Master, Scan XL standard (including GM, Ford, and Mazda add-ons). Touch scan package contents: ElmScan 5 compact unit quick start guide installation CD (device drivers, user documentation, OBDwiz diagnostic software). This product comes with a 90 day money back guarantee, and 3 year "repair or replace" warranty.
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I have a rather large collection of tools, but have never purchased a scan tool, as one has always been provided by work. And I'm cheap.
Now I've grown as sick and tired of the behavior of car dealerships as most of their customers have. So I've begun to work for myself. This was a budget purchase to allow me to be able to do 'check engine' light repairs. Drivability / engine performance has always been a specialty, and it's generally more lucrative than 'grunt' work like brake and suspension stuff. Especially when you don't have a lift. And it's commonly less of a headache than trying to do electrical work without access to manufacturer resources (wiring diagrams, signal specs).
All of that said...A few years ago, you couldn't buy a pocket code reader (one of those little guys that just reads and clears generic P-codes) for the price of this thing.
Now $25 gets you a device that reads/clears codes, includes a decent collection of code definitions, shows freeze frame data, and reads/records/graphs live data. When I started seeing stand-alone scan tools that would do all of this for under $1000, I was ecstatic.
But what's this cost, again? Yep, 25 bucks (at the time of this review).
- You need to provide your own laptop or netbook. Obviously. Then again, that still means you can have all the above-described functionality for $400 or less...and you get a 'free' Windows PC thrown in.
- Live data is slow to update. This can be from a number of factors, but I'm 99% sure the old Elm327 chip is the bottleneck. It still works, and and graphing over time can still be useful. But looking for minuscule blips in sensor data is going to be hard. Luckily, that's not often required.
And that's it for the bad. Pretty insignificant, I'd say, since most people are just going to want to read/clear codes and will not be doing advanced drivability diagnosis.
That guy you see at the dealership, probably using a fairly old Toughbook with a big awkward box hooked up to it? Yeah, he's got a much better resource. Data updates as close to instantly as possible. And he can do a few extra things: Update/reprogram the software of various electronic modules (like the ECM/PCM). Activate outputs (e.g. open evap purge valve, activate electric fan, ect). Program keys and remotes.
He also is using something the dealer probably paid $4-5,000 or more for, not including the cost of keeping their software licenses current (you pay per machine).
I'm running this on a Lenovo I bought new, over two years ago, for less than $400. "Pentium dual-core," which I believe is just a slightly neutered old Core2duo, with 2GB of memory. OBDWiz is a great little program, and there is of course a lot more stuff available. On the cars I've used this on so far, I have encountered no issues with connecting, reading/clearing codes, reading PIDs, ect.
Essentially: If you're a mechanic who wants decent scan tool functionality at a super-cheap price, or anyone who attempts to DIY on OBD2 vehicles, this is what you need. Even if you want to upgrade later to something pricier...well, if you can afford that, you're not going to miss your $25 much. And I've seen the more expensive generic PC-based cables and software...they're really not that much better.
If this doesn't do it for you, well, I hope you're freaking loaded, because the next big step up is hardware/software from the vehicle manufacturer. Or at least a MODIS or similar.
And, despite the added functionality, don't even get me started on how primitive, ugly, unstable, and unintuitive some automakers' stuff actually is. Yes, Ford, I'm looking at you. IDS is a friggin' joke. Like a six-year-old programmed it in VB.
Basically, conclusion: bad reviews are from people expecting way too much, or using non-legit (i.e. pirated) software with it (which can cause problems). The vast majority of buyers are set with OBDWiz. I don't know what's up with the complaint of it only reading 'a few' PID's...I see the same stuff a stand-alone tool would spit out. RPM, MAP, MAF, TPS, O2's, fuel trims, ect.
Without a CDROM drive in the netbook, you can copy over the files and folders to the root directory (top level folder) of a USB flash drive. Run the setup program and it will find everything.
I just need a reader that can read the OBD2 code for the reason of my check engine light. If it's common code like oxygen sensor, I can fix and had fixed it myself. The cheapest hand held cost a little less, but obviously this should be able to do a lot more than the cheapest hand held. If it can read one OBD2 code, it can read all OBD2 codes. It's just like a cable.
Wireless may be a good idea if you want to read the codes in the comfort of your desktop. But if you want to log data during drive tests, you need a portable in the car anyway. For this USB scanner, you may want to work on a TV table next to your car. It's pretty awkward to do all the steps inside the car, especially on the driver seat. You don't want to read the quick start sheet, read the setup manual, install this, install that, and type in the license key in the car via a netbook.
Actually I installed the driver twice, once when I tried to install everything first inside my home first, but changed my mind knowing that the incorrect sequence will be trouble. The 2nd time inside the car, thinking that just in case. But somehow OBDwiz refuse to be installed for some reason. So I uninstall the drivers, reboot and start again. It won't work without rebooting, and start all over again following the quick start sheet.
The instruction sheet says that the power LED will be brighter, and the TX/RX LEDS will cycle. When connected, I can only see the bottom of the scanner. I can do a very compromising position to see the LEDs but I wasn't into it. I can't see if the LEDs are blinking. Perhaps it will blink when I actually uses it to read something.
When you first install the driver, you see two drivers with the same name installed. This is not very reassuring.
The OBDwiz is worse. It works alright. I think it's a 1996 program with the COM ports and baud rates. You just confuse people when 100% are using USBs. You don't need to set anything and USB works by default.
To compete with a hand held, at startup you need to detect if the USB is there, connect, and read the darn P code and display if any!
Nothing happened when OBDwiz starts. To use it first you have to do a software connect. Why do I need to connect when the cable is connected? If you need to read the P code you need to go the diagnostic tab. And somehow I read the code with a sentence of explanation. That I can do over the Internet later.
But that's all expected for the price. The top software guys won't be working on this. Guys who wrote the software will stay away from users as far as possible if they can. In the whole tech industry, support is generally non existence because the support guys knows nothing about the design. If you think you need to talk to support whenever something went wrong, you probably should get a hand held.