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a successful learner…… loves learning…… seeks challenges…… values effort…… persists in the face of obstacles

All content copyright Willem Winch or otherwise credited.

…more 4x4 Tech Articles here:

…scan tools  - ScanGaugeII vs. UltraGaugeEM

The ScanGaugeII was one of my first auxiliaries for the Terracan. And while it is not a big modification (you may read more about the modification here) I rate it as a very important add on as it allows me to monitor the coolant temperature precisely.

The genuine temperature gauge of the Terracan is next to useless and doesn’t disclose really what’s going on in the engine, which is crucial when doing hard off road work or towing a CT up a hill in hot weather.

The second important feature for me is the voltage gauge. It allows me to monitor the function of the Redarc battery isolator (BI) as the switch condition of the BI is shown via an LED I retrofitted to the dashboard. It also indicates the health of the battery and alternator.

Note: it seems that the voltage shown on the ScanGaugeII is approx. 0.2 V below the voltage measured directly at the battery - others made this experience too. Not a big deal, but nevertheless good to know.

Due to the lack of a fuel level signal - communication with the Terracan CRDi’s ECM is quite limited - fuel consumption is calculated via an algorithm considering different parameters like revs, odometer etc.. It needs calibration and doesn’t represent the real consumption, hence it should only be used as a guidance.

Nevertheless it supports fuel savings by allowing to adapt a more economical driving style. And the trip computer is a nice feature too.

While the Highlander version shows the outside temperature, the standard Terracan lacks this feature. The air intake temperature on the ScanGaugeII can be used as an indicator instead - of course this only works when driving and fresh air is continuously feed into the air filter box.

Setup is easy, although it seems that models from different years need sightly different setups. I use the ISO protocol for my model (2006) and the option to force the connection and it runs without issues.

All in all a nice little tool and easy to install. Of course it would also be good to read out error codes and to quit them, but that is where the ScanGaugeII fails - like so many other scan tools as Hyundai uses a very specific protocol  for the Terracan.

Now there is another scan tool available, the UltraGaugeEM. It is a similar product with similar features, but significantly cheaper. The ScanGaugeII lacks some features the UltraGaugeEM lists in the manual: e.g. setting a min and a max alarm; that’s a handy feature as it comes with an acoustic alarm so you don’t have to have one eye one the UltraGauge all the time.

So on paper it seems that the UltraGaugeEM is by far the better package as it lists more useful features and costs distinct less - at the moment - than the ScanGaugeII. And there was even the chance that it can cope with Hyundai’s tricky protocol. Well, I couldn’t resist and ordered one. Ordering is easy from their website, you pay with PayPal and it took really only a few days and I got it. So far so good.

Now, to answer the big question first: No! … it can’t! Ah, well, …desires are nourished by delays …actually I wasn’t much disappointed, I expected this as a lot more sophisticated scan tools failed wrt the Hyundai Terracan protocol.  But I was disappointed that the UltragGaugeEM couldn’t give me the voltage reading as this is a quite important feature for me as already mentioned above. When I launched an enquiry / ticket from their website - very easy to do and their responded in 24 hours - they came up with a very interesting explanation:

quote: ...”...UltraGauge supports all the gauges listed on our site. However, ultimately UltraGauge can display only those gauges that the vehicle supports. SG displayed voltage because it is measuring it at pin 16 of the connector, as opposed to getting the value from the vehicle's computer. The EM fully supports metric units. Just select the gauge with the desired units...”...end quote.

That might also explain the 0.2 voltage gap seen in the voltage gauge of the ScanGaugeII.

Similar seems to happen with the fuel consumption gauge. No fuel level signal from the Terracan CRDi’s ECM means no fuel consumption gauge for the UltraGaugeEM;

So no error code reading, no voltage gauge and fuel consumption gauge with the UltraGaugeEM for us Terracan owners - leaves the approx. AU$ 70 plus shipping costs price advantage.

There is something else potential buyers, who take their 4WD off road, should consider: with many and relative big apertures in the rear of the UltraGaugeEM the circuit board is quite exposed to moisture and dust so I assume it is more prone to fail in harsh outdoor and offroad conditions.

The buttons for configuration and changing screens are at the rear; easy to operate once I made myself familiar with it, but if you plan to fit the UltraGaugeEM with Velcro (incl. in the package) to the dashboard you have to remove it obviously every time you want to swap screens.

The ScanGaugeII, despite bulkier and old fashion style, is much easier to operate with the buttons at the front. The cable comes as a separate cable and can be plugged into a socket at rear or into one at the side.

That could be handy if the ScanGaugeII is used in more than one car as dedicated cables could be used allowing to hide them permanently behind the dashboard making swapping the ScanGaugeII over much easier.  

The cable of the UltragGaugeEM is not detachable. It has a fuse in the OBDII plug - according to the manual this fuse “is integrated in the male OBDII and cannot be accessed or replaced. The fuse provides protection against potential short-circuit conditions within the UltraGauge and short-circuits introduced into the cable”.

The apertures at the rear might be one significant cause for this risk. So when the fuse is gone you are in for a new device, no matter whether the UltraGaugeEM itself might still work.

Both scan tool vendors provide very good information - well, the information about the Terracan’s protocol issues are missing - on their websites. Comprehensive manuals (manual UltraGaugeEM - manual ScanGaugeII) are provided on both their websites and can be easily downloaded.

My recent buying experience for the UltraGaugeEM was very good, easy and clear guidance via their web pages, paying with PayPal and the package received just a few days later. The questions I had were easily raised via their ticketing system and they responded in less than 24 hours. Excellent!

But wrt warranty the UltraGaugeEM falls heavily behind the ScanGaugeII as LinearLogic (the manufacture for the ScanGauges) gives 3 years warranty showing confidence in the quality of their product, while the warranty for the UltraGaugeEM is limited to only 1 year! That is a massive difference.

So which scan tool is the better package? Both fail to read the error codes, but due to the issues of the UltraGaugeEM with the voltage and fuel consumption gauges, the massive warranty difference and the exposed circuit board the ScanGaugeII is a clear winner for me as a Terracan owner.

My first pick indeed would be - assuming that it allows voltage reading for the Terracan CRDi - the ScanGaugeE as I don’t plan to use the advanced features (exclusive programable gauge system) of the ScanGaugeII. The ScanGaugeE is in the same price range as the UltraGaugeEM and comes with the same robust housing as the ScanGaugeII, with the buttons at the front and detachable cable.

If it wouldn’t read the voltage - someone out there to verify this? - I still would spend the extra money for the ScanGaugeII, ah, well, I already have it.

If the scan tool gets used not only in the Terracan, but also in other cars where the error code reading and quitting works, the detachable cable gives more options as a second cable can be purchased for approx. AU$ 25 from Ample Outdoors’ website; a “daisy-chain-cable” to run multiple ScanGauges inline cost AU$10.

Others might rate the more modern appearance of the UltraGaugeEM higher and the option to fit it with a suction cup holder to the wind screen. If this is the case you might have a look in my garage as there is a good as new UltraGaugeEM available, without suction cup holder so, but with the Velcro... it is waiting for you...

from where?

The ScanGaugeII and ScanGaugeE can be purchased online from Ample Outdoors, Australian distributor for the ScanGauge product line:

ScanGaugeII: AU$ 169 plus shipping;

ScanGaugeE: AU$ 99 plus shipping;

The UltraGaugeEM can be purchased online from their website

US$ 69.95 (without suction cup holder) plus US$ 26.25 for shipping, total below AU$100;

date of information / price: 16-06-2012              

pic. courtesy of Ample Outdoors

…please note:

The ratings and evaluation made on this page are strongly related to the specific vehicle - Hyundai Terracan CRDi auto - for which I bought these scan tools.

The Terracan comes with a very special protocol and most scan tools, e.g. the ones described here, can’t read its error codes.

It is also important whether the particular scan tool is used in a normal car, maybe just in a city or suburban environment or whether it has to cope with the bull dust on an outback track.

All this needs to be considered and any rating here relates to the Terracan CRDi and is not representative for other vehicles. It is horses for courses.

pic. courtesy of Ample Outdoors

pic. courtesy of Ample Outdoors

p. issued: June, 2012   -   last update: 02-02-2013
   check out a new scantool for the Terracan…


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…which is the better scan tool?

…and does the UltraGaugeEM read the trouble codes of the tricky Hyundai Terracan or other pre-OBD protocols?

…desires are nourished by delays…

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