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Old 07-26-2010, 06:02 AM   #1
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Actron scanners

I am looking at a couple scanners, both made by Actron, that have fairly similar capabilities. One, however, "Displays modes 1-9 of global OBD II data". I'm new at this...what does that mean, and how important is it??

Also regarding the Actron models in general, what's the difference between the CP 91xx series and the CP 95xx? Are the 95xx just newer versions?

I've heard people tout the CP 9125 as a simple code reader from which one can then get online and find the additional info about the code (and the means of fixing the problem). This would be a tempting way to go, but from the descriptions I've read, it does not display "manufacturer specific code definitions." Is that not important? Are these what they call "enhanced codes"?

Thanks for any input.

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Old 07-26-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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I have the 9125 and all i neeed to get from it is the code, so that's why i purchased that one. All the information you need can be pulled off the net with the codes pulled.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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Yes...........................

Mode 1: Monitor Status and Current Data

Mode 1 is where you will find the status of the onboard monitors. Each monitor is associated with a system or component on the car that can impact the emissions it produces. Monitors are classified as either continuous or non-continuous. The continuous monitors are the Comprehensive Component monitor, the Misfire monitor and the Fuel monitor. All the others are non-continuous.
Each monitor contains a test or series of tests the ECM uses to gauge the operational health of that system or component. The monitor status screen simply tells us whether all of the tests contained within that monitor have run to completion. When checked, they should all read Ready or Complete. If the vehicle you are testing does not use a given monitor, then the message will read Not Supported or Not Available.
Any monitor that reads Not Ready or Not Complete indicates a few things. Either the codes have been cleared with a scan tool, causing the monitors to reset, or battery power has been lost to the ECM. This can be a diagnostic aid. If power was lost due to a wiring fault or ailing battery, the ECM is constantly "rebooting" and this can cause some drivability issues.
In addition to the status of the monitors, Mode 1 is home to Current Data, also called Live Data. This is the screen showing the PID information live. Unlike some OE enhanced PIDS, however, Global OBDII PIDs are ACTUAL data. A good example is the Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) PID. Because this PID is related to fuel control, some OEMs will substitute a data value if the true ECT reading is suspect, and that is the number you will see in enhanced mode. In Global mode, though, you will see the true ECT reading, whatever it may be.

Mode 2: Freeze Frame

Freeze Frame is a record of the available data PIDs stored by the ECM at the same time it matures a DTC. This can be important information for diagnosis. It helps you recreate the conditions present at the time the trouble code was matured.
This is especially valuable when diagnosing codes related to the continuous monitors, because they can be recorded at any load/rpm combination. Freeze Frame stored for codes related to the non-continuous monitors is usually just a reflection of the conditions required by the ECM to run the applicable test.

Mode 3: Stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes

Mode 3 is where you will find a list of any DTCs that have matured and caused the ECM to command the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) on. These can be the first fault of a "1-trip" code or the second consecutive fault of a "2-trip" code.
Even if a code has matured, the ECM keeps testing. If the test(s) that once failed now pass for three consecutive tries, the ECM will turn off the MIL. The code, however, will continue to be stored in Mode 3.
After a specified number of warm-up cycles with no recurrence, the code will be erased from memory. This often comes into play when a customer sets an appointment for a Check Engine diagnosis, but by the time he or she arrives, the MIL is off. Look anyway, because the culprit may still be in there somewhere.

Mode 4: Clear Codes

Once you have completed the repairs and are ready to verify that repair, use Mode 4 to clear the code(s) from memory. But don't do it until you are ready to verify the fix. Clearing the codes will also reset the monitors and erase any existing test results they contain.

Mode 5: Oxygen Sensor Monitor Test Results

Mode 5 contains the tests and their results the ECM used to verify the proper operation of the oxygen sensors.
This can help when faced with certain diagnostic challenges, like chasing down the cause of a catalytic converter efficiency code.
Because these tests usually use information from the oxygen sensors, a faulty sensor will affect the results and may be the root cause of the DTC. Checking Mode 5 test results, if available, can help verify the health of the oxygen sensors. If Mode 5 isn't available for the vehicle you are testing, the answer will lie in the next mode on the list.

Mode 6: Non-continuous Monitor Test Results

Mode 6 is unique in that it lists the individual tests and their results for every non-continuous monitor. In the past, this information was hidden; that is, the data displayed had to be translated and converted before a tech had real information he or she could use. Today, though, most aftermarket service information systems list the test identifications and descriptions, making Mode 6 friendlier and more valuable.
Early Ford Mode 6 also included misfire monitor test results, even though this monitor is classified as continuous.
All vehicles using Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol have the misfire monitor results as well. In addition, CAN vehicles have improved Mode 6 with data screens already translated and converted into real data.

Mode 7: Continuous Monitor Test Results

Many aftermarket scan tools list Mode 7 as Pending Codes. Here is where you will find record of any 2-trip code related to the continuous monitors that the ECM has failed once already. Mode 7 can be used to test your repairs of these codes by clearing the ECM, test-driving the car under the same conditions recorded in the original Freeze Frame and checking to see if the code reappears here. Some later-year OBDII vehicles, and all CAN vehicles, will record the first fault of non-continuous monitor related codes in Mode 7.

Mode 8: Request Control Of Onboard Systems

Currently, only the EVAP system is available here, and then only on some vehicles. Mode 8, if available, will seal the EVAP system by closing the canister vent valve, allowing you to then vacuum or pressure test the system for leaks.

Mode 9: Vehicle Information

Mode 9 contains the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and the ECM's calibration information. Because many drivability issues are related to programming, this information can help you determine whether or not the module requires a reflash. And I have been burned once by missing a mismatched VIN, due to a junkyard ECM being installed in the car. Most aftermarket scan tools require all sorts of information be input before being able to connect in enhanced modes. Global OBDII hook-up is generally faster, with no such need.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:21 AM   #4
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OK, we know what the codes are and what they mean

from the Porsche repair and diagnosis manuals.

But I've never seen much data relating to the other modes and how to interpret data from them.

I have a simple 91xx series Actron and I always figured if things got more complicated than the simple Pnnnn codes, I'd be over my head and need someone really experienced with the M96 engine to interpret the data anyway so no use in having the multiple modes diagnostic capability myself.

Is this the right way of thinking JFP?
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:23 AM   #5
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Get that one that doesnt cost more than $100. It's not like you'll be gettng CEL codes every month.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:30 AM   #6
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I got one of those pocket Actrons for sale at a Pepboys for $40. Reads all the codes, and clears em too. Nothing fancy though, but does the job.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefocke
from the Porsche repair and diagnosis manuals.

But I've never seen much data relating to the other modes and how to interpret data from them.

I have a simple 91xx series Actron and I always figured if things got more complicated than the simple Pnnnn codes, I'd be over my head and need someone really experienced with the M96 engine to interpret the data anyway so no use in having the multiple modes diagnostic capability myself.

Is this the right way of thinking JFP?

You are pretty close, Mike. The more complicated a diagnostic tool becomes; it actually becomes more difficult to interpret. "Modes" are the latest electronic way to "slice and dice" the data in an attempt to correctly diagnose the problem the first time in cars that seem to add more sensors and electronics every day. For our work on Porsche's, we use a 9145 Actron and the Durametric "Pro" system. I have had a chance to test one of the newer Actron 9575 Autoscanner Plus units for a week or so. The newer unit has some interesting capabilities, such as a USB port for web based updating, or the scrolling list of possible issues for a given code; but I can honest ly say that I'm not about to run out and buy one unless the 9145 suddenly takes a dive.

As for your comments on diagnostics in general, Porsche (like most other OEM’s) has never made it easy for independents to gain access to the diagnostic “decision trees” that let you work your way thru a given code. It becomes even more of an issue if the problem involves their “protected code” areas, which most general use scanners can’t even see. As the result, a lot of work is done based upon the hard data you can get from a scanner, and then apply a heavy dose of intuition gained from years of experience to form your own decision tree. And the biggest problem with “gut feelings” is the matter of whose gut is doing the feeling….

For the serious “backyard” wrench, the new Actron (which actually costs less than the 9145 did when I bought it years back) would be a fine addition to the tool box because it can be used on anything made after 1996, is updateable via the web, and it is reasonably priced. For the more “average” backyarder, a cheaper unit would probably do fine. But you always need to go into scanners with your eyes open, as everything from a Boxster, to a Corvette, to your garden variety Caddy have restricted code areas where these basic units are going to be of little help.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:56 PM   #8
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Is there anything that the Actron will do on a 986 that a Durametric won't?
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_T
Is there anything that the Actron will do on a 986 that a Durametric won't?
It actually works the other way; Durametric can do things on a 986 that no current Actron can even see. Only problem is that the Durametric only works on Porsche's, while Actron's work on anything............
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFP in PA
It actually works the other way; Durametric can do things on a 986 that no current Actron can even see. Only problem is that the Durametric only works on Porsche's, while Actron's work on anything............
the problem with Durametric is that unlike Vag-Com for VW's, the Durametric is limited to 3 cars unless you want to pay the BIG shop price. and it doesn't do near what Vag-Com does. just like most things for Porsches, it's overpriced simply because it is for Porsches. it's really not much better than a stand-alone scan tool.

Vag-Com can check everyone's car, all day long. and there's a lot more VW's on the road than porsches.
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave928
the problem with Durametric is that unlike Vag-Com for VW's, the Durametric is limited to 3 cars unless you want to pay the BIG shop price. and it doesn't do near what Vag-Com does. just like most things for Porsches, it's overpriced simply because it is for Porsches. it's really not much better than a stand-alone scan tool.

Vag-Com can check everyone's car, all day long. and there's a lot more VW's on the road than porsches.
That may be true, but what good is a Vag-Com on a Porsche?
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:17 AM   #12
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Cool. When I saw JFP saying that he used an Actron and a Durametric it got me to wondering if there was a reason to need both. I'll likely go with the Durametric - they seem to come up used with two VIN's left over often enough.

One thing I want it for is to turn on my outside temp display (and perhaps do the OBC hack). I understand that the latest version of the Durametric software will do this. Just activating the OBC looks like a very simple thing to do, but when I asked about having it done at the dealership, the goomba's consulted with the trained monkeys and informed me that because this was an American car the procedure would rank right up there with brain surgery on a difficulty scale and that the cost would be similarly high (Which in monkey-speak means "we don't know how and we don't wanna learn"). They suggested flinging poo at it.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_T
Cool. When I saw JFP saying that he used an Actron and a Durametric it got me to wondering if there was a reason to need both. I'll likely go with the Durametric - they seem to come up used with two VIN's left over often enough.

One thing I want it for is to turn on my outside temp display (and perhaps do the OBC hack). I understand that the latest version of the Durametric software will do this. Just activating the OBC looks like a very simple thing to do, but when I asked about having it done at the dealership, the goomba's consulted with the trained monkeys and informed me that because this was an American car the procedure would rank right up there with brain surgery on a difficulty scale and that the cost would be similarly high (Which in monkey-speak means "we don't know how and we don't wanna learn"). They suggested flinging poo at it.
You better double check with Durametric before buying it. They have had trouble turning on OBC and Temp display depending on model year Boxster.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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I use the cheapest Actron (the small one) and keep it in the car with me. In the winter, I was throwing CEL's a lot (I'm thinking due to coil packs getting wet and causing a misfire) so I would just pull the code and reset it.

The more expensive one (which my friend has) can pull the fuel trims and stuff which is awfully handy, but I couldn't see spending that much for the next bigger model

I'm happy with the small one!
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave928
the problem with Durametric is that unlike Vag-Com for VW's, the Durametric is limited to 3 cars unless you want to pay the BIG shop price. and it doesn't do near what Vag-Com does. just like most things for Porsches, it's overpriced simply because it is for Porsches. it's really not much better than a stand-alone scan tool.

Vag-Com can check everyone's car, all day long. and there's a lot more VW's on the road than porsches.

Ummmmm..........From Ross-Tech's (the creators of Vag-Com) web site:

“Porsche: Although Porsche now owns more than 50% of Volkswagen AG, Porsche still does diagnostics quite differently than VW and VCDS does not do OEM diagnostics on most Porsche system. However, we've heard good things about Durametric's Diagnostic Tool for Porsche.”

So it won’t do quite every car……………
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:53 AM   #16
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every volkswagen. jesus christ.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:28 PM   #17
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"Vag-Com" sounds like it's mean for diagnosing lady problems to me.

The Durametric beta was not able to turn on the OBC on my 2001 S. It did make some changes to the cluster, as the back lights now stay on for 10 minutes after I leave the car, and I have a key in ignition & headlight gong.
We see that your instrument cluster unit accepts the commands Durametric sends successfully, but the unit does not make the coding change required to enable the OBC. This is the reason the unit says OBC is already disabled when you try to disable it.

It is our belief it is due to the hardware installation, or possibly due to another coding option that causes a conflict with the changes required on the instrument cluster. We recommend looking back over the your hardware connections to be sure everything is in place. When the instrument cluster unit is ready, the coding command sent to it by Durametric will be successful.
Considering the OBC stalk is just a four position switch, I don't think it's a wiring issue. I have a fairly fast laptop and find the beta 6 software to be painfully slow, but maybe they just have extra debugging code enabled right now.

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