Diagnostic scanners

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fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
Not sure which forum to post this on, so just put it here. I'm looking for a handheld scanner, multi-car. I mostly deal with European cars but that said, Murphy's law. I also deal with diesels. I've been looking at the Foxwell NT644 Pro and the iCarsoft CR Pro. General capabilities include live stream, DPF regen, battery coding, injectors, ABS, steering, and typical diag you'd expect. Both models will interact with pretty much any make/model. These are in the $3-400 price range:
Overview of Foxwell model capabilities: http://www.foxwellsupport.com/foxwell-nt520-vs-nt510-vs-nt644-vs-nt624-vs-nt414/
Foxwell NT644 Pro
iCarsoft CR Pro

Any input/advice/alternatives to consider? I've done some research and this just seems like a dark hole.

Filippo
 
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Garvis

Lurker
Dec 31, 2018
12
PA
How long have you had the Autel and have you had any issues with any certain makes/models?
 

Kaane

Private
Jan 7, 2019
30
I've had like 10 scanners over the years. None of them are perfect, but autel is very good, it's the same software as their 4K scanner. There are some features that dont work on some makes, but its rare. I've had the autel about a year now.

I have a OTC Encore as well, which is pretty good but its pricier.

Launch is ok as well, but for $699 nothing comes close to the autel.

I still have a ISTA-D and ISTA-P with ICOM for when I really need to dig in, but for the most part the autel is sufficient for 99% of all tasks.
 
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fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
Thanks @Kaane for that feedback. I had not looked at the autel ds808. I wanted to compare it to the Foxwell NT644 Pro and iCarSoft CR Pro ... but having one heckuva time doing the +/-.

Filippo
 

Tuppidsay

Specialist
Aug 3, 2017
79
Seattle, WA
Launch's x-431 line is very good. Professional level like the autel. I also believe it is more capable and better hardware than the autel. But definately cant beat the autel price for the casual user. I have both Autel, Launch (matco tools rebrand) as well as snap-on etc in the shop. Launch is the go to but again, professional shop environment. I haven't updated my autel in awhile but the launch has added things like default coding, limited retrofit and personaization coding.
 

fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
@Tuppidsay thanks for the tip, and the comparison. I hit Launch's web site, plus downloaded the product catalogs. Pretty difficult to discern what's the difference between the model variants - Torque, Pro, Pro3, yadda yadda. Any insight? Also I should ask, is there an annual license fee?

Filippo
 

Tuppidsay

Specialist
Aug 3, 2017
79
Seattle, WA
Throttle and torque are the latest and greatest, the hardware is new and fast and can actually be used as android tablets well, as in the hardware is actually good.

Throttle is the newest top of the line. (matco maximus 3.0) It does everything the Torque does and adds expansion module compatibility. It does not come with expension modules but you can purchase an oscilliscope, sensor box, bore scope, battery and charging system tester, etc that all use the Throttle as their respective controle units.

Torque is everything throttle is minus the expansion compatibility. (matco maxiflex)

Pad II-AE and the pro and pro3 are all old, like 4-5 years old. Like the newer ones, they are android based and work great as scan tools but the other functions they brag about using it as an andoid tablets are pretty weak due to hardware limitations.

Pad II-AE is the previous generation throttle. Also rebaged at the Matco Maximus 2.0 . This is the scanner I use everyday and have for the last 4 years.

Pro and Pro3 I have not used but are more of the same, basically android tablets is rugged casses.

Launch, Matco, Autel all run their software "subscriptions" like this. You buy the unit and you get 1 year of free updates. Updates come out almost daily adding new vehicle years, models, modules, special functions for modules, etc. When your year runs out. You can update to the newest software versions available the day your subscription ended. You unit still works and has all the functions it just cant be updated further without buying another subscription. Year subscriptions are generally 700-900$ Now if your working on cars say 5 years or older. chances are, there aren't many updates coming out that target the vehicles you are working on. In my shop we get year old cars and even current model year cars so active yearly subscriptions are a must. Many times i have not had a function in a newer car that i needed, only to check for and update, update it and find that i now have the function. but i know a lot of independant shop guys that work on cars generally after their warranty runs out 5years old or so that don't update but every few years.

My autel units are several years old and have not been updated so i do not know the current softwares capability but i will say that when my autel units were updated along side my matco/launch, they were almost identical is capability.

Snap on specifically is the only one i can think of off the top of my head that doesn't do a "subscription" but actually releases updates a few times a year and can afaik only be updated by the snapon dealer (tool truck). These updates are 800-900$ each.

hope this helps.
 

fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
Prime Deals today and tomorrow have some good discounts on these tools. Still having a bit of a hard time, and get some "gotchas". For example, I was looking at the Launch X431 Pro Mini ($630) and the Launch x431 V Pro ($680) with 2 years of software updates. Tough to sort out a few things, if anyone has insight (@Tuppidsay ?)
  • Both seems to have similar capabilities, is one better than the other? I'm having a hard time telling the difference beyond hardware form factor. Not easy to sort out Android versions and speed of devices ... I'm concerned about being stuck back in time on OS, and slow hardware
  • These may be copies of the actual Launch product or are they grey market (non-USA distributed)? I don't understand how that works - they are fulfilled by Amazon, have great reviews, and software updates from Launch are available. Maybe these are grey market (non-USA) items and thus sold not at American distributor market pricing ????
  • How big an issue are holes in capabilities for certain vehicles? There are "gotchas" it seems. For example, I read something where a guy asked if it would recode code his BMW 7 series key, and the response was, NO it won't do that, but it will recode lots of other keys .... like WTF ... I don't want to buy something that has shotgun blast capabilities. Not sure if this is a significant concerned or not.
  • Finally ... yeah ... sorry ... hopefully others benefit from this as well ... do these look like a good choice per cost for heavy hobbyist, multi-car use but mostly BMW? Or other considerations?
Thanks guys,

Filippo
 

Kaane

Private
Jan 7, 2019
30
These are grey market items, Not covered by support by launch usa, but they do get normal updates. The mini doesn't have a US equivalent it was never sold here. These are not the latest hardware so they are behind a bit. Still pretty damn nice systems for the money.
 
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Tuppidsay

Specialist
Aug 3, 2017
79
Seattle, WA
Definitely Grey market but most launch pro level devices run the same software with the same capabilities. Generally the later the version of Android the better the hardware of the device. For the non heavy use non pro, even older hardware will serve its purpose fine. The diagnostic program isn't a resource heavy application. As long as the device says something like bi-directional communication then u should be good. That means the device can read information as well as send commands. Think coding, actuation, etc etc


As far as "coding" no device is going to be as powerful as ncs expert. As far as bmw key coding. There's really no such thing. In the bmw world a pre programmed key "from the dealer parts department" can only be turned on or off. My launch tool can do this. Buy a cheap key from eBay and make it work with your car? No it can't do that. Even bmw service can't do that. It's just not how bmw does it. It used to be when an ews or Cas was manufactured and there were 10 keys made to match it and when u ordered a key you basically recieved the next key on the list. Then the dealers "programming" was to simply click a button in the ews/Cas and turn that key on. Things have changed somewhat but that's the basis. Now there is a limitation with comfort access that only 2 keys at any time can support the comfort acess features and if u bought a 3rd key it wouldnt have the comfort access features. Now if u lost key #1 and wanted key 2 and 3 to be comfort access. With a launch tool you could turn off key 1 so it didn't work at all "security". And you could code key 3 to be a comfort access key.

The coding features past default coding a new/used module to the default coding of the factory is relatively new. Only recently has vo coding and retrofit coding been available and things are added all the time. This is why the updates are so important.

Lastly, unfortunately, there is no perfect tool. That's why we have several from several manufactures in the shop. Launch can code bmw but can't cn code a dodge. Snap on is vice versa. I've found that despite launch being the generally superior euro scanner, snap on's land Rover coverage and capabilities are actually better than launch. It just kind of depends.
 
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Tuppidsay

Specialist
Aug 3, 2017
79
Seattle, WA
If ur really only using it for bmw, a knock off icom next ~$300 and dedicated laptop ~$500 running ista+ might be the way to go. Dealer level capabilities as well as ista+ walks you step by step through diag with wiring diagrams and explanations. As in. You have this code, do this, was the out come this or this? OK, now do this. Was the out come this or this? OK, replace this. Every wonder why the dealer can't seem to figure out anything without a code? Lol this is why.
 
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fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
Prime Deals today and tomorrow have some good discounts on these tools. Still having a bit of a hard time, and get some "gotchas". For example, I was looking at the Launch X431 Pro Mini ($630) and the Launch x431 V Pro ($680) with 2 years of software updates.
Thanks @Tuppidsay. So between the these two based on your comments, you'd go with the V Pro since it is Android 7.1 vs 5.1 and a smidge more CPU? The price difference is peanuts. Not having handled them I have no idea if form factor (ergonomics) matter, though slightly more screen seems nice. Again appreciate all the insight.

Launch x431 V comes with 16G memory, BUT it can extension to 128G with TF card.
  • Operating System: Android 7.1
  • CPU: Quad Core 1.4GHz
  • Battery: 4,850mh, rechargeable polymer lithium battery
  • Extension memory card: 16 G (Can up to 128GB )
  • Storage capacity: 2G
  • LCD: 8.0 inch, 1280x800
Launch x431 pro mini technical parameters:
  • Operating system: Android 5.1
  • Processor :Quad core 1.3 GHz
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage:16GB
  • LCD screen: 6.9 inch with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera :Front-facing 2MP camera + rear-facing 5MP camera
  • Battery :3.7V/3000mh rechargeable polymer lithium battery
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi: WLAN 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1
Filippo
 

fmorelli

Colonel
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,323
Virginia
I'm just waiting to see if @Tuppidsay gives a nod toward one or the other, then trigger getting pulled. This means several people I know, offhand, will immediately start borrowing it ... but that's ok :)

Filippo
 

Tuppidsay

Specialist
Aug 3, 2017
79
Seattle, WA
Id go with the pro V. Its tablet sized and looks similar to what i use every day. The other is a decendant of the original Diagun that is good but phone sized. Plus the specs might be the same ish but the newer version of android would suggest that it's newer hardware over all. A Intel i7 from 2010 and a i7 from 2019 may have the save megahertz rating but are vastly different in performance.
 
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