Lifetime Premium Member
Date registered: Nov 2011
Vehicle: W220 2003 Update S500L, W204 2008 C220 CDI
Location: South Australia
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
How I understood and fixed my Chinese Star Diagnosis System SDS Compact C3
Unfortunately this is a long post but the subject is complex and confusing.
I still have several issues and these will be listed in the next post. Any help will be much appreciated.
If you are having trouble with your Chinese Star Diagnosis System (SDS) or are interested in getting one, the attached documents may help you decide what to do.
I produced my SDS quartet of documents after months of research and experimentation with a Chinese SDS after it stopped working.
Document 1. SDS What is it
Document 2. SDS Instructions For Connecting and Using
Document 3. SDS Software Installation Instructions
Document 4. SDS Transfer From External HDD to Internal HDD
There is some duplication in the documents so that each one can be used independently of the others.
I do not profess to be an expert in SDS, far from it, but I do find that keeping the important information in one or two documents in as simple a form as possible helps me in future when I have a need to revisit the subject. It may therefore be of use to other BenzWorld members. As always any feedback is much appreciated.
Be warned, purchasing, owning, setting up and using a SDS can be an extremely difficult project and one not to be undertaken lightly. There is a plethora of information available on SDS on the Internet but unfortunately it is mostly non constructive, quite often abusive, and fairly often not available without paying a fee to some very enterprising people.
My SDS as supplied came without any installation instructions other than a couple of crude videos and an out of date pamphlet for the RS232 Card. The SDS has inbuilt instructions and videos which are very helpful for using and understanding the SDS.
After a lot of assumptions and several emails to the supplier, I eventually got my SDS configured and communicating with my car and began cautiously testing the various functions and capabilities of SDS. I particularly like the Workshop Information System and the StarFinder and have used them several times to date. I have yet to have a real need to use DAS but began self training just in case, and progressed to the point where I could exercise the cabin lights (easy to watch from outside the vehicle) and got to the stage of opening and closing various flaps on the ACC. Since getting my SDS working again I have been able to read out the list of fault codes stored in my vehicle and erase them. The faults were mainly caused by me fiddling with relays and fuses etc. and removing the front seat to repair my seat heater and ventilation fans.
When my SDS stopped working it took me two months of research and experimentation to recover from my predicament. My most important and unexpected discovery was that the RS232 data link is temperamental if operated at the recommended baud rate of 115,200 bps. The laptop and serial adapter card worked fine but it seems that the MUX, RS232 to RS485 converter, or the car itself, could not cope with these high data rates. I have now set host and guest COM2 settings to 9,600 bps and the MUX is very reliable and connects every time. There doesn’t seem to be any penalty with using the lower baud rate. The second document contains my fault finding techniques using a free serial port monitor which I downloaded from the Internet. I used two separate installations of this application to watch the data traffic in both the Guest Virtual Machine environment, and the Host Serial Port through the MUX, while SDS was communicating with my vehicle. This was critical to the successful outcome, as without the port monitor you have no idea whether the SDS is communicating with the vehicle or not.
I also found the order in which you do things when starting SDS was important and I have listed the connection regime which has worked reliably every time since instigating it.
After the success with the above I became even bolder, and have now transferred the SDS application from the external HDD to the internal HDD. I partitioned the laptop hard drive and cloned the SDS software onto it so that I no longer need to use the supplied external drive. This was mainly for convenience, and as I have a dedicated laptop, disk space was not an issue. It makes a huge difference in the number of cables that you need to worry about during a diagnosis session.
Finally, my Chinese SDS is a very useful tool for a MB enthusiast, but be warned it is very temperamental. Now that I have reached a stable configuration I no longer fiddle with the installation settings (especially the inbuilt SDS tools such as SDnetAssist etc.) which are available via the Virtual Machine Start, All Programs, Service, etc.) as these seem to create errors, which in my case usually require a full reinstall. I keep a dedicated 150Gb hard drive with a cloned backup of the supplied SDS HDD for this purpose.
Key search words:
Chinese MB STAR Compact3 C3 Diagnostic Diagnosis Assistance System SDS DAS PCMCIA Cardbus Adapter Card OX16CF950 RS232 COM2 serial port settings MUX application software installation guide guidance tips how to fix understand how I fixed Xentry Diagnostics Workshop Information System WIS SDS What is it SDS Instructions For Connecting and Using SDS Software Installation Instructions partition laptop HDD clone external HDD drive