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Advice on purchasing code reader


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16 replies to this topic

#1 dcbpe

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:28 PM

Can anyone recommend an inexpensive (less than $100) code reader? I need to purchase one to diagnose the Service engine Light on my 2000 Outback, but would probably also use it in other vehicles as well.

I don't even know if such things are universal over multiple manufacturers...

#2 davebugs

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:34 PM

I bough the cheap Orange one (forget the brand) They go on sale at Sears and Advance for 50 bucks from time to time. You have to look up the code in a book. For another 25 bucks the next model up will tell you what the code means - very obtuse.

I like the 50 dollar one because it'll fit in a jacket pocket.

I have a fuller powered version for my laptop but I don't take it outside in the winter to read codes.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:42 PM

I have the laptop doohickey's as well, nice, but not very portable and resilient, nor do I like my laptop in that environment very often. Hardly worth the risk, but I guess you could buy a dedicated laptop too.

I bought one of the generic $30 jokers off ebay and it's awesome. Use it all the time on Subaru's. Reads the code and tells you what it is, and clears it of course. I highly recommend it, very easy to use and portable like Dave said.

#4 Bucky92

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 05:22 PM

I bought a $39 one from Amazon and it works great. and its small enough to be kept in the door pocket.

http://www.amazon.co...x_ya_oh_product

#5 EVOthis

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 08:32 AM

+1 ^...bought the same one as above for $39 from harbor freight..hasnt broken yet (its been over a year)...I also have one I can read through my laptop with the tactrix cable for the WRX....You could also go out to MATCO or SnapOn and purchase one of there fine scan tools for $6,000.00...:lol:

#6 bgambino

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:16 PM

I am thinking about buying one myself...but I'm wondering if I should get one with some kind of diagnotic abilities as well. BUT...I don't know much about how to use or understand that stuff. Anyone who does, can you offer insight as to how savvy you need to be to use one?

Otherwise I'll end up with the $100 one

#7 later, Peter

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:05 PM

I got one at my local FLAPS (chain)... was $129 sale was $99. Works great, stays in the pouch behind the seat, can connect to my computer (haven't done that yet)... Have used it on 3 different Subarus & a Ford something... always right on.
later,
Peter

#8 nipper

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:39 PM

MAke sure its a OBDII-CAN ready, otherwise its can only be used on pre 2007 cars. If you just want one for that purpose, they should be some good cheap ones out there since they are outdated.

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#9 OB99W

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 11:04 PM

Nipper makes a good point about the standard, especially if you need to be current. Another consideration is whether it makes sense to buy an inexpensive code reader as opposed to a more costly scan tool. I assume that anyone buying an OBD-II reader is doing so because they want info to help with a diagnosis. Well, while the trouble code is useful info, it's only part of the story.

Being able to retrieve real-time data can be very helpful, and often even more important is ''freeze frame'' data -- it's a record of certain parameters that's stored in the ECU at the instant the trouble code is set. Having that additional data can make some trouble codes a lot less ambiguous. Consider spending somewhat more if those features are important to you.

#10 lewisd

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:02 PM

what does the "can" in canobdII mean? some say just obdII. I saw one (canobdII) on sale at Sears today for $50. probably get it tomorrow.

#11 OB99W

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:08 PM

CAN = Controller Area Network.
See http://en.wikipedia....er_area_network .

#12 Fairtax4me

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:13 PM

CAN means Controller Area Network.

It's a new twist on the On Board Diagnostics system that basically allows more information to be read. Cars are getting more and more new sensors every year, and the ODB system has to be able to communicate with those sensors in order for it to maintain proper operation, and more accurately detect faults when they occur.

edit: He beat me to it.

#13 lewisd

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:19 PM

Thanks :clap:

#14 1-3-2-4

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 08:11 PM

I brought a MemoScan from ebay for around $64 or so it shows the code and tells you a description of what the code is so you wont have to search and has live data.

#15 eppoh

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 08:58 PM

I have the laptop doohickey's as well, nice, but not very portable and resilient, nor do I like my laptop in that environment very often. Hardly worth the risk, but I guess you could buy a dedicated laptop too.

I bought one of the generic $30 jokers off ebay and it's awesome. Use it all the time on Subaru's. Reads the code and tells you what it is, and clears it of course. I highly recommend it, very easy to use and portable like Dave said.



Where did you get the cable and the program for your laptop? How much was it?

#16 J A Blazer

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 06:52 AM

I bought the $35 version from Costco and use it frequently on my 2000 Subaru and 1999 Lexus. Simple, but presently sufficient for my purposes.

#17 nipper

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:09 AM

what does the "can" in canobdII mean? some say just obdII. I saw one (canobdII) on sale at Sears today for $50. probably get it tomorrow.



CanBus. It means that is it multiplexed. It will read new cars and old cars with OBDII. Can is the new OBD communication system. Any reader you get should be CAN-OBDII ready.

nipper




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