Electronic Solutions for Vehicles Diagnostics
Many modern cars have an onboard electronic control and diagnostic system, which constantly monitors the state of all critical modules of the vehicle. This system is based on different electronic sensors, which are connected to the single onboard network, governed by the electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU collects readings from these sensors and compares them to preset values, which are stored in the flash memory of the ECU. When any significant divergence is found, the ECU issues commands to different electronic components in order to return the operating mode to normal. If this doesn’t lead to the return of sensors readings to normal range, the ECU generates and displays the corresponding error message.
With the usage of special tools, this self-diagnostic system could be used to perform advanced diagnostics of the car in order to understand the state of its different parts as well as to correctly plan any necessary repairs. It is advisable to only use licensed car diagnostic tools, bought from the official representative of their manufacturer. The usage of cloned tools could lead to incorrect diagnostic results, and, in some cases, even to the damage to electronic components of the car.
Electronic Diagnostic tools for Car
Two types of electronic tools for vehicles diagnostics are currently used most widely:
- Engine Testers – these devices can be plugged directly to sensors on the engine in order to collect data. They can provide very detailed information, but their usage requires special skills and knowledge, so they are mostly used for deep diagnostics in difficult cases.
- Scanners – these tools can be connected to the internal network of the car in order to gain access to scanners readings, as well as to run standard tests and send some commands to the ECU.
Most scanners provide the following features:
- Error codes management.
- Identification of the ECU and electronic components of the car.
- Displaying sensors readings.
- Running standard health and operation mode tests.
Advanced models could also be used for:
- Reprogramming and tweaks of airbag, immobilizer, ABS and other systems.
- Running and stopping actuators (wipers, seat adjustment, locks, power windows, hatches, etc.).
- Adjusting certain values at the memory of the ECU (minor chip-tuning).
Scanners could be provided as:
- Handheld device with a screen and pre-installed diagnostic software.
- A set of an adapter and a diagnostic software.
The second type of scanners, in turn, could be provided as OBD II-to-USB adapter and a PC diagnostics software, OBD II-to Bluetooth/miniUSB adapter and smartphone/tablet Android/iOS diagnostic app or both.
Popular Scanners and Adapters
The following solutions are advised by many experts:
- AutoScanner Opel CAN.
- ScanDoc Compact Full.
- Scanmatik 2 PRO.
- Carman Auto i-700.