Scan Tool review


videobruce
09-30-2007, 12:22 PM
With all the 'Scan Tools' available, I find very little regarding reviews and recomendations. I'm was looking at the AutoXRay 6000, the OTC ScanPro 3499 & the Equus 3130 Scan Tool. I ruled out Actron 9190 because of the lack of enhanced real time data.
What I have found by talking to the tech support people from SPX & Equus and general research is;

1. Prices: 3130 $170, 6000 $300, 3499 $400 (plus shipping)
2. Warrenty: 3 yrs. for the 6000 & the 3499, only 1 yr. for the 3130.
3. All include the CAN protocol.
4. All read enhanced data codes, but only the 6000 doesn't read enhanced live data (just generic data).
5. Graph: 3499 displays live a data graph, 6000 will print a recorded graph, 3130 has no graph.
6. Upgrades: 6000 has free upgrades. A 2007 version will be released shortly, the 3499 are usually pay upgrades (some minor upgrades are free). Unknown about the 3130.
7. Where made: 3499 is made in Minnesota, the 3130 is imported, the 6000 was US made, but unsure on current ststus.
8. PC Software: 6000 has a decent printed report (in color), 3499 has only a crude B&W text printout, unknown about the 3130.
9. The 3130 is OBDII only.
10. Display: 3499 16 line, 6000 8 line, 3130 4 text lines (?).
11. Support: OTC good, AutoXRay excellant, Equus good. Even though OTC & AutoXRay are owned by the same company, they have separate support people.
12. Only the 3499 reads transmission codes.
13. Most recent year updated: 3130- unknown, 6000- 2005 (2007 expected shortly), 3499- 2005

To sum it up;
The 3130 is the cheapest with no graph capibilities and good PC software.
6000 has the longest warrenty, free upgrades, great tech support, good PC software.
3499 has a live enhanced data graph, transmission code capibility, largest display, but poor PC software.

videobruce
09-30-2007, 12:23 PM
First off, this isn't my first scan tool. I have (for sale) a Actron OBDI tool which was nice since it was internally powered as opposed to relying on a separate power cord to the cigerate lighter (which is a poor electrical connection for anything AFAIC). That allowed to view the data away from the vehicle. This appears to be the norm for all OBDII scan tools of today.

I first tried the 3130. It is imported (no surprise) that can be had for $170 from many sources. It is ODBII only which shouldn't be a problem for Joe Average and even for a small independent shop that doesn't work on pre 1995 vehicles. You save money to forgo the OBDI and all the cables and adapters that are needed. Unlike OBDII where there is one connector (for the most part), OBDI had 4 ot 5.

Equus 3130:
Pros;
1. Short learning curve,
2. PC software is decent, if not outstanding for a low cost tool,
3. Price
4. Fairly easy to use,
5. Ability to see if monitors have reset without hunting through a menn.
6. Printout form that allows further input from the owner to hand to a mechanic.

Cons
1. Only shows 15-17 parameters,
2. Only a 5 line display,
3. ISO (older Chrysler) protocol is very slow to update,
4. Manual needs work.
5. Imported,
6. Slower serial port.

Because of the limited number of parameters that this tool reads, I question the value of it considering for $100 less, a simple code reader that can reset codes might surfice as long as it has the ability to show if the monitors have been reset. (You need to know this before you take it in for a yearly inspection depending on where you are located.)
I'm not sure why, but for a 2000 Dodge, the update time is slow. I know it is the slowest of the 5 protocols, but with this vehicle, it was a issue. The OTC didn't have any real issue here.

OTC ScanPro 3499:
Pros;
1. Made in USA (AFAIK),
2. OBDI and OBDII with all cables and adapters,
3. Carrying case,
4. Real time graph (thought resolution could be better),
5. Close to 100 combined parameters are read out,
6. 15 line display,
7. Reads xmission codes (cheapest one that has this feature),
8. Made and supported by Actron, not OTC,
8. Faster USB port,
9. Chrysler ISO protocol is much faster.

Cons;
1. Useless PC software. Only a crude text printout (see comments),
2. 2 1/2x the price of the 3130 (though I have seen it selling for over $600),
3. Somewhat confusing menu. The tool has to re-establish the protcol everytime you change modes from within the menu,
4. Steeper learning curve,
5. Many items buried within the menu,
6. Bulky interface cable with a large connector between the main cable and the OBDII jumper,
7. Confusing button layout. Doesn't have the standard center 'enter' or return buttons.
8. Last, but not least, there is no reference for those damn hexidecimal codes! :twisted:

I know I will get an argument here, but here is my viewpoint on the software 'Con':
I was so impressed with the PC software of the cheaper 3130, I was dissappointed with this model. It falls flat on it's face. Here is a tool that has a ton on information available, including graphs, and all you get is a single collumn printout in a crude text form, that can be as many as 40 pages. What the hell are these people thinking?
Come on now. Get someone to write a decent program, or make it open source and let others write one to bring the data to paper where others can look it over. It's much easier to look over printed material than it is to look at a small LCD screen.

The menu needs a re-work. Example, one has to 'hunt' to see if all the monitors have been reset if a 'erase codes' procedure has been done. With the 3130 it's right there. The 'standard' (at least on remote controls for consumer home theater equipment) up/down, left/right with a center 'enter' arrangement is missing. There is a enter button, but it is off to the right above the 'return' button. Both are poorly labeled.
That 'personilized' button, I can't figure out how to use it.

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