Harbor Freight OBD Scan Tool (#60794) with ABS


#1

Every New Year’s, Harbor Fake runs their 25% coupon and I usually buy something I need. This year it was an OBD-II & CAN Scan Tool. Got it for $99 after the smoke cleared. It was between this model and another similar one which did not support ABS (although I think it supported another PID that I ultimately felt wasn’t as important).

Anyway - does anyone else have this scanner?

The reason I ask is I’m not sure if I like it or not. I’ve only thumbed through the manual, so maybe it’s me, but it seems to have some annoying “features”

1.) Unplugged from the vehicle, the screen is barely readable. It doesn’t seem to illuminate the screen the same way it does when it’s plugged into the OBD port on the vehicle (even with the new battery installed).

2.) I’ve done a few sets of data captures with it. It can store three of them before you start to overwrite. For my '02 Impala, this is 54 points. For my 2011 Equinox it was many more (80+?). When I do the captures and then take the unit inside the house, it shows three captures, but when I look at the data, two of the captures are identical data sets. But then if I go back to the vehicle and attach it, I see the three distinct sets of data! Weird! Also - one time I ran the data capture on the Impala, and it suddenly popped up 59 points (for some reason). The data list was the same (I didn’t see any new points in there)

3.) On this last capture, it started acting differently, too. You can ask for a “Complete Data Set” with a “Manual Trigger”, and it waits for you to press to start collecting. I did a few sets like this. But yesterday, it just decided to blow through the pressing of the key and start on its own! I thought it was because the CEL was ON (because it can be set up to trigger on a CEL), but I cleared the CEL, and it continued to do it!

So I don’t really know if I like this thing. I had an ACTRON simple code reader (the “Black Brick”) I purchased in 2000, and it was rock solid … but it only read codes. It won’t read my Equinox (not CAN-enabled). This HF unit already seems questionable to me (although it feels fairly rugged)… Initially, I was going to get a laptop program, but couldn’t decide on the ScanTool hardware because the only unit out there that could do everything I wanted (ScanTool’s MX tool) got dreadful reviews for repeatedly losing the connection.

Anybody have any opinions on this unit (or any other)?


#2

All I can say is, it’s Harbor Freight. Some of their products are “hit or miss” at best. And electronics are a good portion of the miss segment.


#3

Agree with @PvtPublic.

Got a smartphone? Get a $30 bluetooth OBDII reader off of Amazon and then OBDFusion if you have an iPhone ($10) or Torque Pro if you have an Android ($5) and you’ll have all the engine diagnostics you’ll need as a shadetree mechanic, for a lot less than the thing from Harbor Freight.

All that said, the reviews on what you bought are pretty positive - are you sure you’re using it correctly?


#4

I have the Actron CP9560 which has the ABS and data capture. Previously upgraded on warranty from an Actron CP9180 which was had a readout issue for one of the screens. They let me keep the CP9180, so I gave it to my father. Wish the CP9560 came with a soft case, but I can’t complain. I’m able to record 100 points of data and export it in text form to a PC. I can then import it into excel and see how my 02 sensors are doing and if they’re in need of replacement.


#5

Shadowfax:

Yeah, I’ve got a smartphone (I-Phone 6), but I don’t want anything wireless. Can just see that failing at some point, or just being unreliable, and irritating me. I prefer wired things. Doesn’t look as nice, but it’s more reliable long-term. And No - I’m not sure I’m using it right. I haven’t read the manual yet, but I’ve flipped through it. There’s not that much to it. Fairly straight-forward and intuitive, but maybe it has some nuances about it.

always_fixing,

I almost purchased an Actron off their site. I noted on my phone models CP9680 and CP9690, but I see the outrageous pricing of $332 and $376 right now on their website. I want to say they had them marked down to around $110 or so (with free shipping). Looked like a good deal, but I passed and they sold. Maybe it was one of those units. I see them both on Amazon right now for $175-ish.

I guess I"m keeping the Harbor Fake unit. It’s OK. I don’t think any of these scanners are anything special, though, because they all just read a block of data points. It’s not earth-shattering information. Better than just a simple code reader, but when you start looking at the points you get, sometimes it doesn’t amount to very much.