Can you recommend a laptop software scanner program?

I want a software program that will couple my laptop into the OBDII connector but I want software that will handle almost any car in the world. Most of the software appears to just handle domestic and maybe one or two foreign manuf. Can someone give me a recommendation?? Thanks!

This is an interesting concept…An older P-3, winXP laptop can be had on E-bay for less than $100… With some decent OBDII software (Freeware, Shareware??) a powerful diagnostic tool could be created…Where do you find a USB to OBD-II cable to make the connection?

There are some packages already available with the cable from AutoEnginuity, AutoTap, ROM Raider, EcuFlash, and many others but most are only for domestic cars and either requires a lot more money for non-domestic cars or does not have any coverage for them at all. Also I would like to have diagnostic help along with just the read out of the scanned data. Something that would interpret the data and tell you that something is not right would be great!

NOT that simple.

I have one made by AutoTap that plugs directly into my lap-top. The problem is you need a different connector for the 3 different communication protocols used (Europe, US and Asian). The software that comes with it will run on all three protocols. It’s decent…but can be a lot better. One of these days when I have a couple weeks I’m going to write my own.

I am always interested in new diagnostic methods. Are you trying to come up with a cheaper way to monitor your cars OBD2 systems? I ask this because a scanner (either a generic one or one from the manufacture) can do this. I know what you want to do what I ask is why you want to do it the way you are taking.

Lay out your whole plan and possibly some good answers come. Unless you are like our resident secret agent “Colt Hero” who feels people want to steal his ideas.

I don’t know what the situation is now wrt to OBD-II adapters for laptops, but it used to be that the normal approach was an OBD-II to serial converter. There were a number of those available via the Internet. Each came with its own software. No generic software because the software was custom written to interface with the converter.

As for the code streams themselves – there is a standardized connector, but three different (incompatible naturally) modulation schemes. One for GM. One for Ford. One for everyone else (ISO-something or other). I believe that most (all?) converters can handle all three modulation schemes, but you may need to tell them which to use.

Computers made in the past few years no longer have serial ports, and I don’t know if the OBD converters will work reliably with USB to serial adaptors. My experiences with USB have been good recently, but I’m still highly irritated by the first five years of USB technology where USB simply sucked.

An older laptop would be a good candidate for code reading. If you are picking one up at a garage sale or used computer shop, check for a 9 pin female serial connector (could be 25 pins, but that is rare on a laptop). Be aware that many laptop/notebook computers turn the serial port off by default in order to save battery power and you will need to enable it – probably by some magic combination of keystrokes or possibly in the BIOS setup.

Looks like less than $100 and you are in business…

Each came with its own software. No generic software because the software was custom written to interface with the converter.

Actually generic software isn’t a problem. All you have to do is write a interface for each of the converter…Then the meat of the software (analysis, display, graphics) interfaces with the little pice of interface code.