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      12-26-2012, 04:32 AM   #1
donoman
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What is the best code/diagnostic reader for the Z4?

I've done a lot of reading and there are quite a few options, and I'm wondering which unit I should buy. I work on all my cars myself and recently set off an SRS light in my '03 Z4 2.5i.

So far, I've read of these units:
1) Peake SRS tool - One trick pony (Can anyone verify this works on a Z4?)
2) Peake Code reader - Reads codes, but nothing special compared to generic units.
3) Auto Ingenuity ($450?) - A full-fledged code and live values scanner
4) CarSoft - Quick search leads me to believe this does not work on Z4?
5) Bavarian Technic ($750) - Pricey unit but can apparently do it all?

What is the current state of affairs? There's no way I'm paying a dealer $100 to reset an SRS code.
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Last edited by donoman; 12-26-2012 at 04:48 AM.
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      12-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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You forgot one. The BMW INPA software. It's free, up on the internet (you must search for it) and you only need to purchase a $35.00 cable.

I have the the AutoEnginuity software/hardware and the BMW INPA.
While the AutoEnginuity has a cleaner interface, you can do more with the INPA software.
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      12-26-2012, 10:50 AM   #3
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Agree with SK, that's what I did. Bought the cable and software for $36 and now can diagnose, code and program with INPA, DIS, SSS, WinKFP, and NCS. There is a learning curve, but once you spend the time to learn the software and set up the hardware, it is invaluable as far as DIY repairs.

So far I have installed and coded used ABS/DSC controller, used DIS to do the special ABS pump brake bleed routine. Installed and coded used steering angle sensor and calibrated it. Cleared airbag faults on several occasions. Changed car/key memory functions for several modules on the car. The total dealer charges for these items would have been $5,400+(includes cost of new parts). My total cost was $390 in used parts and the $36 for the cable and software. And I only got the cable and software in November.

Last edited by Jstic; 12-27-2012 at 10:41 AM.
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      12-26-2012, 07:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donoman View Post
5) Bavarian Technic ($750) - Pricey unit but can apparently do it all?
If you get the "enthusiast version", it is $287 and good for use on 3 different cars (VIN locked).
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      12-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #5
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would this cable work ok?
this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-to-OBDII...575826&vxp=mtr
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      12-26-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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Almost all of the high end BMW diagnostic machines and software can read most of the functions and sensors of the car in realtime. But since I started to play with the INPA software from BMW I have found that it is the most complete there is, but with a steep learning curve.

In my experience and trials with the INPA, I found that with careful thought with what you are doing, by monitoring EVERYTHING on the car, 99% of any issues can be troubleshot.

Example,

I was playing with the SRS system and doing some monitoring. I found I could watch what the passenger seat sensor mat was doing, added some weight to the seat and watch the mat trigger that a passenger is seated. This is a dynamic monitor of the sensor mat, not just looking at a code stored in the SRS module. This is the real deal.

I also discovered that the TPMS on the car does record and report the actual tire pressure, dynamically. I was monitoring all four wheels and had my buddy bleed air from a tire, and watched the PSI readings lower, then added air and watch the realtime PSI data increment up. All of the bitching and moaning about the car not monitoring the actual values is not because of design limitations but because BMW decided not to show the driver the actual values for some reason. I have a theory on this, but that is for a later time.

You can control/monitor windows, seats. It even reports the actual current draw on windows and power seats while they are being operated. This is a great troubleshooting aid.

Using the laptop, I turned on the radio, changed stations, changed bands etc. Everything you as a user can do from inside the car, you can change from your computer. Turn on the left headlight, the right blinker, brake lights. You get the idea.

You have COMPLETE control of the car.

There is so much you can look at and control on the car it really is unbelievable.


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      12-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Good info Ship!
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      12-26-2012, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipkiller View Post
Almost all of the high end BMW diagnostic machines and software can read most of the functions and sensors of the car in realtime. But since I started to play with the INPA software from BMW I have found that it is the most complete there is, but with a steep learning curve.

In my experience and trials with the INPA, I found that with careful thought with what you are doing, by monitoring EVERYTHING on the car, 99% of any issues can be troubleshot.

Example,

I was playing with the SRS system and doing some monitoring. I found I could watch what the passenger seat sensor mat was doing, added some weight to the seat and watch the mat trigger that a passenger is seated. This is a dynamic monitor of the sensor mat, not just looking at a code stored in the SRS module. This is the real deal.

I also discovered that the TPMS on the car does record and report the actual tire pressure, dynamically. I was monitoring all four wheels and had my buddy bleed air from a tire, and watched the PSI readings lower, then added air and watch the realtime PSI data increment up. All of the bitching and moaning about the car not monitoring the actual values is not because of design limitations but because BMW decided not to show the driver the actual values for some reason. I have a theory on this, but that is for a later time.

You can control/monitor windows, seats. It even reports the actual current draw on windows and power seats while they are being operated. This is a great troubleshooting aid.

Using the laptop, I turned on the radio, changed stations, changed bands etc. Everything you as a user can do from inside the car, you can change from your computer. Turn on the left headlight, the right blinker, brake lights. You get the idea.

You have COMPLETE control of the car.

There is so much you can look at and control on the car it really is unbelievable.


.
Ship, as I am new to this side of things, when folks talk about a steep learning curve for this type of software, what exactly are the challenges? I am looking for software to allow me to read codes and do resets and, at the moment more importantly, to set car/key programming options (not sure if I can do anything about key).

I am tech savvy and a good tinkerer in general but in the end, what are the risks? What are the challenges in getting software like this up and running? I guess, how "doable" is it all?

Thanks
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      12-27-2012, 10:40 AM   #9
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INPA is good for monitoring and diagnostics, but cannot code or program. It can clear fault codes and give a lot of good information about the vehicle. IMHO DIS and SSS(Progman) are the two most complete diagnostic/coding/programming software programs that are available at minimal cost.

I spent about 6-8 hours installing, reading and experimenting with the different software programs and the one cable I purchased. The kit I bought on ebay had very specific instructions which were excellent. If you are a DIY type like me, it is worth every minute and penny. If you are just looking to do a one time repair, fault code clear or diagnostic, I wouldn't bother.

I'll be happy to help out any forum member who is just starting out with the software, just PM me.
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      12-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papitosabe View Post

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-MINI-USB...fef7d0&vxp=mtr


This is the package I bought and it works great.
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      12-27-2012, 11:23 AM   #11
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^ I have the same one ordered.
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      12-27-2012, 02:24 PM   #12
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^ I have the same one ordered.
When you get your system set up, if you cannot see all the modules on the Z4, you may have to solder pins 7 & 8 togerther on the cable. That's what I had to do.
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      12-27-2012, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
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INPA is good for monitoring and diagnostics, but cannot code or program. It can clear fault codes and give a lot of good information about the vehicle.
You are correct, but when you install the INPA, NCSExpert is (normally) also installed. NCSExpert is the software you use to code the car with.
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      12-27-2012, 03:50 PM   #14
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Peake R5/FCX works on the Z4. I had to reset that bastard outside temp sensor multiple times before I replaced the thing.
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      12-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #15
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Ok, I'm in too! I just ordered, "Est. delivery between Jan. 15 - Feb. 01".

I had some coding done on the 335is by a local college student for $50, which was totally worth it, but he apparently doesn't want to do my M, so I guess I'll have to do it myself.
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      12-27-2012, 05:36 PM   #16
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^ I have the same one ordered.
Looks good...just ordered the same myself.
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      12-27-2012, 06:07 PM   #17
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Looks good...just ordered the same myself.
Is the software included or just the cable?
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      12-27-2012, 06:15 PM   #18
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Is the software included or just the cable?
Included
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      12-27-2012, 06:22 PM   #19
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Just in case you are not sure, INPA and most of the other modules (BMW) will run under Win7 64. NCSExpert, unfortunately will not.
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      12-27-2012, 07:12 PM   #20
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Just in case you are not sure, INPA and most of the other modules (BMW) will run under Win7 64. NCSExpert, unfortunately will not.
good point.
That's why I keep an old XP notebook just for legacy software like this.
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      12-27-2012, 08:29 PM   #21
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good point.
That's why I keep an old XP notebook just for legacy software like this.
I have a macbook but have dual boot with a 32bit version of windows running. I just hope there are no USB driver issues!
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      12-27-2012, 08:40 PM   #22
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Just make sure the Com port in the OS and the software are set to the same number. Usually Com1 but you can make it any number you want, but they both must match. Also, the controller cable normally must be connected at the time you install the software so the software installer can detect it properly and install the appropriate driver.

Once everything is up and working, that physical USB port is the only one you will be able to use with the software.
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