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Being able now to read out my 4WD’s error codes - without having to visit a qualified garage with a suitable scantool - will increase my chances to fix the vehicle on my own and it might make the difference when it breaks down in a remote area and a precise diagnose is required to get it moving again.
Someone told me that he had to pay recently AU$ 90 to get a scan done by his local Hyundai dealership - looks like the MaxiDiag Elite MD701 will pay for itself.
For years I was on the lookout for a scanner that can read my 4WD’s (Terracan CRDi) pre-OBD protocol and DTCs, but all the hardware based units and also the software I tried failed. While ScanGaugeII and UltragaugeEM (see review here) can read live data and allow some online diagnoses, they both fail to read out the error codes of the Terracan’s protocol.
I know that the G-Scan is a great tool - here a nice example what can be done with this tool - but approx. AU$ 4,000 for it is just out of my price range as a hobby mechanic.
A so called expert who deals with diagnose software told me, that to read out the Terracan’s pre-OBDI protocol it would require the correct hardware so I gave up on pure software based solutions.
A few weeks ago I stumbled over the MaxiDiag Elite MD701 from AUTEL and the seller ensured me that it could read the Terracan’s pre-OBD error codes. With AU$ 279 plus AU$ 10 (Aug. 2012) for shipping it seemed to be reasonable priced, hence I ordered one.
A few days later the tool arrived; the kit comes in a solid case and includes a CD containing software for updates, USB cable, a quite comprehensive manual, SD card and the data link connector (DLC) cable.
Now, this is a basic scantool for distinct less than 10% of the price of a G-Scan, hence it seems to be quite unfair to compare it with such a sophisticated tool like the G-Scan.
Indeed, the big question for me was whether it can really read out the Terracan’s pre-OBD error codes - and the answer is yes! …and it does it for 4 modules: engine, automatic transaxle, ABS and airbags. It reads out the error codes and allows to quit them.
It can’t show live data or do online diagnostic for the Terracan as this is the case for vehicles with modern board computers. I tested it also with our Hyundai i30, and here it generates all the fancy live data graphs as shown in the pics, but for the Terracan it is only error code reading and quitting - and this is the main reason why I bought it.
The MaxiDiag Elite seems to be solid built, the housing seems to be strong and a rubber frame adds further protection. The buttons are easy and intuitive to operate. It powers up when connected via USB cable to the PC/laptop or via DLC cable to the board computer of the vehicle.
When connected and powered up, the screen shows 4 menus: OBDII - V1.00, Scan, Setup and Playback. Selecting “OBDII-V1.00” starts an automatically run where the scanner tries to detect the correct protocol - a specific protocol can’t be forced and for my 2006 Terracan model it settles on KWP 2000, which might be the reason why the “live data” feature doesn’t work here.
When attempting a “Scan” the particular vehicle has to be manually determined - easy to do via selection of brand, model, vehicle type etc. For the Terracan CRDi this leads to the screen where the particular module (engine, automatic transaxle, ABS, airbag) can be selected.
Scans can be saved and later reviewed via the “Playback” button.
“Setup” allows to select language, units (English/metric), beep (on/off) and to do a key and screen test. The “About” button hides the serial number of the scanner and the password for the registration (required to receive updates).
During the testing I had a few questions for the seller, and all were answered in a timely manner. The device can be bought straight from the Onlineshop or via eBay (I found the Onlineshop AU$16 cheaper) and payment is via Paypal. Warranty is 1 year.
In a nutshell: this is a basic, easy to use and affordable scantool that does the job for me. For hobby mechanics who don’t require a scantool able to read pre-OBDI protocols there might be other options out there, but for me - envisaging to keep the Terracan a little bit longer - it represents a capable tool for a fair price.
a reader of my site (credit goes to G.Y.) did some testing with a scanner app for iPhones / iPads and it looks like that it works wrt reading the DTCs!!! … even for the Terracan!
I’m not an Apple fan so I can’t do further testing here, but if someone else is keen: here the link to the website NovaScan - costs are only US$40 plus an WiFi OBD plug (eBay)… would be nice if someone out there could give me a feedback and confirm whether it works or not… that could be a handy tool for iPhone owners…
…if you want a thing well done, do it yourself