STAR computer software / cable - why hasnt it been leaked? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2007, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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STAR computer software / cable - why hasnt it been leaked?

I find it surprising that the STAR software Mercedes uses has not been leaked online. All a person would need (as far as I can tell) is the leaked software and for a company to make an after market cable to plug the laptop into the car.

Does anyone know why it isn't easy to get? There are so many features that could be enabled / changed this way (TPMS, fuel range...)
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 12:45 AM
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The software isn't enough with a laptop and an after market cable, you would also need a copy of the multiplexer. Who said they don't exist? It is more that the copy systems may work now but stop working with the next DAS release. For an obvious reason, MB would not have liability on the copy multiplexers.

Limited capability devices for simpler specific tasks exist too. Those still tend to be expensive, for an individual it would be cheaper to visit the MB shop or an independent who has the genuine SDS. It takes some effort to figure out how these individual task have to be performed through the OBD plug and the production of the HW too, and again it is a bit of "unfair race" where MB is perfectly allowed to change the rules of the game when they want to.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 02:15 AM
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Would someone kindly explain the role of this multiplexer? Thanks in advance.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Musikmann View Post
Would someone kindly explain the role of this multiplexer? Thanks in advance.
I will try to put it in simple terms (its actually very complex). The computer uses the Multiplexer as a (middle man). The multiplexer can communicate with many computers/modules on the car at the same time.

A good example is the W220 S600 ABC Rodeo test. To perform this test the computer tells the multiplexer to activate many parts of the (Active Body Control) at the same time. Hence the car will rock and roll. This test is used when flushing the system.

Another example is it will enable you to activate many components on the car, ie tell it to open the boot or a window or test the sensitivity of the parktronic system.

Most standard diagnostic units will only test one item ie the engine in OBD II.
But with a multiplexer you can test the whole car.

BMW have a multiplexer system and also OPS coding system and very expensive. There are copies out there (mainly from Taiwan) but not as good as the origonal, and you need constant updates for the laptop.

Any questions?

ERIC.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 04:18 AM
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Why has it not been leaked? The short answer is IT HAS. That is why MB moved from the HHT system to Star 2000 and Im sure they will change the goalposts again soon lol

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- Winston Churchill, in response.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 05:12 AM
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The closest you will find to Star Diagnostics (on the open market) is Winstar and its a laptop system with a multiplexer, can do MB BMW VAG and more. Just seen one on EBay for 3500 sterling. Soon we will see an Online system, MB already have EPC.net and WIS.net. So coming soon may be DAS.net and then the hackers will have fun

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- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 05:57 AM
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The multiplexer is actually pretty simple by hardware. It only has a few very simple logic circuits, RS232 converter, voltage regulator and a big relay matrix. In addition to this very basic HW it has a micro controller, like 80C51. I'm not familiar with the micro controller tasks but the communications to the SDS computer goes via this chip and it does include security features that makes copy devices difficult to build (specifically to be future proof).

The main function is the capability to connect individual diagnostic lines from the old diagnostics connector. This is from the time before CAN bus (used in parallel with OBD-II in some "transient" cars) where basically each control unit had its own diagnostics line (photo attached shows this old connector, note that not all pins are explained). The relay matrix is able to pick up the particular line that the test equipment wants to talk to.

New cars use the ODB-II connector for diagnosis purposes. The W220 ODB-II connector has some other diagnostics pins in addition to the CAN but one like on the W221 does not use anything else than the CAN, power and ground.

In practice the complex test scenarios are done by a series of different commands to different control units. On a CAN bus this is easy as the BUS data rate is high, actually the laptop RS232 interface is limiting the data transfer rate.

On modern MBs all testing could be done without any multiplexer if MB so decided. A relatively simple USB to CAN bus interface would be enough (there are even interface devices that read the ODB-II data on line and send it over bluetooth to an application on a smart phone. As far as I know, VW group is doing this.

Anyway, building all the diagnostics features and DAS SW is a huge work and MB would need to get that paid by service shops that make use of all this. If there was no security built in the SW and HW, copy products would be far more common and those using the genuine devices would have to pay even more than today, if there are less buyers sharing the bill.

I could post a circuit diagram of the multiplexer but I don't think it is needed and a good idea anyway. You can probably find an example from those who make copy products.

Last edited by Diesel Benz; 01-23-2008 at 11:46 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Diesel Benz View Post
The multiplexer is actually pretty simple by hardware. It only has a few very simple logic circuits, RS232 converter, voltage regulator and a big relay matrix. In addition to this very basic HW it has a micro controller, like 80C51. I'm not familiar with the micro controller tasks but the communications to the SDS computer goes via this chip and it does include security features that makes copy devices difficult to build (specifically to be future proof).

The main function is the capability to connect individual diagnostic lines from the old diagnostics connector. This is from the time before CAN bus (used in parallel with OBD-II in some "transient" cars) where basically each control unit had its own diagnostics line (photo attached shows this old connector, note that not all pins are explained). The relay matrix is able to pick up the particular line that the test equipment wants to talk to.

New cars use the ODB-II connector for diagnosis purposes. The W220 ODB-II connector has some other diagnostics pins in addition to the CAN but one like on the W221 does not use anything else than the CAN, power and ground.

In practice the complex test scenarios are done by a series of different commands to different control units. On a CAN bus this is easy as the BUS data rate is high, actually the laptop RS232 interface is limiting the data transfer rate.

On modern MBs all testing could be done without any multiplexer if MB so decided. A relatively simple USB to CAN bus interface would be enough (there are even interface devices that read the ODB-II data on line and send it over bluetooth to an application on a smart phone. As far as I know, VW group is doing this.

Anyway, building all the diagnostics features and DAS SW is a huge work and MB would need to get that paid by service shops that make use of all this. If there was no security built in the SW and HW, copy products would be far more common and those using the genuine devices would have to pay even more than today, if there are less buyers sharing the bill.

I could post a circuit diagram of the multiplexer but I don't think it is needed and a good idea anyway. You can probably find an example from those who make copy products.
What you have just posted is not the 16 pin connector and therefore not relevant to DAS

ERIC.

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- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."
- Winston Churchill, in response.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2007, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by eric242340 View Post
What you have just posted is not the 16 pin connector and therefore not relevant to DAS
That was very useful info

Perhaps I was talking about two different things but I'm pretty sure Eric did not get confused as he is familiar with the tools.

A clarification for others, one of the questions was "what is the multiplexer" and the multiplexer for sure is used with the old cable. This is where I understand the name of the device coming too (those who know the history better may correct me). The "old part of the multiplexer" is a signal multiplexing matrix for the old connector. This is why I thought it would be relevant to post the figure for the old connector.

There was also a question about the star computer SW. My comments on DAS and its relation to the mux security features was related to this one.

Everyone can see I'm not an expert on the tools, just happen to know a few things and tried to share what I know. No need for experts to prove they know this better, that is obvious and doesn't bother me. I would hope experts would spend their effort too on sharing useful info for us, MB owners.

If someone has not looked how the new OBD connector looks like, you can run DAS an see it on the opening page, or look at your car if it has one.

Last edited by Diesel Benz; 01-23-2008 at 11:46 PM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Diesel Benz View Post
That was very useful info

Perhaps I was talking about two different things but I'm pretty sure Eric did not get confused as he is familiar with the tools.

A clarification for others, one of the questions was "what is the multiplexer" and the multiplexer for sure is used with the old cable. This is where I understand the name of the device coming too (those who know the history better may correct me). The "old part of the multiplexer" is a signal multiplexing matrix for the old connector. This is why I thought it would be relevant to post the figure for the old connector.

There was also a question about the star computer SW. My comments on DAS and its relation to the mux security features was related to this one.

Everyone can see I'm not an expert on the tools, just happen to know a few things and tried to share what I know. No need for experts to prove they know this better, that is obvious and doesn't bother me. I would hope experts would spend their effort too on sharing useful info for us, MB owners.

If someone has not looked how the new OBD connector looks like, you can run DAS an see it on the opening page, or look at your car if it has one.
Hi DBenz, no offence meant and you obviously understand the inner workings of the multiplexer better than me so im no expert on this. I do have to use the equipment in my job.

Just to clarify one point. There are two multiplexers, the old one was used with HHT and the new one can use HHT and DAS software. They were different in hardware construction.

We now can use das for the new and old models. So in fact your post was not incorrect.

ERIC.

___________________________________________
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one."
- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."
- Winston Churchill, in response.
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