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Carport OBD2+CAN Computer Diagnostics for Your Car

Updated on February 10, 2013

There is nothing more mysterious and worrisome about your car than the Malfunction Light (MIL) aka the engine light coming on. Some of the DiagnosticTrouble Codes (DTC) are not bad enough to impact the engine operations but others are. With 2500-3000 such codes, all with ID numbers, finding out what the code means and how to fix it is difficult. Many auto dealers will charge you $100 just to hook it up and see what codes are in the car's computer. A few places will hook up a portable scanner for free.

Most newer cars use the universal DTC codes for OBD2 (On Board Diagnostics) and car manufacturers also have specific codes. Once the code is found out, your next step is to take it the shop and tell them so they know where to look and what to fix. You may be able to fix it yourself.

There are many auto diagnostic scanners for less than $100, these are either portable or computer software. For less than $300, the quality of them increases. These more expensive ones offer realtime data, detailed explanations about a DTC, block data, graphical data. The cheaper ones only provide the code number.

Carport is diagnostic software you buy for around $50 and buy an appropriate connector for $20, like the Commander 1.4 OBD+CAN. The software is made by MPP Engineering in Berlin, Germany. Their website is in English. They also offer a free version with limiting functions. When you buy the basic version, you can read the DTC codes with detailed definitions, have real-time data with the engine running, remove DTC codes, see block codes and graphical data. These functions are usually for systems costing $150+.

The software interface support ISO9141-2, ISO14230 (KWP2000), ISO15765 (ISO-TP) on CAN Bus with 11 bit or 29 bit IDs, SAE J1850 PWM and SAE J1850 VPW, depending on the connector you purchase. Specific car codes used by all German car makers are available over K-line protocols KWP1281 and KWP2000) and CAN-Bus (protocol TP2.0 and TP1.6). The software interfaces with Win XP, 7, or Vista. The current version is 1.4.2.

Once purchased, you receive updates for a year. Once downloaded and installed, connect the cable and the software detects the ECU readings and reports any DTCs. I like the product and for the money, it is very hard to beat.

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